Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Rembetiko (1983)

WHO: Stavros Xarhakos (who also composed the music for Werner Herzog's feature debut Signs of Life) is credited with writing the widely-praised music for this film.

WHAT: Greek war drama Rembetiko won the Silver Bear at the 1984 Berlin Film Festival- essentially the runner-up to John Cassavetes' Love Streams which won the Golden Bear. I haven't seen Rembetiko or most of the films it bested according to the Liv Ullman-headed Berlin jury that year, but if it's truly somewhere in quality between Maurice Pialat's À Nos Amours (which was also in competition but failed to find a prize) and Love Streams, that means it's pretty great

WHERE/WHEN: 7:15 tonight only at the Delancey Street Screening Room, as part of the San Francisco Greek Film Festival.

WHY: You may have noticed that my sidebar has exploded with film festivals happening over the next couple months. These specialty-interest events may not aspire to the glamour of Cannes, or even that of the recently-wrapped San Francisco International Film Festival. But they each provide valuable opportunities to see work rarely screened in theatrical settings, if at all.

Tonight, for instance, the Himalayan Film Festival begins screening (mostly) Nepali and Tibetan titles such as Old Dog at various venues in Berkeley, Oakland, and downtown SF. The Sausalito Film Festival opens Friday in that Marin town that probably has attracted more camera crews over the years than almost any other locale on Frisco Bay. Later this month the SF Green Film Festival arrives, showing environmentally-centered documentaries mostly at the New People Cinema. And in June the New Filipino Cinema fest at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SF Indie's Doc Fest at the Roxie, and the Queer Women of Color Film Festival at Brava (in olden days known as the York) join in, with, I'm certain, more early-summer festivals that haven't been detected by my sensors yet.

Further afield there is the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum's late-June Broncho Billy Silent Film Festival, named for the cowboy hero whose adventures were being chronicled in the hills and valleys of Southern Alameda County exactly 100 years ago. Even further (out of the "official" geographic domain of this blog and my sidebar, actually, but worth a mention for those up for a short road trip) is the Sacramento Japanese Film Festival, screening titles by Masahiro Kobayashi and  Mikio Naruse as well as one of SFIFF's word-of-mouth hits, the comedy Key of Life at the lovely Crest Theatre in mid-July. 

I'm not proud to say I've never personally sampled any of these festivals, but I do hope to visit at least a few of them in 2013.  I did, however, venture to the Greek Film Festival when it was the first Frisco Bay organization to screen Dogtooth back in 2010. Its venue at the Delancey Street Screening Room right on the Embarcadero is pleasant, convenient by public transport, supports a good cause, and is still equipped with 35mm projectors. I'm glad that this year the festival is taking advantage of this equipment and screening some of its selections on film: two retrospective titles (Rembetiko and, on Saturday afternoon, The Flea) and two new ones (Saturday night's Jace and Sunday's closing night film What If). 

HOW: 35mm


  1. Brian: You can add a 5 title recent Czech series (Czech That Film) at 7:00 nightly from May 31st through June 4th at the Roxie. Carl Martin confirms that at least one of the offerings, Alice Nellis' "Perfect Days" (June 1st) will be an actual film.

  2. Thanks for the tip! Here's the full line-up.