The opening-night selection at the Jewish Film Festival is Israeli writer-director Dror Shaul's worldwide prizewinner, Sweet Mud. It views 1974 kibbutz life from a 12-year-old's perspective, but don't expect rosy childhood nostalgia. Read more »
When US moviemaking started out, it was an enterprise disreputable enough to attract the wrong sort of people: get-rich-quick speculators, third-tier theater folk, organized crime, and even god forbid Jews. The last rose to pilot most major studios as Hollywood became a gigantic industry. Yet this alleged Jewish mafia (a term still not fully retired in some circles) seldom used wealth and imagistic power to integrate fellow Jews into the cultural mainstream. Read more »
Early in Rescue Dawn, Werner Herzog's narrative retooling of his 1997 doc Little Dieter Needs to Fly, a group of pilots aboard an aircraft carrier watches an instructional reel on jungle survival. They're young and cocky, and since this is 1966, the Vietnam War still seems entirely impossible. Read more »
Audiences at this year's San Francisco Silent Film Festival will be treated to several strong roles for leading women Lois Wilson's heartbreaking humble pie as Miss Lulu Bett (1921), Louise Brooks's gender-bending hobo in 1928's Beggars of Life but now as then, there can be only one Nazimova. Read more »
CHRISTIAN BRUNO In the mid-'60s the Presidio hosted Underground Cinema 12, a package of late-night movies that might incorporate a little [George] Kuchar, a little Busby Berkeley, and a lot of porn posing as art. It was a traveling package of films that was curated by Mike Getz out of LA, but the Presidio put its own SF (which usually meant gay) stamp on things.
KAREN LARSEN Gosh, I remember going to see the Cockettes at the Palace in North Beach in the '60s. Read more »
Midnight Mass, held at the Bridge Theatre, may be the sparkling, dressed-to-the-nines jewel in Landmark Theatres' cult-movie crown. But with a newly invigorated programming focus, the Clay's Late Night Picture Show (and its aimed-more-at-college-kids Berkeley equivalent, the Shattuck's Midnight Special) is also holding it down for folks who're willing to sacrifice their sleep in the name of offbeat cinema. Read more »
"Nine p.m. is the new midnight," declares Will "the Thrill" Viharo, programmer and host of Thrillville, the East Bay's giant cocktail shaker of B-movie bliss. Turns out Thrillville's earliest incarnation was as the Midnight Lounge, which Viharo first oversaw in April 1997, just a few months after Oakland's Parkway Speakeasy Theater opened. After a particularly scorching Elvis tribute event, Viharo decided his gig, eventually dubbed Thrillville, was ready for prime time. Read more »