Friday, July 19, 2013

Prix de Beauté at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival

The house was packed at yesterday's historic screening of Prix de Beauté at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. The Festival screened the rarely shown silent version of the 1930 Louise Brooks film, which was restored in 2012 by the Cineteca di Bologna in Italy. My guess is that at least 1200 people were in the attendance. Acclaimed British musician Stephen Horne accompanied the film on piano (mostly), as well as flute, accordion, and guitar.

The film was very well received. During the beauty pageant in San Sebastian, the audience in the Castro starting clapping along with the audience in the film (to ensure Brooks' victory). Another memoriable moment occurred at the end of the film, when Stephen Horne's live accompaniment gave way to the the recorded song heard in the sound version of Prix de Beauté, before Horne resumed playing the close the film.

Here are a few snapshots from inside the theater during the pre-film slideshow.

After the screening, I had the honor of being part of a three-person signing along with fellow Louise Brooks fans Hugh Munro Neely, the Emmy nominated filmmaker whose documentary Louise Brooks: Looking for Lulu is widely acclaimed, and comix artist amd early film enthuisiast Kim Deitch. As a teenager in 1957, Deitch said, he was in the audience along with his father, Gene Deitch, of a screening of Diary of a Lost Girl at the Eastman House in Rochester, New York. Also in the audience was Louise Brooks! Kim never met her, though his father did. Gene Deitch also had his picture taken with her. Below is a snapshot of myself (right) and Kim Deitch (left).

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