Since starting up last year, the Sausalito Film Festival has made "rebellion" its thematic through-line. Which means this year's Sundance stole its theme from Sausalito. Not bad, eh?
Film Festival themes are silly anyway, but if you think this one's a stretch in the low-key land of houseboats, moneyed bohemians, the inspiration for Otis Redding's "Dock of the Bay," and safe places to take your parents for cocktails and surf-and-turf whenever they come to town, you probably just need to get to Sausalito more often. Shall we say this weekend, at Fort Baker's lovely Cavallo Point Lodge, during the film festival?
Actually, such is life nowadays, at least for those of us in the middle class, that enjoying a wholesome meal at a casual pace in a pleasant environment actually sorta does seem like a form of rebellion. That should be reason enough to catch Alice Waters introducing the Bay Area premiere of Terra Madre, Ermanno Olmi's experimental documentary about the Slow Food organization. And let's be honest: Where else would you rather see a Peter Coyote-narrated documentary called What If Cannabis Cured Cancer?
Alternatively, for more appetite-suppressing fare, try Climate Refugees, which explains how environmental disasters displace whole populations, compelling the Pentagon to consider them a threat to our national security. Or Waste Land, in which Brooklyn artist Vik Muniz goes home to Brazil, hangs out with scavengers of Earth's largest landfill, photographs them, and recreates the resulting pictures with garbage.
The rebellion mandate means giving voice to challengers of the status quo. Hence Bhutto, a documentary about slain Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, the first woman ever elected to lead a Muslim state; and The Tillman Story, a documentary about slain media magnet Pat Tillman, the first handsome NFL star to become an Army Ranger and a Chomsky-reading, war-opposing, self-sacrificing patriot.
None of this seriousness should suggest that pure entertainment and local relevance are not top priorities. With that in mind, please direct your attention to Bay Area filmmakers Andrew Thomas & Toby Gleason's The Anatomy of Vince Guaraldi, a swinging salute to the late local legend who once said, "I don't want to write hits, I want to write standards," and later wound up composing Charlie Brown's theme music. Thomas and Gleason give us Guaraldi holding court at the Hungry i in North Beach, completing his "jazz mass" for the completion of Grace Cathedral, and shrugging off invitations to join Miles Davis's band because he already had a group of his own. How's that for rebellious?
The second annual Sausalito Film Festival runs from August 13-15 at Cavallo Point in Sausalito. For tickets and more information, visit sausalitofilmfestival.com.