If your idea of a good time at the movies requires a three-act narrative consisting of the hook, the conflict, and the climax, followed by a quick resolution, then Amateurs of the Impossible is not for you. Filmmakers Margaret Rorison and Zach Iannnazzi are like painters — or, as Orson Welles suggested, poets with camera lenses for eyes. They reach beyond the presentational to build film-loop elegies, plein air panoplies, and celluloid sonatas that whip up dreams, memories, emotions, and musings. Rorison, co-founder of Baltimore's much-loved roaming experimental film series Sight Unseen, contributes six shorts, including a handmade study of Danish wind power, a collaboration with the Effervescent Dance Collective, a landscape portrait of Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal, and a 16-mm tribute to her grandfather that is saturated by field recordings of oil rigs and fishing lines on the Louisiana bayou. Iannazzi offers three shorts, including a found-footage scrapbook of fading Northern California and a superimposed diptych of home movies that explores "mid-century male bonding and the hubris of hunting culture."
"Amateurs of the Impossible" begins at 7:30 p.m. at Artists Television Access, 992 Valencia St., S.F. $10; 415-824-3890 or sfcinematheque.org. More
Scientists used to consider it balderdash, but the belief that humans can cause earthquakes has recently been validated by a significant increase in tremors occurring in the Central United States. Nearly twice as many quakes, magnitude 3 and up, have happened there in the last six years than in the previous 36 years; in 2014, more strong earthquakes jolted Oklahoma than California. Justin Rubinstein, a U.S. Geological Survey research geophysicist, believes oil and gas extraction is responsible for this. Hydraulic fracturing is part of the problem, but Rubinstein says the top culprit is the injection of wastewater from oil and gas operations into permanent storage areas underground. He believes that human activity of this sort could trigger a magnitude 7 shaker. All agree that San Francisco's expected Big One will be an act of nature, not industry, but anyone earthquake-curious should find Rubinstein's talk ("Yes, Humans Really Are Causing Earthquakes") of interest. The event is part of a USGS series of free lectures for non-experts.
Justin Rubinstein’s lecture, “Yes, Humans Really Are Causing Earthquakes,” is set for 7 p.m. at USGS, Building 3, Rambo Auditorium, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park. Free; online.wr.usgs.gov/calendar.More
20 Yerba Buena Lane, 415-744-5000
San Francisco is the gateway to California wine country and for those who can’t seem to find a designated driver to schlep them up for a round of tastings, the luxurious Press Club converts a day trip to Napa or Sonoma into an evening of liquid bliss.
The camaraderie of the undesired: Invisible to everyone else, pinched, late-blooming Marie (Pauline Acquart) pairs with Anne (Louise Blachère), a heavy girl with a pasty food-court complexion. Cruelly cloddish on dry land, Anne provides their only link to the larger social world through her synchronized-swimming extracurriculars. Complications come at poolside, where the two-girl clique meets Floriane (Adele Haenel), a swimmer whos come through puberty with all the right proportions and whose beauty entrances Marie. Flo wont give it up to her appropriately hot partner, François, after whom Anne ineptly pinesand so a trickle-down chain of exploit-the-weaker is set in motion. The p.o.v. is fixed: Neither object of desire is seen outside of Maries and Annes lives; adult authority is alluded to but never present (the effect is more Massacre at Central High than Peanuts). Completing the convergence of rare young talents is the director, 27-year-old Frenchwoman Céline Sciamma. Her feature debut doesnt quite have the stun of discoverymortified adolescent sexuality is something of a national specialty, after allthough she inexhaustibly endeavors after the indelible image.
July 11-17, 2008