Film Review

The closer you get

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How does one begin to write about Abbas Kiarostami's Close-Up (1990), a film as layered as an onion? I remember that when I first watched it, I felt touched by what I then perceived to be its affectionate ending. Read more »

Church of Santino

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johnny@sfbg.com

It's no surprise that Santino Rice knows how to serve up a good quote. Read more »

Let there be light

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cheryl@sfbg.com

Remember that old Twilight Zone episode in which the earth and the sun got way too close for comfort? The twist was that the feverish protagonist had actually dreamed the hellish heat wave — and our shivering planet was drifting away from the sun instead. Another deep freeze awaits the human race in Sunshine, which imagines that the sun has begun to die billions of years before its expiration date. Read more »

Festival Guide

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The opening-night selection at the Jewish Film Festival is Israeli writer-director Dror Shaul's worldwide prizewinner, Sweet Mud. It views 1974 kibbutz life from a 12-year-old's perspective, but don't expect rosy childhood nostalgia. Read more »

Silent voice

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When US moviemaking started out, it was an enterprise disreputable enough to attract the wrong sort of people: get-rich-quick speculators, third-tier theater folk, organized crime, and even — god forbid — Jews. The last rose to pilot most major studios as Hollywood became a gigantic industry. Yet this alleged Jewish mafia (a term still not fully retired in some circles) seldom used wealth and imagistic power to integrate fellow Jews into the cultural mainstream. Read more »

Welcome (back) to the jungle

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cheryl@sfbg.com

Early in Rescue Dawn, Werner Herzog's narrative retooling of his 1997 doc Little Dieter Needs to Fly, a group of pilots aboard an aircraft carrier watches an instructional reel on jungle survival. They're young and cocky, and since this is 1966, the Vietnam War still seems entirely impossible. Read more »

Ephemera, etc.

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Technology induces unrealistic leaps of optimism, and so it was that usually reliable New York Times film critic A.O. Read more »

Notes on Nazimova

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Audiences at this year's San Francisco Silent Film Festival will be treated to several strong roles for leading women — Lois Wilson's heartbreaking humble pie as Miss Lulu Bett (1921), Louise Brooks's gender-bending hobo in 1928's Beggars of Life — but now as then, there can be only one Nazimova. Read more »

Midnight movie memories

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CHRISTIAN BRUNO In the mid-'60s the Presidio hosted Underground Cinema 12, a package of late-night movies that might incorporate a little [George] Kuchar, a little Busby Berkeley, and a lot of porn posing as art. It was a traveling package of films that was curated by Mike Getz out of LA, but the Presidio put its own SF (which usually meant gay) stamp on things.

KAREN LARSEN Gosh, I remember going to see the Cockettes at the Palace in North Beach in the '60s. Read more »

Late Night Picture Show

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Midnight Mass, held at the Bridge Theatre, may be the sparkling, dressed-to-the-nines jewel in Landmark Theatres' cult-movie crown. But with a newly invigorated programming focus, the Clay's Late Night Picture Show (and its aimed-more-at-college-kids Berkeley equivalent, the Shattuck's Midnight Special) is also holding it down for folks who're willing to sacrifice their sleep in the name of offbeat cinema. Read more »