Tracking America’s Racial Karma on the Silent Screen

By Louise Dunlap

My first reaction is “No way I’m going to review a film with the name “R——.“ I’ve spent too long telling relatives in the nation’s capital how their team’s name evokes bloody skins of the First People of our continent hunted for bounty. Even though this film acknowledges the R-word as a slur, even though today’s reviewers think it progressive for its time, I’m reluctant. Our history is one white person’s version of Indians after another—with Hollywood in the lead. I don’t want to join the thread.

But then I look at the specs.

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SHOOTING THE MAFIA: NOT ENOUGH MUSCLE

By C.J. Hirschfield

There is no doubt that the story of octogenarian Italian photojournalist Letizia Battaglia is an interesting one. A talented artist/activist/elected official/ iconoclast who has experienced spousal abuse, sexual discrimination, and many long affairs with much younger men, she has for decades documented the atrocities of the Mafia in her home town of Palermo, Sicily.Screen Shot 2019-11-30 at 11.42.16 AM.png

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A TOUR OF THE HEART

by C.J. Hirschfield

The first public performance of San Francisco’s renowned Gay Men’s Chorus took place in 1978 at an impromptu memorial at City Hall for pioneer gay rights advocate and city supervisor Harvey Milk and mayor George Moscone, who had been assassinated earlier that same day. It’s worth noting that they performed a religious song: “Thou, Lord, Hast Been our Refuge.” The tens of thousands of mourners had marched to City Hall from Castro Street.

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Since that time, the world’s first gay chorus has performed all over the world.

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ORSON’S BELLY: Day and Night

by Julie Lindow

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Film posters of Mon Oncle by Jacques Tati and of course Citizen Kane by Orson Welles

Have you ever dreamt of opening a café or bar that would be the medley of everything you love? Have you ever worried that San Francisco is losing its creative venues because high rents demand investors who demand tried-and-true (i.e. boring) business formulas so that they can be assured of a return?

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FIRE IN PARADISE: Questioning the New Normal

by C.J. Hirschfield

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The new Netflix documentary Fire in Paradise was planned for release near the one-year anniversary of the Camp Fire in Butte County, the country’s deadliest wildfire in over a century. The fire killed 85 people in the town of Paradise. As the film’s November 1st release date approached, Oakland-based co-director Drea Cooper recalls feeling good that the 2019 fire season was not as bad as last year. But by the time the actual date arrived, the entire state of California had endured three weeks of flames, and causing millions of people to be without power–including Drea and his family. “Surreal,” is how he puts it. Surreal, but as the film suggests, also the new normal.

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WHY SURREALISM MATTERS TO ANIMATORS 

by Karl Cohen

For over a quarter of a century I’ve been asking my cinema students on the first day of class “what is surrealism and why is it important to animators?”   Even though most are cinema majors, I generally ask that question again before a brave student will risk raising a hand.  Often the first answers deal with vague thoughts about dreams and nightmares.  Eventuality the discussion leads them to realize surrealism comes from our creative imaginations and that for over a hundred years it has provided a good deal of the imagery for films.

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Thru The Mirror (1936)  (courtesy of BookMice)

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