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Commentary by Gregg Rickman (greggr1@mindspring.com). Times compiled from information available Tuesday; it's always advisable to call for confirmation. Price given is standard adult admission; discounts often apply for students, seniors, and members.

We're interested in your film or video event. Please send materials at least two weeks in advance to: Film Editor, SF Weekly, 185 Berry, Suite 3800, San Francisco, CA 94107.

ACT ONE/TWO

2128 Center (at Shattuck), Berkeley, (510) 464-5980, www.landmarktheatres.com. $9.25 save as noted. One of this venue's two screens is a "calendar house" for Landmark Theatres. For additional screenings, see our Showtimes page.

WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY: Travellers & Magicians (Khyentse Norbu, Bhutan, 2003); see Ongoing for review 7:15, 9:45 p.m.

FRIDAY THROUGH THURSDAY (Jan. 14-20): The Green Butchers (Anders Thomas Jensen, Denmark, 2003); see Opening for review. Call for times.

ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE

345 Bush (at Polk), 775-7755, www.afsf.com. French-language films shown on projected video. $5 donation.

WEDNESDAY (Jan. 12): François Cluzet and Guillaume Depardieu are Les Apprentis (France, 2000) in Pierre Salvadori's comedy about two layabouts 6 p.m.

AMNESIA

853 Valencia (at 20th Street), 970-0012, www.amnesiathebar.com. $7-10.

SUNDAY (Jan. 16): This "cozy, red-lighted den" hosts the Not So Silent Film Festival featuring silent movies with live jazz accompaniment 9 p.m.

ARTISTS' TELEVISION ACCESS

992 Valencia (at 21st Street), 824-3890, www.atasite.org. $5 save as noted. This venue offers all manner of strange and unusual video and film.

THURSDAY (Jan. 13): A new monthly series, "Cinematastic!," offers "five cool films for just five bucks" with filmmakers present 8 p.m.

FRIDAY (Jan. 14): Organizing the Unemployed analyzes Chile's Piquetero Movement; it screens with footage of anti-Bush protests in Santiago and a live report from Chile 7 p.m.

SATURDAY (Jan. 15): A two-day Amnesty International Mini-Film Festival (separate admission for each program) screens The Letter (Ziad Hamzeh, 2003), about the Somali population in a small town in Maine 4 p.m. The Execution of Wanda Jean (Liz Garbus, 2002) 6 p.m. Condor? Axis of Evil (Rodrigo Vazquez, France, 2003), on U.S.-sponsored anti-left terror in the 1970s 8 p.m.

SUNDAY (Jan. 16): Amnesty International -- Repatriation (Kin Dong-won, South Korea, 2003), about the fate of freed North Korean spies 5 p.m. Mojados: Through the Night (Tommy Davis, 2004) follows Mexican immigrants across 120 miles of desert 8 p.m.

BALBOA

3630 Balboa (at 37th Avenue), 221-8484, www.balboamovies.com. $8.50, $10 for Noir City evening shows (regular matinees $6, $7.50 for Noir City, with theater cleared before evening shows, full price needed for readmission). This great neighborhood house, long a good place to catch second-run fare, has converted one of its screens to a repertory theater. See our Showtimes page for what's on the Balboa's other screen.

WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY: Travellers & Magicians (Khyentse Norbu, Bhutan, 2003); see Ongoing for review 12:15, 2:30, 4:45, 7:15, 9:30 p.m.

FRIDAY: The Balboa opens the two-week Noir City series, hosted by local noir expert Eddie Muller and programmed by Anita Monga. There're lots of great rarities on well-planned double bills. See www.noircity.com for more, or turn to Zoom Lens on Page 39. Today, amnesiac vet John Hodiak seeks his identity Somewhere in the Night (Joseph Mankiewicz, 1946; 1, 4:40, 9 p.m.) while Farley Granger runs down the wrong Side Street (Anthony Mann, 1950; 3, 7 p.m.) in a minor entry from one of the greatest noir directors.

