I spent Saturday in Niles at the Broncho Billy Silent Film Festival. Lots of fun, good people, and great movies. And some strange ones. One of the strangest: A five-minute short in the Flaming Youth series called "Why Girls Walk Home." Imagine the sort of sexploitation film where people (usually women) strip at the least … Continue reading Broncho Billy and Other Classics
What? More festivals? Two words: Silents and Jews. The Broncho Billy Silent Film Festival starts tonight (Friday) at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in Fremont. Of the two weekend-long silent film festivals that grace the Bay Area every summer, Broncho Billy is the smaller, friendlier, small-town affair. The prints are 16mm, the live accompaniment … Continue reading Films Silent or Jewish
Rabid right-wingers own cable news and talk radio, but we leftists sure dominate the feature-length documentary. I mean, when was the last time the Roxie showed an 80-minute video praising Ann Coulter? But do these documentaries serve an actual purpose? Anyone surfing through a television or radio dial can hit upon Bill O'Reilly or Rush … Continue reading Political Documentaries
"What did you think of Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet?" "Oh, come on! You can't really call that Hamlet, can you? Hamlet was meant to be seen live, not canned. And why cast Kate Winslet and Julie Christie when Ophelia and Gertrude are supposed to be played by boys? And what's Branagh doing there? If it ain't … Continue reading Movies As They Were Meant to be Seen?
I don't know if the pen is mightier than the sword, but I've got a book on my desk that could make a pretty lethal club. It's called Cinema by the Bay, by Sheerly Avni, and it's a coffee table book for very sturdy coffee tables. The sucker is heavy. As the first title with … Continue reading Adulation by the Bay