59th San Francisco International Film Festival at BAMPFA

April 22–May 5, 2016

BAMPFA is the exclusive East Bay venue for the San Francisco International Film Festival, an annual showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation.

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  • Mr. Gaga

  • Under the Sun

  • Winter Song

  • From Afar

  • NUTS!

  • Journey to the Shore

  • Upcoming
  • Past
  • Past

Past Films

  • The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble

    • Thursday, May 5 4 PM
    Morgan Neville
    United States, 2015

    On a quest to uncover Leonard Bernstein’s “universal language of music,” renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma gathers virtuoso musicians from around the globe to collaborate on new musical explorations.

  • Under the Sun

    • Thursday, May 5 6:30 PM
    Vitaly Mansky
    Russia, Latvia, Germany, Czech Republic, North Korea, 2015

    Shot with the permission and supervision of North Korean authorities, Russian director Vitaly Mansky’s film turns a propaganda effort into a deep-cover documentary about life inside one of the world’s most repressive nations.

  • The Summer of Frozen Fountains

    • Thursday, May 5 8:40 PM
    Vano Burduli
    Georgia, Russia, 2015

    People fall in and out of love in this delightfully wistful romantic drama. Director Vano Burduli shares amusement and a profoundly deep affection for a changing Tbilisi and its flawed and beautiful inhabitants, guiding each of his characters like the conductor of an orchestra.

  • And when I die, I won't stay dead

    • Wednesday, May 4 6:30 PM
    Billy Woodberry
    United States, Portugal, 2015

    Brilliant but largely unheralded Beat poet Bob Kaufman (1925–1986) is featured in this rich documentary tribute.

  • Winter Song

    • Wednesday, May 4 8:45 PM
    Otar Iosseliani
    France, 2015

    The way Otar Iosseliani turns Paris on its head makes us think of a young Jean-Luc Godard—yet Iosseliani is eighty-two!

  • National Bird

    • Tuesday, May 3 4 PM
    Sonia Kennebeck
    United States, 2016

    Executive produced by Wim Wenders and Errol Morris, this elegant and chilling documentary provides a glimpse of what the US government doesn’t want you to know about drone warfare by focusing on three veterans whose service experience caused them to question the use of drones in overseas combat.

  • Mountain

    • Tuesday, May 3 6:30 PM
    Yaelle Kayam
    Israel, Denmark, 2015

    Yaelle Kayam’s debut feature is strikingly shot against the tombstones of Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives, where an Orthodox woman’s longing for her husband’s love sets in motion a transformational journey into a nocturnal world of pimps and prostitutes.

  • Journey to the Shore

    • Tuesday, May 3 8:40 PM
    Kiyoshi Kurosawa
    Japan, France, 2015

    The secret wounds of a marriage unfold gently but surely as a shy piano teacher embarks on a mythic journey with her husband, returned from the dead.

  • Thithi

    • Sunday, May 1 3:15 PM
    Raam Reddy
    India, United States, 2016

    In a small South Indian village, a cantankerous centenarian keels over and dies, setting the stage for a capricious comedy of errors among three generations of dissimilar sons.

  • Notes on Blindness

    • Sunday, May 1 6:15 PM
    Peter Middleton, James Spinney
    United Kingdom, France, 2016

    A taped journal that theologian John Hull (1935–2015) kept after the onset of blindness in 1980 forms the basis of this elegant and moving depiction of struggle and transcendence.

  • The Joneses

    • Sunday, May 1 8:40 PM
    Moby Longinotto
    United States, United Kingdom, 2016

    Filmmaker Moby Longinotto’s fascinating, thoroughly candid documentary invites audiences to pull up a chair at the never-dull family table in a Mississippi trailer-park home.

  • Suite Armoricaine

    • Saturday, April 30 2:50 PM
    Pascale Breton
    France, 2015

    A Paris-based art historian returns to her native town of Rennes to teach a class. There, she encounters a troubled male student who is contending with an itinerant mother as well as the demands of university life.

  • Nuts!

    • Saturday, April 30 6:15 PM
    Penny Lane
    United States, 2015

    Penny Lane’s documentary—comprising archival material, animated sequences, and the occasional talking head—blooms into an incredible almanac of early twentieth-century quackery and innovation as she focuses on J. R. Brinkley, an early broadcasting baron, direct-mail pioneer, and an evangelical proponent of goat-testicle implants.

  • Sixty Six

    • Saturday, April 30 8:30 PM
    Lewis Klahr
    United States, 2015

    Sixties pop-art heroines and DC comic-strip heroes are suffused with the passions of Greco-Roman gods in Lewis Klahr’s compilation spanning fourteen years of filmmaking.

  • Paths of the Soul

    • Friday, April 29 4 PM
    Zhang Yang
    China, 2015

    Chinese director Zhang Yang’s Paths of the Soul is a captivating and profound portrait of a small group of Tibetan villagers on an arduous, one-thousand-mile pilgrimage to the holy city of Lhasa.

