West of England

NB. Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure that the information contained in these listings is accurate, silentfilmcalendar.com can take no responsibility for any errors or inaccuracies. You are strongly advised to confirm with the venue that the event remains as detailed, particularly if traveling any distance to attend.


1 April

The_Battle_of_the_Somme_film_image2Battle of the Somme (Dir.Geoffrey Malins, 1916)  (Screening format – not known, 77mins)  The Battle of the Somme gave its 1916 audience an unprecedented insight into the realities of trench warfare, controversially including the depiction of dead and wounded soldiers. It shows scenes of the build-up to the infantry offensive including the massive preliminary bombardment, coverage of the first day of the battle (the bloodiest single day in Britain’s military history) and depictions of the small gains and massive costs of the attack. The Battle of the Somme remains one of the most successful British films ever made. It is estimated over 20 million tickets were sold in Great Britain in the first two months of release, and the film was distributed world-wide to demonstrate to allies and neutrals Britain’s commitment to the First World War. It is the source of many of that conflict’s most iconic images. It was made by British official cinematographers Geoffrey Malins and John McDowell. Though it was not intended as a feature film, once the volume and quality of their footage had been seen in London, the British Topical Committee for War Films decided to compile a feature-length film.  Find out more at Wikipedia  Presented as part of the Somme100Film Centenary Tour.  With live orchestral accompaniment  by the West of England Youth Orchestra with cellist Matthew Sharp performing the specially commissioned and highly acclaimed Laura Rossi score.  Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, Wilts    Link

10 April

Arsenal_1928_filmArsenal (Dir. Oleksandr Dovzhenko, 1928) (Screening format – DCP, 86mins)  Beautifully framed and shot, this is a visceral anti-war movie. The Great War (World War I) has brought devastation, heartache and hardship to the Ukrainian people. Timosh, a recently demobbed soldier, returns to his hometown Kiev amidst the celebrations of Ukrainian freedom. But Timosh challenges the local authorities by calling for the Soviet system to be adopted. From its devastating opening sequence onwards you are acutely aware of the emotional impact of a completely different style of filmmaking. Find out more at Wikipedia.  Presented as part of the Filmic 2016 film festival.  Live musical accompaniment by Guy Bartell/Bronnt Industries Kapital.  Watershed, Bristol  Link

15 April

turksibTurksib (Dir. Victor Turin, 1929) (Screening format – not known, 75mins)  One of the most breathtaking documentaries ever shot, Turksib is an epic spectacle that lyrically and intensely depicts Stalinist Russia’s improbable efforts to build a railway through one of the most inhospitable deserts in the world.  Directed by Viktor Turin and prepared for an English audience by John Grierson, this captivating timepiece allows us to witness the technological world we’ve built on nature’s shoulders: it is also a priceless artefact of cinema history, giving us unparalleled insight into the daunting technical and artistic creativity undertaken in the name of Communism.   For more information see IMDb  Presented as part of the Site Festival 2016.  With live musical accompaniment by Bronnt Industries Kapital.  SVA Goods Shed, Stroud, Gloucs.  Link

16 April

Piccadilly (Dir. E A Dupont, 1929)  (Screening format – DVD/Blu-Ray, 108mins) Piccadilly is a sumptuous show-business melodrama seething with sexual and racial tension.  Chinese-American screen goddess Anna may Wong stars as Shosho, a scullery maid in a fashionable London nightclub whose sensuous table-top dance catches the eye of suave club owner Valentine Wilmot (Jameson Thomas).  With her exotic dance routine she rises to become the toast of London and the object of Wilmot’s erotic obsession – prompting the jealousy of Mable (Gilda Grey) Wilmot’s former lover and star dancer.  This stylish evocation of jazz-age London boasts dazzlingly fluid cinematography and atmospheric sets and is one of the truly great films of the silent age.  Find out more at silentfilm.org     With live musical accompaniment by Wurlitza.  Guildhall, Devonport      Link

20 April

South West Silents present an evening of silent Shakespeare.  Further details TBC.  Lansdown Pub, Bristol   Link


BlackmailUSWindowCardOndraBlackmail (Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1929)    (Screening format – DCP, 84mins)   Blackmail marked a landmark in British cinema when released in June 1929, hailed as ‘the first British all-talkie film’.  Director Alfred Hitchcock took full advantage of the new technical opportunities which sound offered. But the film was also released in a silent version, and to this day some critics consider this version a superior film. Presented in its original silent form with live piano accompaniment, Blackmail is a wonderful study of all things Hitchcockian: a blonde heroine in jeopardy, a surprise killing, some brilliantly manipulated suspense, and a last-reel chase around a familiar public landmark (in this case, the British Museum).  Find out more at silentfilm.org  With live musical accompaniment by Seamas Carey.   The Poly, Falmouth  Link

  24 April

Sunrise_vintageSunrise: A Song Of Two Humans (Dir. F W Murnau, 1927) (Screening format – DVD, 95mins)   A woman vacationing from the City (Margaret Livingston) lingers in a lakeside town. After dark, she goes to a farmhouse where the Man (George O’Brien) and the Wife (Janet Gaynor) live. She whistles from the fence outside. The Man is torn, but finally departs, leaving his wife with the memories of better times when they were deeply in love. The man and woman kiss passionately. She wants him to sell his farm and join her in the city. Then she suggests that he solve the problem of his wife by drowning her….   Considered by some to be the greatest film of the silent era, Sunrise is at very least a combination of artistic triumph and artistic enigma. Perhaps the finest example of the melding of German visual design with American studio production techniques, Sunrise is an oddly disconnected story that still manages to reach its audience with its tremendous emotional undercurrent. Find out more at Wikipedia With live musical accompaniment by Seamus Carey.  Hay Studio,  Trenewth, nr Wadebridge, Cornwall   Link

Manxman posterManxman (Dir.   Alfred Hitchcock,1929) (Screening format – DCP, 84mins)  Despite their differing backgrounds, fisherman Pete (Carl Brisson) and lawyer Philip (Malcolm Keen) have been life long friends on the Isle of Man. Pete wants to marry Kate (Anny Ondra) , the landlord’s daughter at the local inn, however Kate’s father (Randle Ayrton)  doesn’t think he is good enough. Pete leaves the island to seek his fortune abroad and entrusts Kate to Philip, but they start to be attracted to each other.  This was the last silent film directed by Hitchcock. Find out more at silentfilm.org   With live musical accompaniment   by harpist Elizabeth Jane Baldry.   Electric Picture House Cinema, Wotton-Under-Edge. Gloucs.  Link