SATURDAY: Noir City -- Fantastic dialogue and great photography spark two classics, Sweet Smell of Success (Alexander Mackendrick, 1957; 12:15, 4:15, 9:20 p.m.; scripted by Clifford Odets and shot by James Wong Howe), and Sunset Blvd. (Billy Wilder, 1950; 2:10, 7 p.m.; co-authored by Wilder and photographed by John F. Seitz).

SUNDAY: Noir City -- William Daniels (Greed) photographed Naked City (Jules Dassin, 1948; 1, 4:30, 9 p.m.) on Manhattan locations, one of the first noirs to be shot outside of the studio. The Balboa scores a real coup with a rare screening of Joseph Losey's striking remake of the German classic M (1951; 2:50, 7 p.m.), shot by Ernest Laszlo in downtown L.A. instead of Berlin.

MONDAY: Noir City -- Doomed John Garfield's last film, He Ran All the Way (John Berry, 1951; 1:30, 4:40, 9 p.m.) screens with a great L.A.-based policier, He Walked by Night (1949; 3:05, 7 p.m.), credited to director Alfred Werker but mostly helmed by Anthony Mann.

TUESDAY: Noir City -- Noir turns into blanc, city streets to snow, in Nicholas Ray's beautiful On Dangerous Ground (1952; noon, 3:10, 8:50 p.m.), screening with Act of Violence (Fred Zinnemann, 1949; 1:35, 4:40, 7 p.m.). Both star noir icon Robert Ryan ("Why do you punks make me do it?").

CASTRO

429 Castro (near Market), 621-6120, www.castrotheatresf.com; www.goethe.de/sanfrancisco for the Berlin & Beyond series. $8 for regular screenings, $9 for Berlin & Beyond save as noted. Short-run rep in a spectacular 1922 Greco-Roman-themed palace designed by Timothy L. Pflueger. Evening intermissions feature David Hegarty or Bill McCoy on the Mighty Wurlitzer.

WEDNESDAY: The 10th Berlin & Beyond festival of German-language films continues with Kroko (Enders) 1 p.m. Artist Dieter Roth (Jud) is profiled 3:30 p.m. J. S. Bach, personified in Jagged Harmonies (de Rivaz, Switzerland) 7 p.m. Soundless (Yapo) 9 p.m.

THURSDAY: Berlin & Beyond -- Marseille (Schanelec) 1 p.m. The festival's 2003 audience favorite, Grill Point (Dresen), returns 3 p.m. A Bruno Ganz tribute screens Reinhard Hauff's excellent Knife in the Head (1978) 5 p.m. A Closing Night program screens the hit soccer saga The Miracle of Bern (Wortmann), followed by the Closing Night Party. $15 7:30 p.m.

FRIDAY: A weeklong "Dystopia" series screens films about our miserable future, opening with Volker Schlondorff's overly literal version of Margaret Atwood's feminist nightmare The Handmaid's Tale (1990) 7, 9:30 p.m.

SATURDAY: "Dystopia" -- Philip Kaufman's S.F.-set, est-era remake of the 1950s pod people classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) 2, 4:30, 7, 9:30 p.m.

SUNDAY: "Dystopia" -- Woody Allen's 1973 spoof Sleeper projects his neurotic persona 200 years into the future in one of his funniest early films. Its white-on-white design is a neat parody of George Lucas' THX-1138 (screening next Thursday) 1, 3, 5, 7, 9:15 p.m.

MONDAY: "Dystopia" -- David Cronenberg's flesh-made-machine nightmare Videodrome (Canada, 1983) 7, 9:15 p.m.

TUESDAY: "Dystopia" -- François Truffaut's lyrical adaptation of Ray Bradbury's book-burning parable Fahrenheit 451 (U.K., 1966), ironically screening the year of Michael Moore's sound-alike anti-Bush film and Ray Bradbury's receipt of a Medal of Arts from the self-same president 7, 9:30 p.m.

