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Film, Reel World

Dark Passage

Dark Passage Derailed by his father's near-fatal heart attack, a young man checks out of his mundane life and into a downtown transient hotel, submerging himself in drugs, bisexual liaisons, and old 8mm home movies. Sounds like an S.F. story…
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Film,

S.F. International Film Festival

The 42nd annual San Francisco International Film Festival runs over 15 days and presents over 100 movies. It's the biggest annual celebration of cinema in this city -- which is saying a lot, given that we seem to have a…
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Film,

Zoom Lens

Junk Food Masashi Yamamoto's Junk Food opens at dawn and ends as the sun rises again the following day. During that 24-hour stretch, the film prowls the mean streets of a Tokyo that feels like a dozen different cities all…
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Calendar, Night&Day

Snake Sisters and Naked Killers

The East Bay stands sadly Chow-less now that the UC Theater has shut down its Thursday night "Festival Hong Kong" movie series due to dwindling attendance. Lucky for us, the intrepid staff of the Bridge Theater, still beaming with the…
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Film,

Second Time Around

Blind Beast One of 1997's great moviegoing pleasures was the Yasuzo Masumura retrospective at the Pacific Film Archive. Masumura's work -- he directed a staggering range of films, from anti-war statements to exploitation -- helped inspire the Japanese New Wave…
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Film,

Zoom Lens

New Asian Cinema Starting the second edition of the New Asian Cinema series on the same day as the Godzilla invasion may be like shooting rubber bands at the big lizard, but then again, the Four Star Theater could be…
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Film,

Week 2 of the 41st S.F. International Film Festival

Animated by Dr. Freud (Various) Jim Trainor's peculiar The Fetishist is clearly the centerpiece of this program of animation for grown-ups, devoting 38 minutes to its deadpan tale of a deeply disturbed adolescent, drawn from an actual 1947 case study.…
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News, Feature

Im Kwon-Taek: Drawing Down the Moon

You've probably never seen an Im Kwon-Taek film. Though his work has occasionally graced the SFIFF's screens over the years and regularly travels the festival circuit, he is virtually unknown outside South Korea. It's almost appropriate that way -- each…
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Film,

Second Time Around

Prodigal Son/Encounter of the Spooky Kind The casting call must have looked something like this: "Extremely ugly actors needed for kung fu film. Bulbous noses and large facial moles a plus." You've never seen a homelier bunch of characters as…
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Film,

Second Time Around

"Walk on the Wild Side: Olivier Assayas" Irma Vep, one of the best films of 1997, may have seemed like it came out of nowhere, so ripe it was with energy, intoxicating ambiguity, and loose-limbed notions about character and story.…
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Film,

Zoom Lens

Fallen Angels "Daddy, daddy/ Speak my language," croons Laurie Anderson on the soundtrack, while one of Fallen Angels' half-dozen lovelorn characters weeps, masturbates, and broods -- the only languages she seems to know. In Wong Kar-Wai's Hong Kong, everyone's in…
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Film,

Zoom Lens

Hero Corey Yuen Kwai, like many longtime Hong Kong directors, has had a preposterously spotty career, from the sublime Fong Sai Yuk to the execrable Mahjong Dragon. His new film, Hero, an attempted big-canvas period classic along the lines of…
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Film,

Zoom Lens

Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist OK, so the guy nails his penis to a 2-by-4, and he's pale and scarred and has a cough that sounds like an effect from an Italian horror movie. But, if…
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Film,

Second Time Around

Shotgun Freeway It's turning out to be the Year of L.A. The two best American movies of 1997, Boogie Nights and L.A. Confidential, both plunge headlong into Los Angeles' mythical, not-so-distant past, and Wim Wenders' fascinating The End of Violence…
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Film,

Second Time Around

Countercurrents: The Films of Yasuzo Masumura Clear your Saturday night schedule for the next few weeks and discover the lost, legendary director Yasuzo Masumura at the PFA. You've probably never heard of him, but he's credited with inspiring Japanese New…
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Film,

Zoom Lens

Angel Dust Japan has more than its share of wild man movie directors, like Shinya Tsukamoto, Takeshi Kitano, Takashi Ishii, Yoichi Sai, Go Riju -- filmmakers who take their crazy ideas and run like hell with them, making berserk, beautiful…
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Film,

Zoom Lens

All's Well, Ends Well 1997 Hong Kong's got a long tradition of special Chinese New Year movie releases, and this is the latest, with no apologies to Shakespeare. The goofy comedy stars Stephen Chaio as a character who pretends to…
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Film,

Second Time Around

Dead Man Ever since the splendid one-two punch of Stranger Than Paradise and Down by Law, director Jim Jarmusch has been looking more and more like a two-hit wonder, making his own weak and witless movies and occasional, admittedly charming,…
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Film,

Reel World

Made in Britain "Anybody can get a film made," Tim Roth proclaimed with a crooked half-smile. "Steal a credit card; break into a Kodak warehouse. But try getting the fucker distributed. That's impossible." Roth lit yet another cigarette. "Distribution is…
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