November – December 2015
“The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution arrives on PBS stations next year. I suggest not waiting.” – Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune
Change was coming to America and the fault lines could no longer be ignored—cities were burning, Vietnam was exploding, and disputes raged over equality and civil rights. A new revolutionary culture was emerging and it sought to drastically transform the system. The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense would, for a short time, put itself at the vanguard of that change.
THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION is the first feature length documentary to explore the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for black people, and the painful lessons wrought when a movement derails. Master documentarian Stanley Nelson goes straight to the source, weaving a treasure trove of rare archival footage with the voices of the people who were there: police, FBI informants, journalists, white supporters and detractors, and Black Panthers who remained loyal to the party and those who left it. Featuring Kathleen Cleaver, Jamal Joseph, and many others, THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION is an essential history and a vibrant chronicle of this pivotal movement that birthed a new revolutionary culture in America.
FREE OR DISCOUNTED FOR MEMBERS.
Directed by Stanley Nelson, 115 min, USA.
Stan Goman – former Tower C.O.O. – IN PERSON, Monday, November 30th after the 7:00pm show!
All Things Must Pass explores the rise and fall of Tower Records and the legacy forged by its rebellious founder Russ Solomon. Established in 1960, Tower Records was once a retail powerhouse with two hundred stores, in thirty countries, on five continents. From humble beginnings in a drugstore in Sacramento, to the go-to music retailer in San Francisco, Tower Records eventually became the heart and soul of the music world, and a powerful force in the music industry. In 1999, Tower Records made $1 billion. In 2006, the company filed for bankruptcy. What went wrong? Everyone thinks they know what killed Tower Records: The Internet. But that’s not the story. ALL THINGS MUST PASS is a feature documentary film examining this iconic company’s explosive trajectory, tragic demise, and legacy forged by Russ Solomon. Directed by Collin Hanks. With Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Dave Grohl, Chuck D, Chris Cornell and David Geffen, and many more. 94 mins.
Fri, Nov. 27 – Thurs, Dec 3
Back from the pen, homme dur Jean Servais first belts around his ex-girlfriend Marie Sabouret, then rejoins copain Carl Möhner and cohort Robert Manuel, who’ve got a little jewel store smash-and-grab job lined up — but Servais wants the whole works. With the aid of freshly imported safecracker “César the Milanese” (director Dassin billed as “Perlo Vita”), the resulting classic heist — a legendary 30-minute sequence with no dialogue or music — provided a usable blueprint for real-life professionals (causing outright bans in some countries) — but then, another of Sabouret’s ex-boyfriends wants a big cut. A world-wide smash, Rififi raised eyebrows for its excessive gunplay, décolletage, and dope use — all of which led to its condemnation by the American Legion of Decency. Blacklisted Hollywood exile Dassin turned a potboiler by milieu specialist Auguste Le Breton into an existential thriller that earned him Cannes’ Best Director prize and set the standard for screen robberies for decades to come — from his own Topkapi to Mission: Impossible — while “Rififi” was subsequently stolen for titles of non-related thrillers. Philippe Agostini’s all-weather location shooting provides an invaluable time capsule of Paris in the 50s, with the late Magali Noël warbling the title song. Approx. 118 mins. DCP.
“THE BEST OF ALL HEIST MOVIES! Rififi mirrors the arcs of the criminal lives it examines: It seduces you in, and then won’t let you out cleanly. THIS IS TOUGH-GUY NOIR OF THE HIGHEST PROOF.”
– Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
Read full review here
FREE OR DISCOUNTED FOR MEMBERS
“A NOIR MASTERPIECE!”
– Andrew Sarris
“THE BEST FILM NOIR I’VE EVER SEEN!”
– Francois Truffaut
“The underworld equivalent of a sublime French meal… As Rififi goes on, it becomes as savage as Reservoir Dogs, The Killing, or any of the other dozens of films over which it still casts a shadow.”
– Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
“JUST ABOUT FLAWLESS! For lovers of tough-guy moviemaking, Rififi really means perfection. A genre movie brought off so keenly that it defines that genre’s strengths and limits… As a director, Mr. Dassin has perfect pitch. When anything disrupts the film’s dry yet convivial tone — like Tony beating his ex-lover for taking up with that nightclub owner in his absence — it registers as a troubling portent, not a dramatic miscue. The movie has been criticized for its astringency: no spontaneous emotion, no tender or playful impulse, goes unpunished. But that’s what gives the film its hardscrabble integrity. Mr. Dassin seduces you into thinking that you’re joining four underworld musketeers. Then he shows you there’s no room in this band for carefree camaraderie.”
– Michael Sragow, The New York Times
THE FORBIDDEN ROOM is Guy Maddin’s ultimate epic phantasmagoria. Honoring classic cinema while electrocuting it with energy, this Russian nesting doll of a film begins (after a prologue on how to take a bath) with the crew of a doomed submarine chewing flapjacks in a desperate attempt to breathe the oxygen within. Suddenly, impossibly, a lost woodsman wanders into their company and tells his tale of escaping from a fearsome clan of cave dwellers. From here, Maddin and co-director Evan Johnson take us high into the air, around the world, and into dreamscapes, spinning tales of amnesia, captivity, deception and murder, skeleton women and vampire bananas. Playing like some glorious meeting between Italo Calvino, Sergei Eisenstein and a perverted six year-old child, THE FORBIDDEN ROOM is Maddin’s grand ode to lost cinema. Created with the help of master poet John Ashbery, the film features Mathieu Amalric, Udo Kier, Charlotte Rampling, Geraldine Chaplin, Roy Dupuis, Clara Furey, Louis Negin, Maria de Medeiros, Jacques Nolot, Adele Haenel, Amira Casar and Elina Lowensohn as a cavalcade of misfits, thieves and lovers, all joined in the joyful delirium of the kaleidoscopic viewing experience. Directed by Guy Maddin. Written by Evan Johnson , Guy Maddin , John Ashbery , Kim Morgan , Robert Kotyk. Canada. In English. 2015. 120 mins, DCP.
