Every year since 1996, The San Francisco Silent Film Festival has presented a knockout program of classic silent film, rarely projected onto our nation's big screens. The festival resides at San Francisco's most impressive movie palace, the historic and sprawling Castro Theatre (equipped with the Mighty Castro Wurlitzer), and the fest's reputation is such that it annually draws top film critics, authors of film books, and descendants of silent film talent to participate in programs (Leonard Maltin, for example, is a regular). Each year, there's usually a comedy feature by Lloyd, Keaton, or Chaplin; that's the no-brainer draw. But each year also typically unspools a program of rarity shorts, at least one foreign silent, an epic adventure, and a selection of rarely seen melodramatic and comedic features. You'll always see stunning prints, supplied by the UCLA Film & Television Archive and the George Eastman House. Between each program, detailed slide shows present trivia germane to the upcoming film, and each program is, of course, introduced or accompanied by an expert discussion. It's no exaggeration to say that plopping down for two full days of silent films is a highlight of my moviegoing year. No matter where you live, if you're a film buff, you should entertain a summer trip to SF's Castro Theatre to check it out.
For complete information about The San Francisco Silent Film Festival or to order tickets, visit www.silentfilm.org.