One-Night Stands

Repertory film listings for October 16-22, 2008.

Thu., October 16

Tractor Drivers Ivan Pyryev’s 1939 drama synthesizes three Soviet obsessions of the 1930s: musical films, technology, and impending war (88 min.). (PFA, 6:30)

Carnival Night Set amidst the excitement of New Year’s Eve, Eldar Ryazanov’s film sends up bureaucratic drabness and celebrates the will of the people (78 min., 1956). (PFA, 8:20)

Oakland International Film Festival The festival’s eighth and final evening offers a series of five features. (GL, 6:00)

Fri., October 17

Alphaville Jean-Luc Godard plays with the sci-fi genre, setting his tale of a dehumanized future/present in the newly built concrete wilderness of Alphaville, a Brasilia-like suburb north of Paris. Middle-aged American tough-guy Eddie Constantine (hero of the “Lemmy Caution” French Detective-movie series) crosses outer space to investigate a fascist world ruled by a mad scientist named Von Braun and his conformist-minded computer. Anna Karina provides aid as Von Braun’s sympathetic, only half-robotoid daughter. Good, tough, cogent Godard, in searing, high-contrast black and white (98 min., 1965). — N.W. (PFA, 6:30)

Still Life Award-winning documentary on a 2,000-year-old town in China set to be submerged by the Three Gorges Damn project. Directed by Jia Zhangke (108 min., 2006). (PFA, 8:30)

The Dark Crystal Jim Henson and Frank Oz of Muppets fame directed this “live animation” film about a young elflike creature who journeys through the Mystic Valley to fulfill a prophecy. There are no humans in this adventure fantasy, which is highlighted by elaborate sets, special effects, and exotic creatures. Gary Kurtz, who made The Empire Strikes Back, coproduced. Brian Froud is the conceptual designer of the characters (93 min., 1982). (PM, midnight)

Sat., October 18

Accidental Art: A Home Movie Day Celebration A collection of Bay Area home movies culled from audience member submissions and movies in the PFA collection (total running time 90 min.). (PFA, 4:00)

The Cranes Are Flying The break of wear tears apart two young lovers in this award-winning work from Russian director Mikhail Kalatozov (98 min., 1957). (PFA, 6:30)

The Letter Never Sent Four geologists set out across the frozen waters of Siberia in search of diamond deposits supposed to exist in Yukatia, but wind up simply fighting for their lives in this rugged, freezing environment. Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov (The Cranes Are Flying). Written by Valeri Osipov and Viktor Rozov. With Innokenti Smoktunovsky, Tatyana Samojilova, and Yevgeni Urbansky (98 min., 1959). (PFA, 8:30)

The Dark Crystal See Saturday. (PM, Midnight)

Sun., October 19

Jewish Luck A humorous adaptation of Sholom Aleichem’s story “Menachem Mendel.” With Solomon Mikhoels as the Chaplin-esque matchmaker. With intertitles by Isaac Babel. Directed by Alexander Granovsky (88 min., 1925). (PFA, 1:30)

Uncle Vanya A Soviet Film version of Anton Checkhov’s play, this movie contrasts the pastoral upper-class life of Czarist days with the bitter sufferings of the peasants. Sergei Bondarchuk (who directed the famous Soviet version of War and Peace) gives a stirring performance as Dr. Astrov. Directed by Andrei Konchalovsky (104 min.). (PFA, 3:30)

The Virgin of Pessac: Two Versions Jean Eustache returned to his birthplace to film an annual ritual electing the town’s most virtuous young woman — twice. The 1968 version is black and white, while the 1979 version is color (total running time 132 min.). (PFA, 5:45)

Tue., October 21

Alternative Requirements 2008: Bay Area Student Experimental Film Festival A diverse collection of eleven short films made by local college students, curated by a group of UC Berkeley Film Studies students (total running time 60 min.). (PFA, 7:30)

Wed., October 22

Bed and Sofa A 1927 Soviet silent that depicts a ménage-a-trois during a housing shortage in Moscow and points to an imperfection in the socialist system, an unusual theme in a film of this kind. The film also explores the liberation of women. Abran Room directed (74 min.). (PFA, 7:00)

A Dirty Story A cinematic game played by filmmaker Jean Eustache: this two-part film is built around the story of a secret peephole in a French cafe that allows men to see into the women’s restroom. In the first part, an actor (veteran Michel Lonsdale) recounts the story; in the second, a verité documentary, Eustache films women reacting to the story itself — with the proviso that Eustache believes that the “fictionalized” version of the urban legend will be more believable than the “true” documentary one (50 min., 1977). (PFA, 8:40)

The Take Canadian-produced documentary on a sit-down strike by Argentine autoworkers, directed by Avi Lewis (87 min., 2004). (Humanist Hall, Oakland, 7:30)


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