What does a water buffalo look like at night? It’s a shadowy presence on the screen, difficult to follow, but viewers do.
This opening scene of “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” is typical of much of the film’s complex, quirky story. At the same time, the tale is anchored in the very real Thai countryside.
Recipient of the Cannes Film Festival’s prestigious Palme d’Or, “Uncle Boonmee” is another iconoclastic, puzzling work from Thailand’s most famous director, Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Read More
The headline items in the de Young Museum’s new special exhibit, “Olmec: Colossal Masterworks of Ancient Mexico” are indeed colossal, similar to the iconic — if much more contemporary — Easter Island heads.The unique show, organized by many and led by the de Young’s Kathleen Berrin and Virginia M. Fields of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, represents the only chance for visitors to see 140 ancient objects outside their homes in 25 Mexican and U.S. museums. In addition to the huge heads, the exhibition also features many small, fascinating works of art. Read More
All singers experience highs and lows in their careers, but San Francisco mezzo soprano Zheng Cao has faced unique extremes. At 44, persistence, determination and what must be called medical miracles have enabled her survival against great odds. At the same time, triumphs on the stage have made her world-famous.The singer, featured in Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra’s concert series this weekend, came to the U.S. from Shanghai as youngster determined to become an opera star with $45 in her pocket and an English vocabulary consisting of “Merry Christmas.” Read More
San Francisco Symphony, which turns 100 on Dec. 8, is giving The City a birthday gift of a brilliant season of great music and famous artists. As it looks back on a century, the orchestra heads into the future with cutting-edge programming and in the vanguard of technology.“In marking the orchestra’s first hundred years,” says SFS President John D. Goldman, “this season is the moment to define what this orchestra will be for its next hundred.” Read More
San Francisco’s Ensemble Parallele, a contemporary chamber opera company, is up for a new adventure, presenting the local premiere of Philip Glass’ “Orphée” (“Orpheus”) this weekend at Herbst Theatre.Ensemble Parallele music director and conductor Nicole Paiement is at the helm of the production, featuring one of Glass’ more accessible scores, with design and direction by Brian Staufenbiel. Read More
“He is the reason I am in the theater,” Carey Perloff says of the late Harold Pinter.Perloff, director of American Conservatory Theater since 1991, is at the helm of her company’s production opening next week of the Nobel laureate writer’s 1964 “The Homecoming,” which won a 1967 Tony Award for Best Play.Describing it as “a most astonishing play, which will never feel dated,” Perloff says “The Homecoming” deals with “predatory creatures in the jungle, fierce, sexual, true and shocking” and shows that “human beings are mysterious and unknowable.” Read More
Any movie with the complexity of “Even the Rain” should sink under the weight of its ambition. But this highly honored Spanish film — nominated for 13 Goya Awards and Best Foreign Film Oscar — soars high, into the realm of unforgettable experiences.
The title is from a slogan in the recent struggle of Bolivian Indians to retain rights to water. The government wants to take away “our water, our air, even the rain,” say the rebels. Read More
Showcasing art works such as a phantasmagorical winged figure from a temple door, a carved offering shrine and coin images of deities, the Asian Art Museum’s upcoming Bali exhibition seems to be all in motion — different from the static feel that sometimes characterizes museums.In Bali, there is no separation between visual and performing arts, making the title of the show, “Bali: Art, Ritual, Performance,” both descriptive and complete. Read More
Calling a Japanese-American “Sushi” might sound deleterious, but Masashi Niwano does not mind.
The new director of the San Francisco International Asian American International Film Festival — which comes to various theaters in San Francisco, Berkeley and San Jose next month — picked up the nickname at a young age, helping out at his family’s wholesale fish business in Campbell.
Niwano used to truck fish from The City to Campbell for processing, and he still remembers the day a decade ago when the truck was stolen. Read More
The opera “Nixon in China” boasts wonderful historical and theatrical scenes and images: among them, “Chairman [Mao] Dances,” Richard M. Nixon arriving in Beijing aboard Air Force One, dwarfing the memory of “Miss Saigon’s” helicopter, and “The Red Detachment of Women” ballet choreographed by Mark Morris.John Adams’ fascinating, groundbreaking work from 1987 is taking a quarter century to be seen in The City where it was born. Read More
Wedding gowns, shoes and jewelry made of paper — what kind of paper would that be? Artist Isabelle de Borchgrave uses simple materials in her creations: pattern paper for the base and tissue paper for frills.Helped by a team, the Belgian artist shapes, crumples, pleats, braids, feathers and paints the paper into stunning fashions, which are not ready-to-wear. Her “installations” go into museums around the world. Read More
By leaps and grand jetés, San Francisco Ballet Resident Choreographer Yuri Possokhov is becoming a major figure in the world of dance.
With the vastly entertaining “Magrittomania,” “Damned” and 10 other works behind him, Possokhov premiered “RAkU,” the centerpiece of the season’s second program, Thursday night in the War Memorial Opera House.
Well deserving of the lengthy and heartfelt ovation it received, the world premiere is a gripping, virtuoso piece, reminiscent of the late Michael Smuin’s dramatic, occasionally over-the-top, dance theater. Read More
By leaps and grand jetés, San Francisco Ballet Resident Choreographer Yuri Possokhov is becoming a major figure in the world of dance.With the vastly entertaining “Magrittomania,” “Damned” and 10 other works behind him, Possokhov premiered “RAkU,” the centerpiece of the season’s second program, Thursday night in the War Memorial Opera House. Well deserving of the lengthy and heartfelt ovation it received, the world premiere is a gripping, virtuoso piece, reminiscent of the late Michael Smuin’s dramatic, occasionally over-the-top, dance theater. Read More
Anton Chekhov belongs to the world, but it is difficult to imagine him without Russian language, characters, history and sensibility. London theater companies historically have successfully staged his plays in English while retaining their “real Chekhov” character. Marin Theatre Co. now is taking up the daunting challenge.
On Tuesday, Marin’s small, gutsy company premiered a “new” version, “Seagull,” of Chekhov’s 1896 play, translated by Libby Appel and including recently discovered lines from the original. Read More