Mother's Day is peddled as an excuse to not just celebrate matriarchs, but to take them out on the town. Frankly, we'd be thrilled if moms proposed any of this month's ideas, rather than waiting on their offspring to propose plans. So take the initiative, moms, and surprise your brood with your latent affection for adventure.
One of the great disservices we do our mothers is to assume that their rarefied tastes allow no room for lowbrow pleasures. Girls! Guns! Ghosts! The Sensational Films of Shintoho, unspooling May 9-26, 2013 at Yerba Buena Center For the Arts by way of the Udine Far East Film Festival, revisits the low-budget and amusingly creative movies produced by Japan's version of a Poverty Row studio at the end of the 1950s. Who could possibly resist titles such as Flesh Pier, Vampire Bride, Death Row Woman and Revenge of the Pearl Queen? That's right -- nobody. For more information visit ybca.org.
Notwithstanding a plethora of movie stars and prescient themes, film noir still retains a pleasing whiff of the gutter all these years later. But mothers don't scare so easy, kid, and will relish the myriad dark temptations in I Wake Up Dreaming, programmer extraordinaire Elliot Lavine's latest dip into noir's murky depths at the Roxie May 10-23, 2013. Johnny O'Clock and Sweet Smell of Success are the best-known and best-loved titles in this collection, but we suggest taking Mom to the seedy, bottom-rung double bill of Wicked Woman and Pickup (May 17), featuring the now-forgotten Beverly Michaels. For more information visit roxie.com.
San Francisco's preeminent purveyor of Hollywood tinsel and trash, Marc Huestis, celebrates Mother's Day (May 11) the only way he knows how: with Mommie Dearest on the Castro screen. He's aided and abetted in this festive embrace of Joan Crawford at her worst (portrayed by Faye Dunaway at, well, her worst) by Rutanya Alda, who played the maid Carol Ann. If you've always wanted to blurt out, "Mom, I never said you were the worst mother in the world," this is the time and place to do it. For more information visit castrotheatre.com.
The gifted Canadian actress (The Sweet Hereafter) and director (Away From Her) Sarah Polley unpacks a family conundrum in her witty and affectionate first-person documentary, Stories We Tell. Her mother, a vibrant, life-of-the-party type who was also an actress, died when Polley was 11; the filmmaker creatively and effortlessly fills this apparent void in the film. As you'd expect from a movie populated with Canadians, everyone is hyper-articulate, politely discreet, and drolly engaging. A rare experience, Stories We Tell opens Friday, May 17, 2013 at the Embarcadero Center Cinemas in San Francisco and the Shattuck in Berkeley. For more information visit landmarktheatres.com.
Stories We Tell
It's more than a little remarkable that La Belle et la Bête, Jean Cocteau's dreamy screen adaptation of the classic fairy tale, was released in 1946. One has to marvel at the emergence and resurgence of poetry in the wake of world war, collaboration, betrayal and genocide. Or not—simply bask in the moment, savoring the sumptuous black-and-white production and reveling in Philip Glass's immersive score. SF Performances presents three screenings of La Belle et la Bête, accompanied by the Philip Glass Ensemble, on May 23, 24, and 25, 2013 at the Lam Research Theater at YBCA. In addition, the PGE accompanies Koyaanisqatsi at Davies Symphony Hall on May 26, 2013. For more information visit performances.org.