Event uses new theater, ticketing system

SAN FRANCISCO — With highlights sprawling from Sean Penn to Nigel Hawthorne, Czech Old Wave to Kazakh New Wave, and various points in between, the S.F. Intl. Film Festival announced its 42nd annual program Tuesday.

Fest unspools April 22-May 6 at venues in S.F., Berkeley and Marin County.

Latter location (at the new Rafael Film Center) is a fresh development, as is event’s taking over of the entire AMC Kabuki 8 complex in its home burg for the duration. Resulting increase in screening slots, as well as use of new ticketing system, is expected to ease the usual frustration over sold-out shows.

Official opening-nighter is new film version of Terence Rattigan’s 1946 play “The Winslow Boy,” which reps an unusual foray into Edwardian era drama for director-scenarist David Mamet. Latter is expected to attend world preem, along with stars Hawthorne, Jeremy Northam and Rebecca Pidgeon.

Closer will be Wim Wenders’ “Buena Vista Social Club,” a concert pic featuring titular all-star Cuban son band and U.S. roots-music icon Ry Cooder; related guests are TBA. Other notable music-oriented events include screenings of “Stop Making Sense” 15 years after its SFIFF launch, with director Jonathan Demme and all four Talking Heads in attendance, as well as the newly remastered and expanded 1964 Beatlepic “A Hard Day’s Night.”

Among those expected to accept in-person awards or preside over retrospectives are local-resident thesp-cum-director Sean Penn; vet Mexican helmer Arturo Ripstein (bringing along his latest, “Divine”); archivist/restorer Enno Patalas (presenting German Expressionist silents “From Morn to Midnight” and “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”); Dutch nonfictioner Johan van der Keuken; and 1930s Hollywood ingenue Karen Morley (“Scarface,” “Our Daily Bread”), whose career was one of the first sacrificed to later “Red”-scare blacklisting.

Fest will also train special focus on late Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambety (his posthumuously completed “The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun” will top a retro series), neglected Czech sensualist Gustav Machaty (whose 1933 “Ecstacy” famously disrobed the future Hedy Lamarr), and the incongruously busy current cinematic climate of Kazakstan.

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