Thursday, February 02, 2012

Film Weekend:
Bresson, 'Domain', 'MASH' & 'Shoah'

There's a wealth of choices for the adventuresome film lovers of the Bay Area this weekend and I hope to catch three of the offerings.

First up, the San Francisco Film Society Cinema premieres a terrific new film from France, "Domain", for a week-long run starting on Friday. First-time director Patric Chiha cast the moody and ferocious actress Beatrice Dalle as a mathematician in her forties sliding deeper into alcoholism, and she commands every scene she's in.

We follow Dalle and her gay 17-year-old nephew taking long walks through cruising areas in public parks, and the nephew's homosexuality is not a "problem" subplot. He's out at school and all of his family, and eventually accepts the attentions and affections of a handsome suitor.

Catch the film John Waters called his favorite of last year. Click here for ticket info and showtimes.

Next up, the Berkeley-based Pacific Film Archive's retrospective of Robert Bresson movies continues on Friday with a rare screening of his look at alienated French youths in "The Devil Probably". This is one Bresson film I've not seen and the program notes offer this description to entice viewers: "This has been called Bresson’s most cynical film. It certainly offers his most fashionably cynical protagonist, Charles, a young Parisian whose suicidal despair is vaguely linked to, but not entirely explained by, all the ecological, political, and social disasters of the modern world circa 1977."

I can't wait to brush up on my Bresson. Go here for programs notes and ticket information. It screens only at 7 PM.

The annual wide-ranging comedic SF Sketchfest kicks off this weekend and on Saturday the Castro Theater is where "MASH" plays at 5 PM and stars Elliott Gould and Sally Kellerman, along with Robert Altman's widow Kathryn, will be on hand. Let's hope the event's producers were able to secure a good print. The last time I saw the film, the print was washed out with a few snaps on the soundtrack distracting the ear from the funny dialogue.

Details on all SF Sketchfest shows can be found here.

The last film to promote this weekend is Claude Lanzmann's monumental 9-plus-hours Holocaust documentary "Shoah", being shown in a marathon screening the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco on Sunday starting at noon. Talk about alternative programing to the Super Bore football game. This is it.

The Yerba Buena Arts Center showed it a year ago over a weekend in two parts, and I caught the first section but developed a case of the flu overnight and missed the second half so I'm looking forward to finally seeing all of "Shoah".

Director Lanzmann pays San Francisco a visit, and appears at the JCC on February 28 to discuss the film and his new book "The Pantagonian Hare". Information on both the screening and lecture are located here.

See you at the movies!

1 comment:

DavidEhrenstein said...

There's so much gayness in Bresson it scarcely qualifiesa as a "subtext." Pickpoket is wildly gay, and for me A Man Escaped was what Brokeback Mountain was for others.

It should also be pointed out that Bresson -- drop-dead gorgeous well into his 90s -- was a "gigolo" in his youth. Consequently Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne is an apologiua pro vita sua. When his star Maria Casares found out about his past she pegged him as a gay man she could wrap around her little finger. She was wrong about the wrapping part. Because of her importuning Bresson decreed that he would never hire professional actors again.

As is obvious from the non-pros he hired (particularl in Au Hasard Balthazar and Le Diable Probablement) he had a taste for "rough trade."