A monument to circus showman P.T. Barnum stands in Reid Davenport’s hometown of Bethel, Connecticut. “He got a pedestal,” says the director of I DIDN’T SEE YOU THERE, the new documentary that premiered at the 65th SFFILM Festival, while the disabled filmmaker’s perspective is from the sidewalk. The film, a meditative and personal feature that invites the viewer to see the world through his eyes—and at his level– often refers to the corrosive legacy of Barnum’s freak shows and how society relates to those who are different.
The pandemic disrupted virtually (pun unintended, but hiya, Dr. Freud!) every aspect of my life, but none more thoroughly or dismayingly than the one that contributed most of its bliss, excitement, and travel (not to mention remuneration, once I’d written about them): attending film festivals.
Cinema junkies forgive iconic documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman for the length of some of his works that venture deep into American institutions; his most recent City Hall covering the government of Boston clocked in at four and a half hours. We absolve him because he is so good at taking us inside worlds that we don’t know, as his camera disappears and we learn so much by listening and observing, happy to have made the journey.
“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.
We love Fellini and we love trailers that tease us to want to see the full features.
In March 2020 the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive was starting an extensive Fellini 100 series when Covid shut the Museum down. But the Fellini Celebration is back, playing through May 14, 2022.
We are pleased to present a collection of trailers, interviews and appreciations of Federico Fellini in honor of his belated 100th birthday.