I saw two films yesterday at the San Francisco International Film Festival, also known as the SFFILM Festival. Both were worth seeing. The Other Side of Everything I'm generally suspicious of documentaries about the filmmaker…or the filmmaker's family. But this one worked. Srbijanka Turajlic, the director's mother and the subject of the film, is a … Continue reading Revolution in Serbia & Exploitation in America: My Thursday at SFFILM Festival
As Chaplin's methods slowed down while he chose to make longer films, it was inevitable that a year would come without a single new Chaplin comedy. The first such year was 1920; there would be many others. Everyone wanted him to make more movies. His distributer, First National, had signed him up for eight short … Continue reading Chaplin Diary, Part 9: The Kid
A- Comedic drama Written by Atsuko Hirayanagi, from the short film by Boris Frumin and Atsuko Hirayanagi Directed by Atsuko Hirayanagi In Tokyo, a middle-aged woman lives a life of quiet desperation. Then she attends a class in American English and finds herself attracted to her outgoing and handsome teacher. When the teacher suddenly and … Continue reading California and Japan clash in Oh Lucy!
Charlie Chaplin's contract with First National turned him from an employee to an independent contractor. He built his own studio, hired his own employees, and financed his own films. First National just handled distribution. Chaplin was required to produce eight movies of two reels or more, over the course the 18 months. It took him … Continue reading Chaplin Diary, Part 8: Early First National
Extreme perfectionism slowed Chaplin down as he made his last Mutual comedies. Up through Easy Street, his ninth movie with the company, he had managed to meet his contract's one two-reeler-a-month schedule. But he took three months to make The Cure, and another three for The Immigrant. His last Mutual, The Adventurer, took four months … Continue reading Chaplin Diary, Part 7: Late Mutual
With almost full freedom, Chaplin was able to take considerable time to get his vision on film. According to Peter Ackroyd's biography, Charlie Chaplin, "he spent three weeks on filming one scene alone, in which he kicks his rival while whirling around with a partner on the dance floor." With that sort of perfectionism, it wasn't … Continue reading Chaplin Diary, Part 6: Middle Mutual
What happens to a performer whose contract ends just as they become the most famous and beloved person on the planet? They get tremendous artistic control and an obscene amount of money. When Chaplin signed another one-year contract, this time with the Mutual Film Corporation, he got his own production company and studio, and near … Continue reading Chaplin Diary, Part 5: Early Mutual