Eat, Drink, Watch: Food Films at the 58th San Francisco International Film Festival

by Gary Meyer

The number of food films being made should not come as a surprise. PBS started the trend of cooking shows long ago and is still a leader in them, but now we have the Food Network, Cooking Channel, Food Matters TV and more offering 24 hours a day of programing about things to eat. Movies with food themes have spanned the history of cinema, but it wasn’t until Babette’s Feast , Like Water For Chocolate , Tampopo , Big Night  and others became box office successes that we started to see a genre develop. And the number of documentaries about food has exploded.  Continue reading

From Stockholm to Timbuktu: A Psyched-to-See List for the 37th Mill Valley Film Festival

by Daniel Barnes

Like almost any large-scale film fest, the Mill Valley Film Festival is really comprised of several different festivals serving several different masters placed under one giant umbrella. Although the event is spread out over many cities and about a dozen venues, you could view the ultra-low-budget drama Uncertain Terms , the Robert Downey, Jr. vehicle The Judge (slated for a wide release on October 10), and the Israeli Oscar hopeful Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem on a single Monday afternoon without even switching movie theaters. Continue reading

SF Jewish Film Festival Exudes a Sense of Responsibility

by Michael Fox

Sometimes a movie is just a movie, to appropriate the one-liner apocryphally attributed to Sigmund Freud. (“Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” actually sounds to my ears more like something another Jewish intellectual, Groucho Marx, would have said. But I digress.) As far as the typical filmgoer is concerned, movies are stories, diversions, entertainment and, on rare and special occasions, art. But for a great swath of movies, even some produced by Hollywood studios (credo: “Profits first, last and always”), palpable moral consciousness is as central as the plot. To those of us who esteem cinema as a social good, those films are often the most exciting and profound.  Continue reading