It doesn't take much to make men happy in the summer, according to conventional wisdom: barbecuing, ballgames, beer, and big-screen blockbusters. (There's one other activity, but it doesn't start with a B. Also, this is a family blog.) Conventional wisdom isn't always accurate, you might have noticed, and every man is different. So in honor of Father's Day, here's a five-pack of round-the-horn motion-picture marvels to treat your papa to in June.
If it seems early in the year for the 12th annual SF DocFest, you're right. The festival brain trust has swapped the frenetic fall movie season for June, which is both marginally less busy and assuredly foggier. For bittersweet romance, there's local filmmaker Kate Schermerhorn's quest for the secrets to a successful marriage, After Happily Ever After (June 7, 8, and 11). If Dad appreciates astonishing imagery and profound philosophy, you can't miss with veteran Canadian filmmaker Peter Mettler's The End of Time (June 11, 16, and 19). And for a scintillating character study of a dedicated family man, William and the Windmill (June 10, 14, and 20) follows an inventive Malawi man whose perseverance saves his family. SF DocFest runs June 6-20, 2013 at the Roxie, June 7-9 at the Balboa, June 9-11 at the Aquarius in Palo Alto, June 14-16 at the New Parkway in Oakland and June 21-23 at the Rio in Santa Cruz. For more information visit sfindie.com.
The Italian director Roberto Rossellini is remembered as the master of neo-realism (Rome, Open City). The Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman is immortalized by Casablanca and her films with Hitchcock (especially Notorious), among others. In 1950, though, their beyond-scandalous love affair overshadowed their art. Bergman fell in love with Rossellini on the set of Stromboli, leaving her husband and daughter in America. Celebrate their passionate love, shed a tear for Bergman's spouse, and ponder the fragility of romantic relationships with a double bill of Stromboli and the marvelous, newly restored Voyage to Italy (1954) Sunday, June 9 at the Castro. For more information visit castrotheatre.com.
Unspooling June 13-16 over Father's Day weekend, the 15th annual San Francisco Black Film Festival is a dyed-in-the-wool community -- and family -- event. The "My Dad is My Hero" video and essay contest offers a clue, with confirmation provided by the films that Kali O'Ray and Katera Crossley select. A pair of wrenching documentaries, Michaela Kirst's Brown Babies: Germany's Lost Children, and Aileen LeBlanc's saga of Ethiopian Jews grappling with relocating and acclimating to Israel, Take Me Home, compel our attention with the reminder that the innocent and defenseless often suffer the most, but they are also the most resilient. For more information visit sfbff.org.
We name-checked Alfred Hitchcock earlier, which may have had the side effect of whetting your appetite for tongue-in-cheek suspense. Well, lucky you and lucky Dad. The late silent era, when visual storytelling was reaching its zenith, was a great time for a director to hone his chops. The British Film Institute has diligently restored the nine surviving films, including The Lodger and Blackmail, that the future master made between 1925 and 1929. The San Francisco Silent Film Festival presents The Hitchcock 9 with world-class musical accompaniment Friday-Sunday, June 14-16 at the Castro. If you can't catch it this month, the series unspools August 16-31 at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley. For more information visit silentfilm.org.
The typically sprawling lineup of Frameline37, aka the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, playing at the Castro, Roxie and Victoria Theatres June 20-30, offers choices for every taste, mood and orientation. For Dad, may we suggest It's All So Quiet, an introspective Dutch drama about a late-middle-aged dairy farmer, and the British film Codebreaker (June 25), which meshes documentary and drama to restore the reputation and legacy of pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing, who cracked the Enigma code during World War II and whose writings laid the foundation for today's technology. It's BYOB, no matter what that last B stands for. For more information visit frameline.org.