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One-Night Stands

Repertory film listings for March 27-April 2

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Reviews written by Michael Covino, Don Druker, Kelly Vance, and Naomi Wise.

Thu., Mar. 27

Before the Revolution Bernardo Bertolucci's second film (his first script), set in his home territory of Parma, deals with a young man of a literary bent whose political commitments turn out to be not as deep or as solid as he had believed them: he has excess feelings of love for the countryside and for life all around him. The film itself has the feel of a young artist struggling with himself and winning, at least in his art. Some sloppy editing and difficult continuity, but in many ways this film is superior to Bertolucci's more polished later works whose themes nonetheless are foreshadowed here (112 min., 1964). — M.C. (PFA, 8:30)

Fri., Mar. 28

The Third Man Amusing, atmospheric postwar English thriller, set in romantically ravaged Vienna. In this sweetly seedy ambience, old colleagues Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles pair up as a hack writer and his mysterious friend Harry Lime. Welles didn't direct, however — Carol Reed did — so there's nothing under the witty, stylish surface besides more wit, more style, and an aristocratically playful moral detachment (115 min., 1949). — N.W. This is the fully restored director's cut, which is not terribly different from the US release, although it's eleven minutes longer. (PFA, 7:00)

Touch of Evil Arguably, the crowning glory of Orson Welles' career, but still somewhat underrated as a result of its brazenly pulpy surface, emphasized by its soul-penetrating, darkly baroque images. This tale of a rotten little Southwestern border town, ruled by a grossly obese, corrupt policeman, is toughly coherent, compassionate even to its villains, and filled with brilliantly bizarre characters, tour-de-force set pieces, and cogent, offbeat dialogue. A great movie (111 min., 1958). — N.W. (PFA, 9:10)

Phoenix Dance Accomplished dancer Homer Avila returns to the stage after losing a leg to cancer (16 min., 2006). (Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists Hall, 7:00)

The Goonies Filmmaker Richard (Superman) Donner's 1985 kiddie adventure sends juvie leads Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Martha Plimpton, and Corey Feldman in search of a pirate ship and buried treasure (114 min.). (CLC, midnight) Corey Feldman in person.

Sat., Mar. 29

West Side Story Never mind the mediocre lead acting (Richard Beymer, Natalie Wood) or the fact that this Romeo and Juliet update set amid youth gang warfare in 1950s New York isn't exactly a gem of urban realism. It all melts away because you get to meet a girl named Maria. This adapted Broadway musical, one of the best, features Jerome Robbins' knockout choreography and the lovely Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim score. With George Chakiris, Rita Moreno, and Russ Tamblyn. Directed by Robert Wise and Robbins (151 min., 1961). — M.C. (PFA, 3:00)

Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 Political comedy by Alain Tanner is told with genuine affection for his characters — for the most part, holdouts from the turmoil of the '60s — and with a good dose of Situationist analysis as everyone tries to make sense of things, in 1975 in Switzerland. With Miou-Miou, Jean-Luc Bideau, Jacques Denis, and Dominique Labourier (110 min., 1976). — M.C. (PFA, 6:30)

Divorce, Italian Style A vain Sicilian aristocrat (Marcello Mastroianni) wants to be rid of his wife so he can romance his young cousin. Leave it to Mastroianni and director Pietro Germi to mine the comic moments from such a potentially melodramatic scenario. Daniela Rocca and Stefania Sandrelli costar (108 min., 1961). (PFA, 8:40)

The Zula Patrol: Animal Adventures in Space! Five new episodes of the animated public television series help kids explore science, math, astronomy, and the mysteries of the universe. Intended for ages three through eight. (CEPH, CUC, CWC, RH, 10:00 am)

Sun., Mar. 30

Chimes at Midnight Orson Welles, in his ripe maturity, turns again to Shakespeare with superb success. In a film that took several years to complete (financed by junk roles and commercials), Welles compresses Henry IV, Henry V, and The Merry Wives of Windsor into a single, densely poignant picture of a fat old rogue caught in the death of his era (and of an Age, the Medieval). "Oh, the times that we have seen," Falstaff laments, when he's not struggling in the bloodiest, muddiest knightly battles ever shown on screen. Jeanne Moreau is a highly original Doll Tearsheet, cynical and weary, with fine support from John Gielgud, Margaret Rutherford, and Keith Baxter (as the prince who abandons his best friend). Welles remains one of the very few who can speak to Shakespeare like one giant to another, and his Falstaff is a triumph not only over finances, but over time itself (119 min., 1965). — N.W. (PFA, 2:00)

Seduced and Abandoned Pietro Germi's 1963 richly comic tale of a man who falls victim to the double standard. Funny, honest, and gently uncompromising. With Stefania Sandrelli and Saro Urzi (111 min.). — D.D. (PFA, 4:15)

Divorce, Italian Style See Saturday (PFA, 6:30)

What Babies Want Documentary about life patterns established before and at birth. (Edith Stone Room, Albany Library, 2:00)

Tue., Apr. 1

Goff in the Desert Examination and analysis of 62 of Kansas-born architect Bruce Goff's buildings in Kansas, Texas, Missouri, Chicago, and California (110 min., 2002). (PFA, 7:30)

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, but the big winner is Reiner, who handles juvenile storybook elements as attractively as he's done for romances (The Sure Thing), satires (This Is Spinal Tap), and character nostalgia (Stand by Me). With a hundred opportunities to do a Mel Brooks, he's gone the extra distance to make a Rob Reiner. Also with Peter Falk, Chris Sarandon, Andre the Giant, and Billy Crystal (98 min., 1987). — K.V. (PW, 9:15)

A Dream in Doubt Tami Yeager's documentary exploring post-9/11 hate crimes follows the family of the victim of the first reported "revenge" killing. (Oakland Museum of California, 6:30)

Wed., Apr. 2

Il Posto Ermanno Olmi made his debut with this film, an engrossing neorealist essay on how urban society and corporate consciousness degrade and dehumanize workers. A young man attains what is now known as an "entry-level" position at a huge, faceless corporation, and it's all downhill from there. The movie has charm, humor, sympathy, and honesty. The neorealist style, which had almost faded out of the Italian cinema by this time (1961), is sharp and biting (93 min., 1961). — D.D. (PFA, 3:00)

A Grin Without a Cat French filmmaker Chris Marker reflects on the '60s, the Vietnam War, Nixon, Che Guevara, etc., in this irreverent film on the international left (176 min., 1977-78). (PFA, 7:00)

The Carlyle Connection Documentary about the international world of private equity banking, in particular the Carlyle Group and its connections with the Bush family (60 min.). (Humanist Hall, Oakland)

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