Commentary by Gregg Rickman (firstname.lastname@example.org). Times compiled from information available Tuesday; it's always advisable to call for confirmation. Price given is standard adult admission; discounts often apply for students, seniors, and members.
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345 Bush (at Polk), 775-7755, www.afsf.com. French-language films shown on projected video screen as part of a twice-weekly "Cine-Bistro," complete with meal. $30 general, $25 members on Wednesdays; $25 general, $20 members on Saturdays.
WEDNESDAY (May 15): A Claude Chabrol series continues with Betty (1992), a drama about an unfaithful wife (Marie Trintignant) featuring Stephane Audran 7 p.m.
SATURDAY (May 18): A jealous husband descends into L'Enfer (Chabrol, 1994) 2 p.m.
ARTISTS' TELEVISION ACCESS
992 Valencia (at 21st Street), 824-3890, www.atasite.org. $5 save as noted. This venue offers all manner of strange and unusual video and film.
SATURDAY (May 18): Prolific Chicago-based independent filmmaker James Fotopoulos is introduced to San Francisco audiences with a dark tale of the Midwest's "lingerie modeling underworld," Back Against the Wall (2000), plus three of his 16mm shorts, Growth, Drowning, and The Sun 8:30 p.m.
429 Castro (at Market), 621-6120, www.thecastrotheatre.com. $7 save as noted. Short-run rep in a spectacular 1922 Greco-Roman-themed palace designed by Timothy L. Pflueger. Evening intermissions feature David Hegarty or Bill McCoy on the Mighty Wurlitzer.
DAILY: Bill Weber and David Weissman's documentary The Cockettes (2002) screens through May 30 7, 9:30 p.m.; also Sat, Sun, & Wed 2, 4:30 p.m.
FINE ARTS CINEMA
2451 Shattuck (at Haste), Berkeley, (510) 848-1143, www.fineartscinema.com. $8; $10 for each show of the Cinemutts Festival (Saturday and Sunday). Berkeley's innovatively programmed art house puts on some of the most conceptually daring double bills in town.
WEDNESDAY THROUGH FRIDAY: Jay Rosenblatt and Caveh Zahedi's "Underground Zero" project, a program of films inspired by Sept. 11 7:15 p.m. Kevin Epps' locally made video Straight Outta Hunters Point (2002), in a new, 75-minute cut. Separate admission 9:15 p.m.
SATURDAY: A two-day Cinemutts Festival screens as a benefit for the Berkeley East Bay Humane Society. A very entertaining Rin Tin Tin feature, Clash of the Wolves (Noel Smith, 1925) shows us why Rinty was one of the silent screen's most popular stars. Live musical accompaniment 7:15 p.m. Roddy McDowell, Elizabeth Taylor, and Lassie star in Fred M. Wilcox's Lassie Come Home (1943; 8:30 p.m.).
SUNDAY: Cinemutts -- Mark Lewis' The Wonderful World of Dogs (Australia, 1990), about a disruptive retriever named Fugly, screens with George Kuchar's funny short Mongreloid (1978) 7:15 p.m. Christopher Guest's amusing film Best in Show (2000) mocks dog shows, dog owners, but not the dogs 8:45 p.m.
MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY (May 20-25): Two famous documentaries of directors losing it in the jungle, Hearts of Darkness (Fax Bahr, George Hickenlooper, 1991; 7:15 p.m.), with Francis Coppola in the Philippines filming Apocalypse Now, and Les Blank's Burden of Dreams (1982; 9:05 p.m.). Werner Herzog's reputation has never recovered from his Amazonian tirades seen here as he obsesses over Fitzcarraldo.
2534 Mission (between 21st and 22nd streets), 648-7600, www.foreigncinema.com. Free with meal. This restaurant screens foreign films, usually in 35mm, on the back wall of its outdoor patio, with drive-in speakers available for the tables of those who want to watch while they dine. Closed Mondays.
WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY: Faye Wong is "California Dreaming" in Wong Kar-Wei's very entertaining Chungking Express (Hong Kong, 1994) 8:30, 10:15 p.m.; also Fri & Sat midnight.
MONDAY: Venue closed.
STARTS TUESDAY: Franco Zeffirelli's film of Verdi's opera La Traviata (Italy, 1982), with tenor Placido Domingo and soprano Teresa Stratas, screens through June 2 8:45, 10:30 p.m.; also Fri & Sat midnight.
530 Bush (at Grant), 263-8760. The place to go for German cultural events. $5.
THURSDAY (May 16): German filmmaker Peter Semple's "post-punk musical" Dandy (1988) 7:30 p.m.
ISTITUTO ITALIANO DI CULTURA
425 Washington (at Battery), Suite 200, 788-7142, www.sfiic.org. A free series of recent Italian films screens without subtitles.
TUESDAY (May 21): Nanni Moretti's La stanza del figlio (The Son's Room, 2001) 6:30 p.m.
1572 California (at Polk), 352-0810, www.landmarktheatres.com. This multiplex is only partly a "calendar house" rep theater; for the rest of the Lumiere schedule, see our Showtimes page. $7.50.
WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY: Denis Villeneuve's Maelström (Canada, 2000) 5, 7:20, 9:40 p.m.
FRIDAY THROUGH THURSDAY (May 17-23): Faith Akin's In July (Canada, 2000). See Opening for review 5:10, 7:40, 10 p.m.; also Fri-Sun 12:15, 2:40 p.m.
MECHANICS' INSTITUTE LIBRARY
57 Post (near Market), 393-0100 for reservations and information. $5. This cultural asset of long standing offers a spring/summer "CinemaLit" series of projected video of classics, with salon-style discussions after the films.
FRIDAY (May 17): A "Hollywood Private Eyes" series continues with Jack Smight's Harper (1966), perhaps Tinseltown's first attempt, of many, to re-create the classic noirs of the 1940s with color and younger stars -- here, Paul Newman 6:30 p.m.
NEW COLLEGE CULTURAL CENTER
766 Valencia (at 18th Street), 437-3460. $3-5 donation.
THURSDAY (May 16): An "Activism and Social Change" series offers The Barefoot College, a documentary about a nonformal school for Indian doctors, engineers, and others 7:30 p.m.
PACIFIC FILM ARCHIVE
2575 Bancroft (at Bowditch), Berkeley, (510) 642-1124, www.bampfa.berkeley.edu. $7, second show $1.50. The East Bay mecca for film scholars, part of UC's Berkeley Art Museum, thrives at its on-campus location, up the steps on Bancroft between Telegraph Avenue and the Hearst Gym.
WEDNESDAY: A program of video works by Daniel Reeves includes Obsessive Becoming (1995), on the theme of familial child abuse, and his latest film, Shibboleth (2002) 7:30 p.m.
THURSDAY: A series of restored prints of films by Bengali master Satyajit Ray continues with the excellent compilation film Two Daughters (India, 1961; 7 p.m.), drawn from stories by Rabindranath Tagore. That film's hourlong "lost episode," Monihara (1961) follows -- Two Daughters was initially released in India as Three Daughters, but a daughter got lost for export. Also screening with Monihara is Ray's documentary Rabindranath Tagore (1961), both at 9:15 p.m.