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55th San Francisco International Film Festival @ BAM/PFA

Tuesday, April 24, 2012
6:30 p.m. Bonsái
Cristián Jiménez (Chile/France/Argentina/Portugal, 2011)

Director Cristián Jiménez brings a keen comic sense to Chilean author Alejandro Zambra’s contemporary classic novella Bonsái, crafting an existential romance with deep insight into the psychology of love, finding meaning through literature and the care of sensitive plants. Making several leaps forward and backward in time, Bonsái follows its protagonist Julio (Diego Noguera, in a wonderfully restrained performance) in his sincere but deadpan fumbling through early adulthood. Quirky, cerebral, lost, and vaguely traumatized, Julio enters into the one big love of his life lying about having read Proust and oblivious that his lover Emilia (Natalia Galgani) is fibbing, too. Eight years after meeting her, Julio begins another romantic relationship with a lie when he claims he is transcribing a handwritten novel for a famous writer. In truth, he’s the one writing the novel. As it unfolds, he gradually comes to realize that he’s the book’s broken-hearted subject, pining for Emilia, and no amount of wisdom, Proust, or gardening skill can bring back the bliss of his first love. Bonsái strikes the perfect balance of humor and angst, wisdom and folly, and brings home a universal emotional truth—though the story Julio tells may be idealized, delusional, and partially fictional, nothing has more power to move his soul.

—Gustavus Kundahl

• Written by Jiménez. Photographed by Inti Briones. With Diego Noguera, Natalia Galgani, Gabriela Arancibia, Trinidad González. (95 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