FOREIGN CINEMA

2534 Mission (between 21st and 22nd streets), 648-7600, www.foreigncinema.com. Free with meal. This restaurant screens foreign films, usually in 35mm, on the back wall of its outdoor patio, with drive-in speakers available for the tables of those who want to watch while they dine.

WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY: Zhang Yimou's visually stunning Hero (China, 2002) 6:15, 8, 9:45 p.m.

MONDAY: Closed.

STARTS TUESDAY: Wolfgang Petersen's U-boat classic Das Boot (Germany, 1981) screens through Feb. 6 6:15, 8:45 p.m.

LARK

549 Magnolia (at Post), Larkspur, 924-5111, www.larktheater.net. This single-screen art deco theater has reopened with a policy mixing new and repertory programming. $8.

DAILY: Gael García Bernal and Rodrigo de la Serna are the Venture Brothers on bikes as Che Guevara and friend in The Motorcycle Diaries (Walter Salles, Brazil, 2003). See Ongoing for review 7 p.m.; also Wed, Thurs, Mon, & Tues 4:30 p.m.; Fri 9:30 p.m.; Sat 4:30, 9:30 p.m.; Sun 2, 4:30 p.m.

LUMIERE

1572 California (at Polk), 352-0810, www.landmarktheatres.com. This multiplex is only partly a "calendar house" rep theater; for the rest of the Lumiere schedule, see our Showtimes page. $9.50.

WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY: Straight-Jacket (Richard Day, 2004). See Ongoing for review 4:30, 7, 9:10 p.m.

STARTS FRIDAY: The Japanese anime Appleseed (Shinji Aramaki, Japan, 2004); see Opening for review. Call for times.

MECHANICS' INSTITUTE LIBRARY

57 Post (near Market), 393-0100 and www.milibrary.org for information; phone or e-mail rsvp@milibrary.org for reservations. $7. This cultural asset of long standing continues a documentary film series. Shown on projected video, with salon-style discussions to follow.

FRIDAY (Jan. 14): SF Weekly contributor Michael Fox's four-week series on "The Contemporary Documentary: Cultural Icons" continues with Maximilian Schell's search for an elusive Marlene (Germany, 1984) 6:30 p.m.

OPERA PLAZA

601 Van Ness (at Golden Gate), 352-0810, www.landmarktheatres.com. This multiplex is only partly a "calendar house" rep theater. For the rest of the Opera Plaza's schedule, see our Showtimes page. $8.75.

FRIDAY THROUGH THURSDAY (Jan. 14-20): The Green Butchers (Anders Thomas Jensen, Denmark, 2003); see Opening for review. Call for times.

PACIFIC FILM ARCHIVE

2575 Bancroft (at Bowditch), Berkeley, (510) 642-1124, www.bampfa.berkeley.edu. $8, second show $2. The East Bay mecca for film scholars, part of UC Berkeley's Art Museum, reopens this week at its on-campus location, up the steps on Bancroft between Telegraph Avenue and the Hearst Gym.

WEDNESDAY: Closed.

THURSDAY: "The Whole Equation," a series promoting historian David Thomson's new book of the same name, opens with Thomson introducing Elia Kazan's glazed adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's ode to an Irving Thalberg-like producer, The Last Tycoon (1976) 7:30 p.m.

FRIDAY: "The Whole Equation" -- Thomson introduces Josef von Sternberg's splendidly entertaining Chinese melodrama Shanghai Express (1932; 7:30 p.m.) and Howard Hawks' airborne epic Only Angels Have Wings (1939; 9:05 p.m.), two Golden Age products set in foreign countries that are nevertheless 100 percent Hollywood.

SATURDAY: "The Whole Equation" juxtaposes Jean-Luc Godard's French New Wave pop explosion Pierrot le Fou (France, 1965; 6:30 p.m.) -- among other things a loose commentary on Hollywood by cinema's greatest autodidact -- and Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980; 8:40 p.m. ), with Jack Nicholson a writer terrified of the great blank page.

