In 1956 actor Don Murray exploded onto movie screens as Beauregard “Bo” Decker: the swaggering, handsome, gauche cowboy who romances low-rent chanteuse Marie (played by superstar Marilyn Monroe) in director Joshua Logan’s Technicolor Cinemascope film adaptation of the celebrated William Inge stage play Bus Stop. Continue reading →
Orson Welles loved a good mystery. Some of his greatest films, from Citizen Kane to Touch of Evil to F For Fake , use conventions of that literary and film genre to draw his audience into their labyrinthine worlds. An intensely private man, he also frequently employed his incomparable skills as raconteur to obfuscate the truths about his own life, creating mysteries that each new biographer or reader must try to unravel if he or she wants to understand more about Welles than he intended to to reveal. Continue reading →
The Bay Area is quite a place—certainly, a cultural capital of the world. Take film and food: you would be hard-pressed to keep up with the prodigious pace of film festivals and special film series showing every week; meanwhile, the city abounds with ways to enjoy very tasty and—if that’s your thing—challenging food and drink.
“The only audience I worry about is my collaborators on the film; everything, and everyone else, is outside the circle. Cinema audiences interest me no more than the tide of humanity that passes each day under my window in Charing Cross Road—I wish them well.” Continue reading →
Stan Brakhage (1933–2003) was easily the most prolific filmmaker in the medium’s history. With nearly 400 films created during 50 years of activity, he is recognized (especially in the field of “avant-garde” or “experimental” filmmaking) as one of the medium’s most significant and influential practitioners. While two very impressive multi-disc DVD sets have been issued on the Criterion imprint and include over 50 works, public screenings of Brakhage’s work are few and far between.
Mizoguchi Kenji (1898-1956) is always in the holy trinity of directors—Kurosawa Akira and Ozu Yasujirô are the other two—invoked by Western cineastes as Japan’s greatest. But perhaps aside from his 1953 Ugetsu , which won a Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival, few non-scholarly filmgoers have actually seen his films. Starting this week, Bay Area filmgoers will get a chance to view 16 of Mizoguchi’s most frequently screened works during the series “A Cinema of Totality” at UC Berkeley’s Pacific Film Archive (July 19–Aug. 29, 2014), all on 35mm film. Continue reading →