The Duke

5 p.m. Reception  Laureate Bar and Lounge  444 Presidio Avenue

7:30 p.m. Screening, The Duke.

Critics are comparing the whimsy displayed in The Duke to the spirit and buoyancy of Frank Capra comedies. This new British entry falls into the category of life as stranger than fiction. It recounts an incredible true event from 1964 when a taxi driver climbs through a bathroom window at London’s National Gallery in the early hours and swipes Goya’s prized portrait of the Duke of Wellington. A kind of Robin Hood, he promises to return the painting if the government invests more in caring for the elderly. The film boasts crisp performances by Academy Award winners Jim Broadbent as the thief with charitable intentions and Helen Mirren as his shrewish wife. Roger Michell directs with the panache he brought to Notting Hill. UK 2020 (96 minutes)

Sponsor: British Consulate General San Francisco

Perfect 10

Almost perfect social realist drama and debut feature from Eva Riley about a lonely, but determined teenage gymnast, who having lost her mother is abandoned by her useless father. Everything changes one evening when she meets her half-brother, a cocky ne’er-do-well, who arrives home on his motorbike and somehow draws Frankie into his rather exciting underworld of small-time theft. There is real warmth and tenderness between them and these newbies are magnetic to watch – Frankie Box, a real-life gymnast, and Alfie Deegan, a trainee carpenter. Winner The Discovery Award, British Independent Film Awards. UK 2019 (84 minutes)

The Dry

Aaron Falk (Eric Bana) is a strong silent type. A good guy. He is a city detective who returns to his hometown, Kiewarra (Australia’s Victoria) a parched, soulless place, for the funeral of his school friend who it appears shot his wife and kid and then himself. Investigating this crime unlocks dark memories of a crime from decades earlier which implicated Aaron, forcing his family to leave town. Haunted by guilt, told through flashbacks, Aaron delves into the crimes while the sinister, hostile bunch of locals, seethe with secrets and lies heightening the murky mood of the film. Excellent performances all around make this murder mystery totally absorbing. Australia 2020 (117 minutes)

Co-Presented by SFFILM

Nobody Has to Know

A Belgian farmhand (Bouli Lanners) exiles himself to a remote Scottish island where he suffers a stroke causing loss of memory. Local islanders call him their Jason Bourne.  One native, a farmer’s daughter (Game of Thrones’ Michelle Fairley), falsely describes to him their torrid affair preceding his amnesia.  These unusual circumstances make for an odd but beguiling romance—sure to captivate with its tale of guilty secrets, regrets and longing, challenging the very roots of sexuality and love. Lanners (who also directs) and Fairley play off each other with a quietness belying their intense feelings. Little wonder they both took top acting honors at the Chicago International Film Festival. UK 2021 (99 minutes) 

June Again

Alzheimer’s disease was memorably portrayed by Anthony Hopkins in The Father, for which he won an Oscar. This new poignant drama explores the bewildering fact that sufferers can experience momentary reprieves. In a deeply-felt performance, Noni Hazlehurst (the matriarch on the sophisticated Australian soap opera A Place to Call Home) plays June Wilton, a victim of dementia who was once the formidable mother of two adult children but now can no longer remember them. Family ties are explored when she unexpectedly inserts herself back into the lives of her estranged loved ones and attempts to make improvements. Australia 2019 (99 minutes)

Together

Academy Award nominated director Stephen Daldry’s (The Hours, Billy Elliot) unique comedy is a hilarious and heartbreaking story that intimately shows two partners forced to reevaluate themselves and their relationship through the reality of the 2020 lockdown, while finding a way to survive as a family. A dream showcase for stars James McAvoy (X-Men, The Last King of Scotland) and Sharon Horgan (TV’s Catastrophe and This Way Up), each delivering performances that rank among their very best.

“A tour de force of writing and acting” -The Guardian

“Unflinching and very funny” – The Independent

UK, 2021 (92 minutes)

My Name is Gulpilil

David Gulpilil was Australia’s most acclaimed Indigenous actor, debuting in Walkabout in 1971 as a lone youth wandering the Outback as part of a tribal rite of passage. He gained a wide audience in Crocodile Dundee. It is an honor to present the U.S. premiere of the award-winning documentary of this actor’s extraordinary life, made more poignant by his death in November. For Gulpilil, who had inoperable lung cancer but lived for years past a dire diagnosis, the film – winner of Best Documentary from the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts–is his fond farewell and valediction.  The Sydney Morning Herald calls it “unbearably moving and utterly engaging,” and The Guardian says it is “sublime, humane and elegant” and “rises to the challenge of doing justice to the extraordinary.” Australia 2021 (101 minutes)

True Things

One of the hottest psycho-sexual thrillers you are likely to see, True Things succeeds in large part because of superlative casting. Ruth Wilson and Tom Burke make you believe that their characters fall under an instant erotic spell because the actors reenact familiar roles –Wilson in The Affair and Burke in the The Souvenir. In their latest outing here they meet across a government desk, where she doles out benefits to ex-cons like him. She risks her job and the life she’s made to plunge headlong into a carnal relationship with an obviously inappropriate lover. The film explores whether sexual gratification is worth it. UK 2021 (102 minutes)

Deadly Cuts

A black comedy set in a working-class Dublin hair salon where the stylists become accidental vigilantes and community heroes as they take on the gang members and gentrifiers threatening their community, Deadly Cuts is ridiculously, deliciously over-the-top. It zips right along with zingy one-liners and features some outrageously camp performances that add to the infectious fun. Rachel Carey directs this brash, bold and boisterous comedy– the kind that’s hard to come by (and just what you may be looking for!). Ireland 2021 (90 minutes)

Co-Presented by SF Irish Film Festival

End of Sentence

A wayward young man and his estranged father rebuild their bond as they journey to Ireland to scatter the ashes of their mother and wife. Frank (Oscar and Golden Globe nominee John Hawkes) isn’t the father he should have been. Sean (Logan Lerman) isn’t the son he should have been. With plenty of unresolved issues, the journey becomes a lot more than father and son had bargained for. A beautifully observed story from director Elfar Adalsteins; emotionally raw and rich with deeply affecting moments. End of Sentence is much more than a traditional road film. Ireland/Iceland/USA. 2019 (96 minutes)

Co-Presented by SF Irish Film Festival