Beat the Buzz: Five Oscar Alternatives


The Oscars are this Sunday. We won't bore you with our predictions–some of the movies nominated will, invariably, win. If you care about these sorts of things, we heartily recommend The Roxie's annual Oscars get together, but do come stocked: After those first hors d'oeuvres get passed around it's a free-for-all! If you're in the mood to catch up on the nominated films, trek out to Balboa Theatre's Oscar triple feature, otherwise get weird and stay that way with this weekend's picks:

Stop & Go 3-D

For its third installment, the animation showcase Stop & Go, curated by local animator Sara Klein, moves beyond traditional animation and into a new dimension, presenting shorts that tamper with perception and explore the possibility of space outside the frame. Four of the films presented do the heavy lifting with a charmingly traditional method: Classic red-and-blue 3D glasses. Don't worry if you left yours at your parents' house–they'll give them out at the venue! Plays at Artist Television Access, 992 Valencia St, on Friday.

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga

"You can take anything away from a man… his health, his welfare… but you can't take away his craftsman skills." The notion of craft is central to Happy People, a document of the vicissitudes of one season in remote Siberia, both behind and in front of the camera. Herzog's essentially ethnographic doc, which he actually completed in 2010 before his most recent release On Death Row, spends a great deal of time with trappers in the far north of the snowbound land, cataloging, with insight and sensitivity, their methods, means, and, perhaps most heartwarmingly, love for their dogs and pups. Plays at Opera Plaza Cinema, 601 Van Ness Ave, starting Friday.

Expanded Cinema and Intermedia: Films by Terayama, Matsumoto and Miyai

Yerba Buena screens three experimental Japanese shorts united by their use of then-burgeoning techniques exploring multiple project in theatre, as part of the ongoing series Fragments of Japanese Underground Cinema. Tonight's highlight is controversial Shuji Terayama's Emperor Tomato Ketchup, a prime example of the type of filmmaking engendered by the Art Theatre Guild, an independent film company which spawned not only the careers of numerous avant-garde directors, but expanded Japanese cinema into regions unknown. Even more than 40 years removed, these films are still radical in their ability to shock, transgress and innovate. Check out a sample of Terayama's out-there oeuvre below (NSFW!). Plays at YBCA Screening Room, 701 Mission St, tonight.

The Gatekeepers

Israeli cinematographer Droh Moreh interviews six former heads of the Israeli intelligence agency, Shin Bet in this candid doc. While providing rare insight into progress of peace in the region, each share tense histories that ultimately reveal doubts about Israel's hard-line political approach. Anyone still suffering ideological frustrations from the tight-lipped procedural stonewalling of Ra'anan Alexandrowicz's recent investigation into the Israeli justice system, The Law In These Parts, will likely find themselves more than consoled by this Oscar-nominated doc. Plays at Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Center, starting Friday.

The Love-Ins

In the mid-60s all the straights were wondering who these "hippies" were. What were they really about? What was their game plan? What did it mean to "tune in"? Always loath to produce a straight answer, Hollywood gave the public the ur-hippysploitation acid parable The Love-Ins, a Leary-inspired romp which features both copious psychedelics and appearances by psychedelic musical acts from the time. If they didn't like it, tough. As one establishment type says in the flick: "My advice to you is to go back to San Francisco, and move in with those other animals on Haight Street!" Shows alongside the light-hearted alien valentine The Love War. Plays at The Vortex Room tonight.

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