|A scene from Albert Maysles' IRIS, playing at the 58th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 23 - May 7 2015. Courtesy of the San Francisco Film Society.|
WHAT: I'm allowed to write no more than a seventy-five word review of this film during the festival; because of its "Hold Review" status I'm supposed to wait until its upcoming commercial release to say more. So here goes:
Manhattan's fearlessly original, supremely quoteable, style maven-about-town Iris Apfel and centenarian husband Carl prove ideal subjects for Maysles' perhaps most poptacular documentary, the last released before his March passing. I doubt it's merely the theme of exuberance in the face of mortality that makes it seem like he's filming a mirror; the fly even comes off the wall for a few warmly unguarded moments. Wear your craziest outfit to this one.
WHERE/WHEN: Screens 1PM today only in House 1 of the Kabuki, presented by the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF). It also opens commercially on May 8th for a (minimum) week-long engagement at the Opera Plaza, the Landmark Shattuck in Berkeley, and the Rafael Film Center in San Rafael.
WHY: With this going into general release so soon, you may be tempted to schedule another screening in its timeslot and see it in a couple weeks. The main reason why this is not a perfectly good idea is that the day Iris is released commercially, the day after SFIFF ends, is the first day of a seven-day festival of Maysles documentaries at the Vogue Theatre, coinciding precisely with the seven days it's booked at the above venues. I mentioned this Maysles series in a post last month, but now the entire schedule of sixteen features and shorts has been posted online and tickets are already on sale. Although the series is all-digital, it includes many guest appearances by Maysles associates. I don't think any true admirer of Maysles life and work will want to go into this week-long event without having seen Iris first.
HOW: Digital presentations at each venue.
OTHER SFIFF OPTIONS: Today is the only festival screening of Bertrand Bonello's Saint Laurent, with director and star Gaspard Uillel both expected to attend the Castro showing. It's also the final showing of Joshua Oppenheimer's The Look of Silence, at the Pacific Film Archive, and the first showing of Tsui Hark's The Taking of Tiger Mountain at the Kabuki.
NON-SFIFF OPTION: The last double-bill in Yerba Buena Center For the Arts' Noir Westerns series may or not be noir, but it's a powerhouse: John Ford's masterful (yet somehow today undervalued) The Searchers and the first of Anthony Mann's cycle of gritty treatises on American civilization starring Jimmy Stewart, Winchester '73, both in 35mm prints.