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Music and Dance at Mill Valley Film Festival No. 40

September 28, 2017

The Bay Area is a great incubator for film festivals. The San Francisco International is one of the oldest and biggest among the world’s 3,000 film festivals now active, the Center for Asian American Media is a major film, television, and digital-media organization, and in a small Marin town, population 14,350, the globally recognized Mill Valley Film Festival is about to celebrate its 40th season, Oct. 5–15.

Between the opening night with Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour and the closing night of Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s The Current War and Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut with Lady Bird, scores of films will be shown, along with special programs honoring Sean Penn, Todd Haynes, Kristin Scott Thomas, Holly Hunter, and others attending the festival.

Some of the dozen films featuring music and dance:

Alain Gomis’ Félicité is a dramatic story about a Congolese singer (Véro Tshanda Beya Mputu), with a soundtrack featuring the Kasai Allstars’ Afro-pop along with Kinshasa’s real-life church choirs and orchestras. (Oct. 7, 2:15 p.m. and Oct. 11, 2 p.m.)

Guitarists of all stripes widely regard Bill Frisell as musician’s musican. The guitarist, composer, and arranger embraces a wide range of music from jazz to folk and Americana and beyond, and he seems to have played with nearly everyone. “Emma Franz’s portrait of the unassuming master is a welcome opportunity to peek into an eclectic musical mind of genius caliber.” (Oct. 8, 8:45 p.m. and Oct. 9, 3:15 p.m.)

Clint Mansell, composer for all Darren Aronofsky films, now contributes music to the amazing enterprise called Loving Vincent, the world’s first and only “hand-painted film,” in which120 artists animate Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings. (Oct. 5, 7 p.m.)

ZZ Satriani’s Beyond the Supernova chronicles his father’s 2017 concert tour through Japan and China. The guitarist, Joe Satriani, “still at the top of his game, fronting a hard-driving ensemble, proves he’s the master of sweeping solos, pulsing rhythms, and intricate fingerwork.” Satriani will give a concert in Mill Valley on the day of the screening. (Oct. 14, 4 p.m.)

Jonal Cosculluela’s Esteban follows through Havana a 9-year-old schoolboy who becomes mesmerized by the sounds of an intricate piano melody wafting through a window on one of his after-school sales routes. Pining to play the instrument, Esteban faces obstacles of poverty and surroundings that provide little support. Afro-Cuban jazz great Chucho Valdés composed the film’s music. (Oct. 12, 6:15 p.m.)

MVFF will also present a daily series of concerts in Sweetwater Music Hall

October 6 – Mad Hannans
October 7 – From California to Haiti
October 8 – Wailing Souls
October 9 – Sarah Jarosz
October 10 – Honoring Paul Butterfield
October 11 – B and the Hive
October 12– Manzarek Rogers Tribute Band
October 13 – The Family Stone
October 14 – Joe Satriani
October 15 – Huey Lewis and the News

Janos Gereben appreciates news tips, corrections, and words of encouragement at [email protected].