What’s Screening: December 15 – 21

Star Wars is taking over the multiplexes across the Bay Area (and beyond). But we still have a few old movies worth watching.

Festivals

Along For the Ride: A Tribute To Dennis Hopper isn’t quite a film festival, but it’s the closest thing we get this week. This three-day series at the Roxie starts Friday night at 7:00 with a documentary, Along for the Ride, about the actor and sometimes director, to be followed by Q&A with the filmmaker.

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Blue Velvet

Then one or two movies a night (mostly films where Hopper has a supporting role) through Thursday:

The obvious movie missing, of course, is Hopper’s directorial debut and biggest hit, Easy Rider.

The documentary, Along for the Ride, continues at the Roxie through the week.

Promising events

Noir City Xmas, Castro, Wednesday, 7:30
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Last week, The Roxie hosted Noir Noël – French Xmas Noir. This week, the Castro and Noir City founder Eddie Muller present the American version. The double bill: Manhandled (1942) and the Alias Boston Blackie (1942), which will be screened in a new 35mm print. I have seen neither of them, but the Castro’s website describes Manhandled as “a contemporaneous parody of noir tropes.” Get ready for a dark Christmas.

Mildred Pierce, Pacific Film Archive, Friday, 7:00
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Believe it or not, I’ve yet to see this 1945 classic noir melodrama about a single mother and her spoiled daughter. And, unfortunately, I won’t be able to see it Friday night. New digital restoration.

Recommended revivals

A- La Pointe Courte, Pacific Film Archive, Sunday, 2:00
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Ever admire an artist for their daring, original work, and then discover who they stole it from? I experienced that revelation over and over again while watching Agnès Varda’s first feature– arguably the first film of the French New Wave. Set in a small, somewhat impoverished fishing village, it introduces us to fishermen worried about government health inspectors, a family with the very sick child, a teenage girl with an over-protective father, and young lovers visiting the man’s childhood home. Varda shows an instinct for camera setup that rivals John Ford’s. Read more at Friday Night at the PFA. Part of the series The Art of Cinematography.

B+ Comedy Shorts Night, Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, Saturday, 7:30
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I’ve seen three of the four short movies on the schedule, and I can recommend all of them. The best is Laurel and Hardy’s Big Business, where door-to-door Christmas tree sales turn into home demolition. The Charlie Chaplin entry, the Floorwalker, isn’t the best from his Mutual period, but it’s still very funny. In The Scarecrow, Buster Keaton generates a lot of laughs while struggling to win the girl. I haven’t seen There Ain’t No Santa Clause, starring Charley Chase, but I’ve yet to see a bad Charley Chase silent.

Continuing Engagements

The Passion of Joan of Arc, Pacific Film Archive, Saturday, 6:15; Rafael, Thursday, 7:00. The PFA will screen an archival 35mm print with live piano accompaniment by Judith Rosenberg. The Rafael will screen digitally with a recorded score by Will Gregory and Adrian Utley. MY APPRECIATION.

Lebowskies (frequently-revived classics)