Since my previous post on the Frisco Bay screening scene, two major pieces of news have caught the eyes of cinephiles like myself. First, the Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto quietly began a new multi-calendar series last week. It's an extensive centennial tribute to Universal Pictures, focusing attention on the oldest of the Hollywood studios, which mogul Carl Laemmle formed out of his company IMP (Independent Moving Pictures Company) and several others after emerging victorious in his legal battle with the 'old guard' of American motion picture production: Edison, Bioscope, Vitagraph, etc. a.k.a. "The Trust". The first picture made at his Universal City studio after this formation, At Old Fort Dearborn, was released on September 28, 1912, and was itself a centennial commemoration of a War of 1812 battle taking place where Chicago would eventually be founded. Though this film (if it indeed exists) is not announced for the Stanford schedule, there are three silent film presentations between now and the end of the calendar: two early entries in the famous "Universal Horror" series: the spooky Cat and the Canary this Friday September 21 & Lon Chaney's famous Phantom of the Opera November 2nd, as well as Erich von Stroheim's 1922 drama Foolish Wives on October 12th. All three will feature Dennis James at the Wurlitzer organ, and will hopefully be followed by more Universal silent films in subsequent calendars.
|The Good Fairy (William Wyler, 1935) screen capture from Kino DVD|
The other studio-focused series in Berkeley is the Pacific Film Archive's Nikkatsu centennial, which I'm sad to say I haven't been able to attend any of yet. (How could I let myself miss a rare Mizoguchi film?) There are still quite a few screenings left to go however, including a Daisuke Ito chambara from the silent era and three Seijun Suzuki selections from the 1960s. Like Universal, Nikkatsu is still in action today, releasing films like Rent-A-Cat, which will screen nearby next month. This brings me to screening news #2: Last Wednesday's press conference and announcement of the program for the Mill Valley Film Festival happening in various Marin County venues from October 4-14.
|In Another Country (Hong Sangsoo, 2012) courtesy Mill Valley Film Festival|
I'm also curious to see Nor'Easter and Fat Kid Rules The World, both first features from American directors Andrew Brotzman and Matthew Lillard, respectively. I believe these are the first films completed with some assistance from Lucas McNelly and his ambitious A Year Without Rent project (full disclosure: my roommates and I contributed a night on a couch to this project) to have public screenings in the Bay Area. There's also The Wall, which comes to Mill Valley after screening at the Berlin & Beyond festival this month, a fascinating Frisco-focused documentary called The Institute, and the annual offering from the prolific local legend Rob Nilsson, whose films rarely screen in San Francisco proper, even when they're made here. This one is called Maelstrom and is set in Marin, making MVFF an even-more ideal showcase than usual.
|Tales of the Night (Michel Ocelot, 2011) courtesy Mill Valley Film Festival|
|Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012) courtesy Mill Valley Film Festival|
All I know is, I'm determined to see e.g. Like Someone In Love in Marin County next month, even if it is going to be shown from a Digital Cinema Package (DCP). And if IFC distributes a print of it to a local arthouse sometime this winter or spring or later, I imagine I'll happily pay to see it again there as well. I mean, it's an Abbas Kiarostami feature set in Japan. Of course I'm going to want to see it at least twice! Now, off to buy my ticket befpre it goes to "rush" status...