Previews of Coming Attractions

England in the ’60’s. Cross dressers in the –˜20s. Gay bars in the –˜80s. All in September and October.

Some interesting stuff on the way.

First, there’s the new Pacific Film Archive schedule, which includes Look Back at England: The British New Wave, a series of 17 then cutting-edge English films from the late 1950’s through the 60’s. These include the film version of Look Back in Anger (the seminal stage play of the era), Georgy Girl (I never saw the movie, but I’ll never forget the song), and two movies that have been remade in recent years: Alfie and Bedazzled. The later’s jumping nuns sequence could make a list of the 100 funniest scenes ever filmed.

Also on the schedule: Girls Will Be Boys, a look at women dressed as men, mostly from the silent and early sound periods. Plus tributes to Shyam Benegal, Olivier Assayas, Tomu Uchida, and Sergio Leone.

And now for something completely technical:

No film will roll when the Castro screens Cruising for a week starting September 7. Although Warner Brothers is giving William Friedkin’s 1980 S&M gay bar murder mystery a small theatrical run prior to a big DVD release, they haven’t struck any actual prints. Instead, Warners has scanned the film at a very high 4K resolution, and the Castro is renting a Sony 4K digital projector for the occasion. I’ve never seen 4K projection, which some say rivals 70mm in image quality. Whatever you think about the film, which was originally panned and vilified as homophobic, the presentation will be exciting.

Speaking of grand presentations at the Castro, this year’s 70mm festival opens a few days after Cruising closes. It’s considerably less spectacular than last year’s extravaganza, but it has some good stuff. It will include, of course, Lawrence of Arabia and 2001 (you can’t have a 70mm festival without them). Other promising selections include Patton, Ghostbusters, and Terminator II.

While Cruising plays the Castro, the Cerrito will aim at an entirely different demographic. In Poop-sponsored kiddie matinees on September 8 and 9, they’ll present Follow That Bird, the only feature film built around the characters and alternative reality of Sesame Street. I had a very young Sesame Street fan in the house when this movie was new, and it became his first theatrical movie experience. I haven’t seen Follow That Bird in many years, so I hesitate to grade it, but I remember it fondly. Like a Muppet movie (which, in a sense, it is), the movie serves up silly jokes, pleasant but forgettable songs, colorful visuals, and celebrity cameos. It also celebrates diversity and criticizes bigotry. If it were made today, no doubt it would instead tell children that they have to believe in themselves.

3 thoughts on “Previews of Coming Attractions

  1. As the aforementioned young Sesame Street fan, I must say that I don’t remember seeing Follow That Bird in theaters (I was, what, two?) but our video tape is very much remembered.

    Funny thing about it, I last watched it around 16 or 17 and discovered that–and maybe this is sweet, or maybe it’s pathetic–along with It’s a Wonderful Life, Follow That Bird is the only movie guaranteed to get me misty-eyed at the end. Even now at 23 I am sure that its ending would do its job were I to give it another shot.

  2. So what did you think of the 4K projection? Is this the future of repertory film presentation, at least at for-profit venues like the Castro?

    I’ve only seen three of the British New Wave films showing at the PFA before, but I’d recommend them all (the Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The Servant, and if…). Each seems a little like it could have been directed by a French New Wave-era figure. Truffaut, Franju, and Godard, respectively.

  3. 4K projection wasn’t as wonderful as my imagination led me to believe, but I’m not entirely sure the problems I noticed (soft focus in long shots, occasional oversaturated color) weren’t part of the film negative–possibly intentional.

    Overall, it looked like a brand new 35mm print of a very grainy movie. But I think it was a very grainy movie.

    I’ll write more about it soon and post that.

    If… was a favorite of mine in my college days. I thought it was brilliant. I’m not sure how I’d react to it now. It’s probably unfilmable today in our post-Columbine world.


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