Film Features

Heroes and hoedowns

Spotlight on homegrown docs and narratives

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arts@sfbg.com

FRAMELINE This year's Bay Area-centric Frameline features run a thematic and identification gamut appropriate to the festival's ever-inclusive programming. Several are celebrations of local LGBT heroines and heroines, some recently deceased and some still-with-us.Read more »

Ladies first

Kinuyo Tanaka and other legends command the screen in "Japanese Divas"

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM The phenomenon of scene-stealing Japanese divas is all too familiar to this wannabe, having grown up in the clutches of unrepentantly demanding, real-life J-power matrons — the kind who will ply you with unsolicited advice, gifts, and edibles while smilingly applying the thumbscrews of sweet guile, pile-driving guilt, and sheer gambatte.Read more »

A fountain of Penn

The Pacific Film Archive's "Arthur Penn: A Liberal Helping" shows the noorious director in full

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When Arthur Penn died at 88 last September, obituaries listing career highlights reinforced the notion that he was one of those directors — others include Mike Nichols and George Roy Hill — who were BFDs in the 1960s and '70s yet rapidly faded from prominence thereafter. In Penn's case the decline was especially steep, particularly given that during arguably the single most roiling period of change in mainstream American filmmaking, he was at the top of the heap in terms of prestige and thematic adventure.Read more »

Phantom menaces

Another Hole in the Head unleashes multiple malevolent ghosts. Plus: our guide to the film fest's horror highlights

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM Does anyone actually believe Ghost Adventures is real? Including its hosts? For the uninitiated, this is the Travel Channel show that locks a trio of doucheba — er, paranormal investigators inside an allegedly haunted location overnight, leaving them with an arsenal of high-tech gadgets to record any paranormal happenings.Read more »

Fully loaded

Crossroads packs a season's worth of avant-garde cinema into a single weekend

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arts@sfbg.com

There is such a thing as festival fatigue, but you'd do well to forget it with the ambitious programs ruling the 16th Street corridor this weekend. The Roxie launches Elliot Lavine's latest dive into film noir's deep end, while down at the Victoria San Francisco Cinematheque caps its spring season with the second annual Crossroads festival, a veritable bonanza of experimental cinema. I haven't seen many of the 50-odd works being shown, but the quality of the ones I have makes me think that I wouldn't trade Crossroads for Cannes.Read more »

The darkness underneath

Jodie Foster discusses her return to directing with The Beaver

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM It's been more than 15 years since Jodie Foster sat in the director's chair, but for a project like The Beaver, she was up to the challenge. As with her past directorial projects, Little Man Tate (1991) and Home for the Holidays (1994), Foster felt a connection to the material that inspired her to take on a larger role.Read more »

What to watch, part two

Short takes on week two of SF Internation Film Festival

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WEDS/27

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A bang and a whimper

A weird future awaits in End of Animal and other Kafka-inspired films

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arts@sfbg.com

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL Science fiction's open secret is that it has never really been about the future. As William Gibson explained to an interviewer in 2007, echoing earlier genre criticism by writers such as Samuel R. Delany and Joanna Russ, science fiction is, at its heart, "speculative fiction, but you don't really have the future to work with, so you are always working with history and with the present."Read more »

House haunters

The Selling takes a high-spirited look at real estate

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cheryl@sfbg.com

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL Remember that episode of The Brady Bunch where Carol and Mike decide to sell the house and the kids fake-haunt it to scare off potential buyers? It's the pop culture moment I always think of when I hear about an apartment with suspiciously cheap rent. First reaction: "Wow! Is it haunted?"Read more »