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Films April 10, 12, 15, 17, 20, 25; Sokurov's

From: John
Sent on: Monday, April 7, 2008 2:48 PM
Dear Radical Visionaries,

April will be one of the most exciting and diverse months ever: we will see films by Nagisa Oshima ("The Man Who Left His Will on Film" this Thursday!), Portugal's Pedro Costa ("Colossal Youth"), Heinz Emingholtz (his doc on architect Rudolf Schindler), Peter Watkins (the epic "La Commune"), and Alexander Sokurov ("Alexandra"). On April 17, we'll also attend an evening of experimental films accompanied by live music (the ensembles Ghost in the Reel Change, and Wigwaum, starring Radical Visions member Loren Means).

Best of all, the San Francisco International Film Festival, America's premiere film festival, begins April 24 and continues through May 8. We will attend Sokurov's "Alexandra" on Friday April 25 at 7pm. Because "Alexandra" is one of the films opening this year?s festival, tickets will sell out soon. If you wish to attend, you PLEASE PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS ASAP (they are on sale now at

Be sure to check out this year's remarkable program at, and also to consult the Radical Visions website regularly during the festival for last-minute additions to our calendar.

Here now is the list of the films currently scheduled for April. Please check the links below for more information and to RSVP for each film. (Please do RSVP, as it helps the organizer to plan future outings and venues).

What: Nagisa Oshima's "The Man Who Left His Will on Film"
When: Thursday, April 10, 8:00
Details: "Enraged by the Vietnam War, anti-government demonstrations in Japan were further intensified by the renewal of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the United States....This circuitous film begins with the alleged suicide of a young activist who is part of a radical film collective. When his camera is recovered by a friend, Motoki, it is revealed that the footage is nothing but mundane street scenes of Tokyo. Duly obsessed, a despairing Motoki goes about reconstructing his friend's life as an extension of the found footage. Oshima's mercurial experiment avoids the fixed fact--identity and happenstance float like wild mercury, forcing the viewer to actively assemble the reenactment. To piece together a single life seems daunting, to engage with history, nearly impossible."
Where: Link for more details and to send or change an RSVP

What: Pedro Costa's "Colossal Youth"
When: Saturday, April 12, 6:45
Details: "The final film in Portuguese director PedroCosta's loose Fontainhas trilogy is one of the most remarkable and mysterious city films ever made, a portrait of individuals lost in a razed urban renewal zone that's at once utterly familiar and totally alien. An exhausted but graceful Cape Verdean named Ventura wanders between the ruins of his old Fontainhas slum (now destroyed) and the antiseptic new areas where the residents have been relocated, looking for his wife and home but finding only ghosts and memories. There's little boundary between fiction, documentary, and avant-garde filmmaking here; scenes are united only by the character's constant search for a place to call home, and by Costa's astonishing lighting and framing of decaying walls and rugged visages."
Where: Link for more details and to send or change an RSVP

What: "Schindler?s Houses" (with director Heinz Emigholz in person)
When: Tuesday, April 15, 6:30
Details: Austrian director Heinz Emigholz's 2007 film documents the stunning achievement of California's master modernist architect Rudolf Schindler. "Emigholz's images of an architect's oeuvre are always of the buildings' current state, usually collected on far-ranging road trips. Each building is introduced by a card indicating where the building is located and on what day it was filmed. The forty buildings by Austrian American architect Rudolph Schindler depicted here are closely clustered around Los Angeles. They are in various stages of care: some are lovingly restored or maintained, others are abandoned or neglected, attesting to urban decline. Each reveals Schindler's singular vision, his acute attention to spatial relations and to the natural environment, and his captivating and idiosyncratic architectural vocabulary, which turned its back on the International Style."
Where: Link for more details and to send or change an RSVP

