Preservation in Motion (Pictures)

Where does the past live? (A wee hint: not on the Internet.) In books, yes, but primarily in movies, as Martin Scorsese reminds us in his 3-D film Hugo, a childhood adventure fantasy that has been called a public service announcement for film preservation. San Francisco archivist Rick Prelinger has gathered and saved our collective cinematic history — home movies, educational films, and so-called “industrials — for decades, working with a minuscule fraction of Marty’s resources and none of his bushy-browed self-importance. In what has become a raucous annual event put on by the Long Now Foundation, Prelinger unveils a mesmerizing selection of locally shot footage from bygone days for our vicarious enjoyment and philosophical betterment. Lost Landscapes of San Francisco VI, like its predecessors, isn’t a reverential museum show but a rambunctious hootenanny, with the crowd encouraged to yell out landmarks and cultural references as apparitions of midcentury San Francisco zip by. Thanks to Prelinger, we can see that the past also lives in the present.
Thu., Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m., 2011

 
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