Some films glean artful pleasure from the pains of labor. One flourishing subgenre or strain of documentary tackles working conditions in countries across the world, highlighting the plight of the marginalized to make ends meet and maintain dignity in the face of unjust or extreme conditions. In a sense, Ghosts and Numbers and Luchando, two features at this year's San Francisco Documentary Film Festival, belong to this group, but they are most interesting for the ways that they differ from it, in content and style. Read more »
Josef von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich, Federico Fellini and Marcello Mastroianni, Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune legendary screen team-ups betwixt a vision-questing director and his or her alter ego star filter are the stuff of cinematic legend. Read more »
A painter, poet, jazz musician, and political activist, Viggo Mortensen is a mass of complicated, sometimes conflicting energies and interests. He's as macho and swarthy as they come, but with a contemplative thirst for truth. He's shy, but a bit of a motormouth (and can run on in at least six different languages). Read more »
The MadCat Women's International Film Festival is back for its 11th consecutive year, with 11 fascinating film programs (two features and nine shorts series). It's hard to describe the broad variety of themes and filmmaking styles explored in this year's lineup. Identity issues, life at the fringes of society, the desire to break free from safe but unchallenging environments, and struggles for independence through unconventional means are only some of MadCat's topics. Read more »
How many times am I gonna have to rave about Exiled before you go see it? It's been a year since I first caught it at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival; the 2007 TIFF starts Sept. 6 and features Mad Detective, Johnnie To's latest collaboration with Wai Ka Fai (Fulltime Killer). Needless to say, I'll be first in line at that flick and perhaps, like Exiled, it'll play the San Francisco Asian American Film Festival before finally opening in theaters. Read more »
The early '60s French new wave gets imitations and retrospectives and books galore, but in terms of homage, the British new wave of roughly the same era hasn't been gifted with much more than a number of Smiths 7- and 12-inch singles covers and some Morrissey lyrics. Read more »
1. Death Sentence Not to be confused with The Brave One (see "Popcorn and Human Pies"), but you're forgiven if you do: old-school vigilantes are the new hotness. Splat packer James Wan (Saw) directs this adaptation of Brian Garfield's novel the sequel to Death Wish in which a brush with violence turns a mild-mannered dude (Kevin Bacon) into the human equivalent of Judas Priest's Screaming for Vengeance. (Aug. 31)
"Switching Schools Sucks" Jesse Hawthorne Ficks serves up a triple dose of teen alienation: Pump Up the Volume, Footloose, and the Andrew Stevensstarring, Heathers-influenced Massacre at Central High.
Aug. 31. Castro Theatre (info below)
"Rebels with a Cause: The Cinema of East Germany" Perhaps the most expansive retrospective of East German film in the United States, spanning from the early 1960s to 1990.