Thunder gods, codpiece
By Johnny Ray Huston
THE BAY AREA'S rep houses and film fests remain the places to go if you want to see something out of the ordinary, and this fall is no different, with heavy metal mayhem, Carol-Channing-on-acid, and outdoor events on the agenda. Below you'll find a top 10 of upcoming cinematic pleasures, but plenty more than these will be available, so keep reading those listings!
1. 'Heavy Metal Cinema: Rock, Shock and Schlock' Armed with a Sleazoid Express sensibility, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts film/video curator Joel Shepard walks on the wild side when he isn't bringing avant-garde innovator Peter Kubelka (in October) and crossover fave Miranda July (in November) to San Francisco for residencies, he's screening works that test the boundaries of museum culture. This fall Shepard has werewolves and kinky eros in store, but his peak program might be a heavy metal fest that includes a look at murderous Scandinavian death metal (by Cinemuerte founder Kier-la Janisse) and Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare, starring Viking rocker Thor. Sept. 9, 14, 16, 23, and 30, 7:30 p.m. (also Sept. 30, 9:15 p.m.), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF. $5-$8. (415) 978-2787, www.ybca.org.
2. Who Is Bozo Texino? Craig Baldwin's Other Cinema series has wild treats for viewers almost every week: In the coming months, it promises a screening of Jem Cohen's acclaimed Chain (Oct. 15) and a presentation by Christian Divine, "the world's expert on Skidoo." (Oct. 22). Divine's screening of Otto Preminger's outlandish LSD-laced career-capper seems hard to beat, yet the upcoming highlight at SF's own OC has to be the director's-cut premiere of Who Is Bozo Texino?, Bill Daniel's celebrated rail-yard doc. Oct. 1, 8:30 p.m., Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia, SF. $5. (415) 824-3890, www.othercinema.com.
3. 'Horror Host Palooza' You can wager that the thrills of the B movie restaurant/pub paradise known as Thrillville will turn into chills every October. That's when programmer Will the Thrill unleashes his annual horror fest. This year he brings along creepshow hosts such as John Stanley (of Creature Features Movie Guide fame) and Ohio's legendary Son of Ghoul. The double feature is to die for: Al Adamson's 1971 Dracula vs. Frankenstein and Ted V. Mikels's 1968 Astro Zombies. Oct 13, 7:30 p.m., Parkway, 1834 Park, Oakl. $10. (510) 814-2400, www.thrillville.net.
4. The two Bruces Canyon Cinema began with a 1961 screening in filmmaker Bruce Baillie's backyard. Since then the organization has grown into a home for local and international experimental film. For a while, Canyon's roots as a venue fell by the wayside, but Dominic Angerame and Michelle Silva have changed that. This October (Fri/14, 7:30-9 p.m.) they'll be devoting an evening to Bruce Conner (who will curate a program chosen from the As and Bs of Canyon Cinema's catalog). In November (Fri/11, 7:30-9 p.m.) they'll be showing films chosen by the man who started it all, Baillie, whose influence looms large in the feature-length works of current critical darling Apichatpong "Joe" Weerasethakul. 145 Ninth St., first floor, SF. $7-$20. (415) 626-2255, www.canyoncinema.com.
5. The Time We Killed "Terrorism brought me out of the house. The war on terror drove me back in." So says the agoraphobic protagonist of Jennifer Reeves's The Time We Killed. A lesbian-themed experimental feature that relies on a writerly narrator and the visual power of landscape, Reeves's film, starring poet Lisa Jarnot, makes a good East Coast counterpart to Jenni Olson's The Joy of Life. It's just one gem in the MadCat Women's International Film Festival, which will span two months. Sept. 25, 8:30 p.m., Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF. $7-$12. (415) 978-2787, www.madcatfilmfestival.org.
6. Festival express While we're on the topic of festivals, fall has a boatload of them coming to the Bay Area. The Berkeley Video and Film Festival (Oct. 28-30, www.berkeleyvideofilmfest.org) is a hot spot for agitprop. Likewise, Cinemayaat, the Arab Film Festival (Sept. 23-Oct. 2, www.aff.org) is packed with timely docs as well as fictive features. The Film Arts Foundation's Festival of Independent Cinema (Nov. 3-8, filmarts.org) is the showcase for local filmmaking. The ninth annual International Latino Film Festival (Nov. 4-20, www.latinofilmfestival.org) will be bigger than ever, with dates at the Castro Theatre. The San Francisco International Film Festival had better watch out, because the Mill Valley Film Festival (Oct. 6-16, www.mvff.com) gets better each year, mixing Oscar contenders with edgier world fare. Lastly, Resfest (Sept. 22-25, www.resfest.com) is where you'll find the next Spike Jonze or Michel Gondry. Keep those sight-seeking orbs of yours peeled for even more festivals, because they're breeding like rabbits.
7. Winter Soldier Earlier this year, Joel Shepard brought this oft-suppressed and by all accounts extraordinary 34-year-old doc to the Bay Area for a rare screening. Now the Roxie the nation's cinematic home for uncomfortable truths about the current administration takes on a weeklong run. A collective of filmmakers recorded testimony from more than 125 Vietnam veterans (including John Kerry) about the atrocities they witnessed; the wrenching result is relevant to another era of government-sponsored torture. Sept. 2-8, 7 and 9 p.m. (also Sat.-Sun., 2 and 4:30 p.m.), Roxie Cinema, 3117 16th St., SF. $5-$8. (415) 863-1087, www.roxie.com.
8. 3-D mania Recently landing the number-three slot on Entertainment Weekly's list of top American movie houses, the Castro boasts that it is one of the few remaining sites in the country equipped to show the original dual-system 3-D films that date from the early 1950s. It'll put those claims to the test with a weeklong program in early October. Should we be ready for a House of Wax that's hotter than Paris Hilton? Oct. 3-9, call for films and times, Castro Theatre, 429 Castro, SF. (415) 621-6120, www.thecastrotheatre.com.
9. 'Films from along the Silk Road: Central Asian Cinema' Co-curated by Alla Verlotsky and Film Comment's Kent Jones, this Pacific Film Archive series explores the land between the Middle East and the western Chinese border. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, film promotion and distribution in the region seemed to vanish as well, and yet great cinema continued to be created. Eight decades of work from all five Central Asian republics, plus Afghanistan, will be on display. Thursdays and Fridays in September, PFA Theater, 2575 Bancroft, Berk. $4-$12. (510) 642-1124, www.bampfa.berkeley.edu.
10. In the park, in the fog, and on the street Bullit-era Steve McQueen in Dolores Park late at night sounds like a cruisey queen's dream come true well, he'll only be there in two dimensions when that movie screens (Sept. 10). Meanwhile, the San Francisco Film Society looks back at The Day the Earth Stood Still (Oct. 1). Lastly, the Exploratorium presents an outdoor screening (Sept. 24) of 1905's A Trip Down Market Street and a 2005 answer by local filmmakers Melinda Stone and Sprague Anderson. Film Night in the Park, 8 p.m., Dolores between 18th and 20th Sts., SF. Free. (415) 453-4333, www.filmnight.org. Film in the Fog, 7 p.m., Main Post Theatre, 99 Moraga, Presidio, SF. Call for price. (415) 561-5500, www.sffs.org. A Trip Down Market Street 1905/2005, 7:30 p.m., across from the Ferry Building, Market and Embarcadero, SF. Free. (415) 561-0363, www.exploratorium.edu.