The San Francisco Bay Area is still home to a rich cinephilic culture nurtured in large part by a diverse array of cinemas, programmers and moviegoers. I'm honored to present a selection of favorite screenings experienced by local cinephiles in 2015. An index of participants can be found here.
IOHTE contributor Frako Loden is an educator and a writer, who publishes at documentary.org and elsewhere.
|Image courtesy San Francisco Silent Film Festival|
2. A lesser revelation at the December Silent Film Festival, also at the Castro, was Marcel L'Herbier's 1924 L'Inhumaine and its crazy Art Deco montage finale, in which a rejected young scientist-suitor brings his inhumanly cruel paramour back to life after a fatal snakebite in a laboratory designed by Fernand Leger. The frenetic sequence, which was a scandal in its day, could have inspired artists like Devo, Klaus Nomi and David Bowie. The film was accompanied by the Alloy Orchestra, which long ago established its reputation as one of the finest silent-film musical ensembles active today.
|Image courtesy of Janus Films|
4. The strangest, most astonishing repertory film experience this year was at the Roxie for the re-release of Roar, a sui-generis 1981 horror film directed by Tippi Hedren's husband Noel Marshall and starring the couple and their children, the most famous of which was a teenage Melanie Griffith. Of course the real stars are a menagerie of big cats allowed to roam free through the family's house. The publicity for the film is a list of casualties involving fractures, ripped scalps, bites and gangrene—some of which are captured on-screen. A roiling swarm of tawny manes, claws and jaws leaves an unforgettable impression.
|Screen capture from Sony DVD|