Friday, February 5, 2016

Adrianne Finelli: IOHTE

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 Adrianne Finelli is an artist, a Prelinger Library guest host, and co-curator of A.T.A.'s GAZE film series. 

1. Otar Iosseliani's Early Films
Akvareli (1958) Song About a Flower (1959) April (1962) Cast Iron (1964)
Pacific Film Archive
Thursday, January 22, 2015

The early short films of Otar Iosseliani are all poems in their own right, but paired together this quartet evokes a full spectrum of feelings and styles. Cast Iron is one of the most beautiful documentary films I have ever seen. I tried to attend as much of the Discovering Georgian Film series as possible because there was so much amazing work that I had never encountered.  This screening was no different and it stuck with me for weeks.

2. Seconds (John Frankenheimer, 1966)
The Honeymoon Killers (Leonard Kastle, 1969)
Castro Theatre, Noir City 13
Sunday, Jan 25, 2015

This was the craziest double feature I have ever seen in a grand movie palace. Thank you to Noir City for pairing these delightfully strange films together. Seconds is among my favorites, but I had only ever heard of The Honeymoon Killers by way of its influence on John Waters’ garish style. Wow! I was speechless.

3. My Grandmother (Kote Mikaberidze, 1929)
Pacific Film Archive
Saturday, Februrary 7, 2015

Also part of the Discovering Georgian Cinema series at the PFA, My Grandmother was banned for fifty years for its pointed mockery of Soviet bureaucracy. It was by far the most surreal and inventive film that I saw this year, and features a surprising amount of experimental animation techniques.

4. Inevitability of Forgetting: Films of Lewis Klahr––Memory and Collage
False Aging (2008) Engram Sepals (2000) Helen of T (2013) Daylight Moon (2003) The Occidental Hotel (2014)
SFSU August Coppola Theatre
Thursday, February 19, 2015

This was a special screening as Lewis Klahr was there in person to present his work, thanks to SF Cinematheque and the
Cinema Department at San Francisco State University. I have been a fan of Klahr’s films ever since seeing Altair (1995) several years ago. His style of collage animation is almost tactile and his characters, although sourced from old comics and magazine advertisements, somehow capture the mysteries of humanity. The strong sound design and musical choices transport you in and out of places from your own past, and there is something very fragile about the materials, like memory, fading and fleeting. This screening resonated with me on a deep emotional level.

5. The Bittersweet Films of Mikhail Kobakhidze

The Musicians (1969) The Wedding (1965) The Umbrella (1967) En Chemin (2001)
Pacific Film Archive
Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Bittersweet Films of Mikhail Kobahidze are exactly that, bittersweet. Each celebrates the pleasures of life while also recognizing the sorrows. Although all four of these films have elements of humor and whimsy, The Musicians pares down the story to just two characters set in an infinite white space, in which a cartoon-like battle ensues between them. The Wedding (1965) reminded me of The Graduate in part and had a more similar feeling to the young-love story of The Umbrella. Kobakhidze’s films all resemble the visual and physical worlds of Buster Keaton, Jacques Tati, and Norman McLaren. There is so much to love about these films, and I am grateful to the PFA for their wonderful Discovering Georgian Cinema series for this introduction.

6. The Donovan Affair (Frank Capra, 1929)
Castro Theatre
San Francisco Silent Film Festival
Saturday, May 30, 2015
Live Theater Event produced by Bruce Goldstein performed by the Gower Gulch Players: Glenn Taranto, Rick Pasqualone, Hannah Davis, Ashley Adler, Steve Sterner (also on piano), Yelena Shmulenson, Allen Lewis Rickman, Bruce Goldstein, and Frank Buxton.
I was a little nervous going into this screening, I just didn’t know what to expect with a live soundtrack performance and was prepared for something like dinner theater and felt ready to dislike it. Much to my pleasant surprise the whole production was brilliant, from the cast to tiniest details in the live sound effects and the musical score. The San Francisco Silent Film Festival and the entire team that was involved in this performed version of The Donovan Affair provided an unforgettable and entertaining experience to all at the Castro that night.

7. Ivan's Childhood (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1962)
Pacific Film Archive
Saturday, June 27, 2015

My partner and I managed to see several of the Tarkovsky films at PFA, but neither of us had ever seen Ivans Childhood and we were just blown away. While I love both The Mirror (1975) and Stalker (1979), there was something about Ivans Childhood that shook me to the core. This was the most powerful and haunting film that I have seen all year.
8. El Sur (Victor Erice, 1983)
Zero For Conduct (Jean Vigo, 1933)
Pacific Film Archive
Friday, July 31, 2015

This screening marked my last night at the old Pacific Film Archive’s theater on Bancroft Way, which made it special in its own right, but sitting directly behind director Victor Erice and his family made it an extraordinary time. Victor Erice gave a beautiful introduction that was as moving as his films, and revealed that watching El Sur pains him, as it is only half of the film that he intended to make. It was fascinating to then occasionally watch him watching his work. Another treat of the night was directly following El Sur there was a screening of the great Zero for Conduct in a program called Cinema According to Victor Erice.

9. For the Eyes: Canyon Salon with Amy Halpern
Assorted Morsels (2012) series – 
Three-Minute Hells
By Halves

New Nothing Cinema
Monday, October 5, 2015

I was new to Amy Halpern’s work and left this screening in awe of her stunning cinematography. All three shorts were shot and screened on 16mm film, the photography was some of the most vivid and intimate that I have seen this year. Most of Halpern’s work is silent, allowing you to focus purely on the color and light; yet, Three-Minute Hells had an exceptional sound design. Halpern screened her work along side some of my favorite experimental films: All My Life (1966) by Bruce Baillie, Fever Dream (1979) by Chick Strand, and Fog Line (1970) by Larry Gottheim, and Bad Burns (1982) by Paul Sharits. This was an exceptional program and I am hoping to bring Amy Halpern back to San Francisco for an upcoming GAZE screening sometime this year.

10. Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock , 1946)
Paramount Theatre
Friday, November 20, 2015
I remember seeing Notorious for the first time as a kid and feeling more stressed out about the plot than any film I had seen before. I have returned to Hitchcock time and time again for a good dose of suspense, and it always amazes me that you can watch a film half a dozen times and still feel as anxious. I am a big Ingrid Bergman fan and Notorious has been a long time favorite, but I had never seen it on the big screen before this night at the amazing Paramount Theatre in Oakland. The Paramount is one of the most beautiful and lavish movie palaces I have ever stepped foot in, and it always makes any film feel even more magical.


  1. Adrianne Finelli2/23/16, 7:56 PM

    As I was sitting down to draft this collection of my ten favorite screenings of the past year, one extraordinary evening slipped my mind. On Thursday, September 17, 2015 the Exploratorium hosted a night of "Scintillating 16mm: Newly Preserved Gems from American Archives" presented by Jeff Lambert, Executive Director of the National Film Preservation Foundation. This screening included too many gems to recount. The full program can be found here:

    1. hi Adrianne. I am trying to reach an Adrianne Finelli who has a family tree on ancestry containing the powers family. is that you? if not, please excuse this note from me, lisapowers, and have a nice day. : ) if I have reached the correct person, id love to hear from you .. and have a nice day. regards, Lisa powers