ORSON’S BELLY: Day and Night

by Julie Lindow

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Film posters of Mon Oncle by Jacques Tati and of course Citizen Kane by Orson Welles

Have you ever dreamt of opening a café or bar that would be the medley of everything you love? Have you ever worried that San Francisco is losing its creative venues because high rents demand investors who demand tried-and-true (i.e. boring) business formulas so that they can be assured of a return?

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FIRE IN PARADISE: Questioning the New Normal

by C.J. Hirschfield

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The new Netflix documentary Fire in Paradise was planned for release near the one-year anniversary of the Camp Fire in Butte County, the country’s deadliest wildfire in over a century. The fire killed 85 people in the town of Paradise. As the film’s November 1st release date approached, Oakland-based co-director Drea Cooper recalls feeling good that the 2019 fire season was not as bad as last year. But by the time the actual date arrived, the entire state of California had endured three weeks of flames, and causing millions of people to be without power–including Drea and his family. “Surreal,” is how he puts it. Surreal, but as the film suggests, also the new normal.

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by Karl Cohen

For over a quarter of a century I’ve been asking my cinema students on the first day of class “what is surrealism and why is it important to animators?”   Even though most are cinema majors, I generally ask that question again before a brave student will risk raising a hand.  Often the first answers deal with vague thoughts about dreams and nightmares.  Eventuality the discussion leads them to realize surrealism comes from our creative imaginations and that for over a hundred years it has provided a good deal of the imagery for films.

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Thru The Mirror (1936)  (courtesy of BookMice)

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by C.J. Hirschfield

In October, 2019 it was announced that while America may be pulling its troops out of Syria, we are nonetheless sending armored vehicles to protect oil fields. Our president’s philosophy about the people who have lived there with war for eight years? “They’ve got a lot of sand over there. So there’s a lot of sand there that they can play with.” In effect, saying who cares? It’s just sand.

But it’s not just sand. It’s besieged civilians– seniors, parents, children and infants– who want nothing more than to survive, and to stay in their homes. They’ve lived with war for years. And their stories must be told, as hard as they are to see and comprehend.


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by Julie Lindow

One would never expect such real-life horror to happen at the gorgeous, historic Castro Theatre in San Francisco. That fateful night, I was slinging candy and popcorn. The air was thick with that hot buttery scent as I salted the last bag of popcorn and patrons scurried into the theater. The manager clunked the heavy double doors closed. The calm after the storm. It was also the calm before the storm of Hallows’ Eve that was a few nights off.


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By C.J. Hirschfield

A number of documentaries that feature the work and process of artists have gone on to reach and captivate large audiences. RIVERS AND TIDES featuring Andy Goldsworthy, and the more recent FACES PLACES with Agnes Varda and JR are good examples.

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And now we have SERENDIPITY, a deeply personal film that opens us up to the life and creations of multidisciplinary French artist Prune Nourry, even as she finds herself challenged by the reality of her own breast cancer diagnosis. Executive-produced by Angelina Jolie (herself a breast cancer survivor), its deft merging of heart and art is bound to attract a wide following.

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