Sunday, May 5, 2019

Jason goes to Silentfest: Opening Night

The most amazing, intense, extended weekend of the year kicked off Wednesday night, and of course I was there.

The film of the night was Buster Keaton's THE CAMERAMAN (1928): Let's look back on what I said about it back when it was the closing night film in 2012:
What can I say, this is Buster Keaton being a comic genius. It's also the first film he made for MGM, and the start of him losing control over his own films--something he later called his worst mistake in his life. But he's still great in this as a humble tin-type photographer who sees a pretty girl (Marceline Day,) finds out she works at an MGM newsreel office, and decides to clear out his savings account to buy movie camera, get the great footage, and really impress her. He just has a bit of a learning curve. But with his stone-faced gumption and a very clever monkey, he saves the day. It also includes a hilarious public pool sequence that is surprisingly risque for the time. Hilarious, and I just had to wonder how the cameramen on the movie felt about the scene showing a monkey could do their job.
Yup, I still stand by all of that. I'll just add a comment about the hilarious running scene where the girl of his dreams calls him up and he runs to her building before she can even hang up the phone. And, of course, I have to give credit to the brilliant musical accompaniment by Timothy Brock conducting students of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Credits where credit is due, with a cameo by my fingertip!

Then a little after party at McRoskey Mattress Company, the festival's longtime sponsor. A few drinks, catching up with my one-weekend-out-of-the year friends, and then it was time for a little sleep so I could work and then be at the festival again the next night.

Running Time: 72 minutes
My Total Minutes: 504,060


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