One Night Stands for the week of March 7-13, 2007 

Giant rabbits meet the Cuban Revolution, only at the movies.

Reviews by David Klein, Don Druker, Kelly Vance, and Naomi Wise. Thu., March 8

Gathering Strands — A collection of experimental shorts, presented by the Women of Color Festival (98 min. total running time). (PFA, 7:30)

Night of the Lepus — Thrills and chills multiply like, well, giant rabbits in this 1972 shockeroo about mutated bunnies, starring Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh, DeForest Kelley, and Rory Calhoun. William F. Claxton directs (88 min.). (PW, 9:15) Fri., March 9

The Cool World — Pioneering cinema vérité, semi-documentary-style study of Harlem youth and the problems they face. Shirley Clarke's landmark film is based on Warren Miller's powerful novel of slum life. The score features the music of Dizzy Gillespie and Yusef Lateef (105 min., 1963). Preceded by a short: Castro Street by Bruce Baillie (10 min., 1966). (PFA, 9:35)

L'Eclisse — The concluding part of Michelangelo Antonioni's trilogy which began with L'Aventura and La Notte, this 1962 film starring Monica Vitti, Alain Delon, and Francisco Rabal has always seemed to me to be a richer, more resonant work (125 min.). — D.D. (PFA, 7:00)

The Princess Bride — Entertaining sword 'n' sorcery adventure shows the advantage of having good writing (by William Goldman from his novel) and imaginative direction (by Rob Reiner), as well as a cast primed for parody. Mandy Patinkin, Christopher Guest, and Wallace Shawn steal the film from romantic pair Cary Elwes and Robin Wright (98 min., 1987). — K.V. (S, midnight) Sat., March 10

The Best Years of Our Lives — Perceived in 1946 (to the tune of nine Academy Awards) as a sign that the movies had finally "grown up," William Wyler's study of a group of men returning to civilian life after the war was one of the earliest "problem pictures," and helped to create Hollywood's postwar highbrow style of pseudorealism and social concern. The film is very proud of itself, exuding a stifling piety at times, but it works as well as this sort of thing can, thanks to accomplished performances by Fredric March, Myrna Loy, and Dana Andrews that keep the human element afloat (172 min.). — D.K. (Cerrito, 5:00)

Forbidden Planet — This seminal sci-fi film, made in '56, is the source of the classic phrase "monsters from the id." The ingenious space-opera version of The Tempest has Walter Pidgeon as a future Prospero, presiding over an abandoned planet with his naive daughter (Anne Francis). Robbie the Robot (ancestor of C-3PO) plays Ariel, and the unseen monster from Pidgeon's id takes the Caliban role, as a nice mix of a space crew arrives to investigate the scene (98 min.). — N.W. (PFA, 3:00)

Il Grido (The Cry) — Michelangelo Antonioni warms up for the middle-class angst of his later films with this 1957 slice of working-class shaggy-dog angst. After an unemployed oil worker (Steve Cochran) is thrown over by his wife (Alida Valli), he wanders the countryside with his young daughter looking for love and work, and finding neither (116 min.). — K.V. (PFA, 5:30)

The Princess Bride — See Fri. (S, midnight)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show — The original 1975 British rock music horror spoof (95 min.). (PW, midnight)

Sidestepping the Eternal Repetition — Shorts from the New York underground spoken word and art scene, presented by the Women of Color Film Festival (94 min. total running time). (PFA, 7:30) Sun., March 11

The Best Years of Our Lives — See Sat. (Cerrito, 5:00)

Oakland Theaters: A Pictorial History — A visual presentation and booksigning by Jack Tillmany and Jennifer Dowling, authors of Theatres in Oakland (75 min. total running time). (PFA, 2:00)

Story of a Love Affair — Marital intrigue and director Michelangelo Antonioni's patented modern Italian angst combine in this tale of an industrialist, his young wife, her former lover, and their guilty past. Starring Lucia Bosé, Massimo Girotti, and Ferdinando Sarmi (110 min., 1950). (PFA, 4:30) Tue., March 13

When a Stranger Comes to Town: Recent Animations — Six teams of animators show off their shorts (72 min. total running time). (PFA, 7:30) Wed., March 14

81/2 — Federico Fellini could never be accused of lacking a personal viewpoint in his films, For better or worse, "Fellini-esque" describes a verifiable style, of which this film is the epitome. Marcello Mastroianni stars as a world-weary film director, and if you see the main character as Fellini, you could say that they're all Fellini — the actors cavorting around a Rome that never was. With Claudia Cardinale and Anouk Aimee (135 min., 1963). — K.V. With a lecture by Marilyn Fabe. (PFA, 3:00)

I Am Cuba — The highlight of this Cuban-Russian freeform docudrama is a hypnotic, gravity-defying shot of a funeral procession, one of the most astounding such shots in all of cinema. But there is so much more to Mikhail Kalatozov's evocation of the spirit of Cuba — so much that its 141 minutes pass quickly from one mesmerizing scene to the next. Made in 1964 in the midst of US-Cuban tensions as an impassioned piece of agitprop, I Am Cuba episodically defines what Fidel Castro's revolution was all about, from goonish yanqui imperialists to wronged sugarcane farmers to idealistic students to Castro's freedom fighters (141 min.) — K.V. (PFA, 7:30)


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