Summer at the Pacific Film Archive

The Pacific Film Archive (or, as they’d prefer I call it, BAMPFA) pretty much shuts down in the second half of May. But come June, the movies come back.

Here are the ten series running from June through August:

Bergman 100: A Summer Interlude (June 1–July 15)

This subdivision of the PFA’s year-long Bergman 100 uberseries concentrates mostly on films from the 1950s. Here’s some of what they’re showing:

Early Music on Film 2018 (June 2–16)

In conjunction with the Berkeley Festival & Exhibition, this series screens well-known and little-known films of operas, films about people creating operas, and films set in a time when a lot of operas were written. They include:

The Luminous Legacy of Greta Garbo (June 7–July 13)

She was, without a doubt, one of the greatest of movie stars. Silent or sound, Garbo cast a mysterious and the sexual spell in almost every film she made. This series sticks to her American films.

  • Flesh and the Devil (June 7, 7:00): This silent film, her third in America, made her a star. The passion between Garbo and co-star John Gilbert is real and palpable. Worth seeing.
  • Queen Christina (Saturday, June 16, 7:30): Garbo plays the famous Swedish queen as a cross-dressing monarch who must choose between her throne and her desires.
  • Anna Christie (June 22, 7:00): Her first talkie, and a big risk for MGM because of her accent.
  • Ninotchka (Saturday, July 7, 8:15): Garbo’s first comedy and penultimate film was written by Billy Wilder and directed by Ernst Lubitsch. Read my report.
  • Other films in the series: Grand Hotel, A Woman of Affairs, Anna Karenina, Camille, and Two-Faced Woman.

Sunday Summer Cinema: Dancing in the Streets (June 10–October 14)

These musicals won’t be shown in the PFA theater. They’ll be screened, for free, on the giant screen outside.

Michelangelo Antonioni (June 15–August 31)
This series contains three films I’ve seen and a whole lot I haven’t. Rather than listing titles, I’ll just point you to my last Bayflicks article about the Italian auteur.

The movies to be screened are L’avventura, La notte, L’eclisse, Red Desert, Story of a Love Affair, The Lady Without Camellias, I vinti, Le amiche, Il grido, Blow-Up, Zabriskie Point, The Passenger, The Mystery of Oberwald, Identification of a Woman, Beyond the Clouds, Chung Kuo China, and two collections of short films.

Aki Kaurismäki: Films from the Other Side of Hope (July 6–August 5)

I’ve only seen one of Kaurismäki’s films; last year’s The Other Side of Hope. I had mixed feelings about it. Read my full review.

Other films in the series: The Match Factory Girl, La vie de Bohème, The Man Without a Past, Drifting Clouds, and Le Havre.

Jacques Becker (July 12–August 31)
I’m not at all acquainted with this French director. Maybe it’s time I get to know him. The series will screen Goupi mains-rouges, Dernier atout, Falbalas, Antoine et Antoinette, Casque d’or, Édouard et Caroline, The Lovers of Montparnasse, Rendezvous de Juillet, Touchez pas au grisbi, Le trou, and La vie est à nous. Also, Bertrand Tavernier’s My Journey Through French Cinema.

Bergman 100: An Emerging Style (July 20–August 19)

I haven’t seen any of the four films in this subdivision of Bergman 100. I’m not quite sure what separates these from other Bergman films.

The films screening are Prison, To Joy, A Lesson in Love, and All These Women.

Subtle Subversion: The Films of Alain Tanner (July 26–August 19)
Again, I’m not familiar with his work, although there’s one title I recognize: Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (Friday, August 3, 7:00). Maybe I should see it.

Here are the other films listed: La salamandre, The Middle of the World, Charles, Dead or Alive, Messidor, Light Years Away, and In the White City.

Andrei Tarkovsky: Sculpting in Time (August 4–30)

I’ve seen a lot of Tarkovsky’s work lately, and mostly at the PFA.

  • Ivan’s Childhood (Saturday, August 4, 6:00): Ivan doesn’t really get to have a childhood; that’s the fate of those who grow up in a war zone. Read my report.
  • Andrei Rublev (Thursday, August 9, 7:00): How can a film that’s plotless, episodic, slow, and runs 205 minutes be so good? Well, it is that good.
  • Solaris (Thursday, August 16, 7:00): The plot could easily work as a Star Trek episode. But no Star Trek episode ever felt so bleak and hopeless. Read my report.
  • Stalker (Thursday, August 23, 7:00; Sunday, August 26, 6:30): Another science fiction tale, only this one is even weirder. A great film.
  • The Sacrifice (Thursday, August 30, 7:00): This very quiet, low-key film seems to be about nuclear war, or a nuclear accident. Or maybe it’s about faith. Very worth seeing.
  • Other films in the series: The Mirror and Nostalghia.