Saturday Mes Fantomes, Sunday Heaven's Doors

San Francisco Cinematheque is co-presenting with the Arab Film Festival this week at the Roxie.

By Jean Pierre Lledo
San Francisco, Roxie Cinema
Saturday 9/9 2:00 pm
3117 16th Street (at Valencia)

"An exiled Algerian filmmaker of Judeo-Spanish descent begins a long filmed journey to confront the ghosts that have haunted him since his arrival in France. A quest of identity and a flashback to an Algero-French story of the past half century. Finally, from city to city, from meeting to meeting, the pieces of the puzzle of a many-faced Algeria that never was, but which someday may be, slowly fall into place."

by Swel & Imad Noury
San Francisco, Roxie Cinema
Saturday 9/9 9:00 pm
Sunday 9/10 6:00 pm
3117 16th Street (at Valencia)

"Casablanca, late afternoon: Ney, a young Moroccan man in his early 20s, heads toward his victim's apartment, bent on revenge and ready to commit an act that will lead to the collision of three different lives. Ney lives with his blind mother and little sister. Being the only man at home, Ney feels responsible for his family but starts forgetting his principles and ends up working for a powerful local gangster, Mansour. Lisa is an American woman living alone in Casablanca. Since her husband's accidental death, Lisa brokeall ties with her in-laws. She pours her only efforts into drinking bourbon alone, though sometimes shares her problems with her best friend, Jalil, a single lawyer. Lisa's life changes forever when she hears she is the only remaining family member to two victims of a murder, one of which gets out of jail and is eager to be out for two reasons: to tend to his ailing mother and execute his plans for revenge."

[San Francisco Cinematheque]

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For supplemental viewing, Sister Rye suggests:

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"Because of its perfect fusion of form and content, this is one of the most strikingly successful subversive films ever made. Its revolutionary fervour - though subtly muted by a compassionate humanism that embraces both camps - is pure and passionate. Without Pontecorvo's control over his plastic material, however, it would have remained ineffectual. Incredibly, this huge 'documentary' of the Algerian struggle against the French - street battles, bombings, riots, mass strikes, assassinations - was entirely staged, and made to resemble authentic newsreel shots by the use of high-contrast, high-grain film stock, hand-held cameras, and intentional jump-cuts. The cruelty of torture, the arrogance of the fascist French paratroopers, the escalating terrorism and mutual reprisals...mount to a masterful final sequence of poetic symbolism: the Algerian masses, leaderless after the destruction of the National Liberation Front, once again surge into the streets in a spontaneous, powerful demonstration.... Their confrontation with the French military is classic in concept and execution and reminiscent of early Soviet cinema: the steady, drum-like chants for independence of the swaying possessed mass, the young women with flags, the soldiers slowly retreating, the music reaching towards a crescendo but symbolically ending before the final beat." --Amos Vogel

Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo. Screenplay by Franco Solinas. Photographed by Marcello Gatti. With Jean Martin, Yacef Saadi, Brahim Haggiag. (1966, 35mm, 123 mins, English titles, Print from Northal Film Distributors) Played at PFA: MON NOV 9 1981

and also,
OCTOBER 17, 1961 (France, 2005)

"One of contemporary Europe's darkest moments—the still-uninvestigated 1961 massacre of Algerian protesters in Paris—is meticulously reconstructed in director Alain Tasma's docudrama, a France-set counterpoint to Gillo Pontecorvo's legendary Battle of Algiers (1965). "The night that never existed," October 17, 1961, was left out of French history books for over forty years. As the Algerian war came to its conclusion, the main Algerian nationalist group organized a massive demonstration in Paris against police repression and a local curfew; the chief of the Paris police (a man currently imprisoned for Vichy-era war crimes) responded by ordering a brutal crackdown. By the time the evening had ended, over 11,000 people had been imprisoned, and hundreds of protesters had been killed. A portrait of one night in France's history, October 17, 1961 also serves as a window into the fissures that divide Europe today: between North African and European, immigrant and native, repression and assimilation. Inspired by the fiction/documentary blends of such socially committed British filmmakers as Alan Clarke and Ken Loach, and by the incendiary force of Battle of Algiers, director Alain Tasma reimagines an event that has been shamefully ignored in France's textbooks, but whose scars still linger. "Thanks to the possibilities that fiction brings," notes the screenwriter Patrick Rotman, "we have been able to dive into the past and to construct a narrative of many voices in which each character, be they an Algerian or a police officer, defends their own truth. Now it is up to the viewer to construct their own."

Written by Patrick Rotman, Fran├žois-Olivier Rousseau, Tasma. Photographed by Roger Dorieux. With Clotilde Courau, Thierry Fortineau, Jean-Michel Portal, Ouassini Embarek. (106 mins) 7:00 Played at PFA: MON APR 24 2006 19:00


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