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

The New Buster Keaton Shorts Collection on Blu-ray

How can anyone describe the beauty, grace, and breathtaking hilarity of Buster Keaton in his silent film prime? An actor, an acrobat, and a brilliant filmmaker, he spent the 1920s making some of the funniest and technically sophisticated comedies ever preserved on film. Since I can't describe him, here's a highlight reel of some of … Continue reading The New Buster Keaton Shorts Collection on Blu-ray

Live Music for the Undead: Monday at the San Francisco International Film Festival

I only went to one San Francisco International Film Festival event on Monday, and that was Carl Theodore Dreyer's 1932 classic, Vampyre, with musical accompaniment by Mercury Rev and Simon Raymonde. It was at the Castro. Vampyre belongs on any list of great horror films. Todd Brown's Dracula, made the previous year, is stagy and … Continue reading Live Music for the Undead: Monday at the San Francisco International Film Festival