Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Centennial of A Kid 

Wednesday, Jan 1 2014

It's tempting to think that movies from a century ago aren't much to look at by today's standards — that, by now, all they really can do for us is immortalize a whole artform's cringe-worthy juvenilia. We forget that the first evolutionary leaps toward modern movie sophistication are right there in the record, too, and what a rush it can be to revisit them. We forget how big a deal it was, for instance, when Charlie Chaplin introduced poignancy into movie comedy. Admittedly, it might seem like a schmaltz alert when Chaplin's 1921 feature debut, The Kid, introduces itself via title card as "a picture with a smile — and perhaps, a tear." But the movie that follows, in which his iconic Little Tramp bumbles into becoming an adoptive father, is a small marvel of narrative nuance. Within the context of The Little Tramp at 100: A Charlie Chaplin Centennial Celebration (which includes four other films, and a Chaplin look-alike contest at 4 p.m.), The Kid in particular also sheds light on why Chaplin's signature character was iconic to begin with: for deriving humor and sadness from a single human source. Even a century later, this emergence of a modern cinematic storyteller still is a sight to see.

Sat., Jan. 11, 1 p.m., 2014

About The Author

Jonathan Kiefer

SF Weekly movie critic Jonathan Kiefer is on Twitter: @kieferama and of course @sfweeklyfilm.

Related Locations


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"