One of the challenges for any film festival is finding the perfect opening night movie.
A curator wants a terrific movie first but also it must be a crowd pleaser— Not too experimental or heavily political. You don’t want to alienate the opening night audience who may not be as adventurous as those attending many other movies during the event. They need to leave the theater in a good mood and hopefully want to return for more shows. But you want it to be a movie that also means something to people and leaves them thinking as well as entertained.
At first glance this Classic of Silent Cinema would seem to appear as a nostalgic step back into the 1920s, when the Railroads of America dominated many people’s lives. However as the story unfolds, it is imbued with the classic icons of Silent Cinema including jealous lovers, family values and harrowing train wrecks, and is both entertaining and well written. Beautifully photographed on location along the Noyo River in the redwood forests of Northern California with excellent acting, this long lost treasure of Silent Cinema was carefully restored by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival’s Robert Byrne in collaboration with Kevin Brownlow and Patrick Stanbury of Photoplay Productions. It bears repeated viewing.
Do you find ramen irresistible? Love Singapore hawker halls? Can’t get enough of Anthony Bourdain or Chef’s Table? Reread Proust with delight? Ramen Shop has you covered! Here is the taste of food as memory, family, connection, identity… and love.
On my first sweep through the SF Film catalogue, even trying to be slightly discriminating and not greedily inclusive, I came up with 54 different films and events that I wanted to see. Fat chance! I knew there’d be overlaps in screening times as well as distances between venues that would cut down that list, as well as life intervening in a festival that occurs tantalizingly in your hometown.
The number of movies focusing on food—growing, preparing and eating it—grows every year. Almost every film festival has a selection you want to taste. And the 2019 San Francisco International Film Festival is no exception with its Spotlight section focusing on four new features. And we are adding another that we feel fits the category.