One-Night Stands

Repertory film listings for February 19-25, 2009.

Thu., February 19

Miami Blues Deranged ex-con Alec Baldwin steals the film
neatly away from grizzled policeman Fred Ward, which is exactly what
Orion had in mind when it released this Hollywood shelfnik after the
success of Baldwin’s The Hunt for Red October. Things have
obviously taken a turn for the worse in Miami since Don Johnson left
town. Glib bad guy Baldwin drops writer-director George Armitage’s
nifty dialogue and hapless citizens in equal measure in his
entertaining-but-creepy one-man crime wave. Jenifer Jason Leigh shines
as his dim-bulb girlfriend, with the dependable Charles Napier and Nora
Dunn as cops. Whatever the reason for its belated release, it’s a
welcome return for Armitage, who made Private Duty Nurses and
Vigilante Force for Roger Corman in the ’70s (99 min., 1980).
– K.V. (PFA, 6:30)

Black Angel A down-and-out vaudeville player (Dan Duryea) is
enlisted by June Vincent in an effort to clear the woman’s husband of
the charge of murdering his secretary. With Peter Lorre and Broderick
Crawford. Directed by Roy William Neill (80 min., 1946). (PFA,
8:45)

San Francisco Independent Film Festival Two features —
Morris County and Ex-Drummer —kick off the 2009 SF
Indiefest’s four-day series of screenings in the East Bay. (S,
7:15)

Friday, February 20

The Devil Is a Woman Marlene Dietrich’s last fling with
director Josef von Sternberg (whose black and white photography is
among the finest technical work ever done in Hollywood). She’s a beauty
in a Spanish cigar factory who ruins a pompous Guardia Civil, but the
story, as usual, takes a back seat to the chemistry of light, shadow,
and Dietrich’s face. Curiously enough, this film was banned by the
Spanish Republican government (79 min., 1935). — K.V. (PFA,
6:30)

Crime and Punishment Dostoyevsky’s famous novel gets
transposed to contemporary Helsinki, where director and co-writer Aki
Kaurismäki sets up the murder as an example of class antagonism
between a slaughterhouse worker (named Rahikainen instead of
Raskolnikov) and a rich businessman (93 min., 1983). (PFA, 8:30)

San Francisco Independent Film Festival SF Indiefest returns
with two more features: Harrison Montgomery and Home
Movie
. (S, 7:15)

Sat., February 21

The Secret Garden A 1949 British suspense drama about two
children who discover a secret paradise. With Margaret O’Brien.
Directed by Fred M. Wilcox (92 min.). (PFA, 3:00)

Phantom Lady Director Robert Siodmak maintained his German
Expressionist style in his American films, and particularly in this
model 1940s film noir. Atmospheric lighting and distorted camera angles
impel the story of a man wrongly suspected of murder, and his search
for the mysterious lady who was the sole witness to his alibi. Ella
Raines is his resourceful girlfriend, Franchot Tone is elegantly
sinister as a colleague, and Elisha Cook Jr. brings his special tawdry,
touching intensity to the role of a jazz drummer in a low-down dive (88
min., 1944). — N.W. (PFA, 6:30)

Série noire A sweaty, nervous little sketch of a film
about the self-destruction of a hapless door-to-door salesman who
starts off doomed and ends up even worse when he lets a pretty young
woman convince him to rob a house. Actor Patrick Dewaere (who committed
suicide soon after this film) turns in a truly remarkable performance
as the lethally pathetic Frank Poupart, dancing jerkily along to
unknown inner rhythms. The supporting cast comes across just as
beat-out and discouraging as the suburban Paris location. A black,
bleak comedy of ill manners, directed by Alain Corneau from an
adaptation of Jim Thompson’s novel A Hell of a Woman (110 min.,
1979). — K.V. (PFA, 8:30)

San Francisco Independent Film Festival Day three of four in
the East Bay features Automorphasis and The Full Picture.
(S, 7:15)

Sun., February 22

Paris selon Moussa Guinean villager Moussa (played by
director Cheick Doukouré) heads to Paris to secure a new water
pump for his village, but finds himself hardly welcome (96 min., 2003).
PFA, 4:30)

The Saga of Anatahan The story of a group of Japanese sailors
marooned for years on an obscure island in the Marianas following World
War II. Directed by Josef von Sternberg (94 min., 1953). (PFA,
6:30)

San Francisco Independent Film Festival SF Indiefest 2009
concludes in the East Bay with a final pair of feature films: The
Men’s Story Project
and Deadgirl. (S, 7:15)

Monday, February 23

The Decalogue Director Krzysztof Kieslowski made this
ten-part series for Polish TV. In each episode, a different one of the
Ten Commandments is broken. This screening features parts one and two
(55 min., 1987). (Jewish Community Center of the East Bay, Berkeley,
1:15)

Tuesday, February 24

Gladio Allan Francovich’s 1998 documentary exposé
blows the cover off a secret organization of European operatives
— trained by the CIA — responsible for bombings and other
terrorist acts, including the kidnapping of Italian prime minister Aldo
Moro (143 min.). (PFA, 7:30)

Wed., February 25

Aparajito The second and least-seen chapter of Satayajit
Ray’s famous “Apu Trilogy.” The pace picks up somewhat from the first,
as the young Apu grows away from his parents and their traditional
ways, entering school in Calcutta. Ray’s relaxed, open style (some
would say sluggish and confused) had a tremendous influence on the film
world of 1956, but time has made it into something of a cliché
(127 min.) — D.D. (PFA, 3:00)

To See if I’m Smiling Israel’s Tamar Yarom directed this film
about the experience of young Israeli women in the military (59 min.,
2007). Preceded by a short: Deadly Playground (23 min., 2007).
(PFA, 6:30)

Secrecy A documentary from directors Peter Galison and Robb
Moss on the distribution of knowledge and political intelligence (85
min., 2007). (PFA, 8:30)

Arusi Persian Wedding Political hostilities surface and
cultures clash when Iranian Alex and American Heather plan a Persian
Islamic wedding in Iran. (Oakland Museum of California, 6:30)

The Land Speaks Arabic A 2007 documentary by Palestinian
filmmaker on the late 19th century birth of Zionism. Followed by 33
Days
, which takes a look at the daily face of war in Lebanon.
(Humanist Hall, Oakland)

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