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Top picks from San Francisco Cinematheque's third 'Crossroads' festival

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art@sfbg.com

FILM San Francisco Cinematheque artistic director Steve Polta balances familiar names with lesser known for the third annual "Crossroads" festival at the Victoria Theater, though Ken Jacobs' Occupy-strength Seeking the Monkey King (2011) promises to unseat the image of a mellowing old master.Read more »

Turn up the dark

SUMMER MOVIE PREVIEW: Movie stars, superheroes, and movie stars playing superheroes battle for summer supremacy

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FILM So far, 2012 has been a year of mixed blessings for Hollywood, contrasting mega-hits like The Hunger Games and The Avengers with one of the biggest mega-flops of all time, John Carter. But summer's really when show-biz turns deadly serious. Each week, there's a new wannabe blockbuster — pasteurized, processed, film-like products so huge they have the ability to make or break entire movie studios — hoping for returns big enough to make all involved even richer, and insure sequels and spin-offs for summers to come.Read more »

Hard to be a filmmaker

Aleksei Guerman's five films (from the past 45 years) screen at YBCA

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM In 1987, Soviet critics were polled to create a list of the nation's greatest films. Landing on top was a movie still little-known abroad, whose maker has completed just five features in 45 years — one of which he doesn't even consider truly his own work.Read more »

How dark was my alley

Flick-packed Film Noir fest "I Wake up Dreaming" returns to the Roxie

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM The word that comes to mind when thinking of Elliot Lavine's semiannual film noir programs at the Roxie is inexhaustible. With 30 films packed into 14 days, "I Wake up Dreaming" wisely takes a pass on questions of noir's quintessence in favor of open-ended research into the mutations and paroxysms of mid-century malaise.Read more »

This is your brain on Zulawski

YBCA feeds the Possession obsession with a tribute to the Polish director

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For your further consideration

Short takes on SFIFF 2012, week two

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More reviews of films playing during the San Francisco Internation Film Festival. For more SFIFF coverage, click here. Read more »

Tiger woods

A lone tracker probes a troubled wilderness in The Hunter

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM The Tasmanian tiger wasn't a cat at all, but a pouched marsupial resembling a ring-tailed dog, with the most fearsome steel-trap jaws imaginable. It was hunted out of existence as a menace to domestic livestock; the last one died in captivity in 1936. Nonetheless, alleged sightings persist. Like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, the tiger is kept alive at least in the imagination by the fervency of stubborn believers.Read more »

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 »