Sundar Shadi’s Gifts at the Cerrito, Saturday, November 14 at 11:00 a.m.

On Saturday, November 14 at 11:00 a.m. the Cerrito Theater will show “Sundar Shadi’s Gifts.” The movie tells the story of long-time El Cerrito resident Sundar Shadi, his folk art Christmas display and his other contributions to the community.

For decades Mister Shadi put on an annual holiday display in the lot next to his home on Arlington Boulevard in El Cerrito. It grew quite elaborate over time, with stars, shepherds, sheep, camels and an angel. Mister Shadi made most of the figures with his own hands, and for years did most of the work of putting it up. The display became such an attraction that the police had to direct the traffic past it every night. Mister Shadi did this out of love for his community. He lived to the age of 101, and kept the display going nearly to the end. Since then, the display has been taken over by Soroptimists International of El Cerrito, and is seen every year on the PG&E right-of-way adjacent to Moeser Lane.

“Sundar Shadi’s Gifts” was produced by the City of El Cerrito and KCRT Channel 28. The movie will be free of charge. Donations to the El Cerrito Community Foundation will be accepted at the door.

“Buster Keaton: “The Blacksmith” (1922) and “The General” (1927) at the Cerrito, Thursday, November 12, at 9:30 p.m.



Coming up…save the date!

Come see the hilarious Buster Keaton, a comedy genius of the Silent Screen!

The General 
One of the most revered comedies of the silent era, this film finds hapless Southern railroad engineer Johnny Gray (Buster Keaton) facing off against Union soldiers during the American Civil War. When Johnny’s fiancee, Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack), is accidentally taken away while on a train stolen by Northern forces, Gray pursues the soldiers, using various modes of transportation in comic action scenes that highlight Keaton’s boundless wit and dexterity.

The Blacksmith 
A 1922 American short comedy film co-written, co-directed by and featuring Buster Keaton. Buster plays an assistant blacksmith to the big worker played by Joe Roberts, with predictable results.

“The General” and “The Blacksmith” play once only on Thursday, November 12 at 9:30 p.m. All seats are $8.50. Moviegoers are advised to get advance tickets at the box office or online, as shows may sell out. Arriving early is a good idea, in order to choose your seat and also order delicious food and wine or beer.


Open from 4:30 until 10:00, Scene wine/food bar offers a special menu, including delicious panini, salads, flatbread, and desserts. You can enjoy them there, or have them brought to your seat while you watch the movie.

Anniversary Celebration of “Fantasia”

The third film in Rialto Cinemas’ anniversary celebrations is Disney’s “Fantasia,” which turns 75 this year. This movie is a series of animated interpretations of classical music performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra, led by the great Leopold Stokowski. The sequences include abstract animation set to Bach’s “Tocatta and Fugue in D minor,” a depiction of the changing of the seasons set to Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite”, Mickey Mouse getting himself in a whole lot of trouble accompanied by “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” by Paul Dukas, the history of the earth set to Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” creatures from Greek mythology accompanied by Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, dancing animals set to Amilcare Ponchielli’s “Dance of the Hours,” and a horror fantasy set to “Night on Bald Mountain” by Mussorgsky.

Many of us had our first exposures to serious art music through cartoons. Disney, Warner Brothers and other animation studios often set their works to classic music. “Fantasia” is probably most ambitious marriage of the two forms. The production was also technically ambitious: it introduced Fantasound, the first stereo surround-sound system.

Leopold Stokowski and his associates won a special Academy Award for their work on “Fantasia.” Walt Disney, William E. Garity and J.N.A. Hawkins also got a special Academy Award for their advancement of sound in movies. “Fantasia” has a Tomatometer rating of 96%. The movie was selected to the National Film Registry in 1990 as a “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant film.”

Yannik Nezet-Seguin now leads the Philadelphia Orchestra. This showing of “Fantasia” will include a behind-the-scenes look at the orchestra’s rehearsals, including a selection of pieces from the movie. Nezet-Seguin will also lead a discussion about Stokowski, “Fantasia,” and the impact they had on the world of symphonic music.

“Fantasia” will be shown at the Cerrito at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 8, and at the Elmwood on Sunday, November 8 at 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., and again on Monday, November 9 at 7:00 p.m. You can get tickets at the box office or on line through the Cerrito or Elmwood web site.