On Thursday, May 2, the National Film Preservation Foundation will co-present “Amazing Tales from the Archives” at the San Francisco Silent Festival. This free lecture program, begun in 2006, features archivists from around the world presenting field reports on new and exciting preservation projects. This year audiences will enjoy four presentations from leading film preservationists and scholars.
Starting from the formative years of cinema, researcher Thierry Lecointe and SFSFF President Robert Byrne will reveal cinematic discoveries from turn-of-the-century flipbooks. Next, Munich Filmmuseum director Stefan Drössler will guide the audience through the restoration of Opium (1919). Directed by Robert Reinert and starring Werner Krauss and Conrad Veidt, this exotic, hallucinatory tale of addiction and betrayal among doctors exemplifies the post-WWI revival of German cinema. Tantalized audiences will be able to view Opium at the Festival later that evening.
The third Amazing Tale from the Archives will be presented by Hisashi Okajima, director of the National Film Archive of Japan, who will not only discuss and but also demonstrate the Mina Talkie Sound System employed in Kenji Mizoguchi’s Hometown (Fujiwara Yoshie no Furusato). Released in 1930, this part-talkie vehicle for opera tenor Yoshie Fujiwara was Mizoguchi’s first sound film and one of the first sound films made in Japan.
The fourth Amazing Tale is presented by Bruce Goldstein, founder of Rialto Pictures and director of repertory programming at New York’s Film Forum, and focuses on how silent cinema became the object of neglect and revulsion after talkies took over. Accompanying all of the Tales is musician and composer Stephen Horne, who has not only accompanied many Festival screenings but also many films preserved through the NFPF.
We are delighted to continue our long-running friendship with the San Francisco Silent Film Festival by co-presenting Amazing Tales from the Archives. Last year’s Festival featured the screening of Soft Shoes (1925), an urban western/crime drama starring Harry Carey, which was preserved by the Festival through an NFPF grant and is now available for viewing on our website.