Very Secret Movie club ratings

movie rating
The Child 4/5
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie 4/5
The Son's Room 3.5/5
Stranger Than Paradise 3/5
Dancer in the Dark
ChungKing Express
Happy Together3.5/5
My Blueberry Nights
Wild at Heart4/5
Summer Hours2/5
Blue Velvet
Inland Empire

Monday, September 29, 2008

Suggestion for October 19th Movie Night

This portrait of legendary singer, artist and poet Patti Smith is a plunge into the philosophy and artistry of the cult rocker. Known as the godmother of punk, she emerged in the 1970s, galvanizing the music scene with her unique style of poetic rage, music and trademark swagger. We follow the multitalented and private artist over 11 years of international travel, through her spoken words, performances, lyrics, interviews, paintings and photographs. Narrated by Patti Smith, director Steven Sebring's documentary reveals a complicated, charismatic personality who wrestles with life's many paradoxes, defining the human experience as an overwhelming contradiction. Featuring band members Lenny Kaye, Oliver Ray, Tony Shanahan and Jay Dee Daugherty, plus appearances from Jackson Smith, Jesse Smith, Tom Verlaine, Sam Shepard, Philip Glass, Benjamin Smoke and Flea. Winner of the Best Cinematography Award (Documentary) at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

One week only!
Starts Friday, October 17 at Lumiere Theatre
Patti Smith In Person with Director Steven Sebring
on Sunday, October 19 at 4:15 & 7:00pm!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Iranian Film Festival San Francisco

Iranian Film Festival - San Francisco (IFF) is an annual event showcasing the independent feature and short films made by or about the Iranians from around the world.

First Annual Iranian Film Festival San Francisco
September 27-28, 2008

For the Films, Schedule, Ticket & Venue Info, please visit:
San Francisco Art Institute
800 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

Dates: September 27-28

All Day

Where: Check the website for the location

Saturday, September 27, 2008

8:15 PM Stand Up: Muslim American Comics Come of Age* & The Slap

Sunday, September 28, 2008


San Francisco Art Institute
800 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

Please note:

- Tickets are $10 each and sold at the venue on the day of the shows only.
- The films continue all day and will not be repeated, so please schedule them accordingly.
- A Short film will be shown before some feature films.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

IRAN (is not the problem)feature film - Friday Sep 26 in SF

Friday Sep 26, 8pm, $6
ATA, 992 Valencia@ 21st, San Francisco,

Scary Cow film co-op presents:
IRAN (is not the problem)
with Q &A with Antonia Juhasz, Larry Everest and Robert Gould.

IRAN (is not the problem) is a new feature length film responding to the
failure of the American mass media to provide the public with relevant
and accurate information about the standoff between the US and Iran, as
happened before with the lead up to the invasion of Iraq.

We have heard that Iran is a nuclear menace in defiance of the
international community, bent on 'wiping Israel off the map', supporting
terrorism, and unwilling to negotiate. This documentary disputes these
claims as they are presented to us and puts them in the context of
present and historical US /IRAN relation.

It looks at the struggle for democracy inside Iran, the consequences of
the current escalation and the potential US and/or Israeli attack, and
suggests some alternatives to consider. This 79 minute documentary
features Antonia Juhasz (The Bu$h Agenda), Larry Everest (Oil, Power,
and Empire), and other activists and Iranian-Americans. There are
differences of opinion between many of the voices in this film, but all
agree that a war would be unjustified.
See the trailer at _www.iranisnottheproblem.org_

