What’s Screening: May 20 – 26

Two wonderfully different new films, plus George Méliès, David Lynch, Almodovar, and Mexican noir.

But no festivals this week.

New films opening

A Margarita with a Straw, Cine Grand (Fremont), Camera 12 (San Jose), opens Friday

Coming of age is difficult in the best of circumstances. But for a bisexual girl with cerebral palsy in culturally-conservative India, it’s much worse. A beautiful film anchored by Kalki Koechlin’s amazing performance. Read my full review.

A Love & Friendship, Embarcadero, Albany, Piedmont, opens Friday

Pretty much everything is played for laughs in this Jane Austen adaptation that centers on a manipulative horror of a human being–truly a woman you love to hate. A great villainess, a fun story, and a lot of laughs. Read my full review.

Promising events

Méliès Madness & Two New Shorts, Balboa, Monday and Tuesday, 7:30

George Méliès—the inventor of movie special effects—can reasonably be called the first artist of the cinema. This program will screen several of his short films, including the famous Trip to the Moon from 1902. Two new shorts are also on the program. Musical accompaniment by harp, flute, and string quartet.

Blue Velvet, New Mission, Friday through Sunday

I haven’t seen David Lynch’s bizarre and strangely erotic whatever-it-is since it was relatively new. I remember some very powerful and shocking imagery.

Recommended revivals

A- Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Roxie, Friday, 7:00; Wednesday, 9:15

Men are jerks and women are crazy. At least that’s the view of Pedro Almodovar’s comedy of infidelity. The picture starts like a reasonably serious comedy, sprinkling a few laughs in with the character development. Yet it suggests that something broader is just around the corner. The décor is just a little over the top, and some of the jokes (consider the detergent commercial) are in the stratosphere. Those outrageous bits are a harbinger of things to come. By the half-way point, the movie is as wacky as classic American screwball comedy–and considerably bawdier. Carmen Maura stars as the woman wronged (well, the main woman wronged), with an impossibly young Antonio Banderas playing the son of the man who wronged her. Part of the Roxie’s Early Almodóvar Films series.

B+ In the Palm of Your Hand, Pacific Film Archive, Saturday, 8:30

The perfect crime goes horribly wrong in this Mexican tale of wealth and greed. Arturo de Córdova stars as a fortune teller who uses detective skills to convince his clients of his magical powers. When he discovers that a beautiful widow murdered her husband–with the help of her handsome but not-too-bright lover–the clairvoyant sees the chance to augment his income with some blackmail. But the widow (Leticia Palma) has other plans, and a talent for getting what she wants out of men. Part of the series Mexican Film Noir.

B Bikes vs. Cars, Lark, Saturday, 6:30

Director Fredrik Gertten follows various bicycle advocates in multiple cities around the world, concentrating on two large, horribly auto-centric metropolitan areas–Sao Paulo and Los Angeles. The activists talk both on camera and off, discussing congestion, pollution, bad urban design, and the economic/political forces that emphasize automobiles over common sense. We also visit exceptionally bike-friendly cities such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam. Read my longer discussion.

Lebowskies (frequently-revived classics)