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49th San Francisco International Film Festival at PFA

April 21, 2006 - May 4, 2006

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Iberia, April 21

The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive presents films from the 49th San Francisco International Film Festival at the PFA Theater.

General admission for festival films at PFA is $11 per program; $9 for BAM/PFA and San Francisco Film Society members; $10 for seniors, disabled persons, and students. Please note that PFA's second-feature discount does not apply to these programs. Tickets are nonrefundable, and may not be exchanged.

Advance tickets for PFA screenings only are sold daily, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Berkeley Art Museum admissions desk (2626 Bancroft Way), and at the PFA Theater box office starting one hour before the first show of the day. PFA tickets can also be charged by credit card by calling (510) 642-5249 up to one day before the program, for pickup at Will Call. Advance tickets for all festival shows can be purchased at the Main Ticket Outlet in the lobby of the Kabuki 8 Theatres, 1881 Post Street at Fillmore in San Francisco; on the festival website, www.sffs.org; or by telephone, (925) 866-9559.

On the day of the show, tickets can only be purchased at the venue of the screening; same-day tickets for PFA screenings can be purchased at the BAM admissions desk or PFA Theater box office.

CineVoucher 10-Packs may not be redeemed at PFA. CineVouchers for screenings at other venues must be redeemed by 4 p.m. the day before the screening by phone, online, or at the Main Ticket Outlet.

PFA recorded daily program information and updates can be heard by calling (510) 642-1124. For further ticket or program information about PFA screenings, please call (510) 642-1412.

Many screenings will feature in-person appearances by the filmmakers. All films are in their original language with English subtitles.

Program notes are adapted from the festival Program Guide.

Friday, April 21, 2006
4:45 p.m. Iberia
Master director Carlos Saura doesn't just make dance films. He makes films dance. In this intensely beautiful tribute to composer Isaac Albéniz, Saura tours southern Spain through music and performance, including ballet, flamenco, and contemporary styles.

Friday, April 21, 2006
4:45 p.m. Iberia


Friday, April 21, 2006
7:00 p.m. Al Franken: God Spoke
Documentary veterans Chris Hegedus and Nick Doob catch liberal political satirist Al Franken in frenzied action as he races around the country on his 2004 book tour for the bestselling Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.

Friday, April 21, 2006
9:15 p.m. A Perfect Couple
In acclaimed Japanese director Nobuhiro Suwa's French-language feature, Marie and Nicolas are sliding toward the end of their fifteen-year marriage when they arrive in Paris for a friend's wedding and begin a solemn, wrenching reflection on their loss.

Saturday, April 22, 2006
1:30 p.m. Taking Father Home
Teenager Xu Yun heads to the big city in search of his father, rumored to be rich. What he finds isn't quite what he expected. New talent Ying Liang mixes social drama with pungent dark comedy to capture Chinese society's current mood.

Saturday, April 22, 2006
3:45 p.m. Workingman’s Death
Michael Glawogger, acclaimed director of Megacities (SFIFF 1999), again asks a global question: Is hard manual labor a thing of the past? Unflinchingly, he answers by showcasing the most grueling and dangerous professions he could find, in Ukraine, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and China.

Saturday, April 22, 2006
6:30 p.m. Illumination
A young fisherman living on the coast of Brittany falls for his grandmother's nurse while negotiating his own precarious sense of reality in this invigorating, challenging, and elusive debut feature.


Saturday, April 22, 2006
9:15 p.m. One Long Winter Without Fire
The barren vistas of Switzerland's Jura mountains form the setting for this story of a farmer's renewal after a domestic tragedy. This humanist tale offers a reconciliatory view of European unity in the aftermath of the Serbo-Croatian war.

Sunday, April 23, 2006
1:30 p.m. Gubra
This alternately comic and sad meditation on forgiveness follows the fortunes of several families, including Orked and her affluent Malay parents and the working-class Chinese family of Orked's lost love, Jason, featured in director Ahmad's previous film Sepet (SFIFF 2005).

