Sunday, May 31, 2015

Attending The 20th San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Not posting much these days; the blog, with occasional exceptions, at this point is largely on hiatus (we shall return to participate in the Classic Movie History Project Blogathon on June 26-28). That said, a big reason for no postings this past week is that the 2015 San Francisco Silent Film Festival started on Thursday night. The 20th annual shindig of silents remains in residence at San Francisco's stunning Castro Theatre all this weekend and finishes with a bang with the big screen epic to end all big screen epics, Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ.

As usual, there is the customary stellar lineup of cool vintage movies to see, as well as lectures and book signings. While this correspondent will, unfortunately, not be seeing anywhere near as much of the splendid selection as he has in past years, there are fine articles out there - Eat Drink Films presents one by Thomas Gladysz, and another by Prof. Karl Cohen of SFSU; a piece about the music score to The Last Laugh by Andrew Gilbert, daily well-written reviews on the Jason Watches Movies blog and the Beyond Chron series about the 20th anniversary festival by Peter Wong, the comprehensive write-up in The L.A. Daily Mirror by author Mary Mallory (Hollywoodland) of the Hollywood Heritage Museum, to name just a few - covering it in detail.

Comedy-centric as this blogmeister is, attending Serge Bromberg's tribute to the way-out and wonderful stop-motion animator/comedian Charley Bowers shall be a must.

Also not to be missed: 100 Years in Post-Production: Resurrecting a Lost Landmark of Black Film History, a presentation and lecture by Ron Magliozzi of MoMA New York City detailing the discovery of the 1913 film Lime Kiln Club Field Day, starring the legendary Bahamas-born Broadway and Ziegfeld Follies actor-comedian-vocalist-songwriter-recording artist Bert Williams. This is one of the very few silent films with a cast entirely consisting of African-American actors, and very likely the only time anyone in the cast - Williams included - were presented onscreen in non-stereotypical roles.

The first, the best and the most mindbogglingly knowledgeable of all film historians, author and documentary filmmaker Kevin Brownlow, will introduce Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ as the festival grand finale.

For more info, see the San Francisco Silent Film Festival website.

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