2018 San Francisco International Film Festival offers profound variety of films

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Franchesca Spektor/Staff

W

hether it’s serving as one of Hollywood’s favorite backdrops or playing host to industry giants such as Lucasfilm, the city of San Francisco has always been a cinematic hotspot. It’s only fitting that this city would host the longest-running film festival in the Americas, the San Francisco International Film Festival.

The festival is known for screening a slate of eclectic films, ranging from documentaries to fictional narratives, from the international to the hyperlocal. The Daily Californian covered several of these films, with full reviews of Bay Area native Boots Riley’s “Sorry To Bother You” and A24’s “Eighth Grade” to come in the summer.

— Arts & Entertainment Editor Harrison Tunggal

“The Workshop”

The Workshop / SFFILM / Courtesy

The Workshop / SFFILM / Courtesy

In “The Workshop,” director Laurent Cantet crafts a slow-building movie that centers around a French writing workshop. While developing their novels, the students explore the purpose of violence in art. Tensions rise as the discussions touch on media, politics and authorship. The film is a reflection on what depictions of violence in popular culture means in a country impacted by heavily publicized terror attacks and whether such artistic expressions of violence do more harm than good.

— Jasmine Garnett

“I Am Not A Witch”

Rungano Nyoni’s first film, “I Am Not A Witch,” explores the clashes between traditional and contemporary culture. A young girl named Shula (Maggie Mulubwa) is accused of being a witch, is sent to a witch camp and uses her powers to complete a number of absurd tasks. Despite being a heartbreaking story, the beautiful composition and sharp dialogue bring levity to the film.

— Jasmine Garnett

“Angels Wear White”

Angels Wear White / SFFILM / Courtesy

Angels Wear White / SFFILM / Courtesy

“Angels Wear White” is a powerfully indignant film that deals with the sexual assault of two young girls (Meijun Zhou, Xinyue Jiang) and their subsequent search for peace. This film is an observation of the power structures that normalize violence against women and of the cyclic exploitation of marginalized peoples. Director Vivian Qu carefully confronts these issues while empathizing with the countless real-life victims she is trying to protect. It is a captivating, important project.

— Feroz James

“Claire’s Camera”

“Claire’s Camera” follows a Parisian music teacher (Isabelle Huppert) wandering through Cannes, her titular camera in tow. As she gets entangled in the drama unfolding around a Korean film director (Jin-young Jung), the film suggests that her photos may have the power to move through time. Claire’s dry witticisms and easygoing nature allow the film to celebrate curiosity, introspection and the healing power of opening ourselves up to others — strangers included.

— Feroz James

“Half the Picture”

Half the Picture / SFFILM / Courtesy

Half the Picture / SFFILM / Courtesy

Hollywood’s female filmmakers are underrepresented to the extent that only one female director has won an Academy Award.

Amy Adrion’s documentary “Half the Picture” is, in every way, heartbreaking. Representing female directors of diverse races as well as from the LGBTQ+ community, including Ava DuVernay and Jamie Babbit, respectively, the film is powerful to the point that it is infuriating — it tells a story that should have been told a long time ago but hasn’t been.

— Anoushka Agrawal

“The Distant Barking of Dogs”

Simon Lereng Wilmont’s incredibly impactful documentary tells the story of children raised amid war in Ukraine. It reiterates the terribly disturbing fact that with the birth of war comes the death of innocence. It portrays the extent to which children growing up in a war zone internalize things that shouldn’t even cross their minds, such as violence and obliteration; it tells a story that is absolutely devastating but so unbelievably necessary.

— Anoushka Agrawal

Contact The Daily Californian’s arts & entertainment staff at [email protected].

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