The 24th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival is back and runs from May 1 through May 5, 2019 at the Castro Theatre. This annual 5-day event is a wonderful tribute to the silent film era from the the 1920s and 1930s before talkies took over and became popular. The festival is studded with fantastic films from the US, Japan, Italy, India, Germany, France, Sweden and other countries. One of the high points of the festival is the live musicians that accompany the silent films. This year there are over 40 musicians who will be playing at the festival. Some of them are well-known musicians like Guenter Buchwald , Timothy Brock and others.
Besides films there is a fascinating free event called the Amazing Tales From The Archives where you get to hear stories on how silent films are being restored in different parts of the world. Film restorer Robert Byrne and others will share stories of some of the remarkable work done on restoring silent films around the world. This free event is on Thursday, May 2, 2019 at 10.00 am at the Castro Theatre.
This year the festival is paying homage to the legendary Buster Keaton aka “The Great Stone Face,” by starting and ending the festival with his films. Keaton’s 1928 The Cameraman is the opening night film on May 1, 2019. Well-known musician Timothy Brock will conduct his original score for The Cameraman and will be accompanied by students from from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Brock has written original scores for quite a few silent films like Charlie Chaplin’s Gold Rush, City Lights and Modern Times.
The closing night film is Keaton’s Our Hospitality on May 5, 2019 at the Castro Theatre.
One of the films that caught my eyes is the newly restored Shiraz:A Romance of India starring Himanshu Rai, Charu Roy, Seeta Devi and Enakshi Rama Rao. This 1928 film was an Indian-German-British production and shot on location in Jaipur, India. Rai produced and acted in the film and Franz Ostern from Germany directed it. Shiraz: A Romance of India is one of the three films that Rai and Ostern collaborated and produced. The film was recently restored by BFI National Archives and is reportedly based on the British version of the film since the Indian and German version of Shiraz are no longer available. You can catch Shiraz: A Romance of India on Sunday, May 5, 2019 at 2.15 pm at the Castro Theatre. Musical accompaniment for the film is by Utsav Lal.
Visit Silent Film Festival’s website for tickets and information about the 24th San Francisco Silent Film Festival.