Close the laptop, drop that tablet, pause the smartphone and join your fellow humans in Bay Area theaters this week with recommendations from our film critic Michael Fox.
Various theaters in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland and San Jose
Sept. 16 - Oct. 1
The great thing about identity-oriented and geography-specific film festivals is that they present a whole lot of movies that would not play the Bay Area otherwise. The downside, though, is you may not feel invited and included if you’re not part of the “target” audience.
Here’s a mantra to get past that small mental block: They're just movies, people. So check out some of the vibrant offerings at the eighth San Francisco Latino Film Festival.
John Leguizamo plays an inmate in a Colombian prison who bonds with a dog in Perros, while the Tijuana music scene provides a piquant backdrop for Jose Paredes’ romantic triangle Amir. Plenty of local filmmakers are represented, including Zuzy Martin Lynch and Rick Lynch’s charmingly candid investigation of Cuban-American longing and assimilation, Craving Cuba.
Gray Area/Grand Theater, San Francisco
Sept. 16 - Dec. 7
The hype is building for virtual reality, which purportedly offers a more visceral viewing experience. Perhaps we’re all sensation junkies, or maybe there’s something to be said for a more active mode of movie-going. Live cinema, or performance cinema, as it’s alternatively known, aspires to disrupt -- nay, demolish -- the cool, distanced act of showing and watching movies. By messing with (forgive my propensity for technical jargon) the machinery, the materials, images and time, the artist devises a unique show that inevitably conjures the risk and excitement we associate with live performance.
SF Cinematheque’s astonishingly ambitious Perpetual Motion program brings a dazzling array of artists from as far away as Scandinavia and Australia for seven programs at Gray Area’s Grand Theater in the Mission. See/hear what all the buzz is about.
There’s too much happening this week to fit into two paragraphs. The Legacy Film Festival on Aging spotlights inspiring depictions of Third and Fourth Age living. The sixth edition takes place Sept. 16-18 at the New People Cinema in Japantown.
The New Parkway, always a big supporter of local filmmakers, presents Oakland Week Sept. 16-22. Hometown masterworks Fruitvale Station and The Waiting Room alternate with Breathin’: The Eddy Zheng Story and other 2016 titles.
And local Oscar-nominated doc maker Jason Cohen opens his new feature, Silicon Cowboys, at the Roxie on Sept. 16. Truly, you don’t have to be a techie to like it.