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Film Picks

[whitespace] By Richard von Busack

The Last Emperor
Nov 25-Dec 3 at the Castro Theater
429 Castro St; 415/621-6120.

The many lives of Pu Yi, the last emperor of China, (John Lone), as seen in Bernardo Bertolucci's original 3-1/2 hour version--an hour more than the original release--and supervised by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro. Erotic, opulent, a little corny and not a little strange, The Last Emperor (1987) was the first grand look Western moviegoers had at Beijing's Forbidden City; Bertolucci filmed there and elsewhere to track Pu Yi's story: from emperor to prisoner. Joan Chen and Peter O'Toole, at his most remote, co-star.

New Events: Italian Cinema
Nov 18-22 at the AMC Kabuki 8 Theatres
1881 Post St; for more information, call the San Francisco Film Society at 415/929-5043.

Eight new films from Italy are featured in the New Events series, including Acts of Justice, a thriller about a prosecutor of organized criminals who finds his best friend, a priest, being framed for the rape of a 12-year-old; the five-episode comedy Napoli Dust; Open Sea, about an arms smuggler on a perilous business trip to Bosnia; Belleville, about an ex-terrorist retired in the suburbs of Paris; Go Around the World, a tale of the friendship between a prostitute and an orphan; and Kaputt Mundi, a black comedy about a deadly New Year's party in a remote apartment building.

Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation
Nov 13-24 at the Castro Theater
429 Castro St; 415/621-6120.

I'm sure that when the Castro Theater was being built back in the 1920s, what the architects were really hoping was that someday the mighty screen would be filled with shorts like "How to Use a Tampon," "No Neck Joe" and "Karate Dick Boys." On the bright side, this bottom-of-the-trash-barrel selection includes two holiday classics by Matt Stone and Trey Parker: "Frosty" and "The Spirit of Christmas." In the latter, the little children from South Park, Colo., wonder who is mightier: Santa or Jesus. Santa and Jesus show up and slug it out to settle the matter.

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From the November 16-29, 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

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