We don’t spend a lot of time these days thinking about San Francisco as an icon of noir, but with the fog and the hills and the crazy quilt-like streets, it was very much that when the great Alfred Hitchcock made the classic 1958 film Vertigo.
So imagine a modern day homage to Vertigo stitched together from 200-plus snippets of found footage like a crazy quilt. Instead of panels, the quilt it made up of scene from TV and movies that are classic in their own right, like The Lady From Shanghai, The Conversation, and Basic Instinct.
The San Francisco Film Society and Stanford Live co-commissioned Green Fog from filmmaker Guy Maddin, as well as a new score from composer Jacob Garchik for the Kronos Quartet to play live with the film. The first performance was at the 2017 San Francisco International Film Festival.
Chris Lorway, Executive Director says this has been making the film festival rounds for good reason. He says when he and Noah Cowen of SFFilm cooked up this idea a little over a year ago, "we had no requirements but that it had to be a love letter to the city."
As Maddin's interns combed through archival footage and found lots of chasing across rooftops and steep hills, "they realized they could put together the plot of Vertigo," Lorway notes, making Green Fog a love letter to San Francisco, but also Hitchcock.
Lorway also says the new score delivers a tip of the hat to Bernard Hermann, who wrote the soundtrack to Vertigo. Ummm, maybe? Some critics say you might hurt your brain trying too hard to make the connections between the originals and the homages, but what is unarguable is that you will be entertained.
"It's pretty fun," Lorway adds. "It's got a tongue-in-cheek element to it that was a bit surprising to me."
The Kronos Quartet and throat singer Tanya Tagaq perform live with the movie Green Fog on April 6 at the Bing Concert Hall. Details here.