SF Silent Film Festival's A Day of Silents, December 5

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, November 18, 2015 06:19pm | Post a Comment

San Francisco Silent Film Festival Day of Silents

Douglas Fairbanks, Anna May Wong, Harry Houdini, Shanghai, London, Paris…the world is your oyster at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival's A Day of Silents on Saturday, December 5, at the Castro Theatre. This very special day of silent-era movies will be accompanied by live music from Alloy Orchestra (featuring Roger Miller of Mission to Burma) and Donald Sosin.

Check out this action-packed schedule:

11:00am - THE BLACK PIRATE (1926, USA, Directed by Albert Parker, Cast: Douglas Fairbanks, Billie The Black PirateDove, Tempe Pigott, Donald Crisp. 84 min)
The Black Pirate stars the dashing Douglas Fairbanks, full of bravura and charm. The film’s spectacular feats of derring-do include exciting swordplay and breathtaking underwater choreography—all in dazzling two-color Technicolor. Fairbanks plays a nobleman who takes the identity of a pirate to infiltrate and take revenge on the cutthroats responsible for his father’s death. The Black Pirate is not the first pirate story put on film, but probably the most influential.

1:00pm - AROUND CHINA WITH A MOVIE CAMERA (Filmed 1900–1948, compiled in 2015. 68 min)
Take a trip as far back as the days of the late Qing dynasty in Imperial China with this program of rarely-seen films, travelogues, and newsreels. See bustling and cosmopolitan Shanghai in 1900, visit Imperial Beijing in 1910, and cruise the picturesque canals of Hangzhou in 1925 on this odyssey of the remarkable and the everyday. Recently compiled from the collections of the BFI National Archive, the footage was shot by a diverse group of British and French filmmakers—some professionals, but mostly amateurs, including tourists, expatriates, and missionaries.

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Asian-American Cinema Part I - The Silent Era

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 3, 2009 03:00pm | Post a Comment
The first of a nine part series on Asian-Americans in front of and behind the camera


In the early days of west coast film production, there were few roles for Asian actors except as unflattering stereotypes or anonymous background work. Nonetheless, a small number pursued careers in front of and behind the camera, intersecting and influencing Hollywood's embryonic phase. Although most worked in near complete obscurity, two -- Anna May Wong and Sessue Hayakawa -- became veritable superstars. They still were virtually unable to find roles to their liking, since most of the lead roles (still usually degrading) went to actors in yellowface, a practice that continued long after blackface became taboo. Anna May Wong and Sessue Hayakawa used their earnings to attempt to improve opportunities for less famous Asians by creating more positive depictions, following black cinema's lead. However, with immigration restricted and laws preventing citizenship and property ownership, even the few rich, famous Americanized Asians faced considerable challenges.


In the silent era, most of the APA-related films were low budget, forgettable Chinatown mysteries and crude yellow peril thrillers but they do remain interesting for multiple reasons, including their reflection of changing American attitudes as well as as documents of the efforts of the country's second largest racial minority to break into a system who viewed them as subhuman at worst and as generally as exotic, inscrutable aliens at best.