  • Radio Dreams

    • Friday, April 29 6:30 PM
    Babak Jalali
    United States, Iran, 2016

    Hamid, the often exasperated program director of a Farsi-language radio station based in San Francisco, awaits a much-anticipated meeting between Metallica and real-life Afghani band Kabul Dreams in his studio.

  • Sonita

    • Friday, April 29 8:45 PM
    Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
    Germany, Switzerland, Iran, 2015

    Sonita Alizadeh is like many teenagers—she loves hip-hop, argues with her mother, and gossips with her friends. She is also an Afghan refugee living under the tenuous protection of a Tehran homeless shelter, where she contends with the imminent risk of being sold into marriage under the Afghan system of “bride price.

  • Mr. Gaga

    • Thursday, April 28 6:30 PM
    Tomer Heymann
    Israel, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, 2015

    A spectacular and celebratory investigation of a modern dancer’s creative process, this documentary tracks the four-decades-long career of renowned choreographer Ohad Naharin, the artistic director of Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company.

  • Home Care

    • Thursday, April 28 8:50 PM
    Slávek Horák
    Czech Republic, Slovakia, 2015

    Dedicated home-care nurse Vlasta (Karlovy Vary winner Alena Mihulová) traipses around the south Moravia countryside on bus and foot tending to (and bantering with) patients too infirm or elderly to travel.

  • Shadow World

    • Wednesday, April 27 6:30 PM
    Johan Grimonprez
    Belgium, United States, 2016

    Director Johan Grimonprez deploys powerful and sinister imagery in this adaptation of journalist Andrew Feinstein’s ominous, important book on the global arms trade.

  • From Afar

    • Wednesday, April 27 8:50 PM
    Lorenzo Vigas
    Venezuela, Mexico, 2015

    A middle-aged single man who cruises his Caracas neighborhood for rough trade takes a tough young boy into his home, in this gritty exploration of a relationship.

  • Kanbar Award: Tom McCarthy | The Station Agent

    • Tuesday, April 26 7 PM
    Tom McCarthy
    US, 2003

    Finbar McBride (Peter Dinklage) looks forward to a life of solitude and endless solo walks along the railroad tracks when he inherits an abandoned and decrepit New Jersey train station in Tom McCarthy’s bewitching, closely observed drama.

  • Between Us: Experimental Shorts

    • Sunday, April 24 4:15 PM

    Eight artist-made films explore things that pass between us. Songs, stories, and trinkets are handed down from one generation to the next. 

  • The Event

    • Sunday, April 24 6:30 PM
    Sergei Loznitsa
    Netherlands, Belgium, 2015

    Sergei Loznitsa (Maidan, SFIFF 2015) once again brings Eastern European history to vivid life with the inspired deployment of archival resources.

  • Chevalier

    • Sunday, April 24 8:15 PM
    Athina Rachel Tsangari
    Greece, 2015

    A slow-burn satire dubbed “a buddy movie without the buddies,” Chevalier brilliantly mines the comedy of the modern male competitive spirit.

  • Thirst

    • Saturday, April 23 4:15 PM
    Svetla Tsotsorkova
    Bulgaria, 2015

    When water becomes scarce due to drought, a laundress living in rural southwest Bulgaria with her husband and son invites a dowser and his spirited daughter to search for hidden springs on their property.

  • Les Cowboys

    • Saturday, April 23 6:15 PM
    Thomas Bidegain
    France, Belgium, 2015

    Noted screenwriter Thomas Bidegain brings the tough, tense attitude of his earlier scripts for A Prophet and Rust and Bone to a contemporary adaptation of John Ford’s The Searchers.

  • Neon Bull

    • Saturday, April 23 8:30 PM
    Gabriel Mascaro
    Brazil, Uruguay, Netherlands, 2015

    Strange and erotic, with an unexpected view of gender roles, this film is set in the macho world of bull wrangling yet its male protagonist is interested in fashion and designs dresses.

  • Right Now, Wrong Then

    • Friday, April 22 4 PM
    Hong Sang-Soo
    South Korea, 2015

    A middle-aged artist, a young ingenue, existential crises, romantic fumblings and confessional drinkathons—like Monet and his water lilies, Hong Sang-soo keeps returning to the same core material and refining his pitch-perfect preoccupation with what fools lovelorn men can be.

  • The Return

    • Friday, April 22 6:30 PM
    Kelly Duane De La Vega, Katie Galloway
    United States , 2016

    After California voters reversed the state’s Three Strikes law, thousands of inmates became suddenly eligible for resentencing and release. This provocative and touching documentary chronicles what happened next.

  • The Apostate

    • Friday, April 22 8:45 PM
    Federico Veiroj
    Spain, France, Uruguay, 2015

    Looking for a fresh start, perennial philosophy flunk-out and sexually frustrated Madrid thirty-something Gonzalo (Álvaro Ogalla) demands the Catholic Church relinquish its symbolic hold on his misspent life by removing his name from the baptismal record.