Review: Sunday Ball (Rocha, 2015) – SFIFF 2015

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Every frame of Sunday Ball, a documentary about the annual inter-favela football championship in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro, could be worthy of a National Geographic spread. The footage is sensuous, at times arresting.… Continue reading

Review: Of Men and War (Bécue-Renard, 2014) – SFIFF 2015

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The words “post-traumatic stress disorder” get batted around a good deal when the subject of veterans comes up, so much so that it has almost become a cliché. But most of us rarely get… Continue reading

Review: Red Amnesia (Wang, 2014) – SFIFF 2015

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Mrs. Deng (Lü Zhong) is a strong-willed woman, what my mother or grandmother would have called a nu qiang ren. She lives by herself (unless you count the portrait of her deceased husband,… Continue reading

Review: The Wonders (Rohrwacher, 2014) – SFIFF 2015

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  The star of this family drama is undeniably newcomer Maria Alexandra Lungu, who plays Gelsomina, the eldest of four daughters in a beekeeping household living in Tuscany, Italy. Barely adolescent, Gelsomina is her father Wolfgang’s… Continue reading

Review: All of Me (González Villaseñor, 2014) – SFIFF 2015

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An estimated two million migrants cross the border from Mexico to the U.S. every year. Many are from Central America, cutting through Mexico on “the Beast” (also known as “La tren de la muerte” or “The… Continue reading

Review: Western (Ross & Ross, 2015) – SFIFF 2015

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Brothers Bill and Turner Ross went to Texas looking to make a “modern Western.” What they found was a tale of two cities: Eagle Pass, TX, and Piedras Negras, MX. In an era of mounting… Continue reading

Review: Beats of the Antonov (Kuka, 2014) – SFIFF 2015

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Years after South Sudan gained its independence, Sudan is still embroiled in civil war. Residents of the country’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains regions suffer constant aerial bombardments from the government’s Soviet-era Antonov bombers,… Continue reading

Review: The Iron Ministry (Sniadecki, 2014) – SFIFF 2015

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I’m no film theorist, historian, or even knowledgeable aficionado, but it seems as though a new type of storytelling is gaining ground in documentary film. Using the camera as roving eye, the filmmaker,… Continue reading

Review: Vincent (Salvador, 2014) – SFIFF 2015

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It seems to me that superhero movies have been on an ascendant trajectory for the past decade and a half or so. Every summer blockbuster season brings at least one highly-anticipated flick, if… Continue reading

Comparative Review: Sand Dollars (Cárdenas & Guzmán, 2014) – SFIFF 2015

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I mentioned in my review of Murder in Pacot that I would soon be comparing it to another film from this year’s San Francisco International Film Festival: Sand Dollars. Set in neighboring Dominican… Continue reading