FREE OR DISCOUNTED FOR MEMBERS
Abbas has a dream: a dream that one day, he will be king of a tribe that will be revered by people the world over. The trouble is, he’s got a pretty busy day job. After two German tourists stumbled into his hut in nomadic Iran and left having much enjoyed the hospitality, he began an ecotourism business that a decade later is thriving. But Abbas is convinced that his destiny lies in establishing his tribe, and is spending more and more time trying to realize his vision – including taking a second wife to be queen. Unfortunately for Abbas, his bitter and hardworking first wife and kids – who keep his business running smoothly – are not at all on board with his plan. Single minded in his focus, garrulous, stubborn, self-absorbed, and emotional, Abbas is on the verge of big change – and begins confessing all to director Mehdi Ganji.
Born in Iran 1978. Mehdi Ganji is a 2002 filmmaking graduate from the Tehran University of Art. Having specialized in imagery, he started working as a cameraman and film editor in fiction films and in documentaries, working with various Iranian channels and International networks and television like Newsweek, Arte and etc. He is member of Iranian Documentary Film Society. He won the best director award in the Fajr Film Festival for I Want to Be a King.
Directed by Mehdi Ganji , 2015 / 70 min., Persian with English subtitles.
Co-presented by the San Francisco Green Film Festival and sponsored by the Consulate General of Sweden.
The bicycle, an amazing tool for change. Activists and cities all over the world are moving towards a new system. But will the economic powers allow it? Bikes vs Cars, a new film project from BANANAS!* and Big Boys Gone Bananas!* director Fredrik Gertten, looks into and investigates the daily global drama in traffic around the world.
The film will follow the individuals around the world that are fighting to create change. We meet Aline at Sao Paulo’s Ciclofaxia, the weekly Sunday ride where one lane of Paulista Avenue is opened for bikes only. Aline is an inspirational person in the city’s bicycle movement, who tries to focus on the positive aspects of being a cyclist. But that can be difficult in a city where one bicyclist is killed every four days. And in Toronto, where mayor Rob Ford strips away the city’s bike lanes in his battle to win the “war on cars,” we watch as members of the Urban Repair Squad infiltrate the streets at night, using spray paint and stencils to replace them.
Directed by Fredrik Gertten, 2015, 90 min, USA.
FREE OR DISCOUNTED FOR MEMBERS
“There’s a special, rich, satisfying pleasure that comes of seeing a doc about someone you feel you know almost too well, and by the end the film has brought you so close to her that in your imagination, she’s been reborn.” – Owen Gleiberman, BBC
To celebrate the completion of her posthumous masterpiece, Pearl, Janis Joplin decide to celebrate. Unfortunately, celebration for Joplin often equated to injecting heroin. When she passed away on October 4th, 1970 in Hollywood, it seemed the mourning would never stop. That the pain would never subside. There are only a handful of artists in any medium that deeply connect with people. For many, Joplin was not merely a musician, but a beloved icon, an inimitable iconoclast, an additional member of their family.
Her memorialization continues in Janis: Little Girl Blue, the moving documentary from Amy Berg. In less than two hours, the gifted documentarian creates a transfixing portrait of Joplin, the multi-hyphenate artist whose life and legacy lives on through this film.
Directed by Amy J. Berg, 105 min, USA.
Additional Showtimes To Be Announced!
“A gift, as if Pryor had come back from the dead to perform in his own one-man memory of himself.” – Roger Ebert
Richard Pryor’s seminal concert film LIVE ON THE SUNSET STRIP is one of the great stand-up comedy acts ever filmed: a personal, fierce, and hilarious take on racism, addiction, America, and much more. Jason Bailey, author of the new book RICHARD PRYOR: AMERICAN ID, will introduce this special screening and then discuss Pryor, SUNSET STRIP, and its legacy with American comedy with Scott Saul (author of BECOMING RICHARD PRYOR).
Following the screening there will be a Q&A moderated by Sam Fragoso with author Jason Bailey and Scott Saul.
A book signing will take place afterwards.
You may purchase Jason’s book, “Richard Pryor: American Id”, here.
Get hot with the Jewish Film Institute at a 15th anniversary screening of the 2001 cult classic Wet Hot American Summer! This one-nightly only presentation is a costume-friendly, jokes-mandatory revisiting of the sketch comedy masterpiece that depicts, by far, the worst, most hilarious day of summer camp ever. Enjoy beer from the Roxie, special snacks from Straw Carnival Fare, and a short film from the sketch comedy group STELLA, not to mention the film in all of its original, hormonal glory! $5 tickets on sale now!
About the film: Set on the last day of camp, in the hot summer of 1981, Wet Hot American Summer follows a group of counselors who are each trying to complete their unfinished business before the day ends. The entire summer of pent-up sexual frustrations, unresolved post-traumatic stress, pending separations and of course, the talent show, all weigh heavily on the minds and groins of counselors and campers alike.
Directed by David Wain, 2001, 97min, USA.