Week Two: San Francisco International Film Festival

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WEDNESDAY, MAY 2

The Last Days of Yasser Arafat (Sherine Salama, Australia/Palestine, 2006)
When Australian filmmaker Salama finally does get to sit down with Yasser Arafat, she remarks that it’s the second-generation Palestinians who come back to their ancestral homeland. Salama, in any event, can’t seem to stay away; Last Days chronicles her two months-long attempts at interviewing Arafat in his Ramallah compound. The filmmaker has a weakness for stating the obvious and her visual style is nil, though her plight does open up a starkly comic portrait of Palestinian bureaucracy. Last Days is most compelling in its final minutes, when, without the voice-over, Salama documents Arafat’s coffin touching down in Ramallah, the helicopter swarmed by a startling crowd of thousands. 1:15 p.m., Kabuki; Sun/6, 6:15 p.m., Kabuki. (Max Goldberg)

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The Last Days of Yasser Arafat

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