The Future Is Now 

The San Francisco International Film Festival goes high-tech and people-friendly.

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What film festival would be complete without a "nutty Europe" travelogue? Czech director Aleksandr Manic's The Shutka Book of Records takes us deep into the Rom (aka Gypsy) heartland of Shutka, Macedonia — where Tony Gatlif and Emir Kusturica surely fear to tread — and introduces us to ... well, the introductions never stop. Jashar the Dervish, who knows "genies, Satan's Army, made of fire." Uncle Suljo the vampire hunter. Ali Bajram the singer, favorite of Shutka's many Balkan war refugees. Muzo the cobbler, a video pirate. Elvis the butcher. Uncle Jasher the collector of Turkish music tapes. Alfonso the 75-year-old lover and his wife Kassandra. Pipsqueak the hard-luck boxer. Jadigar the goose fighter. Zedo the grave cleaner. Uncle Refet, champion of champions. And everyone's favorite, Dr. Koljo: "We Roma don't need our own state, we have the whole planet." The whole planet is yours, too.

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