Cameroon To Chinatown – 2/23/15

World travel links this week’s special film screenings.  Among the places visited are Cameroon’s LGBT community, the mahjong parlors of New York City’s Chinatown, and a Sweden of loneliness and violence.  For those who want to stick to San Francisco’s streets, there’s chaos and comedy galore in a classic Nick Nolte/Eddie Murphy film.

48 Hours

The Mechanics Institute’s Nick Nolte film series concludes with this popular action-comedy directed by Walter Hill.  Rumpled San Francisco cop Jack Cates (Nolte) enlists the help of smooth convict Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy) to track down Hammond’s former partner in crime, the murderous escaped convict Albert Ganz.  However, the duo only have 48 hours to complete their task.

Screens February 27 at the Mechanics’ Institute

Born This Way: Frameline Encore

Shaun Kadlec and Deb Tullmann’s powerful documentary takes viewers into Cameroon’s gay and lesbian underground.  In this country, homosexuality arrests are punished with prison sentences of up to five years.  Fortunately, lawyer Alice Nkom fights these arrests.  Alternatives Cameroun, a gay rights/HIV treatment center, provides the nexus for an intimate LGBT community to form.  Two of these community members are Gertrude, who’s still a Christian despite religious homophobia, and closeted to his family Cedric, who’s already received threats.  Both of these documentary subjects plus co-director Tullmann will appear at the screening.

Screens February 24 at the Roxie Theater


Poster for “The Guitar Mongoloid”

Involuntary/The Guitar Mongoloid

The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts wraps up its Ruben Ostlund film series with a couple of early Ostlund feature films.  Involuntary offers five short stories on the subject of challenging respect for authority.  Each of the protagonists face the challenge of either taking a stand or accept responsiblity for their actions.  The Guitar Mongoloid is less a formal narrative than a series of sketches of a Sweden filled with lonely people and violent oubursts, such as the sight of a 12-year-old belting out punk songs.  Accompanying each feature film will be an Ostlund short film.

Screens February 26 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Still from “I Saw Shoosh”

Molf-e Gand/I Saw Shoosh

The Roxie Theater’s newest Docunight offers a pair of short Iranian documentaries.  Molf-e Gand (Sixth Sense) mixes filmmaker Mahmoud Ramani’s satirically recalled childhood memories with recollections of the sixth sense he displayed during the Iran-Iraq War.  I Saw Shoosh references a poem by noted Persian poet Mehdi Akhavan-Sales.  Bahman Kiarostami’s short film compares the past of the city of Shoosh as a gateway to civilization with its present as a bland impoverished burg.

Screens February 25 at the Roxie Theater

Still from “Your Day is My Night”

Your Day Is My Night

Veteran documentarian Lynn Sachs’ new film is a portrait of Chinese immigrants who live in shift-bed apartments in New York City’s Chinatown.  The need for multiple families to share the same apartment leads to the development of intimate multi-generational communities.  Sachs’ film takes the viewer from Chinatown’s wedding halls to its mahjong parlors.  Along the way, a group of elderly Chinese residents re-create the routines of their daily lives.

Screens February 28 at the Chinese Historical Society of America

About the Author

I'm a film reviewer for the Beyond Chron blog. Agnes Varda and Hirokazu Kore-eda are among my favorite filmmakers. I occasionally break down and watch a good action film...but don't tell anyone.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.