San Francisco As Seen Through Hollywood’s Lens

San Francisco becomes the star of Guy Maddin’s non-remake of the Alfred Hitchcock film Vertigo in the weekend’s prime opening. For those who missed the film’s premiere at the San Francisco International Film Festival, now you have another chance to see the results.

For those seeking the best of the new openings this weekend, readers are advised to camp out at the Roxie Theater. Besides the Maddin film, the Roxie will screen a powerful documentary about a decade in the life of a working class North Philadelphia family. For those who want something shorter, there’s a collection of seven short films from the Sundance Film FEstival, including the directorial debut of Kristen Stewart.

2017 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour

Every year, the Sundance Film Festival receives over 8,000 submissions for its short film programs. Out of that pool, 1 out of every 100 shorts at best gets picked for festival screening. For those who can’t get to Sundance, this traveling program brings seven of 2017’s selected short films to general audiences. The titles include Lucia Before And After (Teen who’s traveled 200 miles waits out Texas’ 24-hour waiting period before she can continue with her abortion), 5 Films About Technology (Five short looks at the dumber side of technology), and Ten Meter Tower (People who’ve never been on top of a diving tower must decide whether to take the plunge or climb back down).

Now at the Roxie Theatre


Reda Kateb plays legendary gypsy hot-jazz guitar strummer Django Reinhardt in this biopic following the guitarist’s World War II years. In Occupied France, the guitarist plies his trade while his fellow Roma get persecuted by the Nazis. Both the Vichy French and the Germans try to co-opt Reinhardt to their cause, since his improvisatory musical style challenges the social conformity peddled by the authorities. Yet in his own way, Django finds ways to resist the Nazis and their allies.

Now at the Smith Rafael Film Center


HK actress Sandra Ng makes her directorial debut with this horror comedy. Ling (Ng) is a small-time swindler who arrives at a dilapidated housing complex in a Chinese city’s heart. The complex’s seven remaining good-natured tenants are locked in a bitter struggle with greedy land speculators. Ling’s supposed ghostbusting services are needed because each side is trying to scare the other off. But things soon get very real thanks to a zombie outbreak.

Now at the AMC Metreon 16 and the Century 20 Daly City

The Green Fog

Cult director Guy Maddin along with his The Forbidden Room cohorts Evan Johnson and Galen Johnson were commissioned by SFFILM to create a collage of Hollywood films set in the San Francisco Bay Area. But their examination of old San Francisco footage revealed more than a few coincidental links to Vertigo. The team decided to “remake” the Hitchcock film without using a single scrap of footage from the original. Drawing on excerpts from the many films shot in San Francisco and a score by The Kronos Quartet, Maddin and the Johnsons’ collage is ready to thrill new audiences.

Now at the Roxie Theatre

Hanson And The Beast

Yuan Shuai is a debt-ridden animal breeder. His plan to get out of his financial hole involves going on dates until he finds a rich girlfriend to marry. His dating efforts brings him to Bai Xianchu, with whom he falls in love. However, Bai’s actually a fox demon. The trouble begins when Yuan realizes the truth about his lover.

Now at the AMC Metreon 16 and the Century 20 Daly City

Meant To Beh

Ron and Andrea are married and live with their children Christian, Alex, and Rylie. But unbeknownst to the children, the parents have long been unhappy with their marriage. Finally, Ron and Andrea get divorced and start to move on with their lives. However, Christian, Alex, and Rylie scheme to bring their parents back together because they feel the duo really were meant to be.

Now at the Century 20 Daly City and the Century at Tanforan


Three orphaned youths hiding out in a food store stumble upon a letter slipped under the door. When they answer it, they begin a correspondence with several people from 30 years ago. The store turns out to have been run by Namiya (Jackie Chan), an elderly man who offered wisdom and heartfelt advice to anybody who’d listen. This film adapts Keigo Higashino’s novel Miracles of the Namiya General Store.

Now at the 4-Star Theatre and the AMC Metreon 16


Jonathan Olshefski’s acclaimed documentary follows the fortunes of a working class black family from North Philadelphia navigating the Obama years. The Rainey family considers itself “progressive and proud.” Patriarch Christopher “Quest” Rainey is both a local rap record producer and a radio commentator on local issues. Christine’a “Ma” Rainey works at the local women’s shelter. But their children must contend with such hardships as a brain tumor and losing an eye to a stray bullet.

Now at the Roxie Theatre

The Revengers Squad

Philippine film star Vice Ganda’s new film parodies the superhero film genre. Years ago, Gandarra killed villain Madman before he could destroy the world. But victory came at two costs: 1) Gandarra’s grieving sister Kweenie, who secretly loved Madman, is seduced to join the dark side; 2) Madman’s infant son Rappido is left orphaned. Gandarra adopts Rappido and raises him on Earth with the help of his friends The Revengers. Now Rappido is 21, and he has questions about all these freaky abilities he’s manifesting…

Now at the Century at Tanforan

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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