I have attended dozens of film festivals from the biggies like Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, Venice, SXSW and Sundance to more intimate gatherings of movies and their makers from Telluride high in the Colorado Mountains, Morelia in Mexico’s Michoacán to Devour! In tiny Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
Most screen new movies with occasional restorations while others focus exclusively on the classics. I like many of them though have burned out on the monster events. The San Francisco Bay Area hosts nearly one hundred film festivals a year including some of the best and most unique.
It is easy for me to claim that the San Francisco Silent Film Festival is my favorite. Some might say, “But they only show old movies.” It is true that most of the films were made before 1930 and the only sound is that of the live music and enthusiastic audience reactions.
My parents took me to the 1956 roadshow engagement of AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS at San Francisco’s Coronet Theater. This eight-year-old kid was introduced to the wonders of George Méliès’ A TRIP TO THE MOON (1902) during the prelude introduced by trusted TV newsman Edward R. Murrow talking about Jules Verne in the movies.
It was the same year they Irving and Irma Levin (owners of the Coronet and other local cinemas) staged the Italian Film Week that would become the first film festival in the Americas in 1957, The San Francisco International Film Festival.
There aren’t very many of us who actually have worked as food critics for print publications. I did it for 15 years at the San Francisco Chronicle and for about 15 more at the San Francisco Examiner. Way back when I started, no editorial wall stood between advertising and criticism, at least when it came to restaurants. If a restaurant advertised, it got written up.
Son of Saul is a powerful new film about a Jewish prisoner, working in the Auschwitz death factory during World War II, who discovers the body of a boy he believes is his son and determines to save him from the flames and give him a proper burial. Continue reading →
Francis Albert Sinatra was born Saturday, December 12, 1915. Let’s look back at a few stories about Mr. Sinatra which we published earlier this year in anticipation of his centennial. Continue reading →