What’s Screening: June 28 – July 4

How lucky that the Supreme Court upheld marriage equality in the middle of this year's Frameline LGBT Film Festival, which runs through Sunday. The Broncho Billy Silent Film Festival starts tonight and also runs through Sunday. As usual, I've placed Festival events at the end of this newsletter. A Twenty Feet from Stardom, Shattuck, Rafael, … Continue reading What’s Screening: June 28 – July 4

San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival officially announced its 33rd run this morning. Probably the largest of all the "identity film festivals" in the area, it will play five venues around the Bay Area from July 25 through August 12. This year's theme, "Life through a Jew(ish) lens," raises two questions: What does that mean … Continue reading San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceaușescu

Kino Lorber is releasing this documentary on DVD next week. I watched and reviewed it prior to its screening at the 2011 San Francisco International Film Festival. I'm finally posting the review now. D- Documentary Written and directed by Andrei Ujica This is what an inept filmmaker can do.  What should have been a fascinating … Continue reading The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceaușescu

What’s Screening: June 21 – 27

No festivals open this week. But  DocFest continues through Sunday, while Frameline runs through the week and a bit beyond. I put my Frameline recommendations and warnings at the end of this newsletter. A A Hijacking, Elmwood, Embarcadero, Rafael, opens Friday. This isn’t your typical, fun, swashbuckling pirate movie. One truly harrowing thriller, A Hijacking … Continue reading What’s Screening: June 21 – 27

Hitchcock 9, Part 3: Sunday

B The Pleasure Garden For a new director's first film, The Pleasure Garden is surprisingly assured--creatively using all the cinema's tools to tell a good story. Based on a popular novel of the time, it follows two young women, both dancers, as their professional and love lives go in different and contrasting directions. One goes … Continue reading Hitchcock 9, Part 3: Sunday

Hitchcock 9, Part 2: Saturday

I spent most of yesterday at the Castro, watching the Hitchcock 9 festival of early, silent Alfred Hitchcock movies, all newly restored. Here's what I saw: B Champagne With it's ditzy heiress ingénue, romantic plot, broad humor, and class consciousness, this Hitchcock silent has all the ingredients of a screwball comedy except sparkling dialog. I … Continue reading Hitchcock 9, Part 2: Saturday

Hitchcock 9 Report, Part 1: Blackmail

Friday night Blackmail A beautiful young woman ditches her boyfriend (a Scotland Yard detective), flirts with another man, then kills him in self-defense. The next morning she's at the mercy of a blackmailer. Alfred Hitchcock's tenth feature and second thriller already shows touches of the master. Her night wanderings after the incident, her reaction to … Continue reading Hitchcock 9 Report, Part 1: Blackmail