56th San Francisco International Film Festival

4/26/13 to 5/9/13

BAM/PFA is honored to be the exclusive East Bay venue for the San Francisco International Film Festival. We are pleased to present a stellar selection of features, documentaries, and shorts from around the world, as well as a host of filmmakers and other special guests in person. Tickets go on sale April 5.

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Past Films

  • Let the Fire Burn

    • Thursday, May 9 6:30pm

    Jason Osder (U.S., 2013). Jason Osder and editor Nels Bangerter. Composed entirely of archival footage, this penetrating documentary reconstructs the decade-long conflict between the radical emancipatory group MOVE and the police and city officials of Philadelphia. (94 mins)

  • Il futuro

    • Thursday, May 9 8:50pm

    Alicia Scherson (Chile/Germany/Italy/Spain, 2012). An orphaned brother and sister stumble upon an opportunity they can't refuse-seemingly easy money by way of a former Mr. Universe turned reclusive movie star-in this adaptation of a Roberto Bolaño novella. (99 mins)

  • Inori

    • Wednesday, May 8 6:30pm

    Pedro González-Rubio (Japan, 2012). In this blend of documentary and narrative, González-Rubio (Alamar) follows the few remaining inhabitants of an isolated Japanese town as they pray to their gods, collect flowers for graves, and worry about “crossing the great river.” With Thomas Gleeson's short Home. (83 mins)

  • Mai Morire

    • Wednesday, May 8 8:40pm

    Enrique Rivero (Mexico, 2012). In the ethereal, nearly pre-Columbian landscapes of the Mexican town of Xochimilco, a stoic woman returns home to care for her ninety-nine-year-old mother in this haunting and meditative film. (83 mins)

  • Rent a Family Inc.

    • Tuesday, May 7 6:30pm

    Kaspar Astrup Schröder (Denmark, 2012). (Lej en familie A/S). This absorbing and offbeat documentary revolves around a Japanese man who operates a professional stand-in business that rents out fake relatives to a rapidly growing Japanese customer base “desperate to cover up a secret.” (77 mins)

  • The Cleaner

    • Tuesday, May 7 8:40pm

    Adrián Saba (Peru, 2012). (El limpiador). As a mysterious epidemic eviscerates Lima's adult population-but spares its children-a solitary middle-aged forensic worker discovers an orphaned boy at one of his cleanup sites. A gently haunted and affecting study of social alienation and redemption. (95 mins)

  • Fatal Assistance

    • Monday, May 6 6:30pm

    Raoul Peck (France/Haiti/U.S./Belgium, 2013). Filmed over two years, Haitian-born Raoul Peck's powerful exposé examines the staggering failures, global and local, that have stranded a vulnerable nation in the wake of the devastating 2010 earthquake. (100 mins)

  • The Daughter

    • Monday, May 6 9pm

    Alexander Kasatkin, Natalya Nazarova (Russia, 2012). (Córka). A serial killer targeting teenage girls is on the loose in a parochial Russian village in this aesthetically austere yet emotionally explosive coming-of-age tale. (111 mins)

  • Downpour

    • Sunday, May 5 3:20pm

    Bahram Beyzaie (Iran, 1971). Bahram Beyzaie in person. A teacher is transferred to a poor, conservative area-and becomes involved with a student's beautiful older sister-in this major work of pre-Revolutionary Iranian cinema, shot independently on the streets of Tehran in 1971. (128 mins)

  • Good Ol' Freda

    • Sunday, May 5 6:30pm

    Ryan White (U.S./U.K., 2012). A film rich in archival footage that follows the Beatles from Liverpudlian phenomenon to worldwide sensation through the eyes of the band's secretary, Freda Kelly. (86 mins)

  • Big Sur

    • Sunday, May 5 8:45pm

    Michael Polish (U.S., 2012). Jean-Marc Barr is a middle-aged, alcoholic Jack Kerouac trying to outrun his demons as he reunites with old friends in San Francisco and attempts to dry out in a Big Sur cabin in Michael Polish's deft, poetic adaptation of the writer's 1962 novel. (90 mins)