Plus Q & A with:
*Antonia Juhasz* - expert on oil, war, U.S. economic/corporate interests
in Iraq and Iran, etc., activism and social change, author of 'The Bush
Agenda: Invading the World One Economy at a Time' and 'The Tyranny of
Oil' (_http://www.TyrannyofOil.org_ ), and
Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and Oil Change International.
*Larry Everest* - author of 'Oil, Power & Empire: Iraq and the U.S.
Global Agenda'. He has covered the Middle East and Central Asia for
over 25 years for Revolution newspaper and other publications, reporting
from Iraq, Palestine, India, and Iran in 1979 and 1980, shortly after
the revolution that toppled the Shah, interviewed Islamic militants then
holding the U.S. Embassy, and reported from Iranian Kurdistan.
*Robert Gould* - expert on US-Iranian history/relations, nuclear weapons
and related health issues, anti-war activism. Former national president
and current Bay Area chapter president of Physicians for Social
Responsibility, Co-author of 'Rollback! Rightwing Power in U.S. Foreign
Policy', contributing author in 'The New World Order and the Third
World', 'War and Public Health', and many articles on health,
environment, nuclear and bioterrorism, and the persistent legacy of
global militarism and violence.
Filmmaker Info:
Produced by Aaron Newman, an independent film-maker and part of the
Scary Cow film co-op in San Francisco. He is an
anti-imperialism/pro-democracy activist, founder of the SF Chomsky Book
Club, and a member of Hands Off Iran.

'After years of working on Iran and Middle East politics, this is
perhaps the most engrossing and easily digestible film Ive ever come
across. A phenomenal educational tool that explains often misunderstood
and complex issues in US-Iranian relations.' - Sanaz Meshkinpour,
Middle East Program Coordinator, Global Exchange

'I have watched it twice, and am deeply impressed with how much crucial
historical context it provides in an engaging and accessible manner,
combining archival footage with incisive analysis from interviews by
US-based activists and scholars...I consider "IRAN (is not the problem)"
to be an invaluable tool for raising our collective consciousness around
the deeper reasons driving military aggression, for combating our lethal
national amnesia in relation to Iran, for inspiring discussion,
reflection and action, and for empowering citizens to better understand
the present in light of the past.'-Zara Zimbardo, Fellowship of
Reconciliation, National

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Son's Room

September 21 movie pick is "the Son's room".

"A successful psychoanalyst (Nanni Moretti, who also directed) enjoys a placid, loving family life with a beautiful wife (Laura Morante) and two intelligent, attractive teenagers. But when one son drowns in a diving accident, the family's tight emotional bond is put to the test -- especially for Moretti, who tortures himself with second-guesses regarding what he might have done to prevent his son's death." -Netflix

Length: 1 hour 40 mins
Year: 2001
Language: Italian

For a list of reviews visit:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Russian Film Opens in SF 9/12

This is from San Francisco Film Society. This might be a good choice for our in theater experience. Please add comments if you would like to watch this. This movie will only be on the screen from Sep 12- 18.


Opens Friday, September 12, 2008
SFFS Screen at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

Showtimes and advanced tickets are available at

Featuring remarkable cinematography, earthy humor and a haunting score, Khuat Akhmetov's allegorical debut recalls key films from Eastern European cinema. In a small village in remote Kazakhstan, a thunderstorm heralds the arrival of a strange being, withered by age and unable to speak, who falls from the sky. Hiding a pair of wings battered by the storm, the man (who might be an angel) finds shelter in a barn belonging to a man whose son has fallen ill after a mysterious encounter with a veiled stranger. The new visitor cures the boy, but word spreads about his strangeness, and many fearful residents, buoyed by religious superstition, propose a variety of solutions to his presence. Wily businessmen think they can make a quick buck from the novelty. Others just want to be rid of him, by any means necessary. Only the young boy, who recognizes the creature's true nature, has its best interests at heart. This cross-generational mutual protectiveness of child and elderly "angel," along with various eccentric portraits of local villagers, form the core of the film. With his beguiling bewinged protagonist and a delightful blend of whimsy and poignancy, Akhmetov has crafted a pointed parable about the dangers of community groupthink.
Khuat Akhmetov (Chelovek-veter, Russia 2007)

For more information, visit

This is from San Francisco Film Society. This might be a good choice for our in theater experience. Please add comments if you would like to watch this. This movie will only be on the screen from Sep 12- 18.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Surrealism[1] is a cultural movement that began in the early-1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members.