SUNDAY: The seventh annual High School Film and Video Festival screens shorts by Northern California teens 12:30, 3 p.m. "The Whole Equation" -- Two of the greatest screwball comedies, My Man Godfrey (Gregory LaCava, 1936; 5:30 p.m.) and Sullivan's Travels (Preston Sturges, 1941; 7:25 p.m.), a film openly about Hollywood.

MONDAY: Closed.

TUESDAY: "JPEX," a series of Japanese experimental films, opens with "Sex Underground," a program of shorts including film scholar Donald Richie's Dead Youth (1957) and famed director Shuji Terayama's An Introduction to Cinema for Boys and Young Men (1974) 7:30 p.m.

PARKWAY

1834 Park (at Lake Merritt), Oakland, (510) 814-2400, www.picturepubpizza.com. $5 save as noted. Pizza, beer, and movies on two screens. Call theater for programs, booked a week in advance. The Parkway also offers occasional scheduled special programs.

THURSDAY (Jan. 13): A "Thrillville" screening of the Ray Harryhausen special-effects classic Jason and the Argonauts (Don Chaffey, U.K., 1963). $7 9:15 p.m.

TUESDAY (Jan. 18): A new monthly "Audience Appreciation" series screens Terry Gilliam's adventurous Time Bandits (U.K., 1981) as its first offering 9:15 p.m.

MIDNIGHT SHOW (Saturday): The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Jim Sharman, 1975), with live performance by Barely Legal. $6. See Ongoing for review.

RAFAEL FILM CENTER

1118 Fourth St. (at A Street), San Rafael, 454-1222, www.cafilm.org. $9 save as noted. This three-screen repertory theater, now officially the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center, is operated by the California Film Institute. Programs are complex; check carefully and call for confirmation.

WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY: Kinsey (Bill Condon, 2004) 9 p.m.; also Thurs 6:40 p.m. Travellers & Magicians (Khyentse Norbu, Bhutan, 2003) 6:30, 8:50 p.m. Short Cut to Nirvana (Maurizio Benazzo and Nick Day, 2004) 6:50, 8:40 p.m. See Ongoing for reviews.

WEDNESDAY: Maria Full of Grace (Joshua Marston, U.S./Colombia, 2004), with its star, Catalina Sandino Moreno, in person screens for CFI members only 7 p.m.

FRIDAY THROUGH TUESDAY: Kinsey, Travellers & Magicians, and Shortcut to Nirvana continue. Call for times.

RED VIC

1727 Haight (at Cole), 668-3994, www.redvicmoviehouse.com. $7. There's a spot on the couch for you at this collectively owned rep house.

WEDNESDAY: The comic duo The Yes Men (Chris Smith, Dan Ollman, Sarah Price, 2004) pull pranks on industry and the media -- since this film came out they killed a few more careers at the BBC 2, 7:15, 9:15 p.m.

THURSDAY: Future gubernatorial candidate Rob Reiner practices for succeeding Arnold in 2010 by knocking down a few rock legends in This Is Spinal Tap (1984) 7:15, 9:15 p.m.

FRIDAY & SATURDAY: West Coast music stars Anton Newcombe and Courtney Taylor go from friends to feud in Dig! (Omar Timoner, 2004) 7, 9:30 p.m.; also Sat 2, 4:20 p.m.

SUNDAY: What is truth? Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon (Japan, 1951) offers more than one answer 2, 4, 7:15, 9:15 p.m.

MONDAY: Kurosawa's comic samurai saga Sanjuro (Japan, 1962) sets rogue samurai Toshiro Mifune loose amid courtly corruption. Highly recommended 7:15, 9:25 p.m.

TUESDAY & WEDNESDAY (Jan. 18 & 19): What the Tarnation (Jonathan Caouette, 2004)?!? 7:15, 9:15 p.m.; also Wed 2 p.m.

