- Six Stories About London in Victorian Film...
These look interesting: Maybe you think so to.... BFI says: What can Victorian film tell us about life in London in the last five years of Victoria’s long reign? Join us for six of the quirkier stories about the capital and early film, including a Thames-side tragedy, a tale of early film piracy, a near mishap with the Queen of England’s coffin, the search for London’s first film studio and more. With live accompaniment
- White Paradise by Karel Lamac
The screenings at the Barbican sell out fast, so get your ticket early. The UK premiere of a restored box office hit from 1924 starring Anny Ondra and Karel Lamač in the role of naïve orphan Nina and escaped convict Ivan. With live musical accompaniment by Tomáš Vtípil. In the snowy landscape of a desolate region, the orphan Nina (Anny Ondra) serves customers in a coaching inn, quarrelling with its owner, while Ivan (Karel Lamač), who has been jailed for embezzlement, escapes from prison to bring medicine to his dying mother. Hiding from the pursuing police in the inn's cellar, Ivan meets Nina who falls for his good heart and piercing eyes and decides to help him. An ingeniously written script and the involvement of Der starke Vierer (The Strong Four) – one of the most distinctive creative teams to come out of early Czechoslovak cinema: director and actor Karel Lamač, cameraman Otto Heller, actress Anny Ondra and screenwriter Václav Wasserman – contributed to the international success of the film and opened the doors for Lamač and Ondra.
- The Kennington Bioscope: Films from Kevin Brownlow’s collection
A great chance to see and hear from Kevin Brownlow. Kevin has done so much for silent cinema in the UK and internationally. Vanity Fair: say If you love silent movies, Kevin Brownlow should be your hero. He was recognized with an honorary Oscar in 2010 for decades of pioneering work, including The Parade’s Gone By, a definitive history of the silent era, and its companion TV documentary series, Hollywood. And over the years he and his partners have supervised meticulous restorations and presentations of such classics as The Phantom of the Opera, starring Lon Chaney, and Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush (both 1925). And then there’s Abel Gance’s Napoléon. Brownlow first encountered a fragment of Gance’s 1927 masterpiece as a film-obsessed English teenager, and he spent nearly six decades reconstructing this vast historical epic, which is unlike anything made before or since. The Event Highlights will include the German mountain drama The White Hell of Piz Palu (1929), directed by Arnold Fanck and G. W. Pabst, starring Leni Riefenstahi, Gustav Diessl, Ernst Petersen, and World War 1 flying ace Ernst Udet; and the 1927 French drama La Glu, directed by Henri Fescourt (Les Miserables (1925)), with Germaine Rouer and Francois Rozet in the lead roles. Kevin Brownlow began his famous career as a collector of 9.5mm in the 1950s and a sampling of his extensive archive is always a treat.
- Phantom of the Opera
Never performed during the composer’s lifetime, Roy Budd’s masterful score to the 1925 silent classic Phantom of the Opera is played live alongside the film by the 72-piece Docklands Sinfonia. Roy Budd had loved Phantom since he was a child. The self-taught pianist and prodigious composer – best known for his thrilling score to Get Carter – had always dreamed of writing music for the iconic film. And in 1993, he did just that, completing his monumental, romantic, anguished score. But tragically, just weeks before the composition’s scheduled premiere at the Barbican, Roy Budd died from a brain haemorrhage, and the performance was cancelled. Now, the score finally receives its Barbican performance, as the Docklands Sinfonia give the score its second ever outing. This is thanks to Budd’s widow, Sylvia, whose efforts to stage the live film and music experience led to its premiere at the London Coliseum in 2017. Profits from the performance will be donated to Rotary's Purple4Polio campaign to End Polio Now and forever, dedicated to eradicating polio around the world.
- Women Amateur Filmmakers Project from the Silent Era: Three Films
This event is at one of the most important London venues for Silent Film: ‘The Cinema Museum is culturally very important to the history of movies and gives insight into how things have changed. It was the work house where Charlie Chaplin went as a child. It is a monument of great importance to anyone interested in Cinema.’ – Sylvia Syms Here's the Info on the Films. Since 2015, the Women Amateur Filmmakers in Britain project has uncovered and digitised over 100 films made by women amateurs between 1928 and 1988, to identify and celebrate the historical role that such women pioneers played in the British amateur film movement. Tonight, the WAF project presents three of the earliest silent films in its collection, with new soundtracks composed by Laura Rossi. The three films are: Sally Sallies Forth (1928), directed by Frances Lascot : heralded as the first amateur film produced entirely by women. Chaos ensues when Sally (Sadie Andrews) becomes a maid for a day at an upper class garden party. The Polite Burglar (1929), directed by Sadie Andrews : a comedy produced as a competition for the London Amateur Cinematographers Association – can you spot the 30 deliberate errors in the film? Doomsday (1932), directed by Ruth Stuart : an early amateur science fiction film about the end of the world, strongly influenced by European art cinema. The programme will also include a Q&A with members of the WAF project team, the East Anglian Film Archive, and a member of the Institute of Amateur Cinematographers.
