Sunday, February 1, 2015

IOHTE: Haroon Adalat

"IOHTE" stands for "I Only Have Two Eyes"; it's my annual survey of selected San Francisco Bay Area cinephiles' favorite in-the-cinema screenings of classic films and archival oddities from the past year. An index of participants can be found here.

Contributor Haroon Adalat is a designer, illustrator and video editor. 

From my perch now, my previous year could be characterized as one of recoil. Programming in the area was overwhelmingly lavish: for one, the Pacific Film Archive presenting the majority of works from Satyajit Ray, JL Godard and Kenji Mizoguchi on 35mm certainly left me feeling spoiled! And yet, 2014 was the year I kept my moviegoing to a (relative) minimum. Between a steady increase in digital projections, a constant lack of funds, and -- quite simply -- exhaustion, I stuck to the old-reliables or stayed home; and upon reflection, I missed things I regret immensely now...
Normal Love image provided by contributor
But, what do I remember? In 2014, there were several radiant and sublime and quite singular "discoveries". Sometime in October, Jerome Hiler (not unlike Nathaniel Dorsky) ushered in that magical, sweet, sustained silence that falls on rare screenings at the PFA. Much earlier across the bay, Jack Smith was twitching to life on new prints at the YBCA throughout January. I learned that there is often treachery when returning to objects of our past. I find the word “restoration” to be a bit dubious now. Of the films I revisited -- some for the very first time on a large screen -- my opinion of many slipped (yet, for others my affection renewed and doubled: Fellini Satyricon, the numerous Resnais films that graced local screens). In 2014, I settled on a drag name, GRETA GARBAGE (no, she doesn't have much of a personality or any gigs yet). She does possess a cache of images to cull from, though: few pleasures match the sight of Gene Tierney's darling face lit by Von Sternberg in The Shanghai Gesture, or Marlene Dietrich's supreme swagger as she races atop a man's back across a saloon during a rowdy flashback from Rancho Notorious (lessons to be learned, certainly...). I used "recoil" earlier as my suggestion for all those many things I avoided or merely ignored, but the following list should stand for the strands I still find enriching and confounding - the type of stuff that had me smiling on my bus commute last summer, or helped me pass time while waiting at a bar for a friend the day after that torrential storm in mid-December. In other words, the delightful things.

Screen capture from Cinema Guild DVD
Los Angeles Plays Itself 
(2003; Thom Anderson; Castro Theatre; digital)

Flaming Creatures 
No President 
Normal Love 
(1963-1967; Jack Smith; YBCA; 16mm)

In the Stone House 
New Shores 
(1967-2012; Jerome Hiler; PFA; 16mm)

Fellini Satyricon image provided by contributor
Chelsea Girls 
(1966; Andy Warhol; Castro Theatre; dual 16mm projection) 
Fellini Satyricon 
(1968; Federico Fellini; Castro Theatre; 35mm) 

Je t'aime je t'aime 
(1968; Alain Resnais; Castro Theatre; 35mm)  
Rancho Notorious 
(1952; Fritz Lang; Castro Theatre; 35mm)  
Johnny Guitar
(1954; Nicholas Ray; Castro Theatre; DCP)  

Boy Meets Girl
Lovers on the Bridge 
(1984/1991; Leos Carax; Castro Theatre; DCP/35mm) 

Screen capture from Sony Pictures Classics DVD of Apu Sansar
Pather Panchali 
Apu Sansar 
(1955/1957/1959; Satyajit Ray; PFA; 35mm)  

Shanghai Gesture
(1952/1941; Josef von Sternberg; Castro Theatre, Noir City; 35mm)   

The Exile 
Letter From An Unkown Woman 
(1947/1948; Max Ophuls; YBCA/Stanford; 35mm)

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