San Francisco Cinema Antiquities: The Art in Cinema Series

Chronologically speaking, the San Francisco Avant Garde Cinema movement got its kick-off way back in the 1940s at the Art in Cinema series held at the San Francisco Art Museum, now known as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art celebrating its 75th year. The series curator was Frank Stauffacher, who also made experimental film including one titled Sausalito and who shot the early films of James Broughton. More on James in Part Two of my series.

Here is a You Tube link to Frank’s film Bicycle Polo at San Mateo circa 1940-1942. Frank made the film with his brother Jack, founder of The Greenwood Press and a publisher of fine book printing.

Scott MacDonald, the film historian who wrote about The Art in Cinema Series speaks further on the subject of Frank Stauffacher in an interview coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art film series “75 Years in the Dark”.

Bercht Andersch the projectionist at SFMOMA is also a film historian and blogger who wrote a pair of articles about the Art in Cinema Series Part One and Part Two.

Frank Stauffacher, pioneer of the San Francisco Avant Garde Cinema

2 thoughts on “San Francisco Cinema Antiquities: The Art in Cinema Series

  1. Broughton was married to or at least hooked up with Pauline Kael, right? Did they have a kid? My impression is that Kael was less impressed with indie film making than Broughton wanted her to be . . .

  2. Yes, Matt, James lived with Pauline Kael in 1948 and they had a daughter named Gina.
    And yes, Pauline Kael didn’t care for experimental film as told to the author Scott McDonald cited earlier in his Art in Cinema interview with Frank Stauffacher’s widow Barbara Solomon. Solomon didn’t like them either and told that to Broughton whom she otherwise found perfectly charming.
    I was looking for your book on Pacific Radio Volume One for what Kael may have said but my copy is in Santa Barbara. Feel free to quote yourself if you have already reported this in your book.
    Broughton at 49 finally married an artist named Susanna Hart. Stan Brakhage filmed their wedding ceremony of three days duration and James made his film Nuptiae from it. They had two children and their son is the toddler Orion in his film This is It available for viewing on You Tube .

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