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Screenings: Limited Run Films

Some Alternative Choices For The Weekend

Fritz Lang's

Credit: TCM

Above: Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" (1927)

If what's new at the theater isn't grabbing your attention, then here are some alternative choices.

Most notable, is the San Diego Museum of Art's screening of the silent classic, "Metropolis" on Friday, September 7. German Expressionism involved multiple art forms, and left an impressive mark on the world of cinema. The Museum has a current exhibit called "The Human Beast" that highlights German Expressionism in paintings, drawings, prints, and cinema. The exhibit runs now through November 11 and highlights 48 German Expressionist works from the estate of Vance E. Kondon and Elisabeth Giesberger.

According to the museum's website: "German Expressionism was not the work of a single group of artists, but painters, sculptors, and printmakers in Berlin, Dresden, Munich, and Vienna were united in their exploration of common themes: primitivism, raw emotion, the solace of nature, the terror of the First World War and the subsequent social chaos of Weimar Germany. 'The Human Beast' will explore the many faces of Expressionism, focusing particularly on the artists’ attempt to evoke primal emotion in their depictions of unidealized nudes, the horror of war, or the overstimulation of modern life. Major new acquisitions from the Kondon-Giesberger bequest include works by Otto Dix, Egon Schiele, and Max Pechstein, and these join a strong group of Expressionist paintings and drawings that have long been at the Museum of Art, among which works by Alexej von Jawlensky, Gabriele Münter, Beckmann, and George Grosz are particularly notable."

Throughout the run of The Human Beast, three of the best examples of German Expressionist films -- "M" (1931), "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1920), and "Nosferatu" (1922) will be shown in the Museum Galleries. "M" screens Mondays and Fridays; "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" on Tuesdays and Saturday; and "Nosferatu" on Thursdays and Sundays.

Although passing the three-quarter century mark, “Metropolis” arrives in the new millennium as an amazingly topical and still cogent work. We may have more technology at our disposal in terms of special effects but I doubt anyone today could improve on Lang’s brilliant sci-fi meditation on man and machine. Its lasting power is evidenced by the fact that it influences filmmakers today. The robot created for the film has been the inspiration for such diverse projects as George Lucas’ "Star Wars" (note C3PO’s design) and Japanese anime works such as Rintaro’s "Metropolis."

Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" screens Friday at the James S. Copley Auditorium at 8pm with a pre-film lecture at 7:00pm with Dr. Nicolas Reveles, The Geisel Director of Education and Outreach for the San Diego Opera.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Paramount

Grace Kelly and Cary Grant in Alfred Hitchcock's "To Catch A Thief."

Screening tonight through Sunday at Cinema Under the Stars is the Alfred Hitchcock thriller "To Catch a Thief," starring the elegant pair of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. Not one of Hitchcock's best but one that's lovely to look at and fueled by the charms of its stars. The story involving a reformed jewel thief (Grant) and a mischievous socialite (Kelly). The added attraction here is the gorgeous outdoor venue of Cinema Under the Stars.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Pampa Films

Ricardo Darin in "Un Cuento Chino."

Starting a limited engagement Friday is the latest entry in the San Diego Latino Film Festival's Cinema En Tu Idioma film series, "Un Cuento Chino." From Argentino comes a story set in Buenos Aires, and focusing on an unlikely friendship. The ever popular actor Ricardo Darin plays a lonely man who sees a Chinese man being thrown out of a cab. The man, who speaks no Spanish, has a tattoo with an address and the two men venture over to the location. They discover that the place had once been owned by the man's uncle. The film was popular at the San Diego Latino Film Festival in March and is being brought back for an encore engagement. The film runs through next Thursday at the UlstraStar Mission Valley Theaters at Hazard Center.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Relativity Media

Julia Roberts stars in the revisionist take on "Snow White," "Mirror, Mirror."

And finally, a free outdoor screening on Saturday at the Ellen Browning Scripps Park at La Jolla Cove. Although I can't really recommend the film, "Mirror, Mirror" (a sitcom re-telling of Snow White), I do commend the newly reorganized San Diego Film Festival for getting out into the community to screen films and get the word out that the festival is undergoing some changes. Earlier this week they screened "Reportero" at KPBS for the San Diego Press Club, and now they are organizing this family screening event. The venue sounds fun. and new team at the helm of the SDFF are bringing a new energy and fresh perspective to the festival. The festival kicks off in earnest on September 26.

So there are a few options if you want to see something outside of the mainstream or just outside of the multiplex venue.

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