Film of the day

Marc Fields United States, 2011

Give Me the Banjo

The next film in our Summer Concert Series traces not an artist or a genre, but an instrument: the banjo. Narrated by Steve Martin—who, believe it or not, is an accomplished banjo player himself—this amiable doc tells the story of a country through a set of strings that have followed it all the way.

Summer Concert Series


Takeshi Kitano Japan, 2003

29 days to watch

Beloved TV comedian and award-winning art-house director Takeshi Kitano rebooting Shintaro Katsu’s 26-film blind swordsman action series seemed sacrilegious. But Kitano brings respectful invention, cleverly playing with staccato violence, meditative calm, and deadpan jokes in his own distinct way.


Hal Hartley United States, 1990

28 days to watch

Is any American independent filmmaker more criminally underrated than Hal Hartley? Part of the same wave as Richard Linklater and Todd Haynes (who debuted at Sundance the year Trust won the screenwriting prize), Hartley’s tales of American eccentrics are essential—and this dark rom-com is a peak.

From the East

Chantal Akerman France, 1993

We conclude our tribute to the often unheralded documentary work of the great structuralist filmmaker Chantal Akerman with this sublime masterpiece. A stunningly ambitious and inquisitive cine-tour of the world that lay behind the recently raised Iron Curtain, it’s a truly eye-opening experience.

Light of My Eyes

Giuseppe Piccioni Italy, 2001

26 days to watch

Scooping both the Best Actor and Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival, this variation on a cinematic staple—the missed connection, the brief encounter that aches—is a lovely small gem, with its two talented leads elevating this winningly intimate tale of emotional isolation and withdrawal.

From the Other Side

Chantal Akerman Belgium, 2002

Our last documentary in our tribute to Chantal Akerman headed to the American South, and now we see the great Belgian filmmaker cross the border. For a director fascinated by the constraints (domestic, gendered, social, spatial) that challenge us, the U.S.-Mexico divide is a perfect subject.

Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer

Mike Lerner , Maxim Pozdorovkin Russia, 2013

24 days to watch
Summer Concert Series

It was a story that turned the world’s head: a feminist punk collective in Russia, arrested and persecuted by the Putin regime. Covering their music, their trial, and their political dissidence, this topical Sundance prizewinner is a startling, rousing look at protest music battling the system.


Chantal Akerman France, 1999

While always considered an international arthouse director, Chantal Akerman spent a great deal of time in the U.S., and dedicated some of her best films to examining the unique tensions and spaces of the country. Sadly, this compassionate 1999 look at a heartland hate crime has hardly aged a day.

Sanchu Uprising: Voices at Dawn

Juichiro Yamasaki Japan, 2014

22 days to watch
Japan Cuts

We conclude our selection of exclusive gems from Japan Cuts with a unique period film. While indebted to the classical Japanese cinema of Akira Kurosawa, its independent production and fresh digital style casts its incendiary look at the class relations of feudal Japan bracingly into the present.


Momoko Andô Japan, 2014

21 days to watch
Japan Cuts

Our partnership bringing you Japan Cuts exclusives continues with the second film from the wildly inventive indie director Momoko Ando. Over a freewheeling and unpredictable structure, Ando, with her sister Sakura Ando in the lead role, creates a magically cynical screwball comedy for modern times.

The Horses of Fukushima

Yoju Matsubayashi Japan, 2013

20 days to watch
Japan Cuts

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Japan Cuts, North America’s largest festival of new Japanese film, we’re exclusively showing three recent unreleased gems they’ve selected. This documentary is a humble tale of man and nature that challenges state injustices in light of national tragedies.

I Don't Belong Anywhere: The Cinema of Chantal Akerman

Marianne Lambert Belgium, 2016

Before we continue our documentary tribute to Chantal Akerman, we wanted to provide an encounter with the director herself. Marianne Lambert, who worked on Almayer’s Folly, offers a personal exploration that ranges from her best known film, Jeanne Dielman, to discussing what ended up being her last.

Greenwich Village: Music That Defined a Generation

Laura Archibald Canada, 2013

18 days to watch
Summer Concert Series

It exploded with Bob Dylan, but he wasn’t even the half of it. This close-up on the fertile Greenwich Village folk scene of the 60s—featuring interviews with Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Kris Kristofferson, Carly Simon, and more—is a fond celebration of a moment in American life.


Taika Waititi New Zealand, 2010

17 days to watch

New Zealand filmmaker (and Flight of the Conchords conspirator) Taika Waititi scored a cult hit last year with What We Do in the Shadows. He also delighted Sundance in 2010 with this weird, hilarious, endearingly warm comedy, whose ingredients include a cache of stolen money and the King of Pop.

No Home Movie

Chantal Akerman Belgium, 2015

Chantal Akerman took her life last autumn, cutting short the startling, varied career of this rigorous, questioning and absolutely essential Belgian filmmaker. With her final film, in which she takes her camera into her mother’s home, we begin a series paying tribute to Akerman’s documentary work.

