Thursday, February 16, 2017

10HTE: Adrianne Finelli

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 2016. An index of participants can be found here.

Three-time IOHTE contributor Adrianne Finelli is a filmmaker & GAZE co-curator.

This chronological list is not presented in any type of rated order as I could not begin to weigh these works in relation to one another.

The Fall of the I-Hotel screen shot from online trainer
The Fall of the I-Hotel (1983)
dir. Curtis Choy
Artists'Television Access
Thursday, February 11, 2016

This screening was of the most politically resonant and poetically inspiring films that I have seen in recent years. The Fall of the I-Hotel should be required viewing for everyone living in the Bay Area, as was the preceding short film Anatomy of a Mural (1982) by Rick Goldsmith. The screening was programmed by a team of filmmakers, writers and curators who are rediscovering a local library's film print collection and sharing the best of their findings through free public screenings.

L'enfance nue (1968)
dir. Maurice Pialat
Pacific Film Archive
Saturday, February 20, 2016

Naked Childhood (L'enfance nue) was the most emotionally charged narrative film that I saw this year, and its true impact is how it restrains emotion into very palpable realism. The story is complex and simple, the performances are jarringly brilliant, the cinematography is beautifully sincere. I tried to see as much of the Pialat series as possible, he is a master of portraying the human depth of feelings.

NFPF PreservationHighlights
presented by Jeff Lambert
Pacific Film Archive
Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Jeff Lambert presented this program of recently preserved films. The screening was full of surprising variety and unexpected gems from the National Film Preservation Foundation. Children Who Labor (1912) by Ethel Browning, Interior New York Subway (1905) and Lyman Howe's Famous Ride on a Runaway Train (1921)—all new to me—were fascinating documents. Plus, it was a real treat to see Sid Laverents's Multiple Sidosis (1970) on 35mm.

That Night's Wife screen capture from Eclipse DVD
That Night's Wife (Sono yo no tsuma) (1930)
dir. Yasujiro Ozu
Castro Theatre—San Francisco Silent Film Festival
Friday, June 3, 2016

Perhaps the most beautiful silent film I have ever seen—this particular print was stunning, the texture of the film almost became another character. Ozu cleverly hooks us with a suspenseful, noir-like crime plot and slowly shifts the story's core to an intimate family drama. I never remember crying during a silent film, but Emiko Yagumo's brilliant performance as the mother moved me to tears. I'm sure that the nuanced live musical accompaniment by Maud Nelissen also had something to do with my weepy reaction.

Within Our Gates (1920)
dir. Oscar Micheaux
Castro Theatre—San Francisco Silent Film Festival
Saturday, June 4, 2016

I left the Castro feeling like I needed to write a thank you letter to each member of the Oakland Symphony and Chorus for their unforgettable performance. This was my first time seeing Micheaux's Within Our Gates, and getting an African-American perspective from that historical era makes me wish I had seen it during my film studies instead of being shown The Birth of a Nation (1915) repeatedly. In addition, the writing and performances are powerful, and the whole is tremendously haunting considering our current political climate.

Water and Power (1989)
dir. Pat O'Neill
Pacific Film Archive
Thursday, September 29, 2016

Filmmaker Pat O'Neill was in attendance for this screening of Water and Power plus several short works. It was a joy to see all of the films in the new PFA theater and to hear the discussion that followed the screening. I was blown away by the whole evening. O'Neill is a master that remains curious and prolific. It was wonderful to also see the exhibition of his artwork in the gallery beforehand. The range of work—painting, drawing, sculpture and installation was remarkable.

Jeanne Dielman screen capture from Criterion DVD
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)
dir. Chantal Akerman
Sunday, October 9, 2016

This screening was perhaps the most meaningful film screening of 2016 to me. I had seen Jeanne Dielman before, but this particular time marked my first public screening as a projectionist. I had the honor of sharing the booth and studying under the talented Brecht Andersch. We bonded over having seen the film for the first time in our late teens and the impact it had on us. We collectively mourned the loss of the great Chantal Akerman. It was a very emotional and surreal experience. 

La Région Decentrale (2016): A Prepared Projection Performance for Michael Snow's La Région Centrale (1971) by Gibson + Recoder
Exploratorium co-presented with Canyon Cinema
Tuesday, November 7, 2016

This screening happened on Election Day 2016 after spending the day hiking in the Marin Headlands with dear company. I entered the Kanbar Forum with a sinking feeling in my stomach as we were still uncertain of the country's fate, but my fears and anxiety fell away as I became entranced in a visual and aural meditation with a room full of fellow travelers. Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder presented a live four projector performance that reimaged Michael Snow's three hour La Région Centrale (1971) simultaneously into a quadrant of images that layered the sound from each reel. At the moment that the third projection was introduced the sound transformed into an otherworldly force.

Conical Solid (1974)
dir. Anthony McCall
Sutro Baths Cave—Lightfield Film Festival
Sunday, November 13, 2016

Lightfield Film Festival organized one of the most magical film events that I have ever attended. Imagine this—abstract light flickers from a 16mm projector fill a cave of fog and creates forms that touch the bodies flanking its brilliant beam with the sound of the salty waves crashing against the rocks alongside the ruins of the famed Sutro Baths under the biggest supermoon of our lifetime.

Lost Landscapes of San Francisco, 11 screen capture from stream of the show.
Lost Landscapes of San Francisco, 11
edited by Rick Prelinger
Castro Theatre
Wednesday, December 7, 2016

This was my fifth year attending Rick Prelinger's annual screening of found footage of the San Francisco Bay Area. My husband and I always look forward to the event and love hearing the voices of the community shout out locations, jokes and information, but this year was especially wonderful as we had the rare opportunity to join Rick and Megan Prelinger on stage with our fellow Prelinger Library volunteers. Rick's remarks about the importance of the commons struck a chord with many and the energy of the crowd could be felt throughout the entire theater. It was also a great pleasure to scan some of the featured 8mm and 16mm film footage for Lost Landscapes of San Francisco, 11.

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