Sunday, April 23, 2006
4:00 p.m. The Silent Holy Stones
Following a young lama whose preoccupation with television competes with his duties to the temple and his community, this serene document uses non-professional actors to show the mix of traditional and modern influences that comprise daily Tibetan life.

Sunday, April 23, 2006
6:15 p.m. Turnabout
Introduced by Robert Gitt. In this 1940 gender-bending screwball comedy, sophisticated New Yorkers Tim and Sally Willows awaken to find their bodies switched by a Hindu idol. A preview of UCLA Film & Television Archive's Festival of Preservation, with a new 35mm print.

Sunday, April 23, 2006
9:00 p.m. Play
Heartbroken Tristán and isolated Cristina, two strangers, wander the streets of Santiago looking for love. This urban fairy tale is a lively, witty, atmospheric film about the human need to connect in the postmodern world.

Monday, April 24, 2006
7:00 p.m. October 17, 1961
"The night that never existed," when brutal police reprisals against an Algerian protest march left hundreds dead, is reimagined in this artful fiction/documentary hybrid, a modern counterpoint to Battle of Algiers and a window into the issues dividing Europe today.

Monday, April 24, 2006
9:25 p.m. Perpetual Motion
In this wry examination of adultery and history, four women meet on the eve of Chinese New Year for some mah-jongg and reminiscence, while the hostess hopes to determine which of her guests is having an affair with her husband.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006
7:00 p.m. News from Afar
A young boy grows into manhood in the no-man's-land of a Mexican saltpeter flat, in a tiny hamlet known only as "17." His journey to Mexico City is an odyssey at the center of an instant classic, at once moving and surreal.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006
9:30 p.m. Cock Byte: Masters of Machinima
Machine animation geniuses Rooster Teeth Productions, creators of the wildly popular online episodic parodies Red vs Blue and The Strangerhood, appear in person to present their greatest hits and new work, all made using the 3-D graphics engines from video games.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006
7:00 p.m. The Heart of Guy Maddin
Guy Maddin in Person. A Super 8–cranking modern-day Eisenstein, filming plots that would make John Waters blush, Guy Maddin embraces a cinema where expressionism, somnambulism, and lurid sexual neuroses unite—and conquer! We present a selection of his best shorts, plus an onstage interview with Maddin.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006
9:00 p.m. The Lost Domain
François Cluzet and Grégoire Colin give powerful performances as two men of opposing natures whose lives repeatedly intersect over time through a shared love of flying. Raoul Ruiz, cinematic master of the avant-garde, offers another challenging and provocative experience.

Thursday, April 27, 2006
6:30 p.m. Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela
A tribute to his stepfather in which the filmmaker weaves his own exploration of family, exile, and home, Twelve Disciples documents the journey of a dozen young men who left South Africa in 1960 to carry on the fight against apartheid abroad.

Thursday, April 27, 2006
8:30 p.m. Three Times
Three different time periods, two lead roles, and one eternal love: Hou Hsiao-hsien's romantic new film moves across the history of Taiwan—and the arc of the director's career—to explore the memory of love in 1966, 1911, and today.

Friday, April 28, 2006
7:00 p.m. Gabrielle
Isabelle Huppert delivers a remarkable performance as Gabrielle, a wife who tries to free herself from an unhappy marriage to a dispassionate husband in this powerful period drama set in the bourgeois society of 1912 Paris.

Friday, April 28, 2006
9:15 p.m. The Wayward Cloud
A genuine masterpiece and the most audacious work to date from visionary director Tsai Ming-liang, this provocative and humorous film is about a porn actor and the woman who enters into a strange relationship with him.

Saturday, April 29, 2006
1:00 p.m. The Dignity of the Nobodies
The second chapter in a series of four documentaries exposing the corporate sacking of Argentina focuses on the victims and their struggle to fight back. This is activist cinema at its best: passionate, uncompromising and intelligent.

