Breathless

Breathless

Dear Cinephiles, Patricia: “Listen. The last sentence is beautiful. ‘Between grief and nothing, I will take grief.’ Which would you choose?” Michel: “...Grief's stupid, l'd choose nothing. It's not better, but grief's a compromise. l want all or nothing.” The one film...

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Summertime

Summertime

Dear Cinephiles, “All my life, I’ve stayed at parties too long because I didn’t know when to go.” In David Lean’s “Summertime” (1955), there’s a moment that captures for those who’ve been there, and for those who haven’t yet experienced it, the exhilaration of the...

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Risky Business

Risky Business

Dear Cinephiles, “My name is Joel Goodson. I deal in human fulfillment. I grossed over eight thousand dollars in one night. Time of your life, huh kid?” Paul Brickman’s “Risky Business” (1983) plays as well today as it did the first time I saw it. Even better. When it...

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The Stunt Man

The Stunt Man

Dear Cinephiles, “You must have heard surely of movie magic. You should be a stunt man, who is an actor, who is a character in a movie, who is an enemy soldier. Who'll look for you amongst all those? People like to believe in things, and policemen are just people. Or...

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Invisible Valley

Invisible Valley

Dear Cinephiles, “I’m always struck by the bent figures in the valley.” The 36th Santa Barbara International Film Festival is here. The idea of cancelling never crossed my mind. Delaying until today (our dates are usually late January) gave us a chance to succeed with...

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Cinema Paradiso

Cinema Paradiso

Dear Cinephiles, “This is no job for you. You're always by yourself. You see a film 100 times. You've nothing else to do. You talk to Greta Garbo and Tyrone Power like an idiot. You work like a dog. Even holidays, Easter, Christmas.” Alfredo, the projectionist in the...

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The Father

The Father

Dear Cinephiles, Anthony: “You’re abandoning me. What’s going to become of me?” Seeing the spellbinding and heartbreaking “The Father” (2020), which just received six Oscar nominations including Best Picture, reminded me of a well-known film by Stanley Kubrick. In...

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Marty

Marty

Dear Cinephiles, “I cry a lot too. I'm a big crier...I cry all the time. Any little thing. All my brothers, my brothers-in-law - they're - they're always telling me what a good-hearted guy I am. You don't get to be good-hearted by accident. You get kicked around long...

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Over The Moon

Over The Moon

Greetings, SBIFF Family! “Every moment we have is a chance at something new.” – Gobi In this weekend’s Family Fun Film, “Over the Moon,” watch as Fei Fei begins her quest to fly herself to the moon find the legendary moon goddess, Chang’e. Check out the activity guide...

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The Dig

The Dig

Dear Cinephiles, Mrs. Pretty: “We die, and we decay and we don’t live on.” Basil: “We’re part of something continuous, so we don’t really die.” We’re in Sutton Hoo, Suffolk County in 1939, and what we’re about to see is based on a true story. Basil Brown (Ralph...

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My Octopus Teacher

My Octopus Teacher

Dear Cinephiles, “A lot of people say that an octopus is like an alien. But the strange thing is, as you get closer to them, you realize we’re very similar in a lot of ways.” When the Oscar nominations were announced for Best Documentary, “My Octopus Teacher” (2020)...

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Pieces of a Woman

Pieces of a Woman

Dear Cinephiles, “There are certain questions I can’t answer.” I tell my students to look out for figurative comparisons that help the filmmaker navigate deeper themes and ideas. Once uncovered, these ‘visual aids” help the viewer arrive at a greater appreciation of...

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His House

His House

Dear Cinephiles, “You will be sent to a home of our choosing.” Although it came out in October, I had not gotten around to writing about “His House” (2020). Two weeks ago, when the British Academy of Film Television and Arts (BAFTA) announced its influential list of...

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Emma.

Emma.

Dear Cinephiles, Emma: “I have been unpardonably vain, and insufferably arrogant. I have been inconsiderate, and indelicate, and irrational, and unfeeling.” For someone who is not fond of romantic comedies, I am obsessed with Jane Austen. I’ve read all of her comedy...

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Modern Times

Modern Times

Dear Cinephiles, “You’ll find that life is still worthwhile If you’ll just Smile” How many times have the lyrics of the song “Smile” gotten us through hard times? I certainly have listened to it several times over the past twelve months. Did you know that the music...

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Enchanted

Enchanted

Hello SBIFF Family! “I wish you every happiness.” — Giselle In this weekend's Family Fun Film, “Enchanted,” follow Giselle as she is banished from the animated world and thrown into The Big Apple! Join Giselle as she navigates the live-action world of New York City in...

