By Sofia Jeremias | Editor-in-Chief

The Pacific Film Archive provides a great option for cinephiles. (Courtesy of BART)

The Pacific Film Archive provides a great option for cinephiles. (Courtesy of BART)

We’ve entered a post-Oscars cinematic dry spell. Everytime I pull up the newest releases I am met with disappointing headlines that feature mindless violence or insipid children’s films. “Boss Baby?” What even is that? Have studio execs started pulling words out of a hat, putting them together, and calling it a film? On second thought, disappointing doesn’t even begin to describe it. So, what does the cinephile with a desire to leave the house (and avoid becoming agoraphobic) do?

Well, if you too are a bit of a film snob (and by a “bit” I mean huge) there’s a place for you: the Pacific Film Archives (PFA). The PFA is conveniently located a few blocks from the Downtown Berkeley BART stop and housed in the Berkeley Art Museum. An eight dollar ticket also includes entry to the museum, so if you come a little early you can spend time browsing their impressive collection ranging from the ultra modern to Buddhist art.

Over the years I’ve enjoyed a wide range of features at the PFA. I had the pleasure of watching Orson Welles’s “Chimes at Midnight,” Hitchcock’s “Vertigo,” and Bresson’s “L’Argent.” The Truffaut | Hitchcock retrospective last summer was one of my favorite events. The retrospective explored the well documented relationship the two famous directors had, plus it provided fans with the opportunity to revisit some of their favorite features on the big screen.

Not only does the PFA specialize in showing the highest quality versions of the world’s classics, it draws in quite a crowd. When attempting to get into an Ozu double feature on a Friday night the theater was sold out. That’s right. There was a high demand for black and white 1940s Japanese films.

Cinephiles can feel at home in the PFA. You can’t buy popcorn or soda, but you’ll be surrounded by Berkeley types who bring books to the movies. Plus, there are no obnoxious advertisements preceding the show.

Oftentimes, they’ll recruit an expert speaker for a Q&A after the showing at no extra cost to the viewer. Basically, you can get a homemade film degree. I’ve gotten the chance to see films I love restored and played the way they were intended to be. Plus, I’ve been exposed to directors I’d never heard of.

When I’m feeling antsy and the new releases leave me feeling uninspired, I head down to the PFA to discover the past. If you need some extra incentive, the infamous libertarian hotdog place Top Dog is across the street. If you’re vegetarian, you can still indulge in the Americana and order their meatless option while glancing at anti-government propaganda pasted to the walls.


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