Friday, May 30, 2014

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival Returns!

It's back in big screen glory - the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, holding forth at the spectacular Castro Theatre yet again. The festival started with a bang last night with Rex Ingram's rousing action-packed epic The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse, starring the iconic Rudolf Valentino.

On the big screen, Rudy's still a heartthrob, 88 years after his death, and it's not just because the camera loves him - Valentino, while wowing the babes every time, proves to be a surprisingly adept and facile actor who understands pacing, movement, shading and nuance on a sophisticated level.

The weekend of movie fun presents quite a packed schedule. When it comes to the films of Buster Keaton, well, for this correspondent, there's no such thing as too much!

One film that, in particular, sounds utterly fascinating: Dragnet Girl (Hijosen No Onna), a gangster picture directed by Yasujirō Ozu, a director known for such gentle and reflective family dramas as Tokyo Story. Clearly, Ozu is very likely the first and last filmmaker to combine these two genres - or even make an effort to do so!

Among the silver screen headliners included in this year's festival will be three Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog favorites, indefatigable action hero Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.

In The Good Bad Man, director Allan Dwan and ever-swashbuckling Doug - with his customary joie de vivre and panache - present a brilliant turnaround on the standard oater scenario. Fairbanks is great, as usual.

And then there are two incomparable great men of silent comedy, Mr. Keaton and Max Linder.

Going hand-in-hand with this wonderful festival's opening, a bit of shameless self-promotion: Your Blogmeister's latest article, from Eat Drink Films, issue 6, Not Just A Custard Pie: Dining Do's And Don'ts From The Surreal World Of Silent Comedy. It's a tribute to the great comedians and comediennes who rocked the theatres with laughter in 1914 and still do, at such 21st century events as the San Francisco Silent Film Fest and Pordenone Film Festival.

For more info and tickets, check out the San Francisco Silent Film Festival website.

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