San Francisco International Film Festival Preview, Part 2

For all sorts of reasons–including my home network and the US Post Office–I’ve only been able to preview two more films that will screen at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Here’s what I thought of them.

Oddly, they’re both about young people in the sixties and that decade’s immediate aftermath.

B Something in the Air, Kabuki, Sat, 4/27 6:30; Mon, 4/29 9:15, Pacific Film Archive, Thu, 5/2 6:30. Youthful innocence takes strange forms. For Gilles, a French high school student in 1971, it takes the imageforms of radical activism and artistic ambitions. Sometimes those drives support each other in Olivier Assayas’ loose tale, and at other times they conflict. Something in the Air doesn’t grab you like a great film; you often have to force yourself to stay involved. But the effort is worthwhile. As Gilles grows beyond his radical idealism–even if he never quite renounces it–you’ll find yourself appreciating how we all mature and find ourselves. And yes, the esoteric Marxist arguments look ridiculous.

C+ Good Ol’ Freda, Kabuki, Wed, 5/1 9:30; Thu, 5/2 6:45; Pacific Film Archive, Sun, 5/5 6:30. How much more is there to tell about The Beatles? Not much, apparently. This documentary focuses on the young woman who became their secretary soon imageafter Brian Epstein signed them, and stayed with them in that capacity until they broke up. She sheds some light on the early days, as the band quickly moved from a local group with a small following to the biggest stars of all time. But once they achieve major fame, she has little to say that you probably haven’t heard before. Most of all, she talks about how she’s always refused to talk about The Beatles. She comes off as extremely principled but not particularly interesting. Good music, though.