- Outside the Law by Tod Browning: Intro by BFI Curator Bryony Dixon
Because of the intro by BFI Curator Bryony Dixon, (who has written some great books on silent cinema) these screenings normally sell out fast. ‘A Tod Browning picture all the way. It starts with action and ends with action. The double double-cross at the opening of the film is worth it alone,’ enthused Variety in 1920. Outside the Law – a crime caper set in the San Francisco underworld – is still a cracker today. You’ll come to see a little-known Lon Chaney film, but you’ll leave a committed Priscilla Dean fan – she plays the moll, as hard-boiled as they come.
- A Couple of Down and Outs: Dir Walter Summers
This one is out of town a little, but a really nice cinema and good to support. A campaign is on to keep the cinema open: Twitter @savedavidlean Info on the Film below. Homeless and workless on his return from the front, a decorated corporal rescues one of his wartime horses from imminent slaughter, knocking over a police sergeant while escaping. A young woman takes pity on the desperate pair, and romance ensues. Davis was awarded the Military Cross for his WWI service, while Best went on to Broadway stardom. This charming picture was created by the GB Samuelson studio, and recently restored with a recorded score by John Sweeney. We are delighted that this screening will be introduced by the producer’s son, former Bafta chairman Sir Sydney Samuelson.
- Crossroads of Youth: Dir Ahn Jong-hwa
Crossroads of Youth is said to be Korea’s oldest surviving film, so it's sure to sell out fast: This is what the the BFI are saying about the event. A richly illustrated talk by Chung Chong-hwa (Senior Researcher, Korean Film Archive) and a screening of Korea’s oldest surviving film. Chung will discuss the complex journey to discovering these Early Korean Cinema prints, as well as their filmic and historical significance. Following the talk, we present a rare performance of the silent classic Crossroads of Youth with live musical accompaniment. This tale of love, desire, betrayal and revenge follows a young man as he seeks his fortune on the streets of Seoul. We welcome composer Park Chun-hwi, narrator Cho Hee-bong, and actors Hwang Min-su and Park Hee-von for this unique performance, recreating an experience comparable to what Korean audiences saw and heard when it first premiered in 1934.
- Häxan - Dir Benjamin Christensen
Häxan is a interesting film that covers a strange and difficult subject. This film won't be to everyone's taste, so check the trailer on YouTube before booking. I've chosen the 19th January screening because it features the Matti Bye Ensemble score which I like. This is what the BFI say: Even upon release, Häxan’s status as a great work of cinema was never under question, but it's ‘unadulterated horror’ led some critics to consider it ‘unfit for public exhibition.’ Part documentary, part re-enactment, this silent, well-researched study of witchcraft and superstition adopts a subversive, surrealist approach that makes it both a chilling curio and a masterpiece in its own right.
- The General: Buster Keaton
This screening of Keaton's The General is in a wonderful location: Southwark Cathedral: Including a live score performed by Donald Mackenzie, organist of the Odeon, Leicester Square. More info below. Described by Orson Welles as "the greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made", Buster Keaton's The General is a comedy adventure classic and the last major film of the silent era. It's based on a true incident, the Great Locomotive Chase; with the 'General' of the title referring not to Keaton's character, engineer Johnnie Gray, but to his engine. Gray has been rejected by both the Confenderate Army and by his fiancee Annabelle but when Union spies steal the General (and unwittingly, Annabelle), he gets a chance to exercise heroism - with Keaton's trademark deadpan humour - to catch up to the General and rescue his beloved. In what was an ambitious and very expensive production at the time - they really did tip an entire burning train off a bridge for one scene! - Keaton performs all his own stunts, using his incredible comic timing and body language to create hilarious, near perfect entertainment. This screening will include a live score performed by Donald Mackenzie, organist of the Odeon, Leicester Square, on the Cathedral's nave organ.