Seven Indie Films to Watch This Weekend
Get a sneak peek of seven indie screenings and events in and around San Francisco over the weekend and into the week.
1) The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things
Before JT Leroy's sensational memoir was revealed as a "hoax," shock-film royalty Asia Argento (daughter of Suspiria's Dario) made it into a 2006 movie–a dirty, trashy, evil little movie that critics hated. As we all know, this is the exact formula for a cult classic. Lest time has made you forget, the film stars not only the unhinged Argento as the uber-Courtney Love, but boasts walk-ons by Marilyn Manson, Michael Pitt and Jeremy Renner as a succession of bad dads. JT Leroy (Laura Albert) is scheduled to appear at the midnight screening, with Argento skyping in. Plays Friday at the Clay Theater, 2261 Fillmore Street.
The big gay film fest's 37th year closes in sweet synchronicity with the end of Pride on Sunday. Check out last week's edition of this column for a full festival rundown. Highlights from the remaining weekend include 80s dance period piece Test and Sunday's Fun in Girls Shorts and Fun in Boys Shorts, and Cameroon's first gay flick, Born This Way. Shows around the Bay.
Jason Wise's wine doc, which premiered at last year at Napa Valley Film Fest follows four sommeliers as they study for the exquisitely difficult Master Sommelier exam, which will make them among the less than 200 such qualified sommeliers worldwide. Though the difficulty of the material can make it less than simple to follow, great insights from local wine aficionados and stunning beverage-porn make this one a must-see for anyone who loves the complex libation. Now Playing at Sundance Kabuki Cinema, 1881 Post Street.
Oddball serves up its own mini gay film fest tonight with a bevy of San Francisco-centric short features, including an all drag take on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, Sinderella, glossy golden age doc Gay San Francisco, queen-filled Pride prep doc Flame! San Francisco Drag Queens and porny North Beach strip story The Groping Hand. Plays tonight at Oddball Film + Video
5) The Secret Disco Revolution
Jamie Kastner's glitter-packed chronicle of the disco era attempts to uncover the movement's "secret agenda"–a multi-pronged platform including the liberation of gays and women and the legitimization of African-American artists–through a shimmering textile of period footage, interviews with famous disco faces (and Michael Musto) and po-faced "reenactments." Only semi-serious, It's ultimately less concerned with the revolution than having a good time, which is as it should be–because if you haven't figured out the secret by now, there's probably not much hope for you. Opens Friday at Opera Plaza Cinemas, 601 Van Ness Avenue.
6) Castles in the Sky: Masterful Anime from Studio Ghibli
For those looking to take a break from the grind of Pride (or who just live in the East Bay), PFA continues its retrospective of Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki's company, Studio Ghibli. This Sunday adorable Little Mermaid riff Ponyo screens. Plays Sunday at Pacific Film Archive, 2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley.
7) 20 Feet from Stardom
Morgan Neville's lively doc about the lives of backup singers for famous artists, all of whom you've more than likely heard but probably never noticed, aims to set right some of the accidental wrongs of the industry. In doing so, it brings to light stories that are alternately heartwarming and heartbreaking but always filled with song. Opens Friday at AMC Metreon, 835 Market Street.
Morgan Neville's 20 Feet from Stardom