Dennis Harvey

It's alive!

The Vortex Room keeps on keepin' on — for now — with the weirdest flicks you'll see all summer

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Puff piece

Music-manager doc 'Supermensch' doth gush too much

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM Sometimes a movie can only be called a gift — a gift intended for somebody other than the viewer. Clearly a film is a vanity project if its primary intent seems to flatter its maker. But what about when it's a love letter from one rich, entitled celebrity to another? Then the vanity grows complicated, not least by the fact that we're expected to pay for the privilege of watching one ass kiss another.Read more »

Anxious art

Striking 'Masterpieces of Polish Cinema' at the PFA -- with a strange Jerry Garcia(!) twist

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM Poland had not been a major hub of film production in the early decades of the medium, and its industry stabilized without getting very interesting in the years after World War II, when a Soviet-backed Stalinist regime founded state-controlled Film Polski. This shotgun wedding of art and bureaucracy wasn't ideally conducive to creative expression, however. By the mid-1950s younger filmmakers, many graduates from the recently founded National Film School in Lodz, agitated for more independence — which, surprisingly, they won.Read more »

Peculiar thrills

Barbie art, wicker kittens, Harry Who, and jingle bells at DocFest 13

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Stony lonesome

'I Wake Up Dreaming' unspools rare, hard-boiled tales

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM Prison should be the most natural setting for film noir, as that's where most of the genre's protagonists are headed (if they don't get bumped off first), and where many of them have already been. But it's had spotty representation onscreen, with time served either skipped over in the narrative (how many pulp fictions start with a hard-luck protagonist just getting out of long-term for what's sure to be short-term freedom?), or dominating entirely.Read more »

Skin deep

Costume drama Belle takes on race and class in 18th century England

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Manscape

The male protagonists of 'Fading Gigolo' and 'Locke' do what they gotta do

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Devil's advocate

Sokurov's 2011 'Faust' finally makes its local debut

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Freedom of expression

A PFA series pays tribute to Czech New Wave filmmaker Jan Nemec

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Lost in space

A new doc reveals 'the greatest film never made' -- Jodorowsky's 'Dune'

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FILM It's so seldom a film of major scale and budget is made without at least some standard commercial aspirations — however misguided — that the rare exceptions seem as curious, improbable, and wonderful as unicorns. (And about as useless, any bottom-line-oriented producer might say.) We're not talking Heaven's Gate (1980), Ishtar (1987), or Battlefield EarthRead more »