San Francisco Film Festival Preview, Part 2: Racism, homophobia, war, and children with incarcerated parents

Here’s four more film you might want to see at the San Francisco International Film Festival:

A The Miseducation of Cameron Post

In the 1990s, two high-school girls get caught having sex. One of them (Chloe Grace Moretz), is sent to an ultra-Christian camp intended to cure teenagers of SSA (Same-Sex Attraction). Initially, she views everyone as her enemy. But as she realizes that the other “patients” are in the same situation, her courage begins to awaken. Unlike But I’m a Cheerleader (same plot; very different approach), Miseducation goes for down-to-earth realism instead of over-the-top jokiness. It’s a much better approach to the subject.

This film screens only once, at the Castro, Saturday, April 7, at 9:00.

A- Tre Maison Dasan

When a parent is incarcerated, how does that effect the child? Will society assume you will make the same mistakes as your father (or mother)? This disturbing documentary tries to answer these questions – not by statistics or interviews with experts, but by following three young boys with incarcerated parents. You can’t help caring for these kids. And you understand that none of these parents want their children to end up as they have.

B+ The Distant Barking of Dogs

In a small, eastern Ukrainian town only a mile from the front lines, an orphaned boy lives with his grandmother. The sounds of war are a near-constant background noise. His only friends are a younger cousin and a teenage boy who tends towards dangerous play. Two scenes show a full classroom of children, but otherwise the town seems empty. The film meanders aimlessly but also creates considerable suspense. A great film with equally great flaws.

B Purge This Land

At first, I thought this documentary would be an awful slog. Director Lee Ann Schmitt narrates the film in a flat monotone. She tells us early on that she made the film for her son. She talks about John Brown, American slavery, our country’s horrible history of racism, and more about John Brown. For visuals, she mostly shows us landscapes, cityscapes, and monuments. But as the film went on, it became hypnotic, creating a feeling of urgency about the centuries of exploitation. It eventually became a much better film than I thought it would be from the start.