What’s Screening: June 3 – 9

Gun fights, pie fights, fist fights, rolling boulders, and clashing 17th century musicians. So much violence in Bay Area movie screenings this week.


I’ve just decided that, with ten films in five days, the Pacific Film Archive‘s series Auteur, Author: Film & Literature counts as a festival. It opened last Wednesday, and runs through Sunday.

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival opened last night and runs through Sunday. I’ll be there for almost all of it. You can read my Preview.

SF DocFest also opened last night, and will run through the 16th.

It’s not really a festival, but the Balboa‘s Thursday night classics series this month spotlights Elizabeth Taylor.

New films opening

A- Dheepan, Embarcadero, opens Friday

This story of Sri Lankan refugees resettling in France feels like two excellent films that don’t quite fit together. The main film is a social drama about three strangers pretending to be family while adjusting to Western civilization. The other is a well-made, effective, and extremely violent crime thriller. I loved Dheepan; but I would have loved it more without the big action finish. Read my full review.

Promising events

The Battle of the Century and Other Comedy Restorations!, Castro, Saturday, 10:00am

Four classic comedy shorts, newly reconstructed and restored. For decades, we’ve only had the first reel of Laurel and Hardy’s two-reeler, The Battle of the Century–purported to have the greatest pie fight ever filmed. Saturday morning, we get to see the whole thing. Also on the bill: Buster Keaton’s Cops and The Balloonatic, and something I’ve never heard of called The Dancing Pig. Of all the events coming up at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival this weekend, this is the one that most excites me.

Fat City, Pacific Film Archive, Friday, 8:00

I haven’t seen John Huston’s tale about small-time boxing in a very long time. I was impressed when I saw it, and many consider it a masterpiece. Leonard Gardner–who wrote both the original novel and the screenplay–will be on hand to discuss the film with David Thomson. Part of Auteur, Author: Film & Literature.

RAIDERS! – A Fan Film Double Feature, New Mission, Thursday, 8:00

Soon after Raiders of the Lost Ark was released, three teenaged fans created their own backyard version, following the movie shot by shot–but for a lot less money. The New Mission will screen this ambitious home movie with a feature-length documentary on its making.

Recommended revivals

B+ Tous les matins du monde, Pacific Film Archive, Thursday, 2:00

Every shot looks like an oil painting in this visually gorgeous movie about 17th century musicians. Love of music for its own sake conflicts with love of music as a step to fame and fortune. Romantic love and pure lust gets in there too. Gérard Depardieu and his son Guillaume play Marin Marais (an actual historical figure) at different stages of his life. It’s slow and stately pace works well for most of the movie, but it begins to wear out its welcome in the last half hour. Part of the PFA’s Early Music Film Festival, which is too spread out to really call it a festival.

Lebowskies (frequently-revived classics)