Roxie Theater hosts May showers

  • by David Lamble
  • Wednesday May 9, 2018
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The Roxie Theater, San Francisco's longest-running independent movie theater (since 1909), has never abandoned its mission of showing practically everything that can be projected. This month the program runs the gamut from a "Crazy for [Patrick] Swayze" double feature to a celebration of fiercely independent women from Juchitan, Mexico, "Blossoms of Fire," to the too-cool-for-school teen couple in "Valley Girl."

"Scream for Me Sarajevo" A musical doc on Iron Maiden leader Bruce Dickinson, who risked his safety to entertain survivors of the 1994 siege of a war-torn former Yugoslav province. (5/10)

"Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami" Director Sophie Fiennes divides her piece on singer/performance artist Grace Jones into two worlds: Grace on the road, in full performance mode; and Grace at home with her extended island clan. When she's rehearsing or planning to perform in Paris, New York or other world culture hotspots, Jones is very particular about her workspace and that all hands on deck be as committed to the project as she is. In seemingly unguarded moments with family and island friends, Jones gives some pithy quotes. Reflecting on the importance dance music has had in fueling her spectacular rise up the Billboard charts she notes, "I'm serious, disco was really like going to church."

"La Libertad del Diablo" Everardo Gonzalez reveals the stark realities of survival in areas of Mexico ravaged by savage drug wars. (both 5/11)

"El Maiz en Tiempos de Guerra" The cycles of Mexican corn growth are tracked.

"Plaza de la Soledad" A poignant glimpse at the hard lives of Mexico City sex workers. (both 5/12)

"El Remolino" In a Chiapas village, Pedro, a transgender farmer, is under siege from both society and nature.

"Artemio" An American-born and -raised boy is forced to live in Mexico with his mom. The human face behind the Trump immigration crackdown. (both 5/13)

"The Desert Bride" A maid whose Argentine family can no longer afford to pay her sets off on a journey to the country's drought-stricken plains, and discovers her true nature. (5/18-24)

"To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar" (1995) Three drag queens (Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, John Leguizamo) have small-town car trouble en route to Hollywood. They are joined by a dizzying ensemble, including a very funny and unbilled Robin Williams, for a jamboree of cross-dressing. With Stockard Channing, Blythe Danner, RuPaul, Quentin Crisp, Naomi Campbell and Julie Newmar.

"Road House" (1989) Swayze's assigned to clean up a Midwestern bar with a bad reputation. With Kelly Lynch, Sam Elliot, and Ben Gazzara. (both 5/18)

"Beginnings: Black Female Cinema (1977-1981)" Short films shot in 16mm, featuring the work of Julie Dash, Fronza Woods and Monona Wali. A neat overview of black women's philosophical cinema. (5/19)

"Blossoms of Fire" (2000) Maureen Gosling's upbeat documentary about the matriarchal society surviving in a small state in southern Mexico is a social realist travelogue on gender roles in the style of a latter-day Orson Welles, with the philosophy of a feminist Hemingway, and the pallet of the great muralist Diego Rivera. The film is almost drunk with color, as if those glorious reds were visual Prozac to ward away the blues. (5/24)

"Scarlet Diva" Underground cult figure Asia Argento makes her directorial debut with an autobiographical outing.

"Valley Girl" (1983) Martha Coolidge concocts a silly romance between a San Fernando Valley teenage girl and a Hollywood punk (Nicolas Cage).

"Love & Bananas" This doc traces the efforts of elephant conservationist Lek Chailert to rescue a 70-year-old captive Asian elephant and set her free. (all three, 5/25)

"Fresa y Chocolate" (1993) This Cuban classic turns 25. An odd-couple friendship develops between an aging queer counterrevolutionary and a young communist firebrand. (5/26)