Gravity Spells Returns- “Embrace the Vortex”

By Brian Darr

May 19, 2022

In 2014 John Davis produced a double-album entitled Gravity Spells: Bay Area New Music and Expanded Cinema Art, which presented sound recordings made by himself as well as Maggi Payne, Tashi Wada, Ashley Beloun and Ben Bracken, paired with accompanying DVDs featuring work by local moving image artists Lawrence Jordan, Craig Baldwin, Paul Clipson and Kerry Laitala. The release was accompanied by four weekend performances at the Kala Art institute in Berkeley, and the discs quickly sold out.

Now nearly eight years later there’s a sequel release, Gravity Spells II involving an entirely new slate of Bay Area sound artists and filmmakers. This time around the performances celebrating the release will all be held  May 19-22  at venerable Mission District venue The Lab. Only the artists know quite what to expect, but they’re sure to present a unique live cinema experiences.

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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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FELLINI 100 : A Celebration in Images, Words and Music

by Gary Meyer

“Why don’t you make films in color?” Federico Fellini was asked shortly after his 1963 black and white hit 8 ½.  He explained that it was not his right to determine for the audience the exact color of, say, a blade of grass or the blue in the sky. I was a teenager with a passionate interest in all kinds of movies, especially the exotic foreign films playing at theaters like Mel Novikoff’s Surf Theatre, Pauline Kael and Ed Landsburg’s Studio & Guild Cinemas and at the San Francisco International Film Festival— this intriguing answer that made sense to me until his next feature came out where he more than broke his rule. Juliet of the Spirits was so overwhelming in its use of color one might have thought it was soon to be banned and he needed to splash every tint and tone across the screen while he could. I loved it in 1965 and can’t wait to see it again on the big screen as part of the Fellini 100 celebration through May 14, 2022 at BAMPFA.

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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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