San Francisco International Film Festival

The San Francisco International Film Festival started Thursday and goes through May 9. If I wasn’t miles and miles away, I’d go. I still have a bit of a buzz from my experience at the Cleveland International Film Festival last month where I took in Brook Silva-Braga’s film “One Day in Africa,” plus three more.

What I found most intriguing about my movie-going Saturday was the intersection between the various countries that were represented by the movies, the directors, and the audience members. I imagine the festival in San Francisco might have a similar feel.

Depending upon which theater one ducks into, one’s experience of the world might be charming and uplifting, serious or fun, kind of depressing, or downright disturbing. The films rest on the passion and drive of the film maker. The variety is astounding. Even if you aren’t going to be able to take in a festival, browse through the film selection and savor the scope.

Because most films aren’t the ones that splash into main stream movie theaters after months of advertising, when the lights turn down, the unfolding of each story can be a surprise. Each film I saw, except for Brook’s, was one I did not know about before I settled into my seat. I was with a friend who snagged me the pass, so I went with her selections and wasn’t disappointed. We saw: “Surveillance,”Prodigal Sons” and “The Wrecking Crew.”

Unfortunately, I don’t see that any of the films I saw are showing in San Francisco, so I don’t have a specific recommendation–except if you can manage it, see at least four films that seem totally different from each other. That results in a buffet where there’s sweet, sour, salt and spicy. You’ll leave wanting more, but satisfied. One of these days, I’ll have enough time to see 20 movies like one woman I met when I was at Brook’s film.

Actually, I did notice on the San Francisco festival’s list a movie that I have seen, but would love to see on the big screen. “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” It’s showing on April 29.

If I were going, I’d also take in “City of Borders” because it sounds interesting and excellent. It’s about the lone gay bar in Jerusalem with layers of stories in its telling. The director is Chinese. That’s cross-cultural.