  • After Tiller

    • Sunday, May 5 1pm

    Martha Shane, Lana Wilson (U.S., 2013). Martha Shane, Lana Wilson, and editor Greg O'Toole in person. In the wake of the murder of Dr. George Tiller, only four late-term abortion providers remain in the United States. This thought provoking documentary examines the personal and ethical imperatives that drive these physicians to continue in the face of legal and personal harassment. (88 mins)

  • Salma

    • Saturday, May 4 2pm

    Kim Longinotto (U.K./India, 2013). Veteran British documentarian Kim Longinotto's latest work is the remarkable story of a South Indian Muslim woman who endured a twenty-five-year imprisonment by her own family before becoming the most famous female poet in the Tamil language. (90 mins)

  • Chimeras

    • Saturday, May 4 4:15pm

    Mika Mattila (Finland, 2013). Mika Mattila in person. This revelatory and visually striking documentary follows a pair of artists-painter/sculptor Wang Guangyi and photographer Liu Gang-as they grapple with their place and purpose in a new China of pervasive materialism and Western influence. (86 mins)

  • Night Across the Street

    • Saturday, May 4 6:30pm

    Raúl Ruiz (France/Chile, 2012). (La noche de enfrente). This posthumously released film, shot in Ruiz's native Chile, brings back the elegance of his straight-faced surrealism in the story of a man nearing death who conjures up his childhood heroes. (113 mins)

  • Spend It All

    • Saturday, May 4 8:45pm

    Les Blank (U.S.). Three newly restored 16mm films by Les Blank: the West Coast premiere of the restoration of Spend it All, a documentary celebrating Cajun food, music, and culture, and world premieres of the restorations of the rarely seen Chicken Real (1970) and Christopher Tree (a.k.a. Spontaneous Sound, 1972). (73 mins)

  • Just the Wind

    • Friday, May 3 6:30pm

    Bence Fliegauf (Hungary/Germany/France, 2012). As rumors of a right-wing death squad fill their community, a marginalized Hungarian Romany family goes about its daily routines in this powerful, intimate work based on true events. (87 mins)

  • Shepard & Dark

    • Friday, May 3 8:40pm

    Treva Wurmfeld (U.S., 2012). Treva Wurmfeld and producer Amy Hobby in person. With warmth and candor, director Treva Wurmfeld probes the intimate dimensions of the friendship between playwright/actor Sam Shepard and his close friend, archivist Johnny. (92 mins)

  • Something in the Air

    • Thursday, May 2 6:30pm

    Olivier Assayas (France, 2012). (Après mai). The latest from French master Olivier Assayas chronicles the period following the May '68 riots in Paris through the eyes of a group of young political idealists trying to make sense of their world through art. (122 mins)

  • The Act of Killing

    • Thursday, May 2 8:55pm

    Joshua Oppenheimer (Denmark/Norway/U.K., 2012). “I have not seen a film as powerful, surreal and frightening in at least a decade,” says Werner Herzog of this flabbergasting documentary in which notorious death-squad chiefs brazenly reenact heinous crimes they committed during the Indonesian genocide of the mid-1960s. (116 mins)

  • Memories Look at Me

    • Wednesday, May 1 6:30pm

    Song Fang (China, 2012). (Ji yi wang zhe wo). In this strong feature debut, Song Fang directs and plays herself as she visits her parents in Nanjing and they muse on life, death, and tradition. (87 mins)

  • They'll Come Back

    • Wednesday, May 1 8:45pm

    Marcelo Lordello (Brazil, 2012). (Eles voltam). Marcelo Lordello in person. A potent exploration of class and adolescence, They'll Come Back is a beautifully shot modern fable that tells the story of Cris, a privileged twelve-year-old who embarks on a journey that will open her eyes to a world she never knew. (105 mins)

  • La Sirga

    • Tuesday, April 30 6:30pm

    William Vega (Colombia/France/Mexico, 2012). A shy teenage orphan seeks shelter on the shores of a mist-shrouded lagoon in this coming-of-age tale set in the lonely, enchanted landscapes of the high Andes. (88 mins)

  • Sofia's Last Ambulance

    • Tuesday, April 30 8:50pm

    Ilian Metev (Germany/Bulgaria/Croatia, 2012). (Poslednata lineika na Sofia). On the front lines of a degraded emergency-care system in Sofia, Bulgaria, an over-extended, yet emphatically humane, paramedic crew hurtles frantically from one call to the next in a dilapidated ambulance. (75 mins)

