Marcel L'Herbier's L'Inhumaine screens tonight as part of the film series running in conjunction with Cinema Across Media: The 1920s, the First International Berkeley Conference on Silent Cinema. "L'Inhumaine reflects its moment as much as the next year's Battleship Potemkin (1925)," writes Dennis Harvey in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. "That it was received more like 1923's Salomé — the infamous Rudolph Valentino-funded Art Nouveau version of Oscar Wilde's play, which for reasons both credible and malicious was branded a 'riot' of homosexual aesthetics — laid in the extreme disconnect between cutting-edge techniques and woozily old-hat theatrical content. There's no denying the film is whopping camp, albeit camp curated (as L'Herbier intended) to complement the hugely influential International Exhibition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts opening in Paris in 1925."
As for the conference, which is on through Saturday, Michael Guillén is "particularly excited to hear Thomas Elsaesser's closing speech on 'Cinema Across Media: Expanding the Avant-Garde beyond the Political Divide' and the ensuing plenary roundtable where Elsaesser will be joined by Tom Gunning, Gertrud Koch, Paolo Cherchi Usai, and Anthony Vidler."
Back in the SFBG: Marke B on tonight's local premiere of "David Weissman's important and moving new documentary about San Francisco's early response to the AIDS epidemic, We Were Here" and Dennis Harvey talks with Patrick Warburton about The Woman Chaser, opening tomorrow at the Roxie.
In the Boston Phoenix, Chris Fujiwara considers "two extraordinary feature films by US-Israeli filmmaker Nina Menkes that ArtsEmerson is bringing to the Paramount Center this weekend, with the filmmaker in attendance… With a few alterations that would surely have improved their commercial prospects, Phantom Love could have been a straight psychological drama about a woman living on the edge of a breakdown, and Dissolution a neo-noir set against the ethnic fragmentation of Israeli society. But narrative does not take the central place in Menkes's films. Neither does she rely on the rhetoric of expressiveness and gesture familiar from many experimental films. Instead, she works out an original style, drawing on both storytelling traditions and the traditions of personal filmmaking, but pitching her tent on neither side. Her unclassifiable cinema, whose fascination lies in the interplay among characters, space, and filmmaker, is truly all her own."
Tonight, Alison Kobayashi will be at the International House Philadelphia to present a selection of her work. Then tomorrow, the House presents "the next event in our Wave Currents series, featuring filmmaker and performer Andy Lampert with free jazz dynamo Chris Corsano."
Morgan Fisher: Films and Paintings and In Between and Nearby opens today at Raven Row in London and, on Saturday, "Fisher will be in conversation with Stuart Comer, Curator of Film at Tate Modern, and Alex Sainsbury, curator of the exhibition. The conversation will follow a screening of three of Fisher's 16mm films."
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