ROXIE

3117 and 3125 16th St. (at Valencia), 863-1087 and www.roxie.com. $8. Short-run repertory on two screens, separated by a bar, in one of the most adventurously programmed theaters in the USA.

WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY: Bear Cub (Luis Miguel Albaladejo, Spain, 2004) 7 p.m. Tarnation (Jonathan Caouette, 2004) 8:45 p.m. Also, fear meets Freud in The Century of the Self (Adam Curtis, U.K., 2002) Parts 1 & 2 ($8) 7 p.m.; also Wed 2 p.m. Parts 3 & 4 ($4) 9:10 p.m.; also Wed 4:10 p.m. See Ongoing for reviews.

FRIDAY THROUGH THURSDAY (Jan. 14-20): Alexandra's Project (Rolf de Heer, Australia, 2003); see Opening for review 7, 9:15 p.m.; also Sat, Sun, & Wed 2, 4:30 p.m. Call theater for second program.

SAN FRANCISCO MUSEUM OF MODERN ART

Koret Visitor Education Center, 151 Third St. (between Mission and Howard), 357-4000, www.sfmoma.org. Screenings are free with museum admission of $10.

DAILY (closed Wednesday): "Glamour in Context," a program of short films, screens through Jan. 17 Thurs & Fri 2:30 p.m.; Sat & Sun 1 p.m.; Mon 2:30 p.m. "Roy Lichtenstein in Context" Thurs 4, 7:30 p.m.; Fri 4 p.m.; Sat & Sun 3 p.m.; Mon 4 p.m.; Tues 2:30 p.m.

SATURDAY (Jan. 15): A program of the videos of Mary Lucier presents an hourlong screening of her works from "The 1990s and Beyond: Figure and Ground" every Saturday this month 4 p.m.

STANFORD

221 University (at Emerson), Palo Alto, (650) 324-3700, www.stanfordtheatre.org. $6. This handsomely restored neighborhood palace usually (but not always) screens pre-1960 Hollywood fare in the best available prints, with excellent projection. A winter season of Fred Astaire musicals continues. Closed Monday through Thursday.

FRIDAY THROUGH SUNDAY: Astaire is teamed with Red Skelton as songwriters Burt Kalmar and Harry Ruby in Three Little Words (Richard Thorpe, 1950; 7:30 p.m.; also Sat & Sun 4 p.m.), but unfortunately none of the team's novelty songs for Groucho Marx was used. Fred's partner Vera Ellen is also co-starred in The Belle of New York (Charles Walters, 1952; 5:55, 9:25 p.m.), one of Astaire's most enjoyable and underrated films.

VICTORIA THEATRE

2961 16th St. (at Mission), 863-7576, www.victoriatheatre.org. This venerable old house frequently rents itself out for special screenings.

FRIDAY & SATURDAY: The 2004 edition of Spike & Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation has been held over through January. That's just sick! $9 7:30, 9:30 p.m., midnight.

YERBA BUENA CENTER FOR THE ARTS

701 Mission (at Third Street, in Yerba Buena Gardens), 978-2787, www.YerbaBuenaArts.org. $7 save as noted. This venue's Screening Room is a home for film and video programs of all sorts.

FRIDAY (Jan. 14): Three films by Arkansas "folk art filmmaker" Phil Chambliss include The Devil's Helper ("two men that cut a deal with the devil for expanded deer hunting privileges"), The Pastor and the Hobo, and the semitimely Pink Christmas. $8 7:30 p.m.

FILM NOTES

The Independent Film Channel's movie trivia game "The Ultimate Film Fanatic Challenge" offers buffs a real-time chance at prizes and humiliation, this week at Moby Dick, 4049 18th St., S.F., Wednesday and Thursday, 7-11 p.m. Contact www.ifctv.com or call (212) 563-7656 for more information.

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