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Film Picks

[whitespace] Picks by Richard von Busack

The Trial (1962)
Plays June 30-July 1 at the Roxie Theater

Orson Welles' outstanding adaptation of Kafka's novel is worthy of its source except in one petty detail (Welles slightly changed the ending to give the story a little more hope--a weird conceit). But Welles' casting of Anthony Perkins as K. was a brilliant move, so brilliant, in fact, that you have to go back to Josef von Sternberg's choice of Peter Lorre to play Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment (1935) to equal it. Perkins and Lorre, both typecast in horror films, were very funny actors when you gave them the chance. Both promptly found the humor in Dostoevsky and Kafka, though Welles claimed that it was Perkins' "aggressiveness" that led him to cast the former Norman Bates. (Part of what dooms K. is that he's a man on the fast track.) The director/actor dubbed in voices and played the Advocate horizontally, in a sickbed. The cast includes Jeanne Moreau, Romy Schneider, Akim Tamiroff and Michael Lonsdale. New 35mm print.

The 23rd Annual Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
Continues thru June 27 at the Castro, Roxie and Victoria theaters

Pink Narcissus (1971; screens June 26 at the Victoria), about a perfect gay man's terror of aging, is told in symbolist, lurid tones (the title refers to Michael Powell's similarly fervent Black Narcissus). The film was released anonymously but since has been claimed by James Bidgood, a "physique photographer" of the early '60s. Set Me Free (plays June 24-25 at the Castro) tells the story of a budding lesbian growing up in Quebec during the early '60s and how her crush on Anna Karina in Godard's Vivre Sa Vie stirs her to action. Sex Flesh in Blood (June 26 at the Roxie) is a video for Asian leather lesbian vampire punk rockers, and the men, women and in-betweens who admire them. For full schedule information, go online at www.frameline.org/festival or call 415.703.8663.

Twice Upon a Yesterday
Plays at selected theaters

Douglas Henshall plays a guttery English actor named Bukowski--as if! Actually, he isn't just supposed to be a marauder like the L.A. poet; he's also supposed to be "the new Brando." As the story begins, it's been seven months since Bukowski cheated his way out of his relationship with Sylvia (Lena Headey). At the end of a long drinking binge, Bukowski encounters two quixotic pixie garbage men who magically turn back the hands of time so that he can keep Sylvia. But Fate, once cheated, interferes and sets matters as they were. This frankly dippy film was directed by first-timer Maria Ripoll; the script is by the songwriter and novelist Rafa Russo, who is apparently Argentina's answer to Paul Auster. The fetching Penelope Cruz ornaments an otherwise charmless cast.

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From the June 21, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.

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