Tuesday, February 28


Sneaking up on me

I try to stay a few steps ahead of the Frisco film schedules but here's some notable events that I overlooked until now, in order of time-sensitivity:

1. The Castro is showing a Hitchcock double-bill tonight, tomorrow and Thursday. Rear Window, one of the big-screen must-sees of all time, plays with Frenzy.

2. When I mentioned today and tomorrow's Doc Days screenings of the complete roster of Oscar-nominated documentaries at the Balboa, I should have done some more investigating. It's an adjunct to the Documentary Film Institute's Leacock / Pennebaker tribute running March 2-5. The Castro will be showing documentaries in 35mm prints all day Saturday March 4, while March 2, 3 and 5 provide the perfect excuse to check out the DeYoung Museum's Koret Auditorium, as they'll project video of rarer works. All screenings before 7PM are free, including D.A. Pennebaker's Original Cast Album- Company about the recording of the cast album for Stephen Sondheim's musical (Friday at the DeYoung), Robert Flaherty's towering Louisiana Story, which featured Richard Leacock as cinematographer (Saturday at the Castro) and Robert Drew's portraits of John F. Kennedy, Primary and Crisis, which featured both Leacock and Pennebaker behind cameras (Sunday at the DeYoung). Evening screenings are $10 and include the tributees' 1971 collaboration with Jean-Luc Godard, 1PM (Friday at the DeYoung) and a double-bill of Don't Look Back and Monterey Pop (Saturday at the Castro). Even the East Bay gets a bit of the action: Oakland's fabulous Grand Lake Theatre plays Pennebaker's Only the Strong Survive and the Oscar nominee Street Fight on March 2nd. And in the North Bay's Larkspur, a two-day engagement (as far as I know unrelated to the Doc. Film Institute) of Street Fight plays at the Lark Theatre March 1-2.

3. David Kipen comes to a Clean Well-Lighted Place For Books to promote his retort to Andrew Sarris and the auteurists in his wake, the Schreiber Theory at 7:30 PM this Friday, March 3rd. I've read the first half of the book and skimmed the second half (which is a somewhat The American Cinema-esque evaluation of screenwriters' bodies of work) and I wish I could be there to try to get a few more answers about his rather underdeveloped theory. Kipen provides lots of evidence that screenwriters have careers worth following, and he indulges in some truly fascinating speculation over the possibility of the Observer Effect making director-as-auteur evaluations of modern American films increasingly fruitless since 1968. But he doesn't spend enough time explaining how the mechanics of filmmaking might allow screenwriters to claim more responsibility over the quality of finished products than directors have. Since I can't make it, would someone reading this like to attend and get to the bottom of Kipen's argument?

4. The Naz 8 in Fremont is currently showing a Bollywood Fight Club remake. Warning: it's hard to find any actual good reviews of this film.

5. Another film festival I've never attended, the Tiburon International Film Festival, is on the horizon. Showing a huge number of films (230!) in only eight days (March 9-17) I hardly know where to begin to dissect the program. There's a Spotlight on Hungarian Cinema. Joseph McBride will be on hand March 12 for screenings of a pair of silent Westerns (or is that Western Silents) Tumbleweeds and the Great Train Robbery. Also on the 12th, Joe Dante will present a rare theatrical showing of his made-for-Showtime Homecoming, and on March 13 Shirin Neshat will be honored alongside screenings of several of her films.

Dude, Tiburon is showing PEACOCK, a lovely film and deubt as a director for the cinematographer of such gorgeous films as RED SORGHUM and FAREWELL, MY CONCUBINE. But the Ferry Service makes it nearly impossible for someone who works a day job to get out to Tiburon, unfortunately. Guess I won't be checking this one out.
There's got to be a Golden Gate Transit option too. Or you could ride your bicycle across the bridge like the girl in the photo.
I rode my bike to the Orson Welles Tribute last year at Tiburon. I think that was the time I cracked my helmet in Sausalito. Its about 20-25 miles from most places in the city, and a fantastic and mostly flat ride.

Wear a helmet.
I haven't read The Schreiber Theory, but I did read Andrew Sarris' review of Freedomland in the New York Observer which primarily discussed the film in terms of Richard Price's previous screenplays. Sarris concludes by saying "who said screenwriters couldn't be auteurs?".
What a sell-out.

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