Saturday, April 29, 2006
3:45 p.m. The Giant Buddhas
Blasphemous idols? Cultural treasures? For 1,500 years the giant Buddhas of Afghanistan's Bamiyan Valley stood as colossal stone monuments—until the Taliban blew them up in 2001. Oscar-nominated documentarian Christian Frei meditates on their fate in this haunting, reflective film.

Saturday, April 29, 2006
5:45 p.m. Wide Awake
This brilliant personal essay explores the obsessive filmmaker's lifelong battle with insomnia. Deftly integrating found footage and interviews with frustrated family members, Wide Awake is a dizzying caffeinated meditation on sleep and the creative process.

Saturday, April 29, 2006
8:15 p.m. Regular Lovers
A young poet takes to the streets during the May 1968 Paris riots but soon grows disillusioned with the revolution. He withdraws into drugs, but when he falls in love, he replaces his wilted political fervor with newfound passion.

Sunday, April 30, 2006
1:30 p.m. Into Great Silence
Meditative but effortlessly engaging, this simple but stunning exploration into the daily lives of monks of the Carthusian Order in the Grande Chartreuse monastery in the French Alps does more than portray a pious existence—it lives it.

Sunday, April 30, 2006
5:00 p.m. Belle de jour
Jean-Claude Carrière in Person. In this subversive erotic fantasy written by Carrière and directed by Luis Buñuel, Catherine Deneuve plays a frigid housewife who indulges her masochistic desires by working in a Paris brothel. However, nothing is quite as it seems . . .

Sunday, April 30, 2006
8:00 p.m. Princess Raccoon
"We are all raccoons!" Glory in the spectacular design and exuberant wackiness (plus the stunning Zhang Ziyi as the Princess) of this madcap anything-goes pop opera by Japan's premiere film trickster.

Monday, May 1, 2006
7:00 p.m. Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple
This chilling documentary explores the stunning rise and fall of the Peoples Temple and its charismatic leader Jim Jones, who founded Jonestown in Guyana, South America, where more than 900 of his followers died in a mass "suicide" in 1978.

Monday, May 1, 2006
9:10 p.m. Iron Island
Life teems aboard an abandoned oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, where a benevolent dictator supervises a community of poor families and workers threatened with eviction. A spectacularly beautiful film rich with Iranian literary and mystical references and black humor.

Monday, May 1, 2006
9:10 p.m. Iron Island


Tuesday, May 2, 2006
7:00 p.m. Fugitive Prayers
Nine experimental films and videos find the spiritual in the material, the abstract in the concrete. With elegance and originality, they offer meditations on the past, warnings for the future, and new visions for the present.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006
9:20 p.m. The Bridge
The Bridge is a moving and unsettling exploration of the mythic beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge, the most popular suicide destination in the world, and the unfortunate souls drawn by its siren call.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006
7:00 p.m. The Sun
The Sun portrays the day Emperor Hirohito—a Sun God to his people—surrendered to General Douglas MacArthur in a devastated Tokyo. This tragicomic meeting of two alien cultures is the third entry in Sokurov's mesmerizing series about 20th century despots.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006
9:15 p.m. The Betrayal
An understated, intelligent, and suspenseful thriller, The Betrayal traces the fine ethnic lines between European and Arab soldiers under the French flag stationed in Algeria in 1960.

Thursday, May 4, 2006
7:00 p.m. Bashing
A controversial, fictionalized account of a young woman whose kidnapping and release in the Middle East have made her a town pariah back at home. Inspired by the experiences of several Japanese aid workers held hostage in Iraq in 2004.

Thursday, May 4, 2006
8:45 p.m.  Iraq in Fragments
Three tales from the new Iraq, from Sunni to Shiite to Kurd. Paying as much attention to color, light and landscape as to politics, this Sundance award-winner is like nothing we have ever seen or heard about Iraq before.