Tag Archives: Oslo August 31st

Big Screen Berkeley: Mike Hammer, Oslo August 31st

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Few things personify the musky odor of mid-20th century American masculinity quite as potently as the writings of Mickey Spillane. Born Frank Morrison Spillane in Brooklyn in 1918, the jut-jawed, fedora-wearing beer enthusiast penned a series of wildly popular Ayn Rand-approved pulp novels featuring a private eye named, with appropriate lack of subtlety (or perhaps candor), Mike Hammer.

Selling several hundred million books is a sure way to get Hollywood’s attention, and, since his print birth in 1947, Hammer has appeared on the big screen half a dozen times — most memorably in 1955’s Kiss Me Deadly, an ink-black nuclear noir directed by Robert Aldrich. As for Spillane, he was celebrity enough to play himself in Ring of Fear (1954), a goofy but enjoyable circus-set thriller, and actor enough to play his own creation in 1963’s The Girl Hunters, one of a double bill of Hammer adaptations screening this Thursday, June 29th at Pacific Film Archive as part of the pulp writers series ‘One-Two Punch ’. … Continue reading »

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Opening: 55th San Francisco International Film Festival

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If it’s spring in the Bay Area, it’s time once again for the San Francisco International Film Festival. While the Festival proper commences with appropriate pomp and circumstance this coming Thursday at San Francisco’s Castro Theatre, its East Bay offerings begin the following day, Friday, April 20th, with a pair of down-to-Earth Northern European character studies screening at Pacific Film Archive.

Up first, at 6:30 pm, is German writer-director Ulrich Köhler’s Sleeping Sickness (Schlafkrankheit), winner of the Silver Bear at last year’s Berlin International Film Festival. Set in the West African republic of Cameroon, it’s an elliptical examination of the uneasy relationship between the First and Third Worlds, a film that doesn’t tip its hand until the very last frame — and arguably not even then. … Continue reading »

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