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David Cronenberg & A Plant-Based Diet

This week’s special screenings include the French film remade as Scarlet Street, a documentary portrait of a man who creates music from scrap metal, and a classic David Cronenberg psychological thriller. Future David Cronenberg films to be screened by the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in the next couple of months include the J.G. Ballard adaptation Crash, the body horror remake of The Fly, and the recent Maps to the Stars.

La Chienne

Jean Renoir’s first sync sound film tells the tale of an unhappily married bank clerk (Michel Simon) whose passion for painting gets supplanted by his obsession for a prostitute (Janie Mareze). Unsurprisingly, the prostitute scams the bank clerk. Veteran filmgoers may recognize the plot from Fritz Lang’s remake Scarlet Street. However, Renoir’s original offers both a caustic portrait of French society and a lead character who’s remorseless.

Screens July 18 at the Pacific Film Archive

Dead Ringers

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ David Cronenberg film series continues with this tale of identical twin gynecologists (both played by Jeremy Irons) whose intense emotional bond lead them to share the same practice, the same apartment, and the same woman. Confusion, drugs, and worse follow after a new patient questions the brothers’ relationship.

Plays July 16 and 19 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Heart Beat Ear Drum: A Film About Z’EV

In conjunction with Z’EV’s performance at The Lab on July 18, the Roxie screens this documentary portrait of an artist and musician who achieved notice for his punk era scrap metal musical performances. Rather than taking a chronological look from the 1970s onwards at her subject, director Ellen Zweig chooses to approach a recounting of Z’EV’s career by following various themes and interests that emerged in Z’EV’s life over the years. Tying this cinematic exploration together are generous amounts of performance footage.

Screens July 19 at the Roxie Theater. Both Zweig and Z’EV appear in person at the screening.

The Man On The Flying Trapeze

The Pacific Film Archive’s Laurel & Hardy and W.C. Fields film series concludes with this tale of Ambrose Wolfinger (Fields), a family man oppressed by both his second wife and her lazy relatives. Trouble erupts after he uses a lie about going to his mother-in-law’s funeral to skip work and actually attend a wrestling match. Approach the film as less a plot-heavy tale and more a loosely connected set of sketches, and you’ll be amused.

Plays July 19 at the Pacific Film Archive

Plantpure Nation

Nutrition scientist T. Colin Campbell convinces Kentucky State Representative Tom Riner to propose a pilot program studying the health benefits of a plant-based diet. However, food industry lobbyists manage to scuttle the pilot program. Now oldest Campbell son Nelson decides to try implementing the pilot program in his hometown of Mebane, North Carolina.

Plays July 17 at the Presidio Theatre

The Tales Of Hoffmann

Missed the San Francisco theatrical screening of the digital restoration of this classic Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger film? Here’s a second chance to see this colorful cinematic adaptation of Jacques Offenbach’s famed opera. It’s the story of a poet’s amorous adventures with three different women who break his heart in various ways.

Screens July 19 at the Pacific Film Archive

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.

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