One-Night Stands

Repertory film listings for Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 2008

Reviews by Michael Covino and Naomi Wise

Thu., Jan. 31

Two English Girls — Truffaut’s earlier Jules and Jim was a lovers’ triangle tale of passion and fury, but this one (also based on a novel by Henri-Pierre Roche, author of the first) is a triangle about neuroticism and English gentility, with all the angles smoothed and viewed through soft-focus lens. The two sisters, Anne and Muriel, are completely unmemorable as they croon by the seaside, and why they should both be in love with a colorless Jean-Pierre Léaud is a mystery. There’s Truffaut’s usual dose of cuteness and charm to help us through, but the film lacks the edge of its earlier counterpart (108 min., 1972). — M.C. (PFA, 6:30)

Young Man with a Horn — Kirk Douglas destroys himself in search of the perfect note, in a story vaguely based on the life of Bix Beiderbecke. An offbeat musical, directed in 1950 by Michael Curtiz, an co-starring Lauren Bacall and Doris Day (112 min.). (PFA, 8:50)

Fri., Feb. 1

Lancelot of the Lake — A thigh-level view of Arthurian legend, accompanied by much loud clanking and clopping and whinnying. Robert Bresson tells the tale in muted colors and a tightly compressed visual shorthand that assumes the viewer already knows the plot. Aiming for the Christian heart of the matter, with the discovery of a religious conflict between Lancelot’s repentance and Guinevere’s passive acceptance of their adultery, this stark, penetrating, abrupt account deviates from the pared-down clarity of Bresson’s best narratives during its rather confused first half, when blood spurts and knights lose their heads (85 min., 1974). — N.W. (PFA, 7:00)

The Knight — A young knight leaves his kingdom in search of a gold-stringed harp, which will bring peace and harmony to all humanity. Along the way he encounters mysticism, strange characters, and life’s big questions. In Polish with English subtitles (81 min., 1980). (PFA, 8:45)

Groundhog Day — Bill Murray, in his best film since Ghostbusters, plays a pompous weatherman assigned to cover a small-town Groundhog Day festival — who finds that the next day is Groundhog Day, too, and the one after that, as Sonny and Cher sound the wake-up call with “I Got You, Babe” at six each morning. The premise makes it sound like a lost Twilight Zone episode, but in fact it’s more like some deliciously whacked-out piece of serial art, say, something out of Warhol’s “Disaster” series, a postage-stamp sheet of Groundhog Days, each day the same but rendered hilariously different by variations in the mismatched tints and botched registrations. With Andie MacDowell. Written and directed by Harold Ramis. Co-written by Danny Rubin. Carpe diem! (101 min., 1993). — M.C. (Neumayer Residence, 565 Bellevue St., Oakland, 6:30)

Sat., Feb. 2

10th Annual Bay Area High School Film and Video Festival — Original shorts in all styles by young Bay Area filmmakers, curated and presented by Berkeley High students (90 min. total running time). (PFA, 1:00, 3:30)

Everything’s Cool — Daniel B. Gold and Judith Helfand’s documentary injects humor into the not-so-funny issue of global warming (100 min., 2006). (PFA, 6:00)

The Unforeseen — At what cost comes growth and progress? This documentary on land use, suburban sprawl, and development in Texas seeks to find out (76 min., 2007). (PFA, 8:00)

Sun., Feb. 3

The Seventh Seal — This was the first of Ingmar Bergman’s films to come to the attention of American audiences, and many feel it is still his best work. The medieval era is a perfect setting for Bergman’s agnostic despair, and the fable structure provides the plot with atypical momentum. The stark black-and-white images, borrowed from “Totentanz” woodcuts, furnish an austere lyricism recalling silent filmmaking. With a good portion of the Bergman repertory company, including Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Bibi Andersson, and Gunnel Lindblom (96 min., 1957). — N.W. (PFA, 2:00)

The Virgin Spring — Ingmar Bergman films a violent medieval tale of rape and revenge: a pure young girl is brutally assaulted and murdered on her way to church. The miscreants seek shelter at her father’s house. Simple, pastoral images intensify the sense of outrage, and the Jew’s harp is forever transformed into an instrument of the devil. Max von Sydow and Gunnel Lindblom are featured in this rather unpleasant film, at once cerebral and stomach-churning (89 min., 1959). — N.W. (PFA, 4:00)

Tue., Feb. 5

F Is for Phony — A program on the history of fake documentaries, or mockumentaries, featuring four such films from 1898, 1932, 1972, and 1995 (total running time 100 min.). (PFA, 7:30)

Harold and Maude — Some think this is black comedy because Harold (Bud Cort) keeps trying to kill himself, but the story’s a little too cute to be properly black. Ruth Gordon, who plays Maude, is the energetic septuagenarian who has an affair with old-before-his-time Harold. Directed by Hal Ashby, with music by Cat Stevens (90 min., 1971). — M.C. (PW, 9:15)

Iron Ladies of Liberia — Biography on Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first freely elected female head-of-state (60 min., 2007). (Oakland Museum of California, 6:30)

Wed., Feb. 6

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari — This German classic, made in 1919 by Robert Wiene, defined cinematic expressionism with its exaggerated camera angles, distorted sets, and nightmarish structure. Although it’s mainly considered a curiosity now, it still should be seen by anyone who is serious about film (82 min.). — N.W. Piano accompaniment by Bruce Loeb. Followed by a lecture by Marilyn Fabe. (PFA, 3:00)

Paris Blues — Paul Newman and Sidney Poitier play jazz musicians living in Paris and romancing the tourists (Joanne Woodward, Diahann Carroll). Score by Duke Ellington. Directed by Martin Ritt (98 min., 1961). (PFA, 6:30)

All Night Long — “Othello” in an East End warehouse and punctuated by live jazz by Charles Mingus, Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington et al. Also with Patrick McGoohan, Keith Mitchell, Betsy Blair, Paul Harris, and Richard Attenborough. Directed by Basil Dearden. Written by Nel King, Peter Achilles (1962). (PFA, 8:30)

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