One-Night Stands 

Repertory film listings for November 20-26, 2008.

Thu., November 20

The Other Half One woman's life crises are expanded into a funny, incisive dissection of China's rising misfortunes in this film from Chinese director Ying Liang (110 min., 2006). (PFA, 7:00)

Fri., November 21

Vera Cruz Burt Lancaster and Gary Cooper star as adventurers in a plot to overthrow Mexico's Emperor Maximilian — or are they merely hustling the Juarista revolutionaries? Robert Aldrich directs, from a screenplay by Roland Kibbee and James R. Webb, adapted from a story by Borden Chase (94 min., 1954). (PFA, 6:30)

The Last Sunset This atypical Western from Robert Aldrich centers on an arrest warrant and a bizarre love triangle (112 min., 1961). (PFA, 8:45)

Singin' in the Rain Only the best American musical of all time, which probably makes it the best musical, period. Every moment is indescribably delicious, from Jean Hagen's wicked parody of a lame-brained silent-movie queen to Donald O'Connor's unbelievable "Make 'Em Laugh" song and dance. With Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor, and Cyd Charisse. Book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green (103 min., 1957). — N.W. (Paramount Theatre, Oakland, 8:00)

Sat., November 22

The Orphan of Anyang Wang Chao directed this 2001 drama in which a miner in the Chinese town of Anyang finds an abandoned baby and strikes a deal with a local prostitute to help care for the child in exchange for a monthly stipend (84 min.). (PFA, 6:30)

Grain in Ear A Korean Chinese woman sells kimchi along the roadside and suffers aplenty, in this drama by director Zhang Lu (109 min., 2005). (PFA, 8:15)

Strangers on a Train Bruno, a wealthy young psychopath, meets Guy, an amiable young tennis player, on a night train, and suggests trading murders — Bruno's father for Guy's wife (who won't give him a divorce) — so that the murders will appear motiveless and hence untraceable. Guy writes Bruno off as a harmless nut — until his wife is killed. This is one of Hitchcock's funniest and most devious films despite some weak characterizations: Farley Granger fails to bring any depth or force to the tennis player, but Robert Walker anchors the film by playing baby-faced Bruno with such malicious delight that we find ourselves almost rooting for him — certainly cheering when he bursts whining children's balloons with a flick of his cigarette at the fairground. This movie contains the famous scene of the carousel spinning faster and faster until its hub shatters and it grinds to a halt amid the screams of children, the crackling of lunging live wires, and a shower of sparks. Based on Patricia Highsmith's novel, adapted by Raymond Chandler. That's talent (101 min., 1951). — M.C. (EC, 6:00)

Sun., November 23

Ode to Mount Hayachine A year in the life of villagers living in the foothills of Mt. Mayachine as they prepare for their ritualistic dance-theater kagura performances. When it came out, Ode was a surprising box-office hit in Japan (186 min., 1982). (PFA, 2:00)

The Way You Wanted Me Shot in Finland in 1943, a romantic and war-torn melodrama centering on young, seemingly lost characters (102 min., 1944). (PFA, 5:30)

Strangers on a Train See Saturday. (EC, 5:00)

Tue., November 25

Canyon Cinema: The Life and Times of an Independent Film Distributor A collection of eight documentary and experimental shorts released by the Bay Area's Canyon Cinema in the 1960s and '70s (total running time 62 min.). (PFA, 7:30)

Wed., November 26

Health for Sale A peak inside the world's ten largest pharmaceutical manufacturers and their pricing and product development strategies, with insight from experts on all sides. (Humanist Hall, Oakland, 7:30)

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