Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Monica Nolan Has Two Eyes

The Frisco Bay repertory/revival scene cannot be taken in by a single pair of eyes. Thankfully, a number of local filmgoers have agreed to share their favorites from 2009. An index of participants is found here.

The following list comes from Monica Nolan, filmmaker and writer:

It was a good year. I saw several films I'd been waiting literally years to see on the big screen. I saw some marvelous films I hadn't known existed. I missed a LOT. Why is the PFA so far away?

The year began and ended (sort of) with Godard, with whom I have a love-hate relationship. Or towards whom? It is pretty one-sided.

1) Vivre Sa Vie at the Red Vic. This is on the love side of the scales.

2) Wicked As They Come & Slightly Scarlet--the Arlene Dahl double-feature at Noir City. Never heard of either of them before the program came out. So encouraging to know there are still films to discover!

3) La Pointe Courte at the PFA. I liked the documentary half of the film the best. But the stylized half is oddly fascinating.

4) Routine Pleasures at the PFA with Jean Gorin in attendance. Even more interesting now that I've read about Jean Gorin as "Godard's Yoko Ono."

5) Once Upon A Time In The West at the Castro. I first saw this babysitting, and was mesmerized, even on a small tv. But at the Castro...

6) All the Kuchar films at the SF Gay/Lesbian fest (Roxie, Victoria), but especially his brilliant short, I, An Actress. I have never laughed so hard in my life.

7) Underworld, at the Castro as part of the SF SFF, made even more enjoyable by Eddie Muller's brilliant introduction. Why can't more people introduce without describing the plot of the movie you are about to see?

8) Lost Landscapes at Herbst Auditorium (December). I'd actually seen lots of the clips in this show before (thanks Prelinger Archives online), but this show was a nice reminder of the transformative power of a packed house. Anything you see becomes better in that atmosphere.

9) Daisy Kenyon at the PFA. I have been waiting so long to see this film, avoiding as best I could reading or hearing anything about it. It exceeded my inflated expectations. What greater happiness is there?

10) Voyage in Italy. I'd just been reading about Rossellini's influence on early Godard when this fortuitously appeared at the PFA. Ingrid Bergman is always better than I remember and I love George Sanders. Plus, a coded lesbian couple! The last five minutes made my jaw drop. What was Rossellini thinking?

P.S. And what was the PFA thinking, scheduling its Val Lewton series to conflict with Noir City 2010? That is some truly sadistic programming.

She also supplemented her repertory/revival list with three new films shown in repertory-style spaces:

1) Maggots & Men at the SF Gay/Lesbian festival (Castro). A b&w stylized gay riff on Potemkin. A breath of fresh-air in the midst of all those glossy, bland, gay rom-coms.

2) Outrage at the Red Vic.

3) Tony Manero at the Kabuki. Gorgeous and probably the most disturbing movie I saw this year. Sadly, I can't tolerate going to the movies at the Kabuki very often. Their idiotic seat assignment system gets on my nerves and spoils my enjoyment, and the surcharge doesn't help either.

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