Special Events Coming to the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center!

There’s lots to be excited about coming up at the Rafael! We’re importing Shakespeare and the Beatles from across the pond, hosting many filmmakers and their exciting new films, exploring the new work of a master musician, bringing back a favorite from DocLands Documentary Film Festival deeply rooted in Marin history, celebrating the life and work of composer Leonard Bernstein and the return of hilarious and beautifully restored Laurel and Hardy shorts. Join us for something great coming to our screens this summer!

Royal Shakespeare Company presents Macbeth
Sunday, July 22 at 12:00

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s contemporary production of William Shakespeare’s darkest psychological thriller marks both Christopher Eccleston’s RSC debut and the return of Niamh Cusack to the company, in the role of Lady Macbeth.



Deconstructing the Beatles: Birth of the Beatles
Thursday, July 26 at 7:30
Sunday, July 29 at 1:00

Reaching back to their beginnings in the late 1950s, musicologist Scott Freiman looks at four Liverpool teenagers, having neither formal training nor ability to read and write music, and analyzes the path that brought them to superstardom as The Beatles, from their early days as the Quarrymen to their transformation in Hamburg.


Dark Money with filmmaker Kimberly Reed
Sunday, July 29 at 6:30

A documentary that takes on qualities of a political thriller, this incisive film examines one of the greatest threats to American democracy: the influence of “anonymous” and untraceable corporate money on our elections and elected officials. Director Kimberly Reed will be in attendance to discuss the fascinating story of Montana’s fight against the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision of 2010, clearly recounted in this important film.


Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda
Sunday, July 29 at 4:15
Thursday, Aug. 2 at 7:00

Ryuichi Sakamoto has had a prolific musical career over four decades, from techno-pop stardom to Oscar-winning film composer, and his music’s evolution has coincided with his life journeys. This film documents his return to music following a cancer diagnosis and the creation of a resounding new masterpiece.


Olompali: A Hippie Odyssey with filmmakers Gregg Gibbs and Maura McCoy and special guest Peter Coyote
DocLands Encore!
Thursday, Aug. 9 at 7:00

In the late 1960s, wealthy businessman Don McCoy dropped out and started a commune at an estate in northern Marin called Rancho Olompali. But McCoy’s dream of a utopian society was short-lived, and Olompali’s blissful first year was followed by a series of shocking tragedies that threaten its very existence. Narrated by Peter Coyote, this riveting true story explores the concept of the hippie ideal and its impact on American culture.


Bernstein 100: On The Town
Sunday, Aug. 12 at 4:15 & 6:45

This delightful movie musical from first time directors Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen showcases the music of Leonard Bernstein in an innovative production, with numbers actually staged on location in New York City. Three sailors—Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin—make the most of their 24-hour shore leave, painting the town red with Vera-Ellen, Betty Garrett and Ann Miller.


Royal Shakespeare Company presents Romeo & Juliet
Sunday, Aug. 12 at 12:00pm

What if your first love was someone you’d been told you must hate? Set in a world very much like our own, this Royal Shakespeare Company production of Romeo & Juliet is about a generation of young people born into violence and ripped apart by the bitter divisions of their parents. The most famous story of love-at-first-sight explodes with intense passion and an irresistible desire for change, but leads all too quickly to heartbreaking consequences.


Bernstein 100: On The Waterfront
Sunday, Aug. 19 at 4:15 & 6:45

Leonard Bernstein earned an Academy Award nomination for his music for this American classic, the only score he wrote solely for the screen. Marlon Brando stars as longshoreman Terry Malloy, an ex-boxer determined to stand up to his corrupt union boss (Lee J. Cobb), with the help of a priest (Karl Malden) and a murdered worker’s sister (Eva Marie Saint), and against the advice of his brother (Rod Steiger), who is the boss’ right-hand man. Winner of eight Academy Awards.


Deconstructing the Beatles: 1963 Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
Thursday, August 23 at 7:00
Sunday, August 26 at 1:00

Musicologist Scott Freiman’s new filmed lecture in his continuing series about The Beatles starts in 1962, when the Fab Four stepped into EMI studios for the first time, meeting producer George Martin and beginning an unparalleled recording career. Over the next 18 months, they would release four number-one singles (including “She Loves You” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand”) and two number-one albums while becoming international superstars. Come explore the music that launched Beatlemania!


Bernstein 100: West Side Story
Sunday, Aug. 19 at 4:15 & 6:45

Based on the hit Broadway musical this Academy Award-winning movie has stood the test of time. Richard Beymer is Tony, co-founder of the New York street gang the Jets, and Natalie Wood is Maria, sister of the leader of the Puerto Rican Sharks. Even with love at first sight, can they bridge the racial divide?



Bernard and Huey with filmmaker Dan Mirvish
Thursday, Sept. 6 at 7:15

Based on a previously unproduced screenplay by cartoonist/playwright Jules Feiffer (Carnal Knowledge, Little Murders, Popeye), this film is a timely story of two men behaving badly and the smart women who rein them in. Jim Rash and David Koechner star as two college buddies who reunite three decades later, still fixated on their sexual conquests and still needing to grow up.


Laurel and Hardy: Return of the Restored
Thursday, Sept. 13 at 7:30
Sunday, Sept. 16 at 4:30
Sunday, Sept. 23 at 4:30
Thursday, Sept. 27 at 7:00

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were the most beloved double act in the movies. Both knocked around in silent comedy shorts for several years until 1927, when producer Hal Roach made them a pair. Of all the silent comics, Laurel and Hardy made the smoothest and most successful transition to sound, and our presentations focus on several talkies and one extremely rare silent. The films were restored by Jeff Joseph in conjunction with the UCLA Film and Television Archive, and it’s safe to say they haven’t looked this good since they were first released.