The group aimed to revolutionize human experience, including its personal, cultural, social, and political aspects, by freeing people from what they saw as false rationality, and restrictive customs and structures. Surrealist works feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur; however many Surrealist artists and writers regard their work as an expression of the philosophical movement first and foremost, with the works being an artifact.

Freud's work with free association, dream analysis and the hidden unconscious was of the utmost importance to the Surrealists in developing methods to liberate imagination. However, they embraced idiosyncrasy, while rejecting the idea of an underlying madness or darkness of the mind.

The first Surrealist manifesto was written by the French writer André Breton in 1924 and released to the public 1925. The document defines Surrealism as:

Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express -- verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner -- the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by the thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.

Throughout the 1930s, Surrealism continued to become more visible to the public at large. Dalí and Magritte created the most widely recognized images of the movement. Dalí joined the group in 1929, and participated in the rapid establishment of the visual style between 1930 and 1935.

Some well known surreal paintings are:

The persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali

Soft Construction with Boiled Beans by Salvador Dali

Time Transfixed by Rene Magritte

The Human Condition by Rene Magritte

Maternity by Joan Miro

Sunday, September 7, 2008

"l'enfant": Review

It is interesting how our latest movie choices had been so different. "The Discreet Charm of Bourgeoisie" was a film in Surrealist style that emerges from imagination and "The child" a movie in Neo-Realism which is based on true life. It was only after looking at a brief description of Neo-Realism that the questions and concerns we had about the long shots and real time events, lack of soundtrack, and documentary style of the film made sense to me. I have found a review by "Eye for Film" on "l'enfant" very interesting. Here is a piece taken from the review:

"The Child may begin with the sound of a baby crying, but it is Bruno's tears with which it concludes, and it is his childishness, more than anything else, to which the film's title alludes, even if by the end he has undergone a certain coming of age...

A plain style is the hardest to sustain for the duration of a feature film, but the Dardennes have managed to concoct an engaging and often suspenseful drama without ever calling upon fancy camerawork, sensational performances, or even so much as a musical score. Such artfully low-key naturalism, combined with the protagonist's willful criminality, a thematic obsession with monetary exchange and a grimly redemptive ending, points to Robert Bresson's Pickpocket (1959) and L'Argent (1983); but unlike so many other pretenders to Bresson's throne, the Dardennes prove to be a match for the great French auteur, conjuring an underworld that is both real and allegorical, where the passage from childhood to adulthood is traced in the choices that characters make and the responsibilities that they come to accept." - Eye For Film

Here is a definition of neo-realism from wikipedia:

"In cinema and in literature, neorealism is a cultural movement that brings elements of true life in the stories it describes, rather than a world mainly existing in imagination only.The movement was developed in Europe, primarily after the end of World War II.

Neorealism is characterized by a general atmosphere of authenticity. Andre Bazin, a French film theorist and critic, argued that neorealism portrays: truth, naturalness, authenticity, and is a cinema of duration. The necessary characteristics of neo-realism in film include:
  • a definite social context;
  • a sense of historical actuality and immediacy;
  • political commitment to progressive, even violent, social change;
  • authentic on-location shooting as opposed to the artificial studio;
  • a rejection of classical Hollywood acting styles; extensive use of non-professional actors as much as possible;
  • a documentary style of cinematography. "

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

l'enfant ( the Child)

Our pick for September 7th movie night is L'enfant ( The Child) by the Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.

"Winner of the Cannes Palme d'Or Award, this tale centers on 20-year-old Bruno (Jeremie Renier) and his 18-year-old girlfriend, Sonia (Deborah Francois). Bruno spends his days stealing and drug dealing, and when Sonia gives birth to their son, Bruno shows no interest in cleaning up his act and becoming a good father. The only thing dysfunctional Bruno sees in his baby is a new way to make money, and he makes a decision that he soon regrets." -netflix

Language: French
Year: 2005
Length: 1 hour 40 minutes.

You can find more information and reviews at