Posts Tagged ‘Film’

40th anniversary of Altamont concert


1969 was a huge year in the history of the U.S., as the free-love hippie movement soured and turned bad. Sunday marks the 40th anniversary of the the concert at Altamont Speedway in Costra Costa County (map) where the Rolling Stones hired the Hells Angels to protect the stage and they wound up killing some poor bastard as cameras rolled for the film that would become Gimme Shelter.

Wikipedia has some interesting background on the incident, and Rolling Stone has a nearly contemporaneous report, including a detailed narration of what the film shows of the killing. An Oakland Tribune story reminds us that the biker who stabbed the concert-goer was acquitted by a jury, which ruled he acted in self defense.

The Black Rock: The African American Experience on Alcatraz

This Friday night the Red Vic hosts the San Francisco premiere of “The Black Rock”, a new film that explores the largely undocumented history of the African American prisoner experience on Alcatraz. Heralded local filmmaker Kevin Epps has shifted his documentary lens from previous subjects like life in Hunters Point, and the Bay’s Hip Hop underground, to life in SF’s notorious offshore federal lock up.

new Alcatraz film : The Black Rock

new Alcatraz film : The Black Rock

The film, presented in starkly haunting black & white, had it’s first public screening earlier this month in the actual Alcatraz mess hall for 300 lucky guests of Epps and The National Park Service. Now, having been released from it’s island prison exile, it can reach mainland audiences and will run at the Red Vic on Haight St this week through March 5th. The NPS has indicated it will soon use portions of the film in the permanent exhibits and tours of the historic prison.

Fascination with Alcatraz permeates pop culture and the crumbling prison ranks high amongst San Francisco’s most popular tourist attractions, attracting more visitors than the city’s total population each year. Epps’ new film approaches the prison from a very different socio-political angle than the usual Hollywood fare, and pulls together tales that are unique amongst the plethora of prison videos, books and memorabilia that already clutter local gift shops.

For More, Including A Peak At The Trailer, Read On… (more…)

Totally awesome weekend

The number of things to do this weekend is mind-blowing. What shall it be?

Awesome local rockers 20 Minute Loop, whose new album Famous People Marry Famous People is filled with power-pop goodness reminiscent of Letters to Cleo, performs tonight at Bottom of the Hill.

The Porchlight reading series celebrates its 6th anniversary with a show on the Seven Deadly Sins, 8:00 pm at the Swedish American Hall. And tomorrow Ishmael Reed and Mistress Morgana headline Writers with Drinks at 7:30 pm at the Makeout Room.

CineKink, a program of alternative erotic films written up this week by the unsinkable Violet Blue, plays tonight at 7:00 pm at YBCA. And for the less carnally minded, Artists Television Access has The Monastery, about an old guy who buys a castle with the idea that it will some day become a spiritual retreat, and the nuns who take him up on it.

Or just hit the beach. It’s nice and cool out there today.

J-Pop Center Opening This Year in Japantown

J-Pop CenterI’ve been very curious to find out what was going to happen at 1746 Post since it’s been torn apart… and I’ve discovered quite some news!

Anime, Manga and overall Japanese culture fans will be ecstatic to hear that Viz Pictures (an offshoot of local Anime and Manga publisher Viz Media) is a partner in building a “J-Pop Center” in Japantown! The Center will include a theatre for showing releases from Viz Pictures, Anime and other Japanese features. Also expected are a branch of the already popular Kinokuniya Bookstore, a cafe and some Japanese clothing shops… a one-stop J-Pop shop!

The website for the Viz Cinema does not show a lot of information at the moment, but it does state that it is slated to open in Winter of this year.

San Francisco Film Festival Ends Soon!

SFIFF51 Miniposter
Just a reminder… the 51st Annual San Francisco Film Festival comes to a close tomorrow, May 8th. Fellow Metblogger Jeremy and I have featured a handful of films here on SF Metblogs, but there are certainly more films to be appreciated!

For your convenience, here is a link to tomorrow’s film lineup. Films at the Kabuki include:

  • Children of the Sun
  • American Teen
  • Secrecy
  • All is Forgiven
  • Glasses (see my entry)
  • Big Man Japan (see Jeremy’s recent entries: 1, 2)
  • Flower in the Pocket
  • The Secret of the Grain
  • The Man from London
  • Shadows in the Palace
  • Umbrella

There are also select films playing at the Clay and Castro Theatres, as well as a couple over at Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley.

