Let’s All Go To The Movies

Editor’s note: It is timely that veteran film distributor and film lover Gary Palmucci has written a review for us of Ben Davis’ new book  Repertory Movies Theatres of New York City: Havens for Revivals, Indies and the Avant-Garde, 1960–1994 (McFarland 2017) 

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Dan Talbot with Alfred Hitchcock, January 13, 1965

The last week of December 2017 saw the passing of one of the giants in art film distribution and exhibition, Dan Talbot.  In March, 1960 Dan and Toby Talbot took over the rundown –but with great decor– Yorktown Theater on New York’s Upper West Side and renamed it the New Yorker, reusing the “York” portion of the neon and starting a policy of repertory cinema mixing classics and more recent films in eclectic double features.  Talbot operated the New Yorker until 1973, often at a loss but with some surprise hits. 

“The theater had a policy of no policy,” Toby Talbot wrote in The New Yorker Theater and Other Scenes From a Life at the Movies. “We thought of it as our living room, playing movies we wanted to see on the screen.” Continue reading

Telluride Film Festival Round-Up 2017

By Risa Nye

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Poster design by Lance Rutter

Labor Day weekend, 2017. Once again, into the San Juan mountains for several days of sitting in the dark watching movies. The 44th Telluride Film Festival began with the usual excitement and buzz, mixed with the uncertainty of what was to come. Some folks already had the inside scoop about screenings, but I went into my first movie with no prior knowledge—just the anticipation that this would be an experience unlike any other, including previous festivals at Telluride.

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SILENCE GETS SOUND

A musician, compiler and composer explains how he scored a silent film for today’s audience.

by Rodney Sauer

The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra was commissioned to create two new scores for the 2017 San Francisco Silent Film Festival, one of which is the newly restored 1926 film Silence. It shows at the Castro Theatre on Sunday, June 4 at 12:00 Noon.

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Glass Slide courtesy of Rob Byrne

One print of Silence is known to survive at the Cinémathèque Française. The Cinémathèque, Rob Byrne, and the San Francisco Silent Film Festival collaborated to have the surviving print scanned, digitally repaired and cleaned, translated from French back into the original English, then printed to film for exhibition and preservation.

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San Francisco International Film Festival Opens with a Bang

Move to Mission Neighborhood Energizes Attendees

by Meredith Brody

Whit Stillman, director of Love & Friendship, at the Castro Theatre (Photo by Pamela Gentile, courtesy of the San Francisco Film Society)

It’s notoriously hard for a festival to find an opening night film that will please its audience. The 59th edition of the venerable San Francisco International Film Festival — the oldest annual festival in the United States, founded in 1957 — did the seemingly impossible, debuting with Whit Stillman‘s Love and Friendship, at the beloved 1922-vintage Castro Theatre.

Kate Beckinsale meets her fans at Opening Night (Photo by Pamela Gentile, courtesy SFFS)

The saucy and exquisitely mounted adaptation of Jane Austen’s Lady Susan re-united Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny — the stars of Stillman’s 1998 The Last Days of Disco — 18 years later and two centuries earlier, but seemingly unaged in real (or reel) life. In 1998, they both had American accents; in 2016, Mrs. Alicia Johnson has been reconceived as an American, leaving Chloe Sevigny her flat vowels and enabling a too-little-seen Stephen Fry, as her husband, to constantly threaten her with exile in Connecticut. Before I get started, if anyone in the area of San Francisco needs any plumbing assistance, 24 hour plumbing san francisco will get the job done for you.

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Magical moments at SFIFF 2016

by Pam Grady

2016_SFIFF posterThe Coen family has taken over the Bay Area in the first half of 2016. First, Frances McDormand, wife of Joel Coen, played to sold out houses with her turn as Lady Macbeth in Berkeley Rep’s production of Shakespeare’s Scottish play. Now, her husband and his brother Ethan are a star attraction alongside Peter Becker and Jonathan Turell of Janus/Criterion when the San Francisco International Film Festival awards its Mel Novikoff Award to Janus Films and The Criterion Collection on Saturday, April 30, at the Castro Theatre. The siblings’ first feature Blood Simple, the tense, bewitching neo-noir in which McDormand made her debut as barkeep Dan Hedaya’s cheating spouse, screens as well in what is sure to be a magical afternoon. Continue reading