What: Experimental Films with Live Music by Ghost in the Reel Change and Wigwaum
When: Thursday April 17, 8 pm (Pre-film Dinner at Tu Lan at 6:30)
Details: At 8 pm, GHOST IN THE REEL CHANGE - will perform live soundtracks to experimental films. This group of musicians, which includes some of the Bay Area's finest new music players, stars Kyle Bruckmann on double reeds, Karen Stackpole on gongs and percussion, Tom Nunn on his famed "Inventions" (check it out!), Andrew Voigt on saxes, and David Michalak on lap steel and percussion. At 9 pm, 16mm and Super8 Avant-Garde Films play to the avant strains of SF's finest/strangest: WIGWAUM, featuring Douglas Katelus on keyboards/film, Loren Means (three cheers!) on electro-acoustic trombone, flute & voice/film, and Randylee Sutherland on saxophones and drums.
Where: Link for more details and to send or change an RSVP

What: La Commune (Paris, 1871)
When: Sunday, April 20, 12:00 noon
Details: "La Commune (Paris, 1871)" is director Peter Watkins' six-hour-long paeon to the revolutionary spirit of France. "As France's republican government fled to Versailles in 1870, determined workers and radical intellectuals barricaded Paris and installed La Commune, a rapturous attempt at a utopian society. Peter Watkins' monumental and exhilarating masterwork keeps the radical spirit alive, audaciously mixing past and present to debunk the notion that history is available through a singular representation. Several hundred nonprofessional actors were charged with inventing their roles, beautifully reanimating the ill-fated utopia. This staging relies on serpentine tracking shots that glide between spirited arguments in the street, school lessons, and marching drills to reveal the intensifying strife. Over its six-hour transit, this 'impassioned hubbub,' as J. Hoberman calls it, generates great immediacy. The urgency is heightened by two opposing news stations offering up their hasty commentary on the unfolding insurrection, as well as scenes in which the cast breaks out of 1871 to comment on the present moment. Infectious and heady, La Commune is itself evidence that revolutionary possibilities still linger."
Where: Link for more details and to send or change an RSVP

What: Alexander Sokukrov's "Alexandra"
When: Friday April 25, 5:45
Details: "Featuring a performance of monumental depth by opera legend Galina Vishnevskaya, 'Alexandra' presents war for what it is: brutal, crushing, and ugly, and yet Sokurov doesn't show any battles. These wounds are deeper, coming from the endlessness of a war (Chechnya, but also anywhere) that bleaches the soul as surely as Sokurov's striking trademark monochrome palette....The setting is Chechnya, and Alexandra's questioning of 'what is the Fatherland?' is an undeniable critique of that particular conflict, sure to make Vladimir Putin mighty uncomfortable. But Sokurov uses this one seemingly endless conflict to reflect upon the totality of the war experience, not in some superficial and sentimental way but by revealing the loss of basic humanity. Elderly, no-nonsense Alexandra Nikolaevna (Vishnevskaya) arrives at her grandson's army base after a long journey. She hasn't seen Denis in seven years; following the initial joy of meeting he takes her on a tour of the base, where she watches soldiers barely old enough to grow facial hair cleaning their guns.....On paper it might be easy to imagine Alexandra as some wishy-washy, simplistic character: not at all. She's formidably solid, weakened physically by age but very much the kind of Russian woman burnished by WWII -- unsentimental and fearless. Vishnevskaya captures all this, and much more. A life of struggle and dignity emanates from every pore. Sure, she's Mother Russia, but she's every mother viewing the wasted lives of young men and wondering why."

NOTE: THIS FILM WILL SELL OUT QUICKLY. PLEASE BUY YOUR TICKETS WELL IN ADVANCE, online at, or at the one of the two main ticket outlets, Sundance Kabuki Cinemas (1881 Post St. at Fillmore; Wed.-Sun. 4:30-8:30) or One Embarcadero Center (Lobby level; on Battery St. between Clay and Sacramento; Mon.-Sat. noon-7).
More information about the 51st San Francisco International Film Festival and directions:
Where: Link for more details and to send or change an RSVP

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