News Column

Bay Area repertory film picks, July 25-28

July 25, 2013


July 25--Japan Film Festival of San Francisco: Held in conjunction with the J-Pop Summit Festival, this projected annual event is the first festival of 100 percent recent Japanese cinema. Anime, sci-fi/fantasy, drama, comedy, horror -- it's all on the table. My favorite title: "Library Wars," in which libraries are targets of a government crackdown on free expression and the rebel Library Force is created to defend them. Shows Aug. 2 and 3 with director Shinsuke Sato in person. Saturday through Aug. 4 at New People Cinema, 1746 Post St., S.F.

Tales of Love: The Enchanted World of Jacques Demy: A dozen magical films from a one-of-a-kind talent, and three films about him by another great filmmaker, Agnes Varda, Demy's wife. Naturally, the marquee film ("Umbrellas of Cherbourg," Aug. 31) is saved for last, but there was much more to Demy than that candy-colored tragic fantasy. Start with Anouk Aimee's iconic portrayal of dancer/prostitute Lola, first in Demy's 1962 debut, "Lola" (7 p.m. Thursday, July 25) and nearly a decade later in 1969's "Model Shop" (Aug. 2). Because it is set in Los Angeles instead of France, and stars Gary Lockwood instead of Demy's first choice, Harrison Ford, as the disillusioned young hunk who falls for Lola, the film is little remembered. But it's amazing how well Demy understands L.A., a town as pretty and empty as Lockwood. "Model Shop" is strangely effective, possibly because it was made by outsiders in a city made of them. Well worth a look. Through Aug. 31 at Pacific Film Archive, 2575 Bancroft Way, Berkeley. (510) 642-1124,

"Viola": The Argentine cinema splashed onto the international arthouse scene in the 2000s, and by all accounts Matias Pineiro's take on Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" -- reframed in present-day Buenos Aires -- shows the revival isn't over yet. Only 65 minutes, it is preceded by a six-minute short film, 2011's "Muta," by the great Lucrecia Martel. Through Sunday at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., S.F. (415) 978-2700.


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