Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See at Frameline 33 and Beyond


Frameline 33, San Francisco's International LGBT Film Festival, remains in full swing through Sunday, giving Bay Area moviegoers three more days to check out this year's featured selections before the closing-night bash at the Terra Gallery. Elsewhere, a pair of second-run favorites arrives at the Red Vic, while Tetro and Food, Inc. play on at the Embarcadero. As always, here's a list of some of the finest films currently in rotation at an indie theater near you.

1. Born in ’68
Where:The Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., 415-621-6120
When: June 26
Why: Directors Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau, whose comedies Funny Felix and Côte d’Azur were featured selections at Frameline in 2001 and ’05, return once more with this ambitious chronicle of would-be French revolutionaries who, against the backdrop of 1968’s student riots, form a utopian commune. Yet Born in ’68 doesn’t stop with their story, looking to the children of that generation – including two gay sons – who grow up in a new world of AIDS, civil unions, inflamed homophobia and, of course, the Internet.

2. Lion’s Den
Where: Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087

When: June 27

Why: Mysteriously confined to the “lion’s den” – a dismal detention ward for mothers and children – pregnant Julia (Martina Gusman, who also co-produced) finds solace in the arms of Marta (Laura García), who teaches her lover to care for her infant son. In time, Julia’s determination to win freedom for herself and her child becomes the driving force behind this powerfully moving drama, which was nominated for the Golden Palm at Cannes.

3. Tetro
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week

Why: Fans and critics have long awaited a comeback from legendary director Francis Ford Coppola, who will always live to some extent in the shadow of his Godfather trilogy and 1979’s Apocalypse Now. That wait is over: Tetro, his sprawling epic about fathers, sons and the deceptions that bind and divide them, is absorbing, daring and proof that, even now, Coppola’s famous reach does not exceed his creative grasp.

4. Food, Inc.
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835 

When: All Week

Why: Presented with painstaking research and thoughtful, evenhanded commentary from authors and activists including Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and U.C. Berkeley’s Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma), Robert Kenner's Food, Inc. is a dispassionate appeal to common sense for those who would rather understand what they eat than blindly scarf down whatever’s cheapest and quickest. It's also a vital, visually stylish piece of filmmaking that is as informative as it is fascinating, infuriating and, at times, heartbreaking.

5. Hannah Free
Where: The Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., 415-621-6120
When: June 28
Why: Starring Sharon Gless (Cagney & Lacey, Queer as Folk) and adapted from an award-winning play by Claudia Allen, Frameline’s closing-night finale tells the story of a lesbian odd couple growing old together in a nursing home but separated, ultimately, by failing health and wildly divergent approaches to their own sexuality.

6. Sin Nombre
Where:Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: June 26-27
Why: Director Cary Joji Fukunaga’s feature debut, an award-winning hit at this year’s Sundance, follows an unlikely pair of traveling companions – one a delicate young Honduran woman (Paulina Gaytan), the other an erstwhile gang member (Edgar Flores) trying to outrun his brutal past – as they head for the U.S. border, hoping to live the American Dream. What they find is another story altogether, but Fukunaga infuses their journey with moments of breathtaking beauty and haunting, unforgettable violence.

7. Sunshine Cleaning
Where:Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: July 1-2
Why: Crime pays in director Christine Jeffs’ offbeat comedy about a single mom (Amy Adams) and her hopelessly irresponsible sister (Emily Blunt) who look to make a quick buck cleaning up murder scenes. The movie itself is perhaps too sunny for its own good – wringing laughs from grim portraits of human desperation is a tricky business – but Adams and Blunt make the most of their partnership with performances that transcend a dubious premise.

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