  • A River Changes Course

    • Monday, April 29 6:30pm

    Kalyanee Mam (Cambodia/U.S., 2012). (Kbang tuk tonle). Kalyanee Mam and editor Chris Brown in person. In vivid cinema-vérité style, Bay Area filmmaker Kalyanee Mam presents an intimate and moving portrait of the vanishing world of rural farmers and fishermen in Cambodia. (83 mins)

  • Leviathan

    • Monday, April 29 8:45pm

    Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Veréna Paravel (France/U.K./U.S., 2012). A thrilling adventure both on the high seas and in documentary storytelling, Leviathan immerses viewers in the waterlogged world of fishermen toiling in the dead of night on a creaking trawler off the coast of Massachusetts. (87 mins)

  • Markéta Lazarová

    • Sunday, April 28 12:30pm

    Frantisek Vlácil (Czech Republic, 1966). In memory of George Gund III (1937–2013). An elliptical story of rivalry and revenge in medieval Bohemia, this rarely seen work evokes Kurosawa or Mizoguchi: intense, poetic, and devastatingly cinematic. (162 mins)

  • The Pirogue

    • Sunday, April 28 3:45pm

    Moussa Touré (France/Senegal/Germany, 2012). (La pirogue). Senegalese director Moussa Touré offers an unvarnished glimpse into a common but often deadly immigrant journey, taking us on a perilous sea voyage with thirty West African immigrants heading for Spain. (87 mins)

  • Key of Life

    • Sunday, April 28 6:10pm

    Kenji Uchida (Japan, 2012), (Kagi dorobo no mesoddo). Kenji Uchida in person. A depressed and unemployed actor switches lives with a Yakuza assassin in Kenji Uchida's brilliantly conceived and executed Japanese screwball comedy. (128 mins)

  • Rosie

    • Sunday, April 28 9 pm

    Marcel Gisler (Switzerland, 2013). Jaded gay novelist Lorenz returns home to provincial Switzerland to care for his ailing mother (scene-stealing Sibylle Brunner) in this gently humorous crowd-pleaser-nominated for six Swiss Film Awards-that deftly disentangles the familial and romantic ties that bind. (106 mins)

  • The Mattei Affair

    • Saturday, April 27 6:15pm

    Francesco Rosi (Italy, 1972). (Il caso Mattei). A newly restored version of Rosi's crackling political thriller based on the life and mysterious death of Italy's legendary postwar energy czar, Enrico Mattei. As revelatory now as it was in 1972; “a massively underrated masterpiece” (Alex Cox). (116 mins)

  • Shorts 5: Experimental: Artifacts and Artificial Acts

    • Saturday, April 27 8:45pm

    James Sansing in person. Nine recent experimental films look at troubling facts and surprising moments with beauty and inventiveness. Includes new films by Deborah Stratman, Katherin McInnis, Bobby Abate, Ali Cherri, Karen Yaskinksky, James Sansing, Peter Rose, Lonnie von Brummelen and Siebren de Haan, and Scott Stark. (89 mins)

  • Penance

    • Saturday, April 27 12:30pm

    Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Japan, 2012). (Shokuzai). Kiyoshi Kurosawa's epic new work, told in five parts over five hours, is a riveting drama about a mother whose daughter is killed and the four childhood friends who witnessed the crime. Shown with a 10-minute intermission. (300 mins)

  • In the Fog

    • Friday, April 26 6:30 PM

    Sergei Loznitsa (Germany/Latvia/Russia/Netherlands/Belarus, 2012). Two partisans plan to kill a Belorussian railway worker suspected of Nazi sympathies in this dreamlike movie, but what actually ends up happening among the three men is a complicated story involving guilt, betrayal, and defiance. (128 mins)

  • The Kill Team

    • Friday, April 26 9 pm

    Dan Krauss (U.S., 2012). In this chilling documentary, Bay Area-based Dan Krauss explores the deeply disturbing story of U.S. soldiers stationed in Afghanistan in 2009 who were convicted of murdering innocent civilians. (79 mins)