First Film Festivals of 2016

The Bay Area’s traditional December film festival draught will end soon. Here are four festivals coming down the pike:

SF Sketchfest

January 7 – 24

Yes, it’s a stretch to call Sketchfest a film fest. After all, it’s primarily about standup comedy. But it has some funny movies, too

These movies include Teen Witch, Hook, the wonderful Waiting for Guffman, and Hot Shots–all with special guests. Alan Arkin and Sally Field will be honored–Arkin with a screening of the cold war comedy that put him on the map, The Russians are Coming. The Russians are Coming, and Field with her new film, Hello, My Name is Doris.

Berlin & Beyond

January 14 – 21

This collection of German-language films (not all from Germany) will take over the Castro from January 14 through the 17th, then move to the Goethe-Institut San Francisco for another three days.

As I write this, there’s no schedule up on their website, and they’re listing only two films: Head Full of Honey and In Spiderwebhouse. Let’s hope they get more stuff up soon.

Noir City

January 22 – 31

This year, the theme for the biggest noir festival around is “The Art of Darkness.” According to the website, “This time the tortured protagonists aren’t felons or fall guys, they’re writers, painters, dancers, photographers, and musicians.”

They’re opening with my all-time favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie, Rear Window, on a double bill with The Public Eye from 1992. Like most of the much older movies to be screened, I haven’t seen that one.

It closes with Peeping Tom and Blow-Up (this is the only festival I know of that regularly runs double bills). I’ve never seen Peeping Tom on
the big screen, and–unfortunately–I won’t be able to see it this time.

The festival will also screen Humoresque, In a Lonely Place, Young Man With a Horn, The Bad and the Beautiful, The Big Knife, The Red Shows, and a whole lot more.

Mostly British Film Festival

February 18 – 25

Here’s your chance to see foreign films without having to read subtitles. Most of these are new films that haven’t screened yet this side of the pond, so I can’t really tell you about them.

But they’ve got a lively sprinkling of classics, as well. They include The Long Good Friday, Rebecca (Alfred Hitchcock’s first American film, but set in England), Mike Leigh’s brilliant Secrets & Lies, and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

[January 1: I originally mispelled, and have just corrected, Alan Arkin’s name. My thanks to Gary Meyer for catching the error.]