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San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Looking Back 100 Years

George Heymont | Posted 09.13.2015 | Arts
George Heymont

When Nixon In China received its world premiere from the Houston Grand Opera on October 22, 1987, audiences were stunned by the portrayal of Tricky Dick as a wistful world traveler obsessed with the idea of making news.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

George Heymont | Posted 09.06.2015 | Arts
George Heymont

Things don't always happen the way one hoped they would. Although people don't look forward to receiving bad news, when it comes a-knocking at their door, many react with an astonishing range of emotions.

A Woman's Work Is Never Done

George Heymont | Posted 08.23.2015 | Arts
George Heymont

The battle of the sexes may be as old as time. But men often approach the battlefield armed with belligerence, brawn and bravado while women manage to bewitch, bother, and bewilder them with a potent combination of brains and beauty.

When Every Second Counts

George Heymont | Posted 08.13.2015 | Arts
George Heymont

The 2015 San Francisco Silent Film Festival included works by two of the silent era's comic geniuses. One was a titan of silent film who personally took great care to make sure that his work was preserved for future generations. The other was a relatively unknown actor/animator whose prodigious imagination (and fascination with mechanical devices) combined physical comedy with dazzling feats of surrealism.

Other Families' Values

George Heymont | Posted 08.09.2015 | Arts
George Heymont

2015 may well go down in history as the year that traditional family values (which frequently hide behind the purported threat of an imaginary "War Against Christians") finally got exposed for the perversions of its loudest proponents' hypocrisy.

Legends in Their Own Minds

George Heymont | Posted 07.31.2015 | Arts
George Heymont

Numerous films have used one's loss of a job (or sense of reality) as a starting point for examining the human psyche.

Big Girls Don't Cry

George Heymont | Posted 07.19.2015 | Arts
George Heymont

In the late 1960s a new brand of cigarettes was introduced by Philip Morris International. A spinoff of the popular Benson & Hedges brand, its marketing was aimed at female smokers enjoying a new sense of liberation. For better or worse, the advertising slogan for Virginia Slims insisted that "You've Come A Long Way, Baby."

Death Perversely Strengthens Some Relationships

George Heymont | Posted 07.16.2015 | Arts
George Heymont

Death has a strange way of resolving certain tensions. It can bring an end to an abusive relationship or relieve a person with a terminal illness of his suffering. It can quell any arguments and make long-held grudges seem ridiculously futile.

In and Out of Africa

George Heymont | Posted 04.11.2015 | Arts
George Heymont

Ironically, two films recently screened in San Francisco offer such radically different perspectives on Africa that their juxtaposition is worth noting. One was decidedly old school; the other a fascinating documentary about one of Africa's most controversial musicians.

Bad Girls Don't Cry

George Heymont | Posted 03.24.2015 | Arts
George Heymont

In 2014, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival invited audiences to spend time with three women who, as a result of having defied parental authority, were forced to deal with severe repercussions to their rebelliousness.

In Love for the Long Haul

George Heymont | Posted 03.11.2015 | Arts
George Heymont

Two films recently screened for Bay area audiences gave new meaning to the old saying that "He who laughs last, laughs best."

Vamping and Camping

George Heymont | Posted 02.20.2015 | Arts
George Heymont

Like a religious deathbed conversion, wretched excess may be the antithesis of everything a person stood for in his sane, tightly disciplined life. But there comes a time when giving in is a better option than merely giving up.

The Alloy Orchestra Meets 'Son of the Sheik' at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Sean Martinfield | Posted 11.18.2014 | San Francisco
Sean Martinfield

The film has been treated to the latest in the art of restoration and preservation and will be shown for the first time this coming Saturday at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

San Francisco Silent Film Festival Debut's Silent Autumn

Thomas Gladysz | Posted 11.15.2014 | San Francisco
Thomas Gladysz

This Saturday's San Francisco Silent Film Festival is a mixed bag. And that's perfectly okay, because the event's eclectic programming makes for a good point.

Silent Noir, Holy Noir

George Heymont | Posted 11.14.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

The 2014 San Francisco Silent Film Festival has finished and some moments of reflection are in order. In recent years, the musical elements of the festival have become almost as important as the films being screened.

Dearly Beloved

George Heymont | Posted 10.21.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

It's tempting to paraphrase George Orwell by stating that "All artists are equal, but some artists are more equal than others."

It's About the Music, Stupid!

George Heymont | Posted 10.11.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

With so many people listening to music through earbuds, I frequently wonder if any of them have a library of music resting within their memory that they can access without the help of an electronic device.

Joy to the World!

George Heymont | Posted 08.03.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

What if you want something more substantial than a glorified commercial to tickle your fancy? What if you're craving something more satisfying than a severely overpriced bucket of popcorn?

Charlie Chaplin and All That Jazz

George Heymont | Posted 04.20.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

While Charlie Chaplin is adored as a Hollywood screen legend, few people know that he composed the soundtracks for most of his films. Although he could not read music, in his youth Chaplin taught himself how to play piano, violin, and cello by ear. Once he became a millionaire, Chaplin had a pipe organ installed in his home in Beverly Hills.

Your Cheatin' Heart

George Heymont | Posted 02.03.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Some men are luckier in life than in love. Whether they become top athletes, matinee idols, or wartime heroes, their trust in the goodness of people makes them loyal to a fault.

Girls Gone Wild

George Heymont | Posted 11.07.2013 | Arts
George Heymont

Bad behavior fueled by a toxic combination of narcissism, neediness, and alcoholism lie at the core of Halley Feiffer and Ryan Spahn's new movie, He's Way More Famous Than You.

San Francisco Silent Film Fest Leaves You Spellbound in Darkness

Thomas Gladysz | Posted 09.14.2013 | San Francisco
Thomas Gladysz

Silent films can transport us back in time. Movies from the early years of the 20th century are filled with details which reveals the way people used to live, work, think, fall in love, solve problems, act silly, and get by on a daily basis.

What Doesn't Kill You Can Only Make You Stronger

George Heymont | Posted 07.20.2013 | Arts
George Heymont

With nice supporting work from Mitchell Lewis and Gustav von Seyffertitz (I just love the sound of that man's name!), The Docks of New York proved to be a highly atmospheric surprise.

Revisiting the Classics

George Heymont | Posted 06.16.2013 | Arts
George Heymont

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival recently offered audiences a chance to wonder just how well they knew two classic tales which, over the years, have acquired so many cultural imprints and branding opportunities that people assume they know these stories upside down and inside out.

Old School Hollywood Royalty

George Heymont | Posted 05.23.2013 | Arts
George Heymont

Once upon a time, Hollywood stars were worshipped like gods and goddesses. No photographers were trying to snap pants-less crotch shots as someone stepped from a car. Nor were they terrorizing people in traffic and threatening the lives of innocent bystanders with their self-aggrandizing stunts.