More Loudly Anticipating the San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Part Two- What I Will Be Seeing

By Meredith Brody

May 4, 2022

I learned my lesson early with the San Francisco Silent Film Festival: GO TO EVERYTHING.

The first year I attended, I cherry-picked only the movies I hadn’t seen before.  The ones I went to were such a revelation – both in the presentation and the group experience – that my heart hurt as I walked away.  What a MAROON I was. Even a movie I thought I knew well would be a fresh experience, featuring as it did not only live music, but one of the world’s great audiences. There’s a kind of euphoria that sets in when you commit to seeing everything on offer. Continue reading

They Were Calling It the Twentieth Century

 

An excerpt from Dana Stevens’ “CAMERA MAN”

In this genre-defying work of cultural history, the chief film critic of Slate places comedy legend and acclaimed filmmaker Buster Keaton’s unique creative genius in the context of his time.

Keaton’s STEAMBOAT BILL JR. with live musical accompaniment by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra will screen at the 25th San Francisco Silent Film Festival on Saturday, May 7 at 3pm at the Castro Theater. Dana Stevens will introduce the showing. Information and tickets here

Stevens will also appear in conversation with writer David Thomson at the Bay Area Book Festival on Sunday, May 8 at 3:30. It will be both in-person and live streamed. Info here.

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CITY LIGHTS at the Paramount: The Little Tramp Meets the Orchestra

February 18, 2022

By Nancy Friedman

Its running time is just 87 minutes. It has only three main characters. Its filming locations were confined mostly to downtown Los Angeles and studio soundstages. 

But in its way Charlie Chaplin’s 1931 film City Lights qualifies as an epic—and so does the story behind the San Francisco Silent Film Festival’s one-night-only presentation of this silent masterpiece, accompanied by the Oakland Symphony under the direction of Timothy Brock, at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre on Saturday, February 19. 

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THE UNKNOWN CHAPLIN, a Turkish CITY LIGHTS Remake(!) and more surprises

Possibly the best documentary about Chaplin is The Unknown Chaplin. In three parts you can watch here it captures the cinematic genius as he was never meant to be seen. Using countless reels of rushes, outtakes, and abandoned films Chaplin had wanted destroyed, film archivists Kevin Brownlow and David Gill have meticulously crafted an essential and fascinating documentary homage to the Little Tramp who will no doubt keep us laughing until the last flickering frame.

We suggest that you watch The Unknown Chaplin after you see City Lights.

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