I'm Not Scared

Gabriele Salvatores Spain, 2003

15 days to watch

Opening like a new Brothers Grimm story before turning into a politically charged mystery, this hit from Berlinale combines thriller and coming-of-age story—splashed in vivid color—for a riveting, suspenseful tale of youth confronted by a large and haunted adult world.

Vice and Virtue

Roger Vadim France, 1963

14 days to watch
Marquis de Sade

Part 2 of our De Sade double bill was born to cause controversy. Director/Svengali Roger Vadim (…and God Created Woman) shocked audiences by using recent history to update De Sade’s dark, dangerous allegory Justine. Co-starring Catherine Deneuve in her first big role.


Jan Švankmajer Czech Republic, 2005

13 days to watch
Marquis de Sade

This week’s double bill goes to one of the most notorious writers in literary history: the Marquis de Sade, who turned 276 last month and remains just as dangerous. The libertine philosopher’s legacy forms the backbone of this wild madhouse from the famed Czech surrealist Jan Švankmajer.

Ain't in It for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm

Jacob Hatley United States, 2013

12 days to watch
Summer Concert Series

Our Summer Concert Series turns to one of the great groups of the rock era: The Band. Singer/drummer Levon Helm, who gave heart and soul to classics like “The Weight” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” reflects on a life on the road in this intimate doc, made in the last years of his life.


Abbas Kiarostami Iran, 2002

11 days to watch

Yesterday, cinema lost a truly unique master: Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami. One of his many modern masterworks, Ten shows his inspired experimentation, testing the new freedom of digital cinema and turning a simple premise into one of the most inventive, acclaimed films of the 21st century.

Little Fugitive

Morris Engel , Ray Ashley , Ruth Orkin United States, 1953

10 days to watch

This 4th of July, we’re celebrating American independence at Coney Island with this classic of homegrown indie cinema. “Our New Wave would never have come into being,” Francois Truffaut once said, “if it hadn’t been for the young American Morris Engel, who showed us the way with Little Fugitive.”

Little White Lies

Guillaume Canet France, 2010

9 days to watch

With a terrific cast led by Marion Cotillard, director Guillaume Canet’s lovely César nominee is an intimately detailed ensemble piece, catching the sparks that fly (and secrets that get revealed) in a vacationing group of friends who can’t be sure if they’re in a comedy or a drama.

The Grifters

Stephen Frears United States, 1990

8 days to watch

Ace crime writer Donald Westlake (a.k.a. Richard Stark) adapts noir favorite Jim Thompson (The Killer Inside Me) to make something fiercely hard-boiled: a dateless flashback to the cynical enchantment of film noir. Anjelica Huston, John Cusack and Annette Bening re-kindle that older, darker magic.

Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine

Peter Tscherkassky Austria, 2005

7 days to watch

We follow our showing of avant-garde mix-master Peter Tscherkassky’s The Exquisite Corpus with this brilliantly assaultive Cinemascope short. Using maniacally artisanal analog methods, he turns Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly into a black & white celluloid action spectacular.

Bill Cunningham New York

Richard Press United States, 2010

6 days to watch

Last weekend, a New York icon passed away: the legendary fashion and street photographer Bill Cunningham, whose candid shots captured the pulse of the city. This exuberant hit documentary gives him a much-deserved close-up, a joyful celebration of a man and the town he took as his subject.

Diary of a Lost Girl

G.W. Pabst Germany, 1929

5 days to watch

In the silent era, there are icons, and there’s Louise Brooks. Reuniting with her Pandora’s Box director G.W. Pabst, she’s the shining center of this stunner about an innocent woman whose effect on men becomes her curse. A forward-thinking masterwork, now reconstructed in HD.

To Kill a Man

Alejandro Fernández Almendras Chile, 2014

3 days to watch

The cinema of Latin America has surged on the festival circuit over the last decade, and its recognition is overdue. Winner of the Grand Prize at Sundance 2014, this Chilean revenge thriller—a 21st century Western—is a punch to the gut and a smoldering, morally acute drama.

We Were Here

David Weissman , Bill Weber United States, 2011

2 days to watch

Today is the last day of San Francisco’s Pride Weekend, and we end our triple bill on a doc with its heart close to home. A deeply moving look at tragedy and resilience during the AIDS epidemic, We Were Here had its premiere at the Castro Theatre and went on to universal critical acclaim.

Portrait of Jason

Shirley Clarke United States, 1967

Expiring at midnight

Extremely taboo for its day, Shirley Clarke’s verité classic—part 2 of our Pride Weekend triple bill—is a landmark of the American underground. Consisting entirely of a conversation filmed in the Chelsea Hotel with one ceaselessly engaging subject, it made a hidden subculture larger than life.

Call Me Kuchu

Katherine Fairfax Wright , Malika Zouhali-Worrall United States, 2012

Call Me Kuchu tells the story of the life and death of Uganda’s first openly gay man. At a time when an Anti-Homosexuality Bill is pending in Uganda’s parliament, the film follows David Kato and three fellow activists, documenting their daily lives.

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