Thursday, December 18, 2008

San Francisco Silent Film Festival Winter Event

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival has posted the program for their 4th Annual Winter Event. They will screen four programs on Saturday, February 14 at the Castro Theater.

The films are Our Hospitality (1923) starring Buster Keaton, A Kiss From Mary Pickford (1927) - a Russian slapstick about a theater usher that meets Mary Pickford, Sunrise (1927) directed by F.W. Murnau and starring Janet Gaynor and The Cat and The Canary (1927).

Several months ago, I read that this event would feature Bardelys the Magnificent. Apparently, that fell through or perhaps they decided to save it for their 3 day festival in July.


The Mechanics' Institute released their January and February CinemaLit schedule. The January theme is Pre-[Hays] Code Gloss and Grit. The films are Night Nurse directed by William Wellman, Blonde Venus directed by von Sternberg and starring Marlene Dietrich, Three on a Match and Twentieth Century. I caught Night Nurse in 2006 at the Balboa when it was still a rep house. They had a Barbara Stanwyck Pre-Code Double Feature. I miss the Balboa's rep house programming.

The February theme is Paul Newman: Ol' Blue-Eyes is Back. The films are Hud, Cool Hand Luke, Rachel, Rachel and The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean.

I've seen most of these films. I joined the Mechanics' Institute thinking I would see a number of CinemaLit films. However, 8 months have transpired and I have yet to attend one.

The CinemaLit series is held on Fridays at 6:30 PM at 57 Post. Members are free and non-members are asked to donate $10. RSVP is required. Check website for more details.


It's clear to me that mid-January to late February will be a very busy period for me if I see all the films I want to see. Starting with the three programs at Berlin and Beyond on January 19, I could easily have access and desire to 50 films in 6 weeks. Noir City runs from January 23 to February 1 and four days later, SF Indiefest begins on February 5. Indiefest continues until February 19. The von Sternberg program is from January 15 to Feburary 22. The Pulp Writers program at the PFA will be from February 13 to 28. The aforementioned Silent Film event is on February 14. The nine hour The Human Condition screen on February 15.

Conservative estimate of films to be viewed: Berlin and Beyond (3), Noir City (18), Indiefest (20), von Sterberg (10), Pulp Writers (6), Silent Film event (3), and The Human Condition (3). That adds up to 43 but once I buy a festival pass, I'm relentless in making it a cost effective choice.

I might have to jetison Indiefest from my schedule to keep my sanity. I say that but when I read the program guide, I'll undoubtedly have a change of heart if there are any films that look decent.

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