Thursday, February 16, 2006 | Upcoming film and music events:

FILM

Dig a little deeper. The puzzled murmurs of the audience as the credits roll point to the most obvious juncture between “Cache” and other, plot-based films from the thriller genre. Theatre-goers feel unnecessarily compelled to seek Memento-style clues to the culprit behind the ominous films and drawings that are painfully unraveling the lives of Georges and his family.

What should slowly sink in after the disgruntled audience disperses is that “who” is not the meaningful question. “Cache” exploits the thriller genre to probe deeper issues regarding the fear, paranoia and denial that accompany the communication breakdowns between ethnic minorities and majorities. In place of an action-based plot, the film explores the unfolding of guilt-based psychosis as a cultural phenomenon with its roots in individual experience.

The film’s implications are broad-ranging. Modern surveillance focuses on pinpointing potentially dangerous individuals whose minority status automatically cast them in the light of suspicion. But in “Cache” the camera is turned on a nondescript Caucasian family, seeking more complex answers to the unhappy status of a historically persecuted Muslim minority in French culture.

“Cache” plays at 1:30, 4:20, 7:10 and 10 at the La Jolla Village Cinemas, 8879 Villa La Jolla Dr., La Jolla. Info: (619) 819-0236 or www.landmarkcinemas.com.

More film:

– Through dance and music, the Afro Reggae movement begins to transform the slums of Rio de Janeiro in “Favela Rising,” an award-winning documentary. The film plays at 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 19, as part of the free film series at the San Diego Central Library, 820 E. St. downtown. Info: (619) 236-5800 or www.sandiego.gov/public-library.

– Brave souls can bring their latest motion picture masterpieces to share at the Media Art Center’s “Open Screening Night,” with special guest director Todd Mitchell Felderstein on hand to say a few words. Plus, free popcorn and cheap beer/wine. The event starts at 7 p.m. tonight at 921 25th St., Golden Hill. Info: (619) 230-1938 or www.mediaartscenter.org.

– There are plenty of highlights left in the final weekend of the Jewish Film Festival, a showcase of the most widely acclaimed contemporary films dealing with Jewish themes from around the world. Films play at four local theaters through Feb. 19. Info: (858) 457-3030 or www.sdcjc.lfjcc.org.

MUSIC

A Taste of San Diego. Never overlook the popularity of heavy music among San Diegans. Whereas nerdy indie rock types and poesy-loving pop strummers think they form the most important block of the local scene, the metal genre pulls a surprisingly large number of locals to its dark corner, both as fans at a national tour stop and members of the humming city metal community. Local headbangers As I Lay Dying are one of the best products of that scene. They captured the Artist of the Year trophy at the San Diego Music Awards last year, and return home this week as (almost) top spot slayers on the Taste of Chaos tour. Accompanied near the top of the (mile-long) bill by nu-metal Sacramento breath-burners Deftones and Orange County hardcore outfit Thrice, As I Lay Dying will get to play for their hometown crowd not as lingering locals, but as sons of the city who’ve graduated to the top of their black nail-polished class. Expect a moshing, sweaty portrait of an unconsidered segment of San Diego music.

As I Lay Dying with Deftones, Thrice, Atreyu, Thursday, Story of the Year, Dredg and others at the ipayOne Center @ The Sports Arena. Thursday, Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. $28.25.

More music that won’t blow up in your face:

– Well, OK: Dirty Sweet might blow up into a swirling disco ball of Led Zep riffage and sly rock strutting, but you’re guaranteed to enjoy it (the closer it is to your face). Voted Best Rock Band at 2005’s San Diego Music Awards, these lanky longhairs earn their accolades with a stage show straight out of golden era of rock. At The Belly Up Tavern, 143 S. Cedros Ave in Solana Beach, Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 9 p.m. $7. www.bellyup.com.

– “Hard drugs are for bartenders – I think I might have mentioned that before,” reminds Craig Finn of the Hold Steady on his band’s latest, acclaimed mashup of brutish bar rock and vice-laden storytelling. Finn delivers his diatribes with like frankness, sparing no self-destructive detail while Bonham drums and bluesy riff-rock pound and bash in the background. If you still enjoy Pabst Blue Ribbon, this band’s for you. The Hold Steady at The Casbah. Sunday, Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. $10. www.casbahmusic.com.

– Ah, but one can’t rock forever – and that’s why we’re thankful for Beyond the Pale, a Toronto-based quintuplet whose musical expertise doesn’t begin and end with the power-chord. The sheer variety of their repertoire – from European folk music like Gypsy and Klezmer to American roots like Jazz and bluegrass – is stunning on its own, but coupled with the group’s notorious virtuosity, it’s enough to make their one-of-a-kind show a must-see standout in the repetitious cycle of San Diego music. Beyond the Pale at Dizzy’s San Diego. Saturday, Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. $12/$10 students. www.dizzyssandiego.com.

– VOICE STAFF

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