“Pandora’s Box” – A Stunning Film on the Big Screen at the Spectacular Paramount

By Nancy Friedman

(April 25, 2023)

Maligned, misunderstood, and mercilessly censored when it was released in 1929 – and virtually forgotten for the next three decades – Pandora’s Box (Die Büchse der Pandora) is today acknowledged as one of the masterpieces of silent cinema. That honor is attributable in part to the artistry of director Georg Wilhelm Pabst and cinematographer Günther Krampf, two giants of German film. But the film’s real magic resides in the indelible performance of its American star, Louise Brooks, whom the film historian David Thomson has called “one of the most mysterious and potent figures in the history of the cinema.” The British film critic Pamela Hutchinson has said that Brooks – with her impish smile, dancer’s lithe body, and gleaming black helmet of bobbed hair – “both defines the Roaring Twenties and stands outside it. She is timeless.” 

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Home is a Hotel

By C.J. Hirschfield

(March 2023)

“An SRO is a room, and you have to build your whole life in a room.”

At the beginning of the most excellent Home is a Hotel, premiering at the 66th SF International Film Festival April 22, the documentary provides us a quick history of SROs (single room occupancy hotels) in San Francisco, the focus of the film. Created in the early 80s, the idea was to use residential hotels as a stop-gap solution to address the decline in affordable housing—not to respond to homelessness. There are 22,000 people (and their family members, and pets) currently living in SROs in that city.

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Shining the Light on Celebrity Chefs and Legendary Wine Country Women at the Sonoma International Film Festival  

By Geneva Anderson

(March 21, 2023)

Long known for its culinary and wine films and now, its celebrity chef events, the 26th Sonoma International Film Festival (SIFF), March 22-26, finds magic in its combo of film, food, wine, parties and its gorgeous wine country setting.  This year’s edition offers 110 films from 32 countries, one world premiere and eight U.S. premieres.  SIFF has always excelled at bringing audiences great stories, especially dramas that find their resolution in working together in a food, wine, or vineyard setting. Its two celebrity chef dining experiences are luxurious splurges that enliven the whole festival experience: the annual Chefs & Shorts dinner and Joanne Weir’s luncheon.

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