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

Hardly Silent- A Gallery of Silent Film Trailers and Posters

Curated by Gary Meyer

May 4, 2022 (updated May 6)

As the 25th San Francisco Silent Film Festival starts Thursday, May 5 and plays for a full week, we have gathered a collection of trailers, clips, rare posters and other ephemera from many of the films showing at this year’s celebration. The Festival partners with archives around the world to restore films. At the Festival there will be restored prints (looking better than many of these excerpts) and all are accompanied by live music. Silents does not mean “Silence.” In fact the proper enjoyment of silent movies include great musical accompaniment. The Festival features both local and international musicians. Sound is so important that they bring in their own sound system and technicians as the Castro doesn’t have great acoustics (something being corrected by the new operators).

We are getting ready for an unforgettable week. 

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THE CZAR OF NOIR MAY NOT RING TWICE BUT HE ALWAYS DELIVERS THE GOODS

By Ben Terrall

After a two-year Corona Time hiatus, the Noir City film festival will return to the Bay Area from Thursday, March 24 to Sunday, March 27 at the Grand Lake Theatre in Oakland. This year’s lineup, themed “They Tried to Warn Us!,” features twelve mid-twentieth century Hollywood movies that address social problems which are still all too present today.

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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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Watch CITY LIGHTS Shine: A Gallery of Art

Curated by Gary Meyer

Charles Chaplin might be the most recognizable person in the world. His iconic Little Tramp image can be found everywhere. I am guessing that more books have been written about him than any movie star.

One of the many beauties of his work is that they communicate with people who speak any language.

And on Saturday, February 19, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival presents Chaplin’s 1931 masterpiece, CITY LIGHTS accompanied by the Oakland Symphony under the direction of Timothy Brock, at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre. This is a must see experience for all ages.

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