Stephin Merritt
Joe Grimaldi Stephin Merritt

The San Francisco International Film Festival, now in its 57th year, will pull several silent treasures out of the vault to accompany live performances by indie pop band Magnetic Fields frontman Stephin Merritt, and by Thao Nguyen of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down.

Thao Nguyen
Thao Nguyen

On Tuesday, May 6, Merritt will present a new original score to "Freaks" director Tod Browning's mind-bending, circus-set crime classic "The Unknown" (clip below). A match made in heaven for Merritt who, back in 2010, performed a wonderful live score to "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." A week earlier, on Tuesday, April 29, Thao Nguyen and her band will perform alongside a selection of silent shorts, with a presentation of her own short films. Both musical events will go down at SF's beloved Castro Theatre.

This year's edition of SFIFF runs April 24 to May 8. We'll be there covering films and festivities. It was previously announced that Richard Linklater will be feted with a night at the Castro adjacent to a screening of his fest hit "Boyhood." In other recent news, former TIFF programmer Noah Cowan has taken the reins at the SF Film Society this year. Here's our exclusive interview with him.