A movie still from Francis Ford Coppola's 'Twixt'

That Francis Ford Coppola – one of the great American artists of the 20th Century – now seems to reside permanently on the margins both of the movie establishment and of our consciousness, is one of the sad, baffling truths of our age. Yet it is beyond dispute.

Coppola lately has been making a movie every couple of years. They are barely seen in this country. His latest film, Twixt, opened in France in April, but if you want to see it in a movie theater in the United States, you would best make it to San Francisco between now and Thursday.

Val Kilmer and Bruce Dern star in Francis Ford Coppola's 'Twixt'

Twixt is playing at the Sundance Kabuki theater there, beginning today. Coppola will be on hand for Q&As after the 4:45 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. screenings today. Twixt has not been picked up by a U.S. distributor. I assume that means Coppola is four-walling it (renting out the theater for this week of screenings).

Elle Fanning is one of the stars of Francis Ford Coppola's 'Twixt'Coppola made what the Los Angeles Times called an “unorthodox” presentation about Twixt at Comic-Con last month. You can read about it (and the paper’s interview with Coppola) here.

Coppola’s description of how he got the idea for the movie sounds remarkably like what happens in the trailer to Val Kilmer’s character, who is identified in the official synopsis as “a writer in decline.” The interview, unfortunately, doesn’t explore the parallels. The film’s other stars include Bruce Dern and Elle Fanning.

It’s been a while since Coppola made a movie that commanded attention. I haven’t seen Tetro, his 2009 film that had only limited release in the United States, but for me his last movie that mattered – truly mattered – was 1979′s Apocalypse Now. That’s a long time ago.

I’ve liked a few of them since then – One From the Heart, The Outsiders, Rumble Fish. Minor efforts. His more ambitious films - The Cotton Club and The Godfather: Part III, among them – have come up short.

For more information about Twixt, including reviews from Europe, a director’s statement and the trailer, visit the official website. I’ve posted the synopsis and a longer version of the trailer below.

Synopsis: A writer with a career in decline arrives in a small town as part of his book tour and gets caught up in a murder mystery involving a young girl. That night in a dream, he is approached by a mysterious young ghost named V. He’s unsure of her connection to the murder in the town but is grateful for the story being handed to him. Ultimately, he is led to the truth of the story, surprised to find that the ending has more to do with his own life than he could ever have anticipated.

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    Eric Harrison reviewed movies and covered film for a decade for the Los Angeles Times and Houston Chronicle. His movie coverage continues here on InsideMovies.net. You also can read Eric's movie coverage geared to Houston, the nation's fourth largest city, on MovieHouston.com. Find out more at EricHarrison.org.
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