The Balboa Theater and “Dogville”

One of the perks of living in a high-rent city like San Francisco is the movies. For a while there we probably had more art houses per capita than anywhere. Like everything else, of course, that's all changed. The single-screen theater is an endangered species. (Hell, they've even closed almost every bowling alley in town.)

I loved this weird Lars von Trier film Dogville, and I'm still thinking about it. We saw it at the Balboa Theater, out by the beach, which despite the Revenge of the Multiplexes is still hanging in there. Its owner is Gary Meyer, a founder of Landmark Theatres and co-director of the Telluride Film Festival, and he's not going down without a fight.

Dogville is really a play. The set is a town made up of chalk markings on a black stage. I wouldn't call it a little movie. At three hours plus, it's kind of out there. Sometimes movies are boring. And that's all part of it. The boring part sets you up for the wild phantom left hook.

I like it when it all comes together: the song, the singer, the words, the music, the magnet and the steel, and the sound.

I like all kinds of movies. But more and more I like ones where I don't know what's going to happen next. It's that simple, I guess. I just appreciate a well-placed left hook, aimed my way, but still confined to the screen!

Why von Trier hates the U.S. so much is another issue entirely. Maybe he hasn't listened to enough Chuck Berry. Oh well.

At the end of Dogville, which takes place during the Great Depression, it makes a sharp left turn into a photo montage from Jacob Holdt's "American Pictures" over the music of Bowie's "Young Americans."

Video after the jump.

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