This week in Bay Area theaters, you’ll find elephants and animation, along with Garbo, Eastwood, and Nicolas Cage when they were young and beautiful.
New films opening
B+ Love and Bananas: An Elephant Story, Elmwood, Roxie, opens Friday; Rafael, Sunday, 4:15 (only one screening at Rafael)
The title suggests a joyful movie about the loving relationship between humans and elephants. And yes, there is a good deal of upbeat, lovable footage of people playing with these giant land mammals. But for most of its runtime, Love & Bananas examines the horrible relationship between humans and elephants, and it’s not the four-footed creatures who behave badly. Director Ashley Bell puts herself in the movie quite a bit, but Lek Chailert of the Save Elephant Foundation is the real star. Read my full review. Q&A with filmmakers at these times and theaters:
- Elmwood: Friday, after 7:15 show and Monday after 3:15 show
- Roxie: Saturday, after the 4:45 show
- Rafael: Sunday, after 4:15 show (the only Rafael screening)
International Science Fiction & Fantasy Animation, Roxie, Sunday, 6:45
16mm. Six short animated science fiction and fantasy films, from the likes of George Pal, Winsor McCay, and Max Fleischer, made from 1908 to 1967.
Greta Garbo Rarities, Pacific Film Archive, Wednesday, 3:00
Jon Wengström of the Svenska Filminstitutet celebrate the great movie star with surviving clips from otherwise lost films (both from her Swedish and American periods), along with newsreels, commercials, and even a 1948 screentest that was intended to restart her career (it failed). Stephen Horne will provide piano accompaniment.
A Valley Girl, Roxie, Friday, 7:00
Intended by investors to be just another teenage sexploitation comedy, writers Wayne Crawford and Andrew Lane and director Martha Coolidge turned Valley Girl into a semi-classic, very funny update of Romeo and Juliette. It stars Nicolas Cage in his first major role (before he got weird) and makes some of the best use of rock ‘n’ roll ever in a movie that isn’t about music.
B A Fistful of Dollars, Castro, Tuesday
Sergio Leone’s second film, and first western, is a blatant, almost scene by scene rip-off of Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. A lone gunfighter, incredibly talented at killing, wanders into a small town torn apart between rival gangs. Disgusted by their behavior, the gunfighter offers his services to one gang and then the other, playing them against each other. Dollars provides reasonable entertainment, mixing action, suspense, and comedy, even if it doesn’t stand up to the original. On a Clint Eastwood double bill with Dirty Harry.