Indie Theater Roundup: 7 More Movies to See at the San Francisco Film Festival


The San Francisco International Film Festival will continue through Thursday, May 6, with a closing-night screening of Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work at the Castro Theatre. Until then, the festival's eclectic showcase of international offerings, probing documentaries and soon-to-be cult classics will be playing at its primary venues, including the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, the Castro Theatre, the Clay Theatre and the Pacific Film Archive. For tickets, showtimes and more information, click here.

1. Last Train Home
Where:Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post St., 415-929-4650
When: May 2, 8:30 p.m. (at the Pacific Film Archive), May 3, 6:15 p.m., May 4, 9 p.m.
Why: It’s an annual tradition created by accelerated modernization, an expanding economy and the world’s largest populace: Each year, 130 million Chinese peasants, displaced from their villages to work in urban factories, crowd train stations to return home for the New Year. Lixin Fan’s insightful documentary focuses on a single family, the Zhangs, divided by the trend and struggling to cope with the strain.

2. Air Doll
Where:Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post St., 415-929-4650
When: May 2, 6 p.m.
Why: "Can people fulfill their own emptiness? What is the meaning of life? What is a human being?" These are the questions posed, however indirectly, by director Hirokazu Kore-eda's melancholy fantasy about an inflatable sex doll (Bae Doo-na, of The Host) who comes to life in Tokyo, only to find a city filled with lonely souls consumed (and isolated) by their own fantasies. Those expecting Mannequin-style shenanigans need not apply.

3. Cyrus
Where:Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post St., 415-929-4650
When: May 2, 9:15 p.m., May 4, 9:45 p.m.
Why: John C. Reilly takes a break from playing sage Dr. Steve Brule on Adult Swim's Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! to star opposite Jonah Hill, Marisa Tomei and Catherine Keener in the hilariously offbeat Cyrus, the story of a down-on-his-luck bachelor who surprises even himself by seducing a beautiful woman. The catch? Her grown son (Hill, of Superbad) who's not ready to share his doting mom with another man. Brothers Jay and Mark Duplass (Baghead) direct.

4. Waiting for Superman
Where:Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post St., 415-929-4650
When: May 5, 6:45 p.m.
Why: Sundance favorite Superman finds Oscar-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) taking an unflinching look at America's broken educational system, profiling some of the students and families who endure its shortcomings, and the reformers who strive to fix it. In the process, we are granted revealing glimpses of hard-working educators trying to make the best of a rotten situation, and of the people most directly embroiled in the mess, including Washington, D.C., education chancellor Michelle Rhee.

5. Splice
Where:Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post St., 415-929-4650
When: May 4, 10 p.m.
Why: Genetic engineers Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) want to experiment with human DNA, but the pharmaceutical company that subsidizes their research forbids it. They could put the idea to bed, but what fun would that be? Emboldened by their recent successes, which include a hybrid caterpillar rich with life-saving proteins, they throw a human embryo into the mix, with disastrous and darkly comic results.

6. Pianomania
Where:Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post St., 415-929-4650
When: May 2, 1:15 p.m.
Why: World-famous virtuoso pianists including Alfred Brendel, Rudolf Buchbinder and Pierre-Laurent Aimard, as well as revered piano-tuner-to-the-greats Stefan Knüpfer, take center stage in Pianomania, directors Robert Cibis and Lilian Franck's penetrating documentary about the unique culture and sophistication of classical music.

7. You Think You're the Prettiest, but You Are the Sluttiest
Where:Clay Theatre, 2261 Fillmore St., 415-346-1124;Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post St., 415-929-4650
When: May 3, 9:30 p.m. at the Clay; May 6, 6:15 p.m. at the Sundance
Why: Winner of the Best Film in Production prize at the Viña del Mar Film Festival, and previously screened as an official selection of the Toulouse and Buenos Aires film festivals, Ché Sandoval, 25, wrote, directed and coedited You Think You’re the Prettiest as his graduation project at the Escuela de Cine de Chile in Santiago. It finds bittersweet humor in the sad story of Javier, a 19-year-old wannabe Lothario who suffers through an increasingly crushing string of rejections. Needless to say, it also boasts one of the most intriguing titles of this year's official selections.


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