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Lincoln Spector's guide to everything cinema in the San Francisco Bay Area
As December approaches, the autumn glut of Bay Area film festivals falls to few and finally none. But the last film festival of the year is one of the strangest.
The Another Hole in the Head Film Festival isn’t like any other. The movies it screens are rarely about poverty, divorce, or existential angst. Characters are more likely to die violently than by cancer.
Another Hole is a genre festival, and it’s proud of its many genres. As I study the press release, I note that every title lists the film’s genre – or multiple genres. For instance, Hey Monster, Hands Off My City is listed as comedy, crime, and horror. Range Runners is labeled thriller, survival, and action. The Furies fits four genres: thriller, action, horror, and revenge.
Why is it called “Another Hole in the Head?” I believe it came from someone saying the Bay Area needed another film festival like it needed another hole in the head. (There’s generally about 60 a year.) Another possible reason: There’s probably a lot of gore in these films.
Another Hole opens Sunday, December 1 and closes Sunday, December 15. All screenings will be at the New People Cinema, a theater with terrific projection and sound. Comfortable seats, too.
Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to preview any of the movies for this festival. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t seen any of them.
I saw The Man with the Silver Case earlier this year when I was pre-screening films for the Mill Valley Film Festival. I was very disappointed that Mill Valley didn’t pick it up, but I’m glad Hole in the Head did.
Imagine a James Bond movie shot in sleek, silvery black and white. It even starts with an extremely impressive and expensive stunt that has little to do with the story. But this time, you don’t know if the “hero” is working for the good guys or the bad guys. He has substance abuse problems and a metal brief case handcuffed to his wrist. He’s not bothered by killing people. We root for him because movies do that to us, and because he’s not as evil as the people who are trying to kill him. And like a good Bond flick, it’s extremely entertaining – sometimes in a gruesome way.
I give The Man with the Silver Case an A-. This will probably be your only chance to see this movie. It screens Monday, December 2, at 7:00. Catch this one if you can.
I’ve also seen Phantom of the Paradise, but that was about 45 years ago. I was blown away by Brian De Palma’s bizarre mixture of Faust, Phantom of the Opera, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and plain, old rock and roll. But I haven’t seen it in decades, so I can’t tell you if it’s any good. It screens Saturday, December 7, at 9:00.
I started this article claiming that Another Hole was “the last film festival of the year.” As far as I know, the only other Bay Area film festival in December will be The Day of Silents (read my preview). Another Hole opens sooner, but thanks to its 15-day run, it closes later, making it the last.
But on Saturday night, December 7, you’ll have to pick between The Day of Silent’s screening of the original Phantom of the Opera, and the Another Hole screening of Phantom of the Paradise. Such problems in life.