SFSFF in Film Comment!

Imogen Sara Smith on "watching the cinema of yesterday today"

The Matti Bye Ensemble accompanies The Strongest at SFSFF 2016. Photo by Pamela Gentile.

In the September/October 2016 issue of Film Comment, writer, cinephile, and SFSFF program book contributor Imogen Sara Smith reports on the 2016 San Francisco Silent Film Festival, musing about the nostalgia, escapism, and wonder of that "sublime experience" of watching old movies. 

Her article, "Eternal Return: The San Francisco Silent Film Festival sends a writer into a reverie about watching the cinema of yesterday today," is not available to read online, so we urge you to buy a copy of the magazine! And see if you agree with her: 

There are many ways to watch old movies now, but few experiences are more sublime than the San Francisco Silent Film Festival…From the balcony you can watch dust floating up in the projector’s flickering beam, while on the 50-foot screen Louise Brooks hops a freight train or Douglas Fairbanks walks on the ceiling or Buster Keaton grabs a passing car that whisks him sideways out of the frame. Live music responds to the moving images with lover-like attention...The festival’s lineup made movies—which now, playing on people’s phones and laptops and airplane seats, can seem about as thrilling as the copy on a cereal box—feel strange and enchanting again.