Happy Halloween, even if I’m not really into it this year. The election is scary enough.
Nevertheless, I thought it would be a good time to discuss a few events coming up in November…and even a bit of December.
The Castro starts the month with films still playing in first run: Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation (I saw it in Berkeley Saturday; I give it an A-) and Hell or Highwater. That last one is on a double bill with a masterpiece, The Last Picture Show. They’re also screening a Laurel and Hardy double bill and an Elia Kazan double bill on the same day (separate admissions). Also on the program: a talk with Francis Coppola, followed, the next day, with a Coppola double bill including The Conversation. On November 20, they’ll screen my favorite Hitchcock, Rear Window in 35mm. I generally don’t make a big deal about film vs. digital, but Universal provides Rear Window to theaters in either a beautiful dye-transfer print or a badly mastered DCP.
The Pacific Film Archive offers Three Lives: Classics of Contemporary African American Cinema, with Do the Right Thing,
Killer of Sheep, and Fruitvale Station. Also on the schedule: Satyajit Ray’s Apu Trilogy.
The Vogue runs a James Bond-Athon November 10-13. They’re screening the first four Sean Connery films (including my favorite, From Russia with Love), and the first one without Connery–On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
From Russia with Love
The Balboa‘s Thursday night classics concentrates on 50’s science fiction in November, with The Day the Earth Stood Still, Ray Harryhausen’s It Came from Beneath the Sea, and This Island, Earth. For December, they’re going with Christmas movies. Yes, they’re screening Elf and It’s a Wonderful Life. But they’re also screening less conventional movies set that time of year: Trading Places, Die Hard, and The Apartment.
The Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum has some interesting events coming up. Their November Comedy Short Subjects Night (November 19) includes Duck Soup–no, not the Marx Brother movie, but an earlier Laurel and Hardy two reeler with the same title, as well as the hilarious Pass the Gravy and Buster Keaton’s excellent Neighbors. Then, the very next afternoon, they’re screening the cut-down-to-feature-length version of The Hurricane Express, a 1932 serial starring John Wayne (yes, it’s a talkie).
And speaking about silent movies, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival has a couple of events coming up.
First, on Saturday, November 12, they’re screening Diary of a Lost Girl, Louise Brooks’ second and last collaboration with director G.W. Pabst, at the New Mission. The Musical Art Quintet will provide musical accompaniment.
Diary of a Lost Girl
And then, on Saturday, December 3, the festival will return to its usual theater, the Castro, for A Day of Silents. This will include a collection of Chaplin shorts from his Essanay period (I personally prefer his Mutual period, but he made good films at Essanay, as well), Sergei Eisenstein’s first feature, Strike (the only film in the program I’ve seen), The Last Command, for which Emil Jannings won the very first Best Actor Oscar, and Sadie Thompson, starring Gloria Swanson and directed by Raoul Walsh.