Monday, January 9, 2012

There Haven't Been Any Quiet Moments

Welcome to 2012 and a New Year of Frisco Bay cinephilia! Rumors of the Castro Theatre's demise were greatly exaggerated, and it's running repertory and festival screenings, now with newly-hired general manager Keith Arnold at the helm. After largely avoiding Japanese films in the first months of programming their year-round venue New People, the SF Film Society, its identity as an exhibitor of varied, cutting-edge from around the globe now established at the venue, brings samurai classics back to that screen in January. Yerba Buena Center For the Arts begins a promising Spring season this week with the local premiere of a new restoration of Nick Ray's We Can't Go Home Again; check Max Goldberg for an excellent recent article (complete with comment by one of Ray's former student-filmmakers!) The Rafael Film Center hosts its annual For Your Consideration series of Oscar-contending foreign films for a week starting Friday; first looks at new films by Béla Tarr, Ann Hui & Nuri Bilge Ceylan are among the most tantalizing of those considered.

Perhaps most excitingly of all, on Thursday Berkeley's Pacific Film Archive opens up again for a new semester featuring, among other offerings, retrospectives for Henri-Georges Clouzot, Gregory Markopoulos, Robert Bresson and Howard Hawks. The latter, though not complete, is a hearty mixture of the consummate classic-era Hollywood director's best-known and least-known films, including four rarely-seen silents, and the pair of important pre-code action dramas that open the series: The Crowd Roars and Monterey Bay-shot Tiger Shark (pictured above). It's on the occasion of this Hawks series that I introduce a new guest contributor to Hell On Frisco Bay, one of my longest-standing cinephile friends, moving image archivist and philatelic blogger Sterling Hedgpeth. He previews the series through the prism of the film aptly chosen to play the PFA on February 14th.

Here's his article.

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