Sunday, January 16, 2011

Monica Nolan's Two Eyes

Since my own two eyes were not nearly enough to see and evaluate all the repertory/revival film screenings here on Frisco Bay, I'm honored to present local filmgoers' lists of the year's favorites. An index of participants is found here.

The following list comes from writer and filmmaker Monica Nolan, who has full bio on her website

PFA won hands down as the rep venue of choice. On the one hand I feel lucky to have the PFA within reach; on the other hand, it's frustrating that I have to travel an hour and a half (bike to bart, bart to berkeley, bike to theatre) each way, when I think of the rep programming that was available in years past at the Castro and Roxie, much closer to hand. If it wasn't for the various festivals, my visits to both of those venues would be far and few between. But I shouldn't be too hard on them--after all they don't have the vault that the PFA does to draw from!

1. Accatone (PFA). It's nice to be reminded that there are still unseen classics from the past that can shock and stimulate you. Plus, this tale of pimps and layabouts was the perfect antidote to a family Thanksgiving!

2. Remember the Night (Noir Xmas, at the Castro). Mitch Leisen lights the young and beautiful Barbara Stanwyck! A match made in heaven.

3. Women's Prison (Noir City 8 at the Castro) This beat out the Burt Lancaster prison break movie at the PFA, although Hume Cronyn wins "most sadistic prison warden" over Ida Lupino.

4. Love Letters and Live Wires, shorts from GPO film unit (PFA). Including Night Mail, a short by Cavalcanti, and a Norman McLaren animation, yet my favorite was the wonderful Fairy of the Phone.

5. The Servant (PFA). Kind of jaw-dropping, especially when I kept expecting it was about to end and it kept continuing. How low could James Fox sink? I'm even more intrigued now that I know Somerset Maugham's nephew wrote the book. Was he thinking about the relationship between his Uncle Willie and Uncle Willie's secretary/lover Gerald?

6. My Hustler (Frameline LGBT Film Fest at the Roxie). All these years I've been underestimating Warhol.

7. Senso (San Francisco International Film Festival at the Castro). I know The Leopard is the worthier movie, but this was just as beautiful and awfully fun.

8.Bitter Rice (PFA). This was in the Italian neo-realism series on the thinnest of excuses in my book, but who cares? A gangster melodrama, with shots framed like the covers of pulp novels.

9. The Crimson Pirate (PFA). A completely ridiculous and mediocre movie redeemed by Burt Lancaster's energy and the beauty of the technicolor print.

10. Maedchen in Uniform (the 1958 Romy Schneider version, Frameline LGBT Film Festival, at the Castro). I'd always heard this disparaged in comparison with the 1931 version, and was surprised at how well it stood up.

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