FRAMELINE: Quick looks at some highlights of the film fest
Undertow (Javier Fuentes-León, Peru, 2009) This sexy and delicate drama is a bisexual triangle that continues beyond the grave. In a Peruvian coastal hamlet, fisherman Miguel (Cristian Mercado) loves his pregnant wife and fellow church leader Mariela (Tatiana Astengo). But he's also having a secret passionate affair with Santiago (Manolo Cardona), an urbanite who moved there to paint the land and seascapes, and who chafes at the restrictions Miguel places on their relationship. At a certain point, one character dies and writer-director Javier Fuentes-León seamlessly handles Undertow's transition to magical realism. The leisurely story doesn't go where one expects, ending on a perfect grace note of bittersweet acceptance. Tues/22, 7 p.m., Castro. (Dennis Harvey)
Howl (Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, USA, 2010) Beatniks get the Mad Men treatment — with a cast that includes that AMC hit's Jon Hamm, playing the lawyer who defended the publisher of Allen Ginsberg's quintessential rebel yell, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, against obscenity charges in San Francisco's most celebrated trial of the 1950s. It's fun to see that anally nostalgic aesthetic translated to ramshackle North Beach apartments and sophomoric, filthy-mouthed literary heroes. Not so much fun: the overly literal animation chosen by the directors (famed documentarians Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman). Yes, parts of "Howl," the poem, are animated — unfortunately in a style that calls to mind bad 1980s French Canadian pseudospiritual arthouse schlock. Still, this brief slice of beats is juicy, confined to the trial and the tale of Ginsberg's poetic and sexual awakening. James Franco is wonderful as the young, self-obsessed, epically needy yet still irresistible crank. It was the first time I found myself wishing to see more of Ginsberg naked. June 27, 7:30 p.m., Castro. (Marke B.)
FRAMELINE34: SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL LGBT FILM FESTIVAL
June 17–27, most shows $8–$15
Castro, 429 Castro, SF; Roxie, 3117 16th St., SF; Victoria, 2961 16th St, SF; Rialto Cinemas Elmwood, 2966 College, Berk.