Film

This week's first-runs (to supplement your SFIFF frenzy!)

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Between the San Francisco International Film Festival (kicks off Thu/19! Our coverage starts here) and the Castro Theatre's weekend schedule of more James Bond classics than you can shake a martini at (or a Heinekin ... gaah!), why bother even considering a first-run movie?

Yeah, all right. You make a good point there. But. BUT. Nicholas Sparks fiends aside, there are a few good reasons to hit up the ol' megaplex (or at least the ol' multi-screen arthouse). The first is a documentary perfectly suited for its 4/20 release...

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For your consideration: Short takes from SFIFF, week one

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The gargantuan San Francisco Film Festival opens this week after a particularly fraught year in which the San Francisco Film Society tragically lost two well-respected executive directors. But never fear! SFIFF is still tops, and we're here to guide you through it, from throught-provoking experimental flicks to unheralded-as-of-yet crowd-friendly fare. We've rustled upmore than a dozen previews of appealing flicks after the jump -- and check out our complete coverage, including indepth features and interviews, here.

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Truth or consequences

Solid-gold lifestyles and agents provocateurs: SFIFF's documentary highlights

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arts@sfbg.com

SFIFF It's possible to have an almost perfect Sundance Film Festival viewing experience if you hew to one simple rule: only go to the documentaries. Sure, see some of the dramatic entries too, after the 40th person has told you such-and-such title is great. But you can rarely go far wrong with the documentaries. Sundance has its pick of the annual crème de la crème in that genre (among U.S. if not necessarily international films).Read more »

A hundred visions and revisions

SFIFF: Sam Green explores the geodesic world of R. Buckminster Fuller in new documentary

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arts@sfbg.com

SFIFF R. Buckminster Fuller was born before the turn of the last century, and died before the start of this one. But place his philosophical and practical output next to any contemporary thinker, and something seems a bit off.

"He was totally out of sync with his time," says SF-based documentarian Sam Green (2004's The Weather Underground). "He was talking about green building in the 1930s or '40s."Read more »

Into new territory

SFIFF: Sailing off the map with Patience, Found Memories, It's the Earth Not the Moon, more at San Francisco International Film Festival

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You're gonna need to upsize that popcorn

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Guess how many movies are opening in the Bay Area Fri/13? Sixteen. Sixteen, y'all. That might be an all-time Ultimate Grand Supreme record. So in this saturated situation, what's worth seeing, considering this is your last weekend before the San Francisco International Film Festival sets up shop and dominates all your moviegoing brain cells?

First, check out Dennis Harvey's feature-length review of Applause, imported from Denmark and featuring "a flamboyant, arresting, faultless star turn" from Paprika Steen, a megastar in her home country.

Seeking more? Here are five (out of 16, remember — true fiends can check out our complete film listings if five ain't enough) to get you through the weekend.

A buzzed-about doc on the (unfortunately) hot topic of teen bullying:

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The necessity of images

Jafar Panahi tests the limits of his filmmaking ban with This Is Not a Film

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FILM Jafar Panahi is no longer allowed to make films in Iran. So, with the help of documentarian Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, he made This Is Not a Film.

After arrests in 2009 and 2010, Panahi was sentenced to a 20-year ban from filmmaking and a six-year prison term for "assembly and colluding with the intention to commit crimes against the country's national security and propaganda against the Islamic Republic," as reported by the Green Voice of Freedom, a human rights website. He is also barred from leaving the country or giving interviews.Read more »

Fact: your heart will go on if you skip 'Titanic 3D'

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We already made fun of Titanic 3D last week (spoiler alert: Kate aged better than Leo), and the only other big Hollywood cheese opening this week is American Reunion (spoiler alert: Alyson Hannigan's career has aged better than Jason Biggs').

Of slightly more urgent, politically relevent, Celine Dion-less note, check out Sam Stander's review of This Is Not a Film, a movie by embattled filmmaker Jafar Panahi that was literally smuggled out of Iran on a flash drive hidden in a cake. It opens Fri/13 at the SF Film Society Cinema (a zone soon to be taken over by the upcoming San Francisco International Film Festival, kicking off April 19).

If you're an artist yourself, possibly one who looks spiffy in a pair of chaps, the Folsom Street Fair (which has a new date this year!) has put out a call to independent filmmakers interested in working on a planned documentary on "the grandaddy of all leather events." From the Folsom Street Events press release:

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Cherry bombs away: Write up your first time for a good cause

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Today I wrote a story about my sexual initiation. I forwarded my story to my friends, we discussed, they wrote down theirs. Turns out one of my loved ones did the deed over half an ecstasy pill on Staten Island. Another's first time was with a boyfriend so unmemorable that she couldn't remember identifying characteristics. Apparently they had a hard time getting it in.  

Is there a moment in life that is as important, yet less talked-about than the dismissal of one's virginity? Hardly. So few things equaled the cheap thrill I got from handing over my own story to local author turned filmmaker Laura Goode to publish on her film's new fundraising website. Read more »

Solo mio

Gianni Di Gregorio returns with a gentle sequel to Mid-August Lunch

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FILM The phenomenon of grown children remaining under (or returning to) mom and dad's roof well after the customary sell-by date has been a regular topic of late in American entertainment and pop sociology.Read more »