Dennis Harvey

Lives less ordinary

FRAMELINE 2013: Five docs about five great gay men -- plus more at the massive LGBT Film Fest, opening this week

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arts@sfbg.com

FRAMELINE Each year Frameline's program vividly reflects issues that of late have seemed most urgent in the LGBT community — for many years, for instance, there was an understandably overwhelming amount of films about AIDS. Most recently, the fights for gay marriage and trans rights have dominated many a dramatic and documentary selection.Read more »

Wish you weren't here

Ulrich Seidl's Paradise Trilogy mines vacation desperation

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM Austrian Ulrich Seidl has been making films since the early 1980s, but didn't get much attention internationally until 2001's Dog Days, a bleak and nasty ensemble piece about some seemingly ordinary — but all variably pathetic, ugly and/or perverse — Viennese suburbanites sweating through a heat wave. It was the sort of movie that demanded attention, being grotesque, funny, surprising, meticulously crafted, and arguably just plain mean.Read more »

In search of ...

'The Vortex Phenomena' unearths the unknown

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Assassination character

Michael Shannon is stone-cold stellar in 'The Iceman'

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Man up

Tough guys rule at "I Wake Up Dreaming 2013" noir film fest

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Nordic track

SFIFF offers an all-too-rare opportunity to appreciate Finnish cinema

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arts@sfbg.com

SFIFF "The greatest Finnish movie ever made" — drop that phrase on someone (at least a non-Finn) and they will most likely make some crack suggesting there can't possibly be enough of them for the distinction to matter. But Finland has had a rich and idiosyncratic filmmaking history stretching back to 1907. It hardly begins and ends with Aki Kaurismäki, the droll minimalist who was the first (and still only) Finnish director to regularly win international distribution.Read more »

Able fables

Fairy-tale inspiration done right, in two delightful imports

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM The weak recent likes of Jack the Giant Slayer and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters revealed the extent of expensive, formulaic action-movie lameness with which Hollywood is now determined to treat every story of universal familiarity (and conveniently, no pesky copyright). No doubt there will be a Cinderella: Bitch is Goin' Postal somewhere in our future before the cycle spins out, if it ever does.Read more »

Rambling man

Terrence Malick's Hollywood revival sours with 'To the Wonder'

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Alternative medicine

Got Hollywood fatigue? Seek out 'Starbuck' and 'The Silence'

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM No country exports mainstream films to the extensive success that the US does. To the frequent chagrin of local filmmakers and cultural watchdogs, Hollywood dominates many nations' box offices, non-English-speaking ones included. Nor do we reciprocate much — there remains a wide separation between what are perceived as commercial entertainments and "art house" films, with foreign-language (or even just British) ones almost invariably limited to the latter category.Read more »

The Nonconformist

'And God Created Jean-Louis Trintignant' celebrates a legendary career

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