It was quite a surprise when the Oscar nominations were announced this year. Ten nominations went to a silent film that was filmed entirely in black-and-white. From the media buzz it received at the Cannes Film Festival last year, the surprise hit turned into a big success at this year’s Oscars. “The Artist” went on to win five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Jean Dujardin, and Best Director for Michael Hazanavicius. The last time a silent movie was awarded for an Oscar for Best Picture was 83 years ago; the World War I saga “Wings”.
Not surprisingly, “Wings”, flies its way back and returns to the big screen as the Opening night film at this year’s 17thAnnual 2012 San Francisco Silent Film Festival on Thursday, July 12th. Restored by Paramount Pictures, the first Academy Award winner in 1929 has plenty of action and romance, along with some extraordinary visual effects, including some amazing aerial dogfight scenes. Directed by William A. Wellman and accompanied live at the classic Castro Theatre, with the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra with Foley sound effects by the multiple Academy Award recipient, Ben Burtt.
Here is the trailer.
For those who are going for silent era stars, the festival offers movies with Pola Negri (The Spanish Dancer), Douglas Fairbanks (The Mark of Zorro), Emil Jannings (The Loves of Pharaoh) and Buster Keaton as an actor and co-director of “The Cameraman”.
For those who are interested in movies from around the globe, the festival offers Chinese, German, British, in addition to American masterpieces.
For those who are going for genre the festival offers German Expressionism (Pandora’s Box) , Avant-Garde ( The Overcoat), Comedy (Mantrap) and even Animated (Irrepressible Felix the Cat!) movies.
Whatever it is that attracts you, there will be unforgettable live Cinema experience along with live music accompanied by great musicians: Denis James on the Mighty Wurlitzer, Stephen Horne and Donald Sosin on the grand piano; Alloy Orchestra, Matti Bye Ensemble and Toychestra.
The waters were tested. Silent movies are making a comeback and are now becoming the trend. The Silent Film Festival 2012 deserves every bit of your attention.
17 SFSFF starts on July 12 and will ends on July 15.