Spellbound with music: Surviving and enjoying the 2016 San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Nothing really beats the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. For three days (plus an opening night), you're immersed in an art form that was born, matured, reached extraordinary heights, and then suddenly died--all within the space of 20 to 40 years (depending on how to you define its birth and death). All told, this year's … Continue reading Spellbound with music: Surviving and enjoying the 2016 San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Janus, Criterion, Coen Brothers, and James Schamus: Saturday at the San Francisco International Film Festival

I started the day with Wesley Morris' State of Cinema address. But as I've already written about that presentation, I'll skip it here and go to the two other events I attended. Mel Novikoff Award: An Afternoon with Janus Films & the Criterion Collection Every year, the Festival gives the Mel Novikoff Award to "an … Continue reading Janus, Criterion, Coen Brothers, and James Schamus: Saturday at the San Francisco International Film Festival

The Best of this years’ San Francisco Silent Film Festival

I planned to report on every day and every screening I attended at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. But that was just too much. So this year, I'm waiting to the end and discussing the highlights. But first, one serious lowlight. When it comes to reserving seats, the Silent Festival is getting almost as … Continue reading The Best of this years’ San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Cinema’s past and cinema’s future: Sunday at the San Francisco International Film Festival

Yesterday was a very strange day for me at the San Francisco International Film Festival. I didn’t see a single, complete film. But it was still worthwhile. Mel Novikoff Award: Lenny Borger The Novikoff Award goes to someone who who "has enhanced the film-going public’s appreciation of world cinema." Sometimes it goes to someone famous, … Continue reading Cinema’s past and cinema’s future: Sunday at the San Francisco International Film Festival

TCM Classic Film Festival coming to Hollywood (and I wish I could be there)

I generally only write about Bay Area film festivals. In fact, all too often, I don't have time to cover them properly. And yet here I am, writing about a festival that's four hundred miles away. And there's simply no practical way for me to attend. It is, of course, Turner Classic Movies' TCM Classic … Continue reading TCM Classic Film Festival coming to Hollywood (and I wish I could be there)

Chaplin at the Castro: My Report on a Wonderful Day

On January 11, 1914, a Keystone movie crew drove to Venice--a beach town near Los Angeles--to improvise a comedy around an actual event of modest interest. Only one performer came with the crew--a young British Music Hall comedian recently signed with Keystone. The comic, Charlie Chaplin, quickly put together a costume and makeup, and created … Continue reading Chaplin at the Castro: My Report on a Wonderful Day