In My Father’s Shadow: A Daughter Remembers Orson Welles
with The Lady From Shanghai, Rafael, Monday, 7:00. The Lady from Shanghai is not one my favorite Welles films by a long shot, but this evening is much more than 35mm archival print of yet another of Welles’ many attempts to get back into the good graces of Hollywood. It’s a chance to meet his daughter, Chris Welles Feder, who’s currently hawking a book about her father.
A Standard Operating Procedure, Pacific Film Archive, 3:00. We all know Lynndie England–or we think we do. She’s the young, seemingly carefree soldier photographed taunting prisoners in those infamous Abu Ghraib prison photos. Errol Morris wants you to see England and many of her former companions in a different light. He interviews them extensively in Standard Operating Procedure, shows us the letters they wrote home, and uses actors to re-enact some of the most gut-wrenching scenes they witnessed and committed. The result isn’t an easy film to watch; it has you squirming in your seat, trying not to turn away your eyes. It also forces you to ask yourself some very tough questions. See my full review. Part of the series Watching the Unwatchable: Films Confront Torture. This will be followed by another film in the series that looks interesting–Quiet Rage: The Stanford Prison Experiment. Separate admission required.
A Double bill: The Adventures of Robin Hood & Singin’ in the Rain, Stanford, Friday and Saturday. What a strange double bill—an action flick and a musical comedy. On the other hand, they were both shot in three-strip Technicolor, they were the first two films restored with Warner’s Ultra-Resolution process, and (most importantly) they’re two of the most entertaining escapist works ever to come out of Hollywood. Maybe it’s not such a bad double bill, after all.
A Double bill: The Bad and the Beautiful & Sunset Blvd., Stanford, Tuesday through Thursday. Sunset Blvd., Billy Wilder’s meditation on Hollywood’s seedy underbelly, is the flip side of Singin’ in the Rain (now that would make a great double bill). Norma Desmond is very much like Lena Lamon…after twenty-two years of denial and depression. And in the role of Norma, Gloria Swanson gives one of the great over-the-top performances in history. The Bad and the Beautiful (which Vincente Minnelli directed the same year he made The Bandwagon) isn’t that good, but it’s as realistic a look at how Hollywood changes and corrupts people as tinsel town has ever dared to make.
Ready, Set, Bag!; Elmwood, Tuesday & Wednesday, 7:00; Cerrito, Thursday, 7:00. A documentary on the National Grocers Association’s Best Bagger Contest, and a benefit for the Alameda County Community Food Bank (Elmwood) and the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano (Cerrito). The filmmakers will be there in person.