Friday, August 18


Castro, PFA, etc.

Just a few items I had to get out there before Monday's Friz Freleng Blog-A-Thon:

I haven't seen the Castro's latest printed schedule, but the theatre's Coming Soon page has a lot of information you may be interested in. One item not on the page is Frisco's first Canine Film Festival October 7-8, featuring everything from The Adventures of Milo & Otis to Best in Show and even a brand-new Mongolian import the Cave of the Yellow Dog (from one of the directors of the Story of the Weeping Camel) and a program of Wallace and Gromit shorts (like a Grand Day Out, pictured). But there's also a Bresson double bill of Au Hazard Balthazar & Mouchette August 29, a silver-screen, dual-projector 3-D Film Festival October 13-19 (including a day of Creature From the Black Lagoon and its two sequels October 14), a Crispin Glover festival October 20-22 to go along with his in-person (the only way he allows it to be shown) screenings of his directorial debut What Is It?, Viva Pedro, and more. Currently the theatre's in the midst of a popular 70mm film series, which has had one film rescheduled: the new print of the 1963 Cleopatra's screening was postponed until August 21.

Patrice Chereau's Gabrielle was the selection at the 49th SFIFF that gave me the most pleasure without having been able to fit it into my schedule. (Its sole Frisco screening was the same night as the Werner Herzog interview). Every time I read or heard the title, the guitar riffs of the hard-driving Ween song that as far as I know has nothing to do with the film were brought to mind and lifted my mood. It still happens. Now I plan to finally see the film, as it opens at the Roxie August 25th.

The Pacific Film Archive, still chugging along with its Borzage and Mizoguchi retrospectives, has now readied its new September-October calendar. In addition to spotlights on Ousmane Sembene, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, and artist-in-residence documentarian Ali Kazimi, there's a Steve Seid-curated Wednesday series on Pirates and Piracy that transports us from classic Hollywood swashbuckling (Minnelli's the Pirate Sep. 13, Tourneur's Anne of the Indies Sep. 20) to modern-day takes on robbery of things not-bolted-down (Craig Baldwin's Sonic Outlaws Sep. 27, He Jian-jun's Pirated Copy Oct. 25) with lots of short subjects buried in the booty. A Sunday (and occasional Thursday) series called The Mechanical Age is an excuse to see great films celebrating and criticizing mechanized modernity by silent clowns (Chaplin, Keaton, Charley Bowers), Soviet montage masters (Eisenstein, Vertov, Tsekhanovsky) French humanists (Renoir, Malle) and too many others to list. There's also a Syrian Cinema spotlight, an Australian silent film the Sentimental Bloke Sep. 17, the usual Tuesday night Alternative Visions experimental film series, and the always-tantalizing A Theatre Near You selections, this set distinguished by two screenings of Chris Marker's the Case of the Grinning Cat along with his Frisco Bay short Junkopia Oct. 27-28, and a September 1 double bill of Bigger Than Life and Blue Velvet that should provide a comforting reinforcement to anyone declining to spend their Labor Day weekend in suburban America.

Lastly, every year I try to attend at least one local film festival I've never been to before. Last year it was the Arab Film Festival, which has just announced the lineup for its 10th Annual program, Sep. 8-17. This year I'm promising myself to finally attend the Madcat Women's International Film Festival, which also celebrates its 10th year of existence and runs September 12-27. There are 12 different programs, nearly all of which are pretty appealing to me, but I'm perhaps most intrigued by the three Wednesday night screenings at the El Rio: on the 13th it's a retrospective of some of the best locally-made MadCat 16mm films from the lifespan of the festival, including films by Greta Snider, Kerry Laitala and others. The 20th brings Zoe Beloff and Vladimir in a program that looks impossible to describe in a single sentence. And the 27th matches a set of recently-made silent films with live music by Tartufi and the Secrets of Family Happiness, the latter a band whose members I attended college with, but haven't gotten around to checking out since it formed.

Sembene, Sembene, Sembene!!!


Dude, how come you get your program for the PFA before I do? Like, do they start from Ocean Beach and go East?

I actually got all the info. online, and then picked up my physical calendar shortly after finishing this post, when I went to the venue for Osaka Elegy and Ugetsu. Nothing in the mail yet.

I'm psyched about Sembene too. Looks like I'll have to miss Xala again though, due to a prior obligation that evening.

PS I know it's already Monday in Australia, but I won't be posting my Freleng Blog-A-Thon post until I finishing up some details. After all this time I finally figured out how to do screen captures!
Saw you at the Osaka Elegy / Ugetsu doublebill, Brian, and then at the far end of the BART station. I wondered how long it would take you to get the new PFA calendar up. Nice to know you can count on some things.
Brian, have you always attended the Arab Film Fest? I had a short in the 2003 program.
Ha! That question makes no sense as the point of your post was that last year was your first year attending ;)
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