One-Night Stands

Reviews by Kelly Vance

Thu., Feb. 7

African Film Festival — Two shorts by Ousmane Sembène, plus Daniel Taye Workou’s Menged. Total running time 67 min. (PFA, 5:30)

Hot House — Romanian/Israeli filmmaker Shimon Dotan investigates Israel’s high-security lockups and their prisoners (89 min., 2006). (PFA, 7:00)

Fri., Feb. 8

The Mother and the Whore — Jean Eustache’s 1973 film is in several ways a summing up of the crazy energy of the French New Wave, which had begun some fourteen years before. Three Parisians (Bernadette Lafont, Jean-Pierre Léaud, and Francoise Lebrun) form and re-form attachments, then try to sort out how they feel about each other in a marathon talkfest, which nonetheless passes in an instant. Recommended. — K.V. (PFA, 7:00)

The Invisible Forest — Surreal drama centering on the subconscious dreams and memories of Alex, who directs a mystical theater troupe and suffers from sleep deprivation (111 min., 2008). (21 Grand, Oakland, 8:00)

Sat., Feb. 9

Speedy — Harold Lloyd’s silent comedy keeps him busy trying to save New York City’s horse-drawn streetcars from extinction. Babe Ruth turns up in this, and there’s a pretty good chase scene too. Not considered one of Lloyd’s best, but still enjoyable (86 min., 1928). (PFA, 3:00)

The Cheat — Cecil B. DeMille bowls them over with sex back in 1915. A society lady, after gambling away charity funds, finds herself indebted to an Asian gentleman who tries to collect in a way which she refuses, leading to murder and a charged trial (62 min.). Introduced by Daisuke Miyao. Piano accompaniment by Judith Rosenberg. (PFA, 6:30)

Clouds over Conakry — In the Guinean capital, family matters pit modernity against tradition and religion. In French and Malinke with English subtitles (113 min., 2007). (PFA, 8:30)

Vertigo — Alfred Hitchcock combines a double-cross murder plot with a subjective exploration of obsessive eroticism in his masterpiece about a San Francisco detective (James Stewart) who gets taken for a foggy, psychological ride by a mysterious woman (Kim Novak) (128 min., 1958). — K.V. (EC, 6:00)

Sun., Feb. 10

Forbidden Paths — Sessue Hayakawa plays the assistant to a wealthy importer of Japanese art in San Francisco, placed in charge of protecting the businessman’s daughter. Naturally, not everything goes as planned (60 min., 1917). Followed by another Hayakawa picture, The Devil’s Claim (70 min., 1920). Lecture and book signing by Daisuke Miyao. Judith Rosenberg on piano. (PFA, 2:00)

Strange Culture — When conceptual artist Steve Kurtz’ wife dies in her sleep, it’s only the beginning of Kurtz’ bad luck, in this documentary by Lynn Hershman (76 min., 2006). (PFA, 5:30)

City of Photographers — Documentary on the Independent Photographers Guild Association in Santiago, Chile, during the reign of Augusto Pinochet. In Spanish with English subtitles (80 min., 2006). (PFA, 7:05)

Vertigo — See Saturday. (EC, 5:00)

Tue., Feb. 12

Here Is Always Somewhere Else — Experimental documentary portrait of conceptual artist Bas Jan Ader (68 min., 2007). Preceded by a selection of films by Ader (total running time 76 min.). Filmmaker Rene Daalder in person. (PFA, 7:30)

Wed., Feb. 13

Battleship Potemkin — Every shot in Sergei Eisenstein’s piece has been examined and rhapsodized over, and deservedly so, because Potemkin is one of the most important films of all time, both for what it says and the way it says it. Eisenstein called it “organic unity of the composition of the whole,” but the thrillingly edited story of revolution in the Black Sea fleet in 1905 has by now transcended film theory as well as political history. A must-see for anyone serious about film (75 min.). — K.V. (PFA, 3:00)

Young Rebels: New Visions from Africa — A varied collection of shorts from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho (total running time 79 min.). (PFA, 6:30)

Life on Earth — A filmmaker from Mali returns from living in Paris to rediscover his homeland and ends up wandering the landscape on New Year’s Eve, 2000 — and falling in love with a local woman. Directed by Abderrahmane Sissoko (61 min., 1998). Preceded by 1997’s Rostov-Luanda, also from Sissoko (58 min.). (PFA, 8:10)

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