Gabrielle Chanel was, by the evidence presented in director Anne Fontaine’s Coco Before Chanel, a difficult, even unpleasant woman. Rarely does she smile, and even more infrequently might her sentiments be mistaken for tender. She views the men in her early life as means to an end, but why shouldn’t she? They often regard her, in turn, with cold indifference and undisguised condescension.
With Frameline receding into the rearview and the Jewish Film Festival (July 23-Aug. 10) fast approaching, summer remains a busy time for Bay Area cinephiles. As always, here's a list of some of the finest films currently in rotation at a San Francisco indie theater near you.
1. Jules and Jim
Where: Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: July 5-6
The Sonoma International Film Festival kicks off tonight with the Northern California premiere of The Answer Man, a shrewdly amusing drama starring Jeff Daniels (The Lookout, Traitor) as the author of a spiritual self-help book.
The film, which earned critical raves and a Grand Jury Prize nomination at Sundance, marks the feature debut of writer-director John Hindman, who was able to lure Daniels to the project on the strength of his script alone. (At the time, Hindman had no movie deal, much less a budget for big-name talent.) Daniels, whose reclusive writer believes none of his own bestselling psychobabble, heads a talent-rich cast featuring Lauren Graham, Kat Dennings and Juno’s Olivia Thirlby.