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The 46th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 18-May 1, 2003)

The 46th San Francisco International Film Festival played at the AMC Kabuki and Castro Theatres in SF, the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, and--for the first time--at Palo Alto's CineArts Theatre.

Of the festival's films, I screened John Malkovich's accomplished The Dancer Upstairs (Click for review.), the dazzling Winged Migration (Click for review.), the droll The Man Without a Past (Click for review.), the silent classic Sunrise (accompanied by the alt rock of Lambchop), all six hours of Robert Altman's series Tanner '88, the gleefully goofy doc Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story, the revealing The Peter Sellers Story...As He Filmed It, the charmingly offbeat Hukkle, the girl-power seriocomedy Girlie, and The Sea Watches (Click for review.), produced from a previously unfilmed Akira Kurosawa screenplay from 1994, all unique and (re)commendable offerings. I especially recommend the searing The Devils (Click for review.), though I'm not sure how you'd see it. It never scored an American distributor: an object lesson in why audiences should rush to the SFIFF.

Regrettably, I missed the Dustin Hoffman event (complete with screening of the bristling-good Lenny), but I took in Robert Altman's tribute. Though the film, Nashville broke down multiple times at the Castro (certainly an exception to the rule), the event still provided a great opportunity to celebrate Altman, who held court for over an hour and appended to his clip reel a preview of his new film The Company.

I also enjoyed the festival at its new venue: the Palo Alto CineArts. The CineArts offered the full festival experience (though scheduled guest Corey Yuen failed to arrive due to a "travel snafu"). I saw Greece's Hard Goodbyes: My Father, Iran's Our Times, Italy's Happiness for Free, and Yuen's delightful HK action flick So Close.

To review a complete festival schedule, go to

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