Desert Clich on Film
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' film program, one of the most exciting in town since Joel Shepard moved over from the Cinematheque, scores again with a powerhouse selection of recent Israeli films. Like the current group show at YBC that examines Israeli identity today, these films fracture the warrior Israeli stereotype (to pick one). The opener, Ron Havilio's mammoth personal essay Fragments*Jerusalem (Oct. 10 & 11), beautifully expands the bounds of nonfiction filmmaking. The Palestinian curse of living in limbo gets the poetic treatment in Elia Suleiman's sublime Chronicle of a Disappearance, screening Oct. 18 with Out for Love, Be Back Shortly, Dan Katzir's engross-ing portrait of Israel's unease before and after Rabin's assassination (set against the filmmaker's search for a girlfriend). Michal Aviad's sobering portrait of working-class teen-age girls, Jenny and Jenny, plays with the filmmaker's tepid examination of army reservists, Ever Shot Anyone? (Oct. 25). The lone Bay Area premiere on the schedule, Doron Tsabari and Rino Zror's Underdogs: A War Story (Oct. 28), follows a small-town soccer team's battle to avoid last place -- and banishment from the big leagues. The moving and fresh Saint Clara (Nov. 1) screened last year at the Roxie; its absurdist love story among alienated punk students in a vaguely post-apocalyptic landscape is the perfect cliche-buster.
-- Michael Fox
All "Desert Cliche" screenings are at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is $3-6. See Reps Etc., Page 87, for the current week's schedule, or call 978-2787 for more info.