San Francisco Chronicle, Friday, August 20, 2010

Festival : A bit of noir, a lot of insight

By Mick Lasalle


The series features some genuine discoveries, obscure films that deserve to be studied and talked about. Check out "Something Wild" (1961) - it plays Sunday - with superb acting from Carroll Baker as a college student who gets raped and tells no one, just trying to sweep it under the rug of her own consciousness. Of course, that can’t work. Director Jack Garfein presents New York as squalid and suffocating, several years before this became the standard way of filming New York. And the showcases the city’s bridges, buildings and factories as beautiful and menacing in ways that call to mind Michelangelo Antonioni’s work in "The Eclipse" a year later. Somehow this movie has never been released on home video. By the end, you’ll look at the porcelain prettiness of Carroll Baker and then at the disturbing ugliness of Rondo Hatton, whose real-life disfigurement was exploited in the horror film "House of Horrors" (Aug. 26), without getting distracted by either beauty or ugliness. You’ll just see the humanity. You’ll just see that they’re both lost.

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