Geneva Anderson digs into art

The 65th SFFILM Festival is April 21-May 1: the program is online now and non-member tickets go on sale April 1

In celebration of the centennial anniversaries of SF Opera and the Castro Theatre, the 65th SFFILM Festival will offer a free community screening of John Else’s new documentary, “Land of Gold” (2021), that brings to life John Adams’ opera, “Girls of the Golden West,” which premiered at SFOpera in 2017, with libretto by Peter Sellars.  The revisionist opera is set in the days of the California Gold Rush, reworking poetic fantasies of striking it rich in the land of gold.  The documentary features the mesmerizing soprano Julia Bullock, along with John Adams, Paul Appleby, and the Kai brothers.  The free screening will be preceded by a performance by SFO’s Adler Fellows, an elite multi-year residency for opera’s most promising young artists.  Director John Else in attendance. Adler performance is Thursday, April 28, at 7:30 pm at the Castro; film screens at 7:45p.m.  Reserve free tickets now for SFFILM members and April 1 for general public.  Image: SFFILM

The legendary actress, Michelle Yeoh—star of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” “Supercop,” “Tomorrow Never Dies,” “The Lady,” “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” and many other films—will receive a special SFFILM tribute, hosted by Sandra Oh on Friday, April 29th, 6:00 pm CastroIn conjunction with the tribute, SFFILM is screening Ang Lee’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000), Monday April 25, 7pm, at the Castro.   Who can forget the thrilling martial arts battles between nimble warriors Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun-Fat as they battled Ziyi Zhang to recover a powerful 400 year old sword, literally flying across the red-tiled roofs of their ancestral Chinese village.  Nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Picture, it won four Oscars, including Best Foreign Language Film and Best Original Score. Those who purchase a ticket to the film will receive a discount on the tribute.  Image: Thomas Laisne/Getty Images, Courtesy SFFILM)

The 65th SFFILM festival: 130 films (58 features, 5 mid-length films and 67 shorts), 56 countries, 16 world premieres. Fifty-six percent of the films are directed by female or non-binary filmmakers and 52 percent directed by BIPOC filmmakers.  Screenings will take place at venues across the Bay Area, including the Castro Theatre, Roxie Cinema, Victoria Theatre, Vogue Theatre, and UC Berkeley’s BAMPFA.

Full schedule, tickets for the 65th SFFILM Festival:

SFFILM member tickets on sale now; non-member tickets on sale, Friday, April 1, 10 a.m.

March 30, 2022 Posted by | Film, Opera | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peter Sellars’s new “Griselda” collaboration with L.A. artist Gronk hits a new level of bold, but never without cause

Los Angeles artist Gronk created a 110 ft x18 ft mural─bold, colorful and abstract─which is the set for Peter Sellars’ new production of Vivaldi’s “Griselda,” at Santa Fe Opera. People either love or hate it. Photo: courtesy Bob Godwin, Santa Fe Opera

Ask anyone who’s been to the Santa Fe Opera this summer and no one is neutral about Peter Sellars’s new production of Vivaldi’s Griselda.  At the heart of the production and the spirited debate is the set, a huge —110’ x 18’— abstract mural painted by Los Angeles artist Gronk which has such a powerful dramatic presence that it literally defines the drama occurring in front of it.  There are several things that are unique about this innovative set that I, a newcomer to opera but long-time visual arts writer, found interesting and appealing.  Most fascinating was that  the end product perfectly meshed with Peter Sellars’s idea that the set design should provide the strong dramatic framework lacking in the Vivaldi opera itself.  And while lots of artists have “created” opera sets —David Hockney among the most famous—Gronk’s level of involvement is unprecedented as he painted everything himself, without assistance.  I attended the July 20th performance and spoke with Peter Sellars, Gronk, and some of the performers in the production about the role of this stunning mural.  (Stay tuned for the interviews)

Los Angeles artist Gronk has collaborated with Peter Sellars on 5 productions. Sellars believes that Gronk’s abstract mural for “Griselda” at Santa Fe Opera transcends tradition in set design and provides the dramatic framework lacking in Vivaldi's opera itself. Photo: courtesy Bob Godwin, Santa Fe Opera

August 16, 2011 Posted by | Opera | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment