San Francisco Film Festival Preview, Part 1

The San Francisco International Film Festival opens two weeks from tonight. Tickets are on sale. Here are four films you might want to see…or want to skip. As usual, they’re in order from best to worst.

A I Am Not a Witch

In an unnamed African country (shot in Zambia), villagers accuse a young girl of being a witch. She’s forced to live with other witches, all old women. They’re basically slaves, with thick ribbons substituting as chains. A government official takes her under his wing, exploiting her alleged powers for profit. Writer/director Rungano Nyoni uses cinematic techniques that keep the audience emotionally distant, which somehow makes the protagonist’s treatment feel all the worst. A powerful film.

A- RGB

There’s nothing objective about this documentary on Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The filmmakers clearly believe that the Supreme Court’s progressive hero is a rock star, a superhero, and a major bulwark protecting American democracy. I believe that, too. But I didn’t know until I saw this film that young women not only see Ginsburg as a role model, but tattoo her likeness on their body. An entertaining and enlightening film about someone I’m afraid to lose.

RGB will screen only once at the festival: At the Castro, Saturday, April 14, at a 1:00 matinee. But if you miss this screening, don’t worry too much. It will open in Bay Area movie theaters on May 4.

B The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales

Simple, limited, hand-drawn animation has its pleasures, and one of those pleasures is exaggerated slapstick with a perfect sense of timing. And that’s just fine for The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales, a family movie telling three comic stories of barnyard animals. The only thing the movie wants to do is make you laugh, and it succeeds. But if you intend to take your young children, beware; it will be screened with English subtitles.

The movie will have one screening at the Festival: Castro, Sunday, April 8, 1:00.

C+ Generation Wealth

Extreme wealth is destroying our lives, our culture, and the planet’s ability to support us. This documentary looks at several people obsessed with money – both those who have a lot and those who don’t. We see young men loaded down with expensive bling, and naked young women dancing for dollars that men wipe on them. Many stories are powerful, but director Lauren Greenfield spends too much time on her own well-adjusted, comfortably middle-class family.