Death By Taser & LSD

This upcoming week offers a rare chance to catch a highly-praised avant garde feature film, a portrait of a very influential female sculptor, and a documentary that has already inspired backlash from the makers of the Taser.

88:88 & Hit 2 Pass

For one night only, catch two Canadian avant-garde debut features. Isiah Medina’s 88:88 is a collage of fragmented footage shot on everything from RED cameras to cell phones. It’s a semi-autobiographical portrait of the filmmaker and his friends struggling to make sense of life in the poorer portions of Winnipeg. The title of the film comes from what a digital clock displays after power has been cut (due to unpaid electricity bills) and then suddenly restored.

Kurt Walker’s Hit 2 Pass mixes road movies, semi-concentric visuals, slow speeds, and possibly love of a sort.

Screens on May 27 at the 4-Star Theatre

Eva Hesse

Marcie Begletier’s documentary examines the short life of the sculptor whose work helped establish the post-minimalist movement. Despite dying at age 34 from a brain tumor, Hesse’s decade of work included large scale sculptures and very uncategorizable work. Hesse’s efforts are all the more remarkable given that she was one of the few female artists taken seriously in the mostly male 1960s downtown New York art scene.

Screens May 27 to 29 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. All screenings are now at Rush status.

Film Under The Influence — Vintage Drug And Alcohol Scare Films

Oddball Films present an evening of educational films intended to scare or warn the young ‘uns away from the ee-vills of alcohol and drugs. For your cautionary pleasure, there are publicly embarrassing drunk mothers, bongo-playing beatniks, and a pot-smoking dog. The program includes such shorts as Drug Abuse: The Chemical Tomb, LSD 25, and the celebrity-filled Drink, Drank, Drunk. Just remember to light up a joint or have a boilermaker before watching these films.

Screens May 27 at Oddball Films

Killing Them Safely

Tom and Rick Smith are not fans of director Nick Berardini. The filmmaker’s documentary casts a critical eye on the Smiths’ signature product, the Taser. Allegedly, the Taser was supposed to be a safer and less lethal alternative to handguns. So in the years since police departments around the world adopted the Taser, why have over 500 people died from Taser-related injuries?

Screens May 31 at the Roxie Theatre. A post-film screening features Berardini talking with S.F. Public Defender Jeff Adachi about current proposals to outfit S.F. cops with Tasers.

Men In War

This restoration of Anthony Mann’s Korean War drama has been praised by The New Yorker’s David Denby for its superb portrait of war on the ground. Robert Ryan plays the lieutenant of a platoon separated from their division. The platoon marches across the countryside in hopes of rejoining their division on a distant hill. Along the way, they pick up a pugnacious sergeant (Aldo Ray) and the shell-shocked colonel he’s shepherding. But the enemy is always watching and waiting for an opportunity to pick off yet another platoon member…

Screens May 29 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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