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55th San Francisco International Film Festival @ BAM/PFA

Sunday, April 22, 2012
3:45 p.m. The Source
Maria Demopoulos, Jodi Wille (U.S., 2012)

In Person/Jodi Wille


Jodi Wille and Maria Demopoulos’s documentary chronicles the rise and fall of the Source Family, a Southern California experiment in healthy, communal living that devolved into a quasi-authoritarian polygamist cult exiled to Kauai, where things eventually took a turn for the worse. At the center of the film is the imposing paterfamilias and self-styled guru, Father Yod (birth name Jim Baker), a herculean Judo master and savvy restaurateur whose trendy Source restaurant (immortalized in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall) served as the crucible and financial engine for his spiritual movement. The Source Family was obsessed with self-documentation, and Wille and Demopoulos make ample use of the wealth of photos, audiotapes, and home movies the Family managed to accrue over its short existence. Preeminent among these documents are the family’s musical recordings. Under the name YaHoWha 13, several of the Source Family’s more musically inclined members—including Father Yod on vocals and timpani—produced a massive catalog of cult psychedelic albums beloved by record collectors and musicians (a certain Smashing Pumpkins songwriter even makes an appearance as one of the film’s talking heads). This is a thoroughly researched and enormously entertaining examination of one of the 1970s counterculture’s strangest “families.”

—Tony Papanikolas

• Photographed by John Tanzer. (99 mins)



Tickets on sale March 30. Online tickets are available through the SFFS ticketing system. Follow the link below and select "buy tickets." BAM/PFA members receive a discount online by using a special promo code. If you are a member and did not receive the code by email, please call (510) 642-1412.

Buy Tickets



Advance tickets March 27–30. BAM/PFA members may purchase advance tickets online between March 27 and 30 by clicking the link below and entering a special promo code. If you are a member and did not receive the code by email, please call (510) 642-1412.

Purchase Advance Member Tickets