Saturday, May 2, 3:30 p.m., Kabuki; Monday, May 4, 1:30 p.m., Kabuki

Fragments * Jerusalem (Israel, 1997)
One of the festival's major events, Ron Havilio's six-hour personal history of the mysterious and mythic Holy City is fascinatingly hallucinatory and frustratingly slippery. A secular Israeli Jew who spent five pivotal childhood years in Paris, the filmmaker pokes and probes for Jerusalem's soul (and, perhaps, his own) by tracing the threads of his family history through old drawings and photographs, newsreel footage, and anecdotes. Havilio's is a search for his roots, rather than an all-encompassing account of the city's evolution from backwater mecca to international battleground. Riveting chronological narratives -- such as his mother's ancestors' 1812 journey from Poland to Jerusalem -- occupy long chunks of the film, but Havilio is too peripatetic and too concerned with the present to surrender completely to linear storytelling. A jigsaw puzzle with some of the pieces omitted, this is a marvelous film in which to get lost -- a meditation, a daydream. Havilio's Jerusalem exists as much in memory as in reality, and as such is timeless, distant, and forever elusive. (Michael Fox)

Screened in two segments -- Cycle 1: Saturday, May 2, noon, PFA; Sunday, May 3, noon, Kabuki; Monday, May 4, 3 p.m., Kabuki. Cycle 2: Saturday, May 2, 3:45 p.m., PFA; Sunday, May 3, 3:30 p.m., Kabuki; Tuesday, May 5, 3 p.m., Kabuki

Green Fish (South Korea, 1997)
For its first half-hour or so, Lee Chang-Dong's Green Fish is a gas, a funny, disarming, intriguing debut feature that looks like the start of a major career. It's a take on an old subgenre -- the young-guy-coming-of-age-in-the-mob story -- and so fresh it doesn't feel quite like anything you've seen before. As our hero settles into his role as a mobster, though, the film settles into something more routine. It's never less than good, and manages to stay surprising with its vividly drawn cast of characters, but doesn't quite keep up the sparkling pace of its opening. Highly recommended, all the same. (Tod Booth)

Saturday, May 2, 9:45 p.m., PFA; Monday, May 4, 3:30 p.m., Kabuki; Wednesday, May 6, 9:15 p.m., Kabuki

In My Father's House & short (Netherlands, 1997)
"A deflowered woman is like yesterday's couscous," an old Moroccan man declares. He adds, speaking for many in his society, "It turns my stomach." In this documentary, renegade Arab filmmaker Fatima Jebli Ouazzani tries to reconnect with a culture, and specifically her father, that rejected her because she dared to go out into the world at age 18. Another telling quote: "A woman leaves home only twice in her life: once to be married and once to be buried." Ouazzani's confrontation with her past is painful to watch, but most extraordinary is a series of increasingly bitter exchanges between her aged, embittered grandparents -- the old man screaming for her to serve him, and she screaming back, "Get stuffed!" (Gary Morris)

Monday, May 4, 9:30 p.m., Kabuki; Tuesday, May 5, 12:45 p.m., Kabuki; Wednesday, May 6, 7 p.m., PFA

Laughing in the Lowlands: Lodewyk Crijns (Holland, Various)
Sparkling comedy isn't what Dutch director Lodewyk Crijns is after: If there's one element linking the three short films in this collection, it's black humor. The Bloody Olive spoofs film noir with a series of over-the-top homicides committed by people with a cartoonish imperviousness to death. Brother's Keeper meets Crumb in The Red Rag, the bleak but often painfully funny tale of two misanthropic middle-aged brothers who bicker constantly with one another and their live-in mother when they're not vying for the attentions of the young woman who shares a house with them. The program closes with the funniest of the three, Throwing Out the Baby, about a junkman named Willem and his mother, whose wretched lives in a squalid Dutch trailer camp change after Willem finds a baby in a box on his daily rounds. Filmed with a fish-eye lens and off-kilter comic sensibility, Baby illustrates the universality of basic pigheaded meanness with poignancy and wit. (Heather Wisner)

Wednesday, April 29, 2 p.m., Kabuki; Tuesday, May 5, 10 p.m., Kabuki

Long Twilight (Hungary, 1997)
"Open air landscapes are the most threatening," Alfred Hitchcock is supposed to have remarked. An elderly professor (longtime Hungarian star Mari Tsrocsik) who decides to walk across some bucolic pastures on a whim finds this out in this mildly disturbing film by Attila Janisch. The bus she gets on is unpleasant, the strangers she encounters baleful, and the hotel she winds up in is out of The Shining. This film gets out and walks several stops short of Stephen King territory, however, based as it is on a story by his milder predecessor, Shirley Jackson -- the horrific nightmares that keep threatening to burst out remain discreetly off-screen, and the film's resolution settles nothing. Tsrocsik, whose rubbery face suggests a blond Harvey Keitel after a night in the rain, does wonders with her underwritten part. (Gregg Rickman)

Wednesday, April 29, 7:15 p.m., Kabuki; Friday, May 1, 2 p.m., Kabuki; Sunday, May 3, 2 p.m., Lark

Modulations (U.S.A., 1997)
The follow-up to last year's cult-hit subculture documentary Synthetic Pleasures, Iara Lee's Modulations bravely takes on the daunting task of telling the history of electronic music in the 20th century, from John Cage's noise experiments to Prodigy's chart-topping techno rock. Much like the music she covers, Modulations is a cut-and-mix job, her camera leapfrogging across the planet -- from Mount Fuji to Detroit to Chicago to Berlin -- to snag interviews with some of the music's major players from the past and present: LTJ Bukem, Robert Moog, Can, DJ Spooky, even S.F.'s own local turntable maestros Invisibl Skratch Piklz. Interspersing the interviews with some Koyaanisqatsi-style shots of urban landscapes, the film has an appropriately ambient, pleasant feel to it. However, while Lee's juggling of history -- moving from Kraftwerk's '70s to Atari Teenage Riot's '90s to John Cage's '40s -- might be intriguing for viewers familiar with the artists, those looking for a straightforward introduction to the so-called "electronica" world might be left with more questions than answers -- and wondering if in the end it's really anything more than, as Moog puts it, "the hot-rodding of the '90s." (Mark Athitakis)

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