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San Francisco International Film Fest Selects Opening and Closing Night Films

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! March 26, 2014 at 8:36PM

Now in its 57th year, the storied San Francisco International Film Festival has selected its opening and closing night films.
'The Two Faces of January'
'The Two Faces of January'

Now in its 57th year, the storied San Francisco International Film Festival has selected its Opening and Closing Night films.

On April 24, the fest will kick off with Opening Night film "The Two Faces of January," Hossein Amini's Patricia Highsmith adaptation starring Oscar Isaac, Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst. Centered on a con artist, his wife and a mysterious ex-pat tour guide as they attempt to flee Greece following a violent incident that interlocks the trio, the 60s-set film premiered at the 2014 Berlinale where it picked up solid reviews

This is Amini's debut feature as a director. He wrote the slick, tightly crafted screenplay for Nicolas Winding Refn's 2011 "Drive," and was among the many scribes on both "Snow White and the Huntsman" and "47 Ronin." Amini's 1997 Henry James adaptation "The Wings of the Dove" nabbed him a Oscar nomination. Magnolia Pictures will distribute "Two Faces of January" later this year.

'Alex of Venice'
'Alex of Venice'

The Closing Night selection, on May 8, will be seasoned character actor Chris Messina's directorial debut "Alex of Venice," set to premiere at Tribeca in April. The dramedy stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead as an environmental lawyer whose workaholism often estranges her from her son and husband, a stay-at-home dad played by Messina, who wants a time-out from the marriage. Complication ensues.

Both films will screen at SF's enchanting Castro Theatre. Though the full lineup is forthcoming, the feature film competition has lined up, as well as two musical performances and a special tribute to Richard Linklater and his fest favorite "Boyhood."

This article is related to: San Francisco, San Francisco Film Society, San Francisco International Film Festival, Festivals, Kirsten Dunst, Hossein Amini, Chris Messina, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oscar Isaac, Viggo Mortensen

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.