Normally one doesn’t have to look very hard within Santa Fe’s city limits to find good indie cinema. This week, it’s even easier, thanks to SFIFF. But what to see? There’s so much! How about we start with the stuff you just shouldn’t miss:
A Tribute to Gena Rowlands followed by A Woman Under the Influence (Saturday, Oct. 17) Rowlands will be presented with the SFIFF Lifetime Achievement Award and, as the description tells us, A Woman Under the Influence screens afterward. John Cassavetes directed his wife Rowlands and friend Peter Falk in this harrowing drama (that's also sometimes very funny—on purpose) about a housewife who may or may not be cracking up. Cassavetes' films as a director are an acquired taste, but this one has him and the cast firing on all thrusters. It's a true American classic. Rowlands gives one of her greatest performances in a career filled with great performances. (By the way, Cassavetes' Gloria, also starring Rowlands, screens the night before.)
Therapy for a Vampire (Saturday, Oct. 17) Generally speaking, I'm not a vampire-movie person. But I am a Sigmund Freud-movie person, even if David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method is crap. So how about a movie that takes psychoanalysis and vampires and puts them together? It can't be more tedious than A Dangerous Method, and it has the possibility for giddy fun.
The Adderall Diaries (Wednesday, Oct. 14) What's better than seeing a movie before everyone else in the US? When that movie is the hotly anticipated The Adderall Diaries. Starring James Franco, Amber Heard and Ed Harris, this film is based on Stephen Elliott's best-selling memoir. And Elliott has gone on record saying the movie ain't so hot, so there's that.
All Eyes and Ears (Thursday, Oct. 15) Director Vanessa Hope is scheduled to be in attendance for a Q&A following her documentary about US-China relations. This movie features Jon Huntsman, a fascinating figure in American politics, and his adopted Chinese-American daughter Gracie Mei.
7th Annual SFIFF
Wednesday, Oct. 14-Sunday, Oct. 18
Schedule and tickets: santafeindependentfilmfestival.com