VIDEO: ROB BYRNE ON THE IMPORTANCE OF SILENT FILMS & SAN FRANCISCO SILENT FILM FESTIVAL

Silent films are often labelled as perky-jerky pictures with no sound but just text to give the viewer a context. That is not the complete picture as Robert Byrne, film restorer and Board President, San Francisco Silent Film Festival shares. Silent films contributed many of the techniques and narratives used by modern day filmmakers points out Byrne. Filmmakers and actors like DW Griffith, Abel Gance and Mary Pickford played a key role in the Silent Film era. Mary Pickford, for instance, was one of the founders of United Artists studio and took pains to preserve her films.

Silent filmmakers were prolific in their output, but sadly many of their films don’t exist.They were either lost in accident, destroyed or poorly archived. Byrne, who is a film restorer explains how he along with other organizations uncover and painstakingly restore silent films. Many of these restored silent films are then shown at the annual 5-day San Francisco Silent Film Festival in San Francisco.

The 2018 San Francisco Silent Film Festival runs from May 30 through June 5 at the Castro Theatre. The films are accompanied by live musicians and orchestra that adds a wonderful touch to the movie watching experience.

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VIDEO: FILMMAKERS BETSY WEST & JULIE COHEN ON THE MAKING OF RBG DOUCMENTARY

I caught up with filmmakers Betsy West and Julie Cohen during the SFFILM to find out how they got to make their documentary RBG on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I was alsocurious to find out how they got permission to shoot the gym segment of Justice Ginsburg. Despite her  packed schedule Justice Ginsburg (85) makes time to work out in the gym 3 times a day.

RBG traces Justice Ginsburg life growing up as a first generation American in Brooklyn to studying law at Cornell & Columbia and then making her career as a lawyer and a teacher. She became the second woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. Equal rights for women was an area that Justice Ginsburg focussed right from her early days as a lawyer. The film also highlights how Justice Ginsburg’s husband Martin Ginsburg played an important role in helping her career and bringing up their family.

RBG has got strong reviews from film critics. Kenneth Turan of the LA Times writes “RBG shows the formidable soft power of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” AO Scott of The New York Times writes “The movie’s touch is light and its spirit buoyant, but there is no mistaking its seriousness or its passion.”

RBG released on Friday, May 4, 2018 in San Francisco Bay area.

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VIDEO: INTERVIEW GODARD MON AMOUR FILMMAKER MICHEL HAZANAVICIUS

We caught up with Academy award-winning director Michel Hazanavicius  when he was in San Francisco for the SFFILM festival. We spoke to him about his new film Godard Mon Amour. The film is based on the memoirs of Anne Wiazemsky, who was married to Godard and looks at a specific time period in the couple’s life – the late 1960s. Wiazemsky passed away in 2017 saw Godard Mon Amour and liked it says Hazanavicius.

“This is my Godard,” says the filmmaker. Hazanavicius says he has never met Godard and is not aware if the famous French filmmaker has seen the film.It is not often that a living film legend is the subject of a feature film. Godard is one of the founding members of the French New Wave. Age has not slowed down Godard, who is attending the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. In fact the 2018 poster for the Cannes Film Festival is based on a 1965 Godard film.

Godard Mon Amour is based on the memoirs of Anne Wiazemsky, who was married to Godard The film.stars Louis Garell, Stacy Martin,Bernice Bejo and Gregory Gadebois.

The film has mixed reviews. The New York Times says  you will “hate-watch” Godard Mon Amour, while The LA Times says the film is “curiously inconsequential homage,” to Godard.

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