Tuesday, November 8


Shortends Again

I've been leaving lots of shortends in the can lately, but here's a few to run through the camera:

1. I strongly suspect that whoever selects the films to play the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum's Edison Theatre (a place I'm ashamed to say I've never been to) looked at the schedule of pre-code films playing this month at the Balboa before picking the films for November. Early silent versions of two of the Balboa's pre-codes are scheduled for the Fremont venue's Saturday evening screenings. This coming Saturday it's the John Barrymore version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, just in time to compare it against the Frederic March version at the Balboa November 15th. On November 26th it's Ernst Lubitsch's the Marriage Circle, which the director later reconceptualized as One Hour With You (which, in turn, I just saw for the first time earlier this evening.) I'm led to understand that all films at the Edison Theatre are shown in 16mm prints with live piano accompaniment, and are preceded by short films. On November 19th all the films will be shorts, including some real greats like Charlie Chaplin's Easy Street and Buster Keaton's One Week.

2. With Antonioni's The Passenger re-released this Friday, it's time to look ahead to a new batch of calendared films set to appear at Landmark Theatres: the Opera Plaza, Lumiere (and, presumably, Act 1 & 2) in the next few months. Of thirteen films, each expected to play a week (though sometimes they get extended), I've seen two. Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Pulse (opening Dec. 16) absolutely justifies its reputation at the artistic zenith of the recent explosion in creepy Japanese horror films. Ralph Arlyck's Following Sean (opening Jan. 13) is a worthy documentary in the self-analytical tradition of filmmakers like Chris Marker and Caveh Zahedi, if not as deeply revelatory as the best films in the subgenre. Other documentaries on the schedule include Wal-Mart: the High Cost of Low Price (which gets an early, pre-Buy Nothing Day release Wednesday Nov. 23 and is promised for nine days instead of the usual seven), Music From the Inside Out (opening Dec. 30), and Waging a Living (opening Jan. 6). The new calendar closes with the February 10 release of Manderlay, Lars Von Trier's eagerly-dreaded follow-up to Dogville.

3. Jesse Ficks is back with his Midnites For Maniacs. His new venue: the Castro. He officiated over the midnight screenings of Friday the 13th Part 3-D (which I saw) and Flesh For Frankenstein (which I missed) during their 3-D series last month. Now he's bringing the criminally under-appreciated Lost Highway for a Saturday midnight show during the upcoming David Lynch film festival December 9-11. Great work, Jesse! Only a Friday midnight screening of Eraserhead and early matinees of the Straight Story could make this weekend any more complete for Lynch fans.

4. Still lots of film festivals coming to town, one after another. Next up: the 3rd I South Asian Film Festival (Nov. 11-13) and New Italian Cinema (Nov. 13-20).

5. The Roxie is getting the same program of Jay Rosenblatt short films that the Rafael will be showing Nov. 18-24, only a week earlier, starting this Friday. I've only seen Prayer, which was enough to make me want to catch up with the rest.

I found out the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum schedule through December while at the Silent Film Festival's presentation of Beyond the Rocks this morning:

December 3: Sessue Hayakawa in The Tong Man and two shorts.
December 10: Cecil B. DeMille's Manslaughter and three shorts.
December 17: Short Subject Night. Five shorts including Chaplin's the Cure.
December 24: Alexander Korda's The Prince and the Pauper and two shorts.
December 31: the Pony Express and two shorts.

The Tong Man is of note because it's set in Frisco's Chinatown. Japanese-American star Sessue Hayakawa stars as a Chinese-American gangster.
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