Farewell To The Buena Vista Social Club

A documentary bidding farewell to Cuba’s Buena Vista Social Club is one of the art film alternatives available this weekend. Alternately, viewers can check out Bryan Cranston playing a man who hides in his own garage attic to observe his life.

But the opening of the week belongs to the restoration of a trippy SF film helmed by the late Andrei Tarkovsky. It’ll spark post-film discussions about its meaning.

29 + 1

Kearan Pang adapts her solo performance piece of the same name for the big screen. Rising PR professional Chrissy Lam feels utterly jaded by her life. But Chrissy’s jadedness soon gets shaken up by such events as a sudden promotion, her upcoming 30th birthday, and a sudden eviction from her apartment. Fortunately, landlord Mr. Leung finds a temporary sublet for Chrissy. Master tenant Wong Tin-lok is off on a Paris dream trip, so the PR professional moves in. Chrissy soon finds a spiritual connection to Tin-lok. The latter shares Chrissy’s birthday and age. More importantly, Tin-lok’s journal entries give Chrissy ideas for dealing with her life.

Opens May 26 at the AMC Metreon 16

Buena Vista Social Club: Adios

Lucy Walker directs this sequel to Wim Wenders’ classic music documentary. It fills in the holes left by the earlier film: what happened later to the Buena Vista Social Club musicians, the social-historical context of the songs, and the backstories of the Buena Vista Social Club film subjects. But most importantly, the new film proves more ambivalent about the consequences of resuscitating the old musicians’ careers.

Opens May 26 at the California Theatre and the Embarcadero Center Cinemas

The Commune

In Thomas Vinterberg’s new film, successful yet dissatisfied Anna and Erik live in 1970s Copenhagen. Erik’s inheritance of his old family home inspires the couple to follow current fashion and turn the large house into a commune. But after assembling the commune members, things take an unexpected turn. Anna enjoys bonding and breaking taboos with her new extended family. Erik starts an affair with one of his students. Anna’s attempt to reconcile these two situations threatens both the continued survival of the commune and her marriage.

Opens May 26 at the Opera Plaza Cinemas and the Shattuck Cinemas

Dear Other Self

Ambitious Becky is her family’s main breadwinner. One particularly stressful night of noisy neighbors and family complaints leads to her blowing an important client presentation the next day. But what would have happened had the presentation gone well? The film follows two different “what if” scenarios. One involves an interoffice romance while the other involves travel blogging in Bangkok.

Opens May 26 at the Century at Tanforan


Neal Wistin (Sean Bean, Game Of Thrones) pilots drones and kills people for a C.I.A. contractor. His family is unaware of the nature of his day job. But that concealment also leaves Neil emotionally distant from his loved ones. When Imir arrives at Neil’s house to buy his boat, the charm Imir displays leads Neil to invite him to dinner. But it turns out Imir knows what Neil’s day job really is…and one of Neil’s attacks led to the deaths of his wife and daughter.

Opens May 26 at the 4-Star Theatre


Andrei Tarkovsky’s last Soviet feature gets restored for big screen presentation. This adaptation of a Boris and Arkady Strugatsky tale is set in a restricted post-apocalyptic landscape known as The Zone. To this former disaster area come three men: a scientist, a writer, and their guide (the titular Stalker). They’re looking for the mysterious Zone locale known as The Room. There, a person’s most deeply held desires will be fulfilled. But what do their journeys mean? Come see and decide for yourself.

Opens May 26 at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas


Manhattan lawyer Howard Wakefield (Bryan Cranston) seems to have it all. Besides the great job, he’s got a beautiful loving wife (Jennifer Garner), a great family, and a suburban home. But inside, he’s suffocated by his life. One day, something causes Wakefield to snap and hide in his house’s garage attic. While Wakefield’s family wonders what’s become of him, he’s quietly observing his family from the attic window. But as Wakefield’s attic stay stretches into months, can Wakefield really return to his old life? Based on a short story by E.L. Doctorow.

Opens May 26 at the Embarcadero Center Cinemas, the Shattuck Cinemas, and the Smith Rafael Film Center

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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