For more information on these and SFIFF films, see the the SFIFF website and buy your tickets here!

SFIFF Documentaries: Dust

"Dust" Film Still

Dust is a part of our everyday lives, whether we like it or not. We mostly look at it as a nuisance and a symbol of uncleanliness. What we often forget is what important role dust has had in the creation of our universe and our planet, and the importance of it in everyday life. There is so much more to dust than meets the eye, and we must look past its dingy reputation in order to realize this.

These ideas are explored in the German/Swiss documentary Dust, by director Hartmut Bitomsky. Different circumstances of dust are explored, as well as the people that are affected by, study, and work with dust… some seemingly to the point of obsession. There are some fascinating interludes between the presentation of facts and interviews, including the reality that dust will never go away… it is omnipresent and will always leave a trace.

Dust has its final SFIFF showing tomorrow, May 7th, at 4:15pm. For more information on this and other SFIFF films, see the the SFIFF website and buy your tickets here! The festival ends this Thursday, so catch these films while you can!

SFIFF World Cinema: Glasses

I have never heard the term “Zen Comedy” to describe a film. When I discovered that the Japanese film Glasses (“Megane” in Japanese) is described as this, I was immediately intrigued.

Glasses follows the experience of a four-eyed professor named Taeko (charmingly portrayed by Satomo Kobayashi), who escapes the city life for a seaside getaway at the seemingly innocuous Hamada Inn. The Inn is off the beaten path, and visitors often get lost trying to find their way from the purposefully cryptic maps drawn by the its quirky (and also bespectacled) owner (Ken Mitsuishi).

The charming elder woman of Hamada Inn, Sakura-san (Masako Motai), starts every morning by patiently sitting at Taeko’s bedside till she awakes, and greets her with a smile. She then leads a group of faithfuls through a set of exercises that look like something like a Tai Chi Chicken Dance. Needless to say, all the regulars here are different in their own ways, and it makes Taeko hesitant. Eventually, all at Hamada Inn find that they share more in common than just their eyeglasses.

Glasses is a beautiful film, shot in a beautiful island location. The pace may seem a bit slow, but it brings a sense of calm. The calming backgrounds along with the minimalist soundtrack allows the viewer to be engrossed with the characters and the poignant unspoken lines in between the spoken ones. I believe I now understand what a Zen Comedy is, but feel that you must see this film to understand it yourself.

Glasses plays today at 6pm and again on Thursday, May 8th at 5pm at the Kabuki Theatre. For more information on this and other SFIFF films, see the the SFIFF website and buy your tickets here!

SFIFF: The Yellow Handkerchief

The Yellow Handkerchief

The West Coast premiere of The Yellow Handkerchief takes place tomorrow as a part of the 51st Annual San Francisco International Film Festival. Starring William Hurt and Maria Bello, this film is a soulful tale of love, loss and redemption set along the blue highways of rural Louisiana.

Maria Bello will be presented the Peter J. Owens Award today, an award named after local cultural benefactor and longtime Film Society board member Peter J. Owens. The award honors an actor whose work exemplifies brilliance, independence and integrity. I remember Maria Bello from her days on ER, but more recently, she’s had parts in Thank You For Smoking and World Trade Center. See her complete filmography on IMDB.

The Yellow Handkerchief shows at 7:30pm on Friday at the Castro Theatre, with Maria Bello participating in an on-stage interview and career retrospective at 7pm.

For other SFIFF films, see the the festival’s lineup and buy your tickets here!

Coming Up: San Francisco International Film Festival

SFIFF Last Mistress
Mark your calendars! Later this week, The 51st Annual San Francisco International Film Festival begins!

SFIFF 51 kicks off this Thursday at the Castro Theatre with a showing of the 19th Century period French drama The Last Mistress, a “sophisticated chamber piece that is erotic, funny, cruel and supremely intelligent“. Attendees of opening night will also be treated to a lavish party, complete with live entertainment, food and cocktails. An evening of beauty and indulgence, quite appropriate to kick of this year’s celebration of beautiful films from around the world!

Be sure to check out the festival’s lineup and buy your tickets now before they sell out!

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