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Rain Man

Rain Man

Dear Cinephiles, Charlie : “You remember that day. Was I there? Where was I?” Raymond : “You were in the window. You waved to me, ‘Bye bye Rain Man, Bye bye.’" There’s a scene in the Oscar winning “Rain Man” (1988) that always gets to me. It takes place in a motel...

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The Nightingale

The Nightingale

Dear Cinephiles, Clare : “I'm not your nightingale, your little bird, your dove. I'm not your anything. I belong to me and no one else!" I warn you, I’m a big fan of “The Nightingale” (2018) and this write up comes from my fervor for writer/director Jennifer Kent...

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Attack the Block

Attack the Block

Dear Cinephiles, Jerome : “This is too much madness to explain in one text!” Talk about not judging a book by its cover. When the movie starts you’re in modern day south London in a council state (housing projects) on “Guy Fawkes” night, a shower of fireworks lighting...

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Contagion

Contagion

Dear Cinephiles, Dr. Erin Mears : “The average person touches their face 2- or 3000 times a day. Three to five times every waking minute. In between, we're touching doorknobs, water fountains, elevator buttons and each other. Those things become fomites.” As a young...

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Rocky

Rocky

Dear Cinephiles, Rocky: “I’m dumb, and you’re shy.” I hadn’t seen “Rocky” (1976) since it first came out. I saw all the sequels, including the spin-off of the series, Ryan Coogler’s “Creed” (2015). I had forgotten how tender and poignant the original film is. It has...

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North by Northwest

North by Northwest

Dear Cinephiles, Ticket Seller : “Something wrong with your eyes?” Roger Thornhill : “Yes, they're sensitive to questions.” One of my favorite moments in the ever buoyant “North by Northwest” (1959) directed by the master himself, Alfred Hitchcock, takes place at one...

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Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Hello SBIFF Family! “Who said a chicken can’t fly.” Ferdinand In “Ferdinand,” this weekend's Family Fun Film, Ferdinand the bull with a big heart is mistaken for a dangerous beast and taken away from his home. Join Ferdinand and his friends in their adventure as they...

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News of the World

News of the World

Dear Cinephiles, “And maybe just for tonight we can escape our troubles and hear the great changes that are happening out there.” I’ve mentioned to you before, back when I recommended it, that I’m obsessed with John Ford’s “The Searchers” (1954). I have taught it now...

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I’m No Longer Here

I’m No Longer Here

Dear Cinephiles, “In this country you’re not the first, and you won’t be the last.” There’s something sad that happens to you when you migrate. You’ve worked so hard as a young person to hold on to a sense of individuality and to stop feeling like you don’t belong in...

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Two of Us

Two of Us

Dear Cinephiles, “I wanted to tell you something that’s very important to me….” “Two of Us” -- written and directed in his debut by filmmaker Filippo Meneghetti -- is France’s submission to the International Feature Oscar race, and it’s on the shortlist of films that...

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Night Catches Us

Night Catches Us

Dear Cinephiles, Iris: “When face to face with a policeman, I should keep my mouth shut, say nothing unless asked, answer questions with ‘yes, sir, no, sir,’ unless they violate my civil rights. Then put my hands on my head where they can clearly see them and ask for...

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The Full Monty

The Full Monty

Dear Cinephiles, Gaz : “So, uh, Horse... What can you do?” Horse : “I dunno, really... Let's see, there's the, uh... the bump, the stomp, the bus stop... My breakdancing days are probably over, but there's always the funky chicken.” One of the hardest things that...

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The Hitch-Hiker

The Hitch-Hiker

Dear Cinephiles, “You guys are soft. You know what makes you that way? You’re up to your necks in IOUs. You’re suckers. You’ve always had it good, so you’re soft.” “The Hitch-Hiker” (1953) is a taut, nerve-rattling seventy-one minutes of pure cinematic pleasure....

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Chicken Run

Chicken Run

Hello, SBIFF Family! Rocky: You see, flying takes three things: hard work, perseverance and... hard work. Fowler: You said hard work twice! Rocky: That's because it takes twice as much work as perseverance. Join Ginger and her feathered friends as they attempt to fly...

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Defending Your Life

Defending Your Life

Dear Cinephiles, “...Fear is like a giant fog. It sits on your brain and blocks everything - real feelings, true happiness, real joy. They can't get through that fog. But you lift it, and buddy, you're in for the ride of your life.” A few weeks back I was chatting...

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Three Colors: Red

Three Colors: Red

Dear Cinephiles, “It feels like something important is happening around me, and it scares me.” I don’t know if you ever been surrounded by a set of coincidences and events that feel unexplainable. Exactly three years ago while on vacation, my partner and I went to...

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La Llorona

La Llorona

Dear Cinephiles, “What’s in the past is in the past.” The past plays an essential part in Jayro Bustamante’s impressive “La Llorona” (2019) which is Guatemala’s official selection for the Oscars Best International Feature, and has made the shortlist of fifteen films....

