Arts & Events

SFFilm Comes to BAMPFA

Gar Smith
Friday March 31, 2017 - 04:14:00 PM

San Francisco International Film Festival Marks Its 60th Year

The SF Film Fest (SFFilm), the world's first and longest-running city-sponsored celebration of cinema, is a prodigious event by any measure. By my count, SFFilm will be offering 229 films in 38 languages in 11 venues in two cities over 15 days.

At 68 pages, the SFFilm program is 15 pages longer than Donald Trump's "America First" presidential budget (admittedly, the shortest budget on record; less than one-third the size of George W. Bush's first budget proposal).

The festivities begin with an Opening Night Party on April 5 and wind up on April 19 with the screening of The Green Fog: A San Francisco Fantasia with the Kronos Quarter and a closing party at the Mezzanine. Along the way, SFFilm will be staging a tribute to actor Ethan Hawke (who co-stars with Sally Hawkins in Maudie, a film that debuts at the SFFilm on April 8 before its theatrical release on June 23) and the presentation of the Mel Novikoff Award to UC Berkeley's own Tom Luddy, a pioneering film buff who went on to found the Telluride Film Festival. -more-

Nicola Benedetti Plays Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with San Francisco Symphony

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday March 31, 2017 - 03:44:00 PM

Born in Scotland of Italian heritage, Nicola Benedetti is hailed as one of the top violinists in the world. She won the 2012 prize for Best Female Artist given by the classical BRIT Awards. On Sunday afternoon, March 26, Nicola Benedetti joined with the San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas in Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor. A work noted for its soaring lyricism, this G minor Violin Concerto by Bruch was given a superb performance by Nicola Benedetti, who combined sumptuous tone and a keen sensitivity to the nuances of this music. Her delicate phrasing of the beautiful Adagio was matched by the fiery elegance of her interpretation of the Finale. Nor should we neglect her outstanding rendition of Bruch’s lyrical first movement. Playing a 1717 Gariel Stradivarius violin, Nicola Benedetti gave a ravishing account of Max Bruch’s gift for writing beautiful music for the violin. As an encore, Ms. Benedetti offered what she announced as a gift from her native Scotland, the original version of Robert Burns’ well-loved song, “Auld Lang Syne,” which she played with great feeling. -more-