1) Trance Cinema Live–An Evening of Ritual and Ecstatic States
Oddball Film + Video once again lives up to its name with this pairing of music and film. The archive presents a series of ethnographic documents of trance rituals used by various cultures around the world (sample activity: Women dance ecstatically while men climb a ladder of knives), matching some shorts with music by Jakarta-based musician and sound designer Iman Fattah. Gamelan fans rejoice! Plays Friday at Oddball Film + Video, 275 Capp St.
Abandoned by their Nazi-aligned parents at the end of World War II, a family of German children set out across a war-ravaged, disjointed landscape with hopes of making it to their grandparents house. The eldest of the group, Lore, tries her best to maintain resolve but finds her morals, and reality, tested when she is forced to entrust their safety to a young Jewish man. It's not hard to imagine the arc of Cate Shortland's lush new feature, but foreknowledge does precious little to diminish its impactful, well-earned plotting, which discreetly echos Elem Klimov's classic Come and See. Starts Friday at Embarcadero Cinemas, 1 Embarcadero Center.
3) Scary Cow 19th Short Film Festival
Ever-inviting Bay Area film collective Scary Cow presents its quarterly showcase of short films made under the supervision and tutelage of their unique filmmaking community. Come check out some movies made in your backyard–you might even show up in one of them! Plays Sunday at Castro Theatre.
4) A Place at the Table
With their new doc, filmmakers Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush have placed themselves in the unenviable position of portraying the human cost of America's ongoing hunger epidemic without making viewers turn away. For the most part, they succeed, augmenting an impassioned but reasonably docile presentation of facts and faces with three accounts, two of children, one of a family, living in conditions now euphemistically called "food insecurity"–the condition of not knowing where their next meal will come from, or if it will come at all. While heartbreaking, it still feels inadequate as a treatment of one of the biggest problems facing our nation today, but it's an eye-opening beginning. Starts Friday at Embarcadero Cinemas, 1 Embarcadero Center.
Who knew the Balboa was already an octogenarian? Despite its advancing age, the Richmond district jewel appeals to the kid in us all with their anniversary celebration this Sunday, hosting a live vaudeville show with a "master magician" and a screening of J. M. Barrie's silent classic Peter Pan, amongst other festivities. Runs Sunday at the Balboa Theatre.