27 March, 2012

Weekend, Etc.

I've been making a conscious effort to fill up my calendar less these days, which is good for my stress level (it's tricky to balance work, health, and having two social plans booked every day), but I must admit makes for much less exciting blog posts.. In the last week I've spent some QT with friends, but have only two things I really must report on. One is going to see a press screening of Whit Stillman's new film, Damsels in Distress (thanks to my friend Jessica!), which was fantastic and payed a wonderful tribute to one of my favorite films from my childhood (Damsels in Distress, starring Fred Astaire, George Burns and Gracie Allen). I don't often use the word "delightful" to describe movies, but this one was!

The other is having seen the incredible (and EPIC) 1927 film Napoleon at the Paramount Theater with a live soundtrack by the Oakland Symphony. This film was innovative in many ways, but particularly in its use of "Polyvision," a technique using three cameras to capture a panorama, which was then projected on three screens. We had seats in the the third row and when the curtains rolled back to reveal those two extra screens for the final reel of the film, it truly felt like we were IN Napoleon's Italian invasion. There were times when the 6 hour film got a bit dull, and our backs were sore from sitting for so long, but it was completely worth it for that final moment in Polyvision. I only wish that all movies were filmed that way- incredible! The film is rarely shown because of the apparatus required for this sequence, but if you are in the Bay Area, there is one more screening next Sunday, April 1! And if not, if it ever screens near you, I can't recommend seeing it enough. Here's a great interview with Kevin Brownlow, the man who restored the film.

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