Wednesday, May 31, 2017

22nd San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Thursday is the 1st night of the SF Silent Film Festival, running June 1 - 4 at the Castro Theatre. This year's festival presents 36 musicians providing live accompaniment for 18 films from 9 countries. DJ Spooky is new to the festival this year, & on Friday night he accompanies Body and Soul, a 1925 feature by African-American director Oscar Micheaux, starring Paul Robeson. On opening night the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra performs their original score for Harold Lloyd's The Freshman, & Sunday at noon the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra accompanies Silence, a 1926 American crime drama based on a stage play, restored with recently discovered footage from the Cinémathèque Française.

The festival has 2 films directed by women, including The Dumb Girl of Portici, a high-budget epic directed by Lois Weber & starring Anna Pavlova in her only screen role. Dorothy Arzner is the director of Get Your Man, a comedy with Clara Bow & Buddy Rogers. It plays with a fragment of Now We're in the Air, a lost comedy with Louise Brooks & Wallace Beery.

I am told that the Saturday afternoon showing of Filibus, an Italian adventure film featuring sky pirates, is a must-see. Preceding the screening, the festival will present an award to the the Dutch EYE Filmmuseum, for its commitment to the preservation of silent film. Films from the EYE's Desmet Collection will be shown in the free, & always fascinating, Amazing Tales from the Archives presentation on Friday morning.

The festival will also honor David Shepard, a film preservationist who died this year, with a Saturday morning program of shorts selected by the delightful Serge Bromberg. The classic Battleship Potemkin is on the schedule, as well as the the avant-garde A Page of Madness, which I have always wanted to see. Two Days, a Soviet film set during the Civil War in the Ukraine, looks intriguing.

I got to attend the festival's informal media preview event last month & had a chat with a fellow who does the sound for the Silent Film Festival, which sounds like an oxymoron, but isn't. He said The Freshmen is one of his favorites & assured me that The Three Musketeers show that closes the festival would be the most fun.

§ The 22nd San Francisco Silent Film Festival
June 1 - 4, 2017
Castro Theatre

§ Festival Site | Schedule & Tickets | Festival Pass 

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