Highlights in the dark - Page 2

FALL ARTS PREVIEW: Seasonal tips for giving the multiplex a wide berth (with a few exceptions, of course)

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Though it's no longer permanently in residence there, the San Francisco Film Society (www.sffs.org) will continue to screen at New People, as well as at other venues. Upcoming events focus on cinema from Hong Kong, Taiwan, France, Italy, and the Bay Area. Plus, an artist-in-resident stint by Anna Boden (co-director of 2006's Half Nelson) and an editing master class with frequent Spike Lee collaborator Sam Pollard.

Cult-movie paradisio the Vortex Room (Facebook: the Vortex Room) wins again with "Don't Fear the Vortex," an every-Thursday-in-October series panning such gold as 1982's Alone in the Dark, about the escapades of insane-asylum escapees (including Jack Palance and Martin Landau), and the ultimate creepy-peeper flick, 1974 TV movie Bad Ronald.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' (www.ybca.org) fall film calendar includes Chantal Akerman's latest, Almayer's Folly; a 1980s flashback with "Bullets and Bikinis: Three By Andy Sidaris;" and a December retrospective of works by influential Czech animator Jan Švankmajer.

Still hungry? Mill Valley and DocFest aren't the only film-fest games in town. There's the fifth Iranian Film Festival (Sept 8-9; www.iranianfilmfestival.org); the 10th San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival: Bollywood and Beyond (Sept. 19-23; www.thirdi.org); and the 17th Berlin and Beyond Film Festival (Sept.27-Oct.4; www.berlinandbeyond.com). The SF IndieFest (www.sfindie.com) enhances its portfolio with the new Northern California Action/Sports Film Festival (Sept. 28-30) and, for genre buffs, the ninth Another Hole in the Head Film Festival (Nov. 29-Dec.5). Plus: the 15th United Nations Association Film Festival (Oct. 18-28; www.unaff.org); and the 37th American Indian Film Festival (Nov. 2-10; www.americanindianfilminstitute.com)

But wait! What about Hollywood? Vampire poop aside, there are actually some intriguing releases afoot, including Ben Affleck's 1970s Iran-hostage caper Argo (Oct. 12); Tarantino's slave-sploitation Django Unchained, starring Jamie Foxx (Dec. 25); Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Dec. 14); Bill Murray playing FDR in Hyde Park on Hudson (Dec. TBD); everyone's boyfriend Joseph Gordon-Levitt in time-travel drama Looper (Sept. 28); Daniel Day-Lewis as Honest Abe in Lincoln (Nov. 9); Paul Thomas Anderson's L. Ron-esque The Master (Sept. 21); and Katherine Bigelow's Osama Bin Laden takedown Zero Dark Thirty (Dec. 19).

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