“Midnight Traveler,” which documents a family’s escape from Afghanistan following threats from the Taliban, screens at the Opera Plaza. (Courtesy Oscilloscope Films)

Films opening Friday, Oct. 4, 2019

‘Midnight Traveler’ tells truly story of a family’s escape from Afghanistan

First Love: The noir-tinged yakuza thriller directed by Takashi Miike tells the story of a promising but aimless young boxer who discovers something to fight for when he encounters a beautiful young woman on the run. Not rated. At the Opera Plaza.

Je T’aime Moi Non Plus (I Love You, I Don’t): Serge Gainsbourg directed the 1976 arthouse-meets-trashploitation wild ride through 1970s America — part queer road movie, part gonzo romance — with Jane Birkin and Joe Dallesandro Not rated, but with explicit sex and nudity. At the Roxie.

Jim Allison-Breakthrough: The documentary by Bill Haney narrated by Woody Harrelson profiles Nobel Prize-winning scientist Jim Allison, his visionary quest to find a cure for cancer, and the world of cutting-edge medicine. Not rated. At the Clay.

Joker: Joaquin Phoenix takes on the role of Gotham’s notorious mad clown in this standalone character study/origin story also featuring Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz and Frances Conroy. Rated R.

The Laundromat: A widow investigating insurance fraud (Meryl Streep) uncovers two lawyers in Panama exploiting the world’s financial system in the film by Steven Soderbergh. Rated R. At the Embarcadero.

Lucy in the Sky: Natalie Portman plays an astronaut who begins to lose her grip on reality after returning from a mission in space; Jon Hamm, Zazie Beetz, Dan Stevens, Ellen Burstyn, Jeffrey Donovan and Tig Notaro costar. Rated R.

Midnight Traveler: Filmmaker Hassan Fazili documents his family’s escape from Afghanistan after the Taliban puts a bounty on his head in the Sundance-honored film. Not rated. At the Opera Plaza.

The Woman Who Loves Giraffes: The documentary profiles Anne Innis Dagg, who, in 1956 at the age of 23, traveled to South Africa to become the world’s first scientist to study the behavior of an animal in the wild. Not rated. At the Roxie.


Drunken Film Festival: The ticketed opening night screening at 8 p.m. Friday at New Parkway in Oakland — the rest of the week-long event of shorts screening at various bars is free — is “Mad God,” a stop-motion animation movie by Phil Tippett set in a “Miltonesque world of monsters, mad scientists and warpigs.”

Japan Film Festival of San Francisco: “Every Day a Good Day,” a movie by Tatsushi Omori based on Noriko Morishita’s best-selling essay about her 25 years as a student of tea, opens 10 days of programming at 7:15 p.m. Friday at New People Cinema in The City.

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