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Quirky, Cosmopolitan Rule at San Francisco Film Festival

The San Francisco International Film Festival, a magnet for independent and foreign productions, announced a quirky and wide-ranging lineup of features, shorts and documentaries for the 57th edition.

The festival opens April 24 with “The Two Faces of January,” a thriller based on a Patricia Highsmith novel set in Greece and Turkey in the 1960s. It’s directed by “The Wings of the Dove” screenwriter Hossein Amini and features Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac. The moviegoing marathon wraps up May 8 with the dramedy “Alex of Venice,” directed by Chris Messina, who stars with Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Don Johnson.

In between, a total of 74 narrative features, 29 documentaries and 65 shorts will be shown, with large helpings of U.S. indie pictures as well as French, Asian and Latin American titles. Supplementing the screenings will be a “State of Cinema” address, master classes, panel discussions, onstage Q&A sessions, live performances, awards and parties.

Hollywood movies are in short supply, though the festival always “has room for unidentified flying objects in film,” said Rachel Rosen, director of programming, at a press conference today announcing the lineup.

High-profile features include “Palo Alto,” a teenage-angst drama directed by Gia Coppola (Francis’s granddaughter) from the novel by James Franco, who stars with Emma Roberts and Jack Kilmer; Jalil Lespert’s biopic “Yves Saint Laurent”; Francois Ozon’s “Young & Beautiful,” about a French teenage hooker in the making; and Michael Winterbottom’s “The Trip to Italy” with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon eating their way across the country.

Restored Classics

Newly restored films to be screened include Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz” (1979) and Patrice Chereau’s “Queen Margot” (1994) with Isabel Adjani. Another classic making an appearance is Preston Sturges’s screwball comedy “The Lady Eve” (1941), with Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck, to be screened as part of a tribute to film historian David Thomson.

The festival’s May 1 awards dinner will honor director Richard Linklater (“Dazed and Confused,” “Before Midnight”), screenwriter Stephen Gaghan (“Traffic,” “Syriana”), Walt Disney and Pixar animation studios chief creative officer John Lasseter and an actor or actress to be announced in the coming weeks.

Documentary subjects range from California farm labor organizer Cesar Chavez to Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead to Dock Ellis, who once pitched a no-hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates while tripping on LSD. Others look at northern India’s Kangra Valley, the besieged city of Homs, Syria, the exploitation of South Sudan and multicultural foodies in the village of Satovcha, Bulgaria.

Sponsors of the festival include Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News.

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