Excavated Celluloid

It would be a mistake to accuse vaunted San Francisco film archivist and collector Rick Prelinger of living in the past. Sure, he’s forever sifting through vintage reels and tapes of unedited material in search of rare images of historical resonance. But he isn’t some plaid-jacketed nostalgia junkie, morosely jonesing for one more taste of life in a San Francisco that no longer exists. Prelinger embraces the inevitable reality that cities change and, via “San Francisco Top to Bottom: The City Seen by Hollywood and Home Moviemakers,” invites us to do likewise. This hour-plus compilation of 20th-century footage, presented under the auspices of the S.F. Museum and Historical Society, contrasts generic travelogue shots of our town used as backdrops in studio pictures with images taken by visitors and residents who had an unmistakable emotional connection to their fog-laced subject. The kicker: Prelinger encourages viewers to talk to the screen, name locations, and generally interact in a raucous act of community. After all, we’re all continuously building this city.
Tue., June 14, 7:30 p.m., 2011

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