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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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.
FRIDAY (Dec. 20): An "Open Screening" for filmmakers, first come, first screened. $3 8 p.m.
SATURDAY (Dec. 21): New experimental works by local filmmakers, including Martha Colburn, Alfonso Alvarez, Animal Charm, Kerry Laitala, and J.X. Williams; popular new films by Lori Surfer (Celluloid Deviant) and Cheryl Park (Badass); and more 8:30 p.m.
429 Castro (near Market), 621-6120, www.thecastrotheatre.com. $8 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.
WEDNESDAY: The Castro continues a series of Douglas Sirk's 1950s melodramas with All That Heaven Allows (1955), one of Sirk's best films and direct inspiration for the current release Far From Heaven. Jane Wyman is a widow who takes up with hunky gardener Rock Hudson 1, 3, 5:20, 7:30, 9:35 p.m.
THURSDAY: A new, Frameline-hosted series, "Close-Up: Visionaries of Modern Cinema," commences with an evening with Gus Van Sant, with clips from his films and an onstage interview with critic Elvis Mitchell. $12 8 p.m.
FRIDAY THROUGH SUNDAY: "The Silent Picture Show" exposes family audiences to a delightful program of short comedies, including a Felix the Cat cartoon, Charlie Chaplin's debut as the Tramp in Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914), Buster Keaton's casually brilliant The Scarecrow (1920), Harold Lloyd on a skyscraper in Never Weaken (1921), Laurel & Hardy selling Christmas trees door to door in Big Business (1929), and the silent Our Gang comedy Saturday's Lesson (Robert McGowan, 1929). Plus musical guests, including 90-year-old organist Bob Mitchell. $12 Fri & Sat 8 p.m. $10 Sun 1 p.m.
MONDAY: Douglas Sirk's Faulkner adaptation The Tarnished Angels (1957), reuniting three-quarters of the cast of Written on the Wind (Hudson, Stack, Malone) in a black-and-white 'Scope drama of alcohol and self-loathing. Merry Christmas! 7 , 9 p.m.
TUESDAY: The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus' 15th annual "Home for the Holidays" live performance 5, 7, 9 p.m.
FINE ARTS CINEMA
2451 Shattuck (at Haste), Berkeley, (510) 848-1143 and www.fineartscinema.com. $7 save as noted. A winter season continues for this innovatively programmed art house.
WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY: Artist Andy Goldsworthy works with time, Rivers and Tides (Thomas Riedelsheimer, U.K., 2001; 7 p.m.). See Ongoing for review. Also, Mickey Lemle's Ram Dass: Fierce Grace (2001; 8:45 p.m.) follows the guru's recovery from a stroke.
FRIDAY & SATURDAY: Candy Von Dewd and the Girls From Latexsploitia; see The House of Tudor, Page 112, for more 10:30 p.m.
SUNDAY: "Videos of Pascal Le Gras," featuring music by the Fall, Fred Frith, Tom Waits, and others. $6 10:30 p.m.
STARTS MONDAY: Theater closed for the holidays through Jan. 1.
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.
DAILY (closed Mondays): Stéphane Audran serves up Babette's Feast (Gabriel Axel, Denmark, 1987), screening through Dec. 29 6:15, 8, 9:45 p.m.
510 Larkin (at Turk), 820-3907, www.sfindie.com. This "Rock 'n' Roll DJ Bar" offers an "SF IndieFest MicroCinema." All screenings are followed by DJ music at 10 p.m. Free save as noted.
WEDNESDAY (Dec. 18): The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Jim Sharman, 1975) -- it's even better when you drink 8 p.m.
THURSDAY (Dec. 19): A locally made comedy, North Beach 8 p.m.
FRIDAY (Dec. 20): Religion as revealed truth is the subject of Roger Majkowski's family drama Passing Stones 8 p.m.
MONDAY (Dec. 23): A silent series continues with Charlie Chaplin's immortal The Gold Rush (1925) 8 p.m.
TUESDAY (Dec. 24): Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) -- which is set around Christmastime, as careful observers have caught 8 p.m.
Action Theater, Second Floor, 101 Fourth St. (at Mission), 369-6098. Sony hosts screenings of popular anime series from Bandai Entertainment this month. Free.
FRIDAY (Dec. 20): Love Hina -- Christmas Movie screens with The Big O, Series 3 6-9 p.m.
SUNDAY (Dec. 22): Volumes 1 and 2 of the new series Meltylancer, plus Saber Marionette 3 to X, Program 4; Love Hina -- Christmas Movie; and The Big O, Series 3 noon-8 p.m.
601 Van Ness (at Golden Gate), 352-0810, www.landmarktheatres.com. Taking over from the Lumiere this fall season, this multiplex is only partly a "calendar house" rep theater. For the rest of the Opera Plaza's schedule, see our Showtimes page. $8.75.
WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY: Diane Kurys' Children of the Century (France, 2001); see Ongoing for review. Call for times.
STARTS FRIDAY: Nothing's scheduled on calendar until 2003. Call for films and times.
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 tribute to the long collaboration of Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa and star Toshiro Mifune continues with the exciting crime drama High and Low (1963), adapted for Tokyo from a Boston-set thriller by Ed McBain 4:30, 7:15 p.m.
THURSDAY: Kurosawa and Mifune -- Hamlet reworked in a corrupt corporation, The Bad Sleep Well (1960) 4:30, 7:20 p.m.