Reel World

Shadows
Make room on the fridge, film buffs, for another repertory calendar: On Aug. 28 Landmark Theaters' Lumiere earmarks the largest of its three theaters for one-week runs of new indie, documentary, and foreign films. The debut lineup veers from genre-bending curiosities (Six String Samurai, Cannibal! The Musical) to highly regarded imports (Western, Shohei Imamura's Cannes-winning The Eel) to revivals (The Young Girls of Rochefort, The Lady From Shanghai).

The traditional rep approach -- a different double bill each day -- surfaces for a week of Columbia film noirs in October. With a schedule drawn from small and midrange distributors, the Lumiere is clearly edging into Roxie, Castro, and Red Vic territory, and Elliot Lavine (who'd been eying a few of the Lumiere's picks for the next Roxie calendar) isn't amused. "We don't like to see our chief competition doing what we do, and Landmark's screen power is definitely going to make it more difficult to compete" for first-run films, Lavine says.

But it's a savvy move for the Lumiere, which is stuck with the smallest screens in town outside of the Opera Plaza and Four Star. Look for the Lumiere calendars to start hitting the streets around Aug. 10.

Tarnished Lady
If you've a taste for the grotesque, mark your calendar for Sept. 24, 25, and 26. That's when Tallulah, a one-man portrayal of the late actress Tallulah Bankhead, returns to Josie's Cabaret and Juice Joint in the Castro. The solo drag show received two hit-and-run performances at Josie's in June, and a painful sampling of the impersonation is on display in George Kuchar's Thespian Tendencies, screening through Aug. 23 in Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' "Screams of Consciousness" video program. Reel World's interest in Tallulah, we must confess, isn't based on an abiding love for Bankhead, who memorably anchored Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat. Rather we're fascinated by what's going through the head of the mysterious aspiring performer under the wig. It's a deep, dark secret -- except to the many members of the Bay Area film community who can't stop snickering -- that Tallulah is actually a San Francisco Chronicle film critic.

By Michael Fox
foxonfilm@aol.com

 
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