Summer of SFIFF59

We're thrilled that a number of exceptional films that played this year's San Francisco International Film Festival are making their ways onto local screens. This summer, catch some of our favorite titles from the 2016 program at Landmark theaters across the city.

LES COWBOYS now playing
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. When Alain’s 16-year-old daughter Kelly disappears at a French cowboy fair in 1994, her father embarks on a multi-year search for her that begins from a place of love and concern and ends up within the religious conflicts rocking Europe today.

THE LOBSTER now playing
In a society that doesn’t just frown on single people, but in fact repudiates them, David (Colin Farrell) is in a pickle. Dumped by his wife, he has 45 days to find a new mate at an isolated English resort or else face harsh consequences. Either way, the effrontery of his solo status will be redressed in Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos’s English-language debut, a heady mix of black comedy, sci-fi, romance and thriller that won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

LOVE & FRIENDSHIP now playing
Writer-director Whit Stillman brings a very funny sense and sensibility to this period comedy as sassy social climber Lady Susan (Kate Beckinsale) tries to finagle out of a scandal and gain matrimonial advantage for herself and her daughter. Witty and spry from start to finish, Stillman’s adaptation of a Jane Austen novella—set in the 1790s—charms as it peers into the affairs of the privileged and those who aspire to be, winking at contemporary pretensions through the lens of the past.

MAGGIE'S PLAN now playing
Life rarely works out as planned, but that doesn’t stop Maggie (Greta Gerwig) from trying to steer not just her own destiny, but also those of a dissatisfied anthropology professor (Ethan Hawke) and his intellectual wife Gretchen (Julianne Moore) in this low-key screwball romantic comedy. Writer/director Rebecca Miller spins a tale that is smart, funny and insightful about the academic world the characters inhabit, the lives of 21st-century New Yorkers and the charming control freak at its center. 

MICROBE & GASOLINE coming soon
Buckle up for a whimsical road trip with Microbe and Gasoline, two 14-year-old boys equipped with wild imaginations, insightful observations of the world and a vehicle they’ve hand-built to carry them across France. Visionary writer/director Michel Gondry utilizes the playful yet socially constrained nature of youth to craft a touching tale of friendship while delivering subtle commentary on universal themes of identity, self-confidence and love. 

MISS SHARON JONES! coming soon
he life force is strong in the rip-roaring R&B/funk/soul singer Sharon Jones, even after Stage 2 pancreatic cancer forces her off the road. Backed by her loyal management team and tight band, the old-school Dap-Kings, Jones persists and prevails in her late-blooming pursuit of cathartic musical bliss. Academy Award-winning documentary maker Barbara Kopple delivers definitive proof, from a small South Carolina church to Manhattan’s glittering Beacon Theatre, that nobody raises the roof like Sharon Jones.

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. This exceptional documentary profiles several of these artists, collectively called the Silk Road Ensemble, using compelling archival footage as well as numerous rousing performance sequences to elucidate the ways their artistry reflects their cultures.

PHANTOM BOY coming soon
When a kingpin with a face only Picasso could love threatens to bring down New York City’s infrastructure, a seriously ill boy with a unique, ghostly superpower teams up with a bedridden crusading cop to stop him. The team behind A Cat in Paris (SFIFF 2011) delivers another dose of enchanting 2D animation along with a story that blends absurd humor with an emotionally potent tale of a child rising about troubling circumstances. Recommended for ages nine and up.

TICKLED now playing
David Farrier, an out-and-proud gay male New Zealand journalist, stumbles upon an online fetish empire while researching a story about the sport of man-on-man competitive tickling. A simple click rapidly pulls him—and the viewer—into a cyber-informational wormhole, revealing a universe of litigious threats, outrageous homophobia and jaw-dropping revelations in this multi-layered, gripping and often bizarre nail-biter of a detective story.

WEINER now playing
Two years after a sexting scandal derails New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s once promising career, he attempts a comeback with a run for New York mayor with a documentary crew in tow. The filmmakers are on the spot when controversy erupts over new inappropriate texts. The viewer is given a ringside seat as what begins as the chronicle of a campaign becomes a portrait of a political car wreck in progress. Winner of US Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

WIENER-DOG now playing
ilmmaker Todd Solondz stays true to unconventional form for his eighth feature, his dark sense of humor and dim view of the human condition intact as he chronicles the misadventures of an adorable dachshund. Essentially a series of vignettes, Wiener-Dog makes sharp-edged observations about modern man while showcasing a talented cast that includes Julie Delpy, Danny DeVito and Ellen Burstyn. 

Founded in 1957, the San Francisco International Film Festival is the longest-running film festival in the Americas. Held each spring for two weeks and highly anticipated by its loyal and passionate audiences, SFIFF is an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation in one of the country's most beautiful cities, featuring some 150 films and live events with more than 100 filmmakers in attendance and nearly two dozen awards presented for excellence in film craft.