Silents, Please!

Anticipating the SFSFF’s Day of Silents Makes My Endorphins Rise

by Meredith Brody

(December 1, 2022)

William Haines and Marion Davies in SHOW PEOPLE

I keep my TV tuned (do we say tuned, nowadays?) to TCM. It’s what greets me when I snap on the TV (do we say snap on, nowadays), and has resulted in me being surprised that The Apartment or The Women or Wild River or Touch of Evil is playing. I pause to watch “for JUST a few minutes,” and end up trapped, mesmerized by The Whole Thing. Continue reading

A Few Nickels in the Slot Buys You Lunch at the Automat

(Editor’s note: THE AUTOMAT will show twice on Turner Classic Movies, Tuesday, November 22. There will also be for classics with automat scenes.)

By Gaetano Kazuo Maida

(Updated November 21, 2022; originally published April 2022)

A film that starts off with the instantly recognizable dulcet tones of Mel Brooks gushing, “one of the greatest inventions, insane centers of paradise…” is irresistible even if you’ve never heard of the Automat. For those of us of a certain age from New York or Philadelphia (and yes, I’m one: born and raised in New York, with family in Philly), the Horn & Hardart Automat was a unifying experience of childhood delight and teenage necessity. You didn’t need a lot of money to eat, just a handful of nickels… In its heyday (1920s to the 1970s) it was, in just two cities, the largest restaurant chain in the country by any measure, at one point in the 1940s serving fully 10% of the population of Philadelphia. Continue reading

ANIMATION EXPLORES NEW DIMENSIONS IN 2022

By Robert Bloomberg

In 1928, inspired by the talkie that changed the world, “The Jazz Singer,” Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks created “Steamboat Willie,” the first cartoon with fully synchronized music and sound effects, demonstrating the potential power and delight of animation. 

The ten films in this year’s Animation Show of Shows perfectly illustrate the culmination of that potential. Most of the shorts, curated and presented by Acme Filmworks founder Ron Diamond, require no subtitles and rely solely on that marriage of image and sound.

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GROWING UP IN LOVE WITH THE MOVIES

By Meredith Brody

(November 5, 2022)

I’ve been a film buff ever since I first saw a re-issue of Cinderella at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland when I was just a tot.

I wasn’t able to fully exercise my film buff inclinations for the next decade or so, as I was dependent on my parents for transportation. They made the movie choices, as well. Oddly, since they were both New Yorkers and went to movies weekly or more often as children, there was a joke amongst my siblings and I: “They take us to two movies a year, whether we need them or not.”

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Know Any Cat Daddies?

By Marilyn Freund

(October 28, 2022)

Cat Daddies is a deceptive film, and therein lies its emotional punch. On the surface, director Mye Hoang’s documentary debut presents episodes from the lives of nine men whose lives have been changed by their relationships with cats. But underneath, it takes a look at what behavior our culture has traditionally considered to be “manly,” and how those stereotypes might be redefined today.

Truck driver David Durst visits Sedona, AZ with his cat Tora. Image by Mye Hoang.

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I Didn’t See You There

By C.J. Hirschfield

(Updated October 27, 2022)

A monument to circus showman P.T. Barnum stands in Reid Davenport’s hometown of Bethel, Connecticut. “He got a pedestal,” says the director of I DIDN’T SEE YOU THERE, the new documentary that premiered at the 65th SFFILM Festival, while the disabled filmmaker’s perspective is from the sidewalk. The film, a meditative and personal feature that invites the viewer to see the world through his eyes—and at his level– often refers to the corrosive legacy of Barnum’s freak shows and how society relates to those who are different.

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