Threefer Madness 

Shows you'll never see at a suburban multiplex, Part 3,783.

Who says San Francisco gets all the most interesting indie one-off film events? Here are three must-sees, two this week and one on the near horizon:

Mel Vapour's always provocative Berkeley Video & Film Festival is everything an event with that name ought to be: unpredictable, left-of-center, and a bit obscure. It takes place Friday through Sunday, September 26-28, at the Shattuck, and if you only have time to see one, make it Tao Ruspoli's Fix, with actor Shawn Andrews (Dazed and Confused, Big Heart City) burning a hole in the screen as Leo, the most charmingly unhinged speedball-shooting addict you'd never want to live with — but he's hilarious at a distance. Director Ruspoli is a story unto himself, says Vapour. Tao is the son of actor Dado Ruspoli (The Godfather: Part III) and the son-in-law of writer Andrew Cockburn. Also stick around for two eye-opening Chilean films — Cristóbal Valderrama's sci-fi slacker comedy Malta con Huevo and Sábado, a real-time, handheld pre-marital drama by Matías Bize and his Santiago friends — plus the useful doc Stop the Presses: The American Newspaper in Peril and the bio-doc Rebel Roar: The Sound of Michael McClure, with that legendary beatnik poet/playwright in person. Go to: for details.

The Film on Film Foundation continues its mission of finding and presenting on film (no video allowed) little-seen rarities such as fashion-photographer-turned-director Jerry Schatzberg's Puzzle of a Downfall Child. Schatzberg's elliptical 1970 character study, starring Faye Dunaway as a pill-popping New York runway model and Roy Scheider as her art director boyfriend, shows one time only, at 8 p.m. Sunday, September 28, at the PFA.

Joe Loya is an ex-felon (bank robbery) who now works for the treatment abuse center Walden House in San Francisco. He was profiled in the Express by writer Justin Berton in 2002, survived that process, and went on to the big screen as one of the four subjects of filmmaker Jessica Yu's Protagonist. That deep-dish 2007 documentary utilizes ancient Greek dramatic masks and puppets as well as talking heads to limn the similarities between real life and the plays of Euripides, on the subject of personal transformation. October 16 at the Grand Lake (7:30 p.m.), Loya appears in person to introduce a special screening of the film. Visit: to learn more.


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