Coming Attractions at the Castro, PFA and Stanford

Note: This article has been altered since I first posted it. I corrected some typos and misspellings. 

I always feel a little guilty (not too much) going to a movie on a beautiful summer day. But the guilt evaporates in November. So let’s look at what’s coming up at the Castro, Stanford,  and the Pacific Film Archive.

At least one masterpiece, Lawrence of Arabia will screen at two of the theaters.


San Francisco’s premiere revival palace doesn’t release its full monthly schedule until the last minute, so we can’t see everything scheduled. But their Coming Soon page gives us some tantalizing glimpses of November.

And a very Godard November it will be. They’re screening Breathless (November 6), Weekend (November 13), Contempt (November 20), and Band of Outsiders (November 27).

But before the bad boy of the French New Wave arrives, we’ve got a Wes Anderson triple bill on November 3: Moonrise Kingdom, The Royal Tenebaums, and Bottle Rocket.

I’ve mentioned Lawrence of Arabia already. What I didn’t tell you was that it’s on a double bill with Doctor Zhivago. For those who go, November 17 will be a very long day at the movies.

They’ll also be showing the ever-popular Wizard of Oz on November 24, but it will be the new, 3D version. That surprises me. I suspect that Castro patrons aren’t the sort who want to see a classic altered.

Pacific Film Archive

I got the new, November-December PFA schedule in the mail recently, but I don’t need the dead-tree version. It’s all up on their web site.

I wrote back in May about the PFA’s new digital projector, I hoped at that time that they would do a special program of classics on DCP. And so they are, of a sort, with the series The Resolution Starts Now: 4K Restorations from Sony Pictures. The series opens, appropriately enough, with their screening of Lawrence of Arabia. Other films in the series include Taxi Driver, Picnic, Dr. Strangelove, and On the Waterfront . Sony’s head archivist, Grover Crisp, will be on hand December 5 to discuss technical issues before a screening of Bonjour Tristesse.

By the way, there’s an unfortunate irony in the two Lawrence of Arabia screenings. The Castro as a screen large enough to do this very large-screen epic justice, but only a 2K digital projector. The PFA as the proper 4K projector, but the screen really isn’t big enough for ˆLawrence.

So what else is coming to the PFA?

The current Fassbinder series continues until the theater’s holiday shutdown in mid-December, but they’ve added another series to supplement it: Fassbinder’s Favorites, a collection of movies that the late German auteur loved.

The UC Berkeley Art Museum is running a series Beauty Revealed: Images of Women in Qing Dynasty Chinese Painting, so it’s hardly surprising that the PFA would supplement it with Beauty and Sacrifice: Images of Women in Chinese Cinema. The films range from The Goddess, a heartbreaking silent drama about a single mother forced into prostitution, to Wong Kar-wai’s relatively recent In the Mood for Love.

Also in the program: a short series on New Portuguese Cinema, three films with sound designs by Randy Thom, and a series on Agnès Varda, the only woman amongst the leading directors of the French New Wave.


Meanwhile, down in Palo Alto, the other big repertory palace will combine some of the best comedies of the 30s with some of the best comedies of the 40s. Each week, Thursday through Sunday, they’ll double-bill a Marx Brothers movie with one written and directed by the great Preston Sturges.

Oddly, the Stanford programmers could not find a way to put Lawrence of Arabia into this series.