The San Francisco International Film Festival saw the debut of numerous fabulous films, one of which being Atom Egoyan's latest, Adoration, which uses a nonlinear structure to explore the blending of the line where fiction crosses with reality and the increasing impact of technology on our lives. In the film, a teenager takes a French translation assignment to a personal level when he writes a story about his deceased parents, borrowing the real events of an Arab terrorist who planted a bomb in his pregnant wife's suitcase (don't worry--the bomb never went off). When he brings the story to the classroom and to the world via the internet, the fiction evolves into a psuedo-reality as people from around the world reply to his storied experience.
Also showing at the Film Festival is Yojiro Takita's Okuribito, winner of this year's Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Okuribito explores life by viewing the dead, which sounds rather metaphorical, but it's actually quite literal. The main character loses his position as a cellist as the Tokyo Symphony collapses, and in looking for employment, he finds a job described in the ad as the single word "Departures," which he interprets as a position in a travel agency, but in fact turns out to be a position preparing bodies for burial, a job which he comes to find surprisingly rewarding.
While this film won the Academy for Best Foreign Film, there were some brilliant contenders. Listen to the interviews with Ari Folman, Atom Egoyan and Laurent Cantet, all brilliant foreign filmmakers.