Past Forward

For its 40th year, the San Francisco International Film Festival boldly goes where it has gone before

6:45 p.m. (at the CASTRO)
Genealogies of a Crime
(France, 1996)

"A teasingly postmodern puzzle," says the fest of this Raoul Ruiz work starring Catherine Deneuve (in a double role) and Michel Piccoli.

7 p.m.
Love Serenade
See commentary under Tuesday, April 29.

7 p.m. (at the PFA)
La Rencontre
See commentary under Saturday, April 26.

7:15 p.m.
Mother and Son
(Russia/Germany, 1997)

"A masterpiece ... a movie of incredible stillness," writes J. Hoberman of the Village Voice of this drama about a dying woman attended by her son.

9 p.m.
Throne of Blood
(Japan, 1957)

The Kurosawa epic, selected by director Carroll Ballard for the fest's "Indelible Images" series.

9:15 p.m.
Level Five
See commentary under Friday, April 25.

9:30 p.m.
Salvatore Giuliano
(Italy, 1962)
See sidebar, "The Subject Is Rosi."

9:30 p.m. (at the PFA)
Believe Me
See commentary under Friday, April 25.

9:45 p.m. (at the CASTRO)
* Shadows
(U.S.A., 1959)

This was John Cassavetes' favorite Cassavetes movie. You don't have to be interested in Cassavetes, or improvisation, or the roots of the New York film style that flowered with Martin Scorsese to find Shadows funny and moving. You just have to be open to a jumpy, hip, mood-swinging form of dramatic poetry influenced in equal measure by New York acting classes and jazz. Concocting a plot that fit his multiracial group of actors, and coaxing them to summon the thoughts and feelings of art-minded New Yorkers (circa '57), Cassavetes captured the meaning of the words "identity crisis." The film's relative looseness about racial labeling makes the moments when race becomes an issue all the more powerful. The title doesn't refer only to the ability of Lelia Goldoni and a brother to pass for white. It also refers to characters living in the shadows of people they hope or fear they might become. The actors fill the movie with nervy, prickly textures. Goldoni has the face of a sometimes ravaged, sometimes aroused cherub. Rupert Crosse is wonderful as the agent/manager of a down-on-his-luck musician -- he's like a captain who's just a little anxious about sinking with his ship. (Sragow)

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