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A Handful Of Sellouts So Far At S.F. Film Fest

Though the San Francisco Film Festival (April 25 to May 9) is noncompetitive, one of the early crowd favorites to emerge from the opening weekend was Orion Classics’ “Slacker,” producer-writer-director Richard Linklater’s look at alienated youth in Texas.

Pic was a quick sellout for its April 26 screening, one of four films that went SRO for the first night of regular programming. Others were Jean-Luc Godard’s “Nouvelle Vague” (Vega Films), director-co-writer Juraj Jakubisko’s 1969 “Birds, Orphans and Fools” and “Camp At Thiaroye” (New Yorker Films) from the writing-directing team of Ousmane Sembene and Thierno Faty Sow.

‘Dust’ goes clean

Director Yim Ho’s “Red Dust,” which was a sellout in its pre-opening-night screening April 25, went clean again for a repeat screening two nights later. Two other opening-night offerings, James Lapine’s “Impromptu” (Hemdale Film) and Monti Aguirre and Glenn Switkes’ “Amazonia: Voices From The Rain Forest,” also were sold out.

Lapine, “Impromptu” star Julian Sands, Aguirre and Switkes were on hand for opening night, which otherwise disappointed some fans for its lack of recognizable celebs. More socially subdued than ever, event was squeezed into the lobby of the Kabuki Theater, in contrast to postscreening festivities of recent years at City Hall and the Opera House.

Taking note of the crush for food in the theater confines, S.F. Examiner columnist Rob Morse reported seeing “a well-known former movie critic” kick an elderly gentlemen in a shoving match to get to the grub. “His reviews used to be tough too,” Morse recalled.

Hungarian director Miklos Jancso was an unexpected guest for opening night. He’s in the U.S. planning a cross-country documentary shoot this fall.

Also sold out last week were a tribute to Anjelica Huston, including a screening of “The Dead.” Two other Huston pics, “Prizzi’s Honor” and “The Witches,” also are on the fest schedule.

Initial festival lineup was announced without a closing-night pic. That’s now been set: “Truth Or Dare,” the documentary about Madonna’s 1990 Blonde Ambition tour.

Festival added four other films to the list: Federico Fellini’s “The Voice Of The Moon,” Bill Duke’s “A Rage In Harlem,” Xavier Koller’s “Journey Of Hope” and Philip Ridley’s “The Reflecting Skin.” Latter three are all being released by Miramax Films.

Mystery French film

Fest also is teasing a May 8 “sneak preview” of a “major new French film, the lastest work by an award-winning director that stars some of that nation’s most celebrated performers.”

A tribute to cinematographer Ernest Dickerson included a screening of “Ava And Gabriel, A Love Story,” a U.S. preem of a new film Dickerson lensed with director Felix de Rooy, a former classmate at New York U. Other Dickerson efforts being spotlighted during the fest are “The Brother From Another Planet,” “Laserman” and “Mo’ Better Blues.”

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