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I Care A Lot

I Care A Lot

Dear Cinephiles, “Well to make it in this country, you need to be brave. And stupid, and ruthless, and focused, because playing fair, being scared, that gets you nowhere. That gets you beat.” She’s one of the most striking characters you’ve seen in a long time. When...

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Collective

Collective

Dear Cinephiles, “We doctors are no longer human. It’s all about money.” “Collective” (2019) is one of the best documentaries. Scratch that, it is one of the best movies I have ever seen. In gripping fashion, it attentively follows the efforts of a heroic group of...

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Tokyo Story

Tokyo Story

Dear Cinephiles, “No one can serve his parents beyond the grave.” For the past week, I’ve been thinking about Yasujiro Ozu and his lasting influence on cinema, and that it was about time I wrote about him. During a recent conversation with Lee Isaac Chung about his...

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Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Greetings SBIFF Family! "Impossible things are happening every day!" Step into your glass slippers with this week’s Family Fun Film, “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella”. Join Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother for one unforgettable night filled with love and true...

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Land

Land

Dear Cinephiles, Edee: “Why are you helping me?” Miguel: “You were in my path.” In the days following March 17, 2020, I felt as if the walls were encroaching on me. I know we’d been told that we were supposed to shelter in place for only two weeks, but the idea of...

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Another Round

Another Round

Dear Cinephiles, “The world is never as you expect.” In the opening scene of the Danish director Thomas Vinterberg’s new film, “Another Round,” which is currently shortlisted for the Oscar Best International Feature, a group of high school students participate in what...

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Middle of Nowhere

Middle of Nowhere

Dear Cinephiles, “You’re on your way to something, don’t stop.” I previously recommended to you the documentary “Time” (2020) which documents the 20 year ordeal of a wife trying to get her husband paroled from Angola. Garret Bradley has been reaping awards, and it was...

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The Life Ahead

The Life Ahead

Dear Cinephiles, “The boy needs a female figure. Someone who commands respect.” Lola, the trans prostitute stops in to visit her son Babu who’s being looked after by 86-year old Mama Rosa, as she’s known to everyone. Rosa doesn’t get paid much for the favor, so Lola’s...

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Palmer

Palmer

Dear Cinephiles, Palmer: “I know what it feels like to be left alone.” One of my dearest friends is a top chef, and a few days ago I was surprised to hear that he was making mac and cheese for dinner. “Roger, once in a while we need some well-made comfort food,” he...

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42nd Street

42nd Street

Dear Cinephiles, Julian Marsh: “Sawyer, you listen to me, and you listen hard. Two hundred people, two hundred jobs, two hundred thousand dollars, five weeks of grind and blood and sweat depend upon you. It's the lives of all these people who've worked with you....

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Hello SBIFF Fam! “You’re never too old to be young.” - Happy Heigh-ho, heigh-ho! It’s home from work we go! Snuggle up in your cottage to watch this week’s Family Fun Film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs!” The beautiful Snow White is hunted by a jealous queen and...

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Nomadland

Nomadland

Dear Cinephiles, “One of the things I love most about this life is that there’s no final goodbye. I’ve met hundreds of people out here, and they don’t ever say a final goodbye. They’ll just say, ‘I’ll see you down the road.’ And I do. I see them again. And I can be...

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Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah

Dear Cinephiles, “You can murder a freedom fighter, but you can’t murder freedom.” Last fall, Aaron Sorkin delivered his timely and compelling “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” which covered the federal government’s 1969 charging of seven activists with conspiracy arising...

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Tender Mercies

Tender Mercies

Dear Cinephiles, Woman outside store: "Were you really Mac Sledge?" Mac: "Yes ma'am, I guess I was." That exchange happens in “Tender Mercies” (1983), and like the film itself, it is a very understated moment. But then you start thinking about it, and the question...

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Cronos

Cronos

Dear Cinephiles, “Suo tempore.” (Everything in its time.) Midnight on a Friday evening meant creature feature on television in Panama. My brother and I would get dispensation from our parents to stay up late and watch. The station would repeat some titles, and I...

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Minari

Minari

Dear Cinephiles, “Things that hide are more dangerous and scary,” says grandma to the unruly seven-year old David as they come across a snake in Lee Isaac Chung’s kindhearted and far-reaching “Minari” (2020). She’s recently arrived from Korea with seeds in her pockets...

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Brief Encounter

Brief Encounter

Dear Cinephiles, Dr. Alec Harvey : “I do love you, so very much. I love you with all my heart and soul.” Laura Jesson : “I want to die. If only I could die...” Dr. Alec Harvey : “If you'd die, you'd forget me. I want to be remembered.” “Brief Encounter”(1945) is one...

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