Friday, May 30, 2014

Jason goes to Silentfest--Opening Night

The most intense weekend of the San Francisco film festival year just started last night (a few months earlier than usual, as it moved from its mid-July calendar slot to the end of May.) After a few brief introductions and thank yous we jumped right into the opening film, since it was kind of an epic.

THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE (1921): The movie that launched Rudolph Valentino's career. Here's what I said when I saw it at Niles a couple of years ago:
THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE (1921): The movie that made Rudolph Valentino a star (and I'm certain had a hand in popularizing the tango.) He plays the favorite grandson of a wealthy Argentine. As the designated heir and clear favorite, he can't help but grow up to be quite the libertine, living in Paris (where his mother is from,) painting (and romancing) beautiful women, including some of the higher echelon of society whom he'd be well advised to avoid scandalizing. Meanwhile, the other grandsons--his cousins--move to their fatherland of Germany. Then a little thing called World War I gets in the way. It's an epic (over 2 hours long) with quite an arc for Valentino's character.
Let me just say that I was kind of tired going in. I actually struggled to stay awake through the two shorts. But somehow this movie gave me my second wind and I had no problem staying awake through the whole thing.
Nothing I would correct there. In fact, coincidentally I was pretty exhausted going in last night, too, and the movie just energized me. I will add that the effects scenes--particularly the imagery of the four horsemen--was pretty fantastic. But I was somewhat put off by the inconsistent attitudes towards war--it's hell, but it makes young men heroic, but then those heroes die... And the most impressive effect might be Valentino's eyebrow raise. I don't swing that way, but I can understand immediately what made him such a sex symbol.

The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra provided the accompaniment and were fantastic as always.

Running Time (estimated, because I forgot to start my stopwatch): 133 minutes
Total Running Time: 363,496
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