West of England

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3 JuneDiary323

Diary of a Lost Girl  (Dir. G W Pabst, 1929) (Screening format – Blu-Ray/DVDLouise Brooks plays Thymian Henning, an unprepossessing young woman seduced by an unscrupulous and mercenary employee of her father.  After Thymian gives birth to his child and rejects her family’s expectation for marriage, the baby is stripped from her care and Thymian is placed in a purgatorial reform school that seems less an institute of higher learning than a conduit for fulfilling the headmistress’s sadistic fantasies.  A masterpiece of the German silent cinema whose reputation has only increased over time and the final pairing of director Pabst with screen icon Brooks.  Find out more at IMDb   With live musical accompaniment by Wurlitza.  Playhouse, Leominster  Herefordshire   Link

4 June

AnnaMayWongPiccadillyCoverPiccadilly (Dir. E A Dupont, 1929)  (Screening format – Blu-Ray/DVD,  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.  Assembly Rooms, Ludlow, Shropshire  Link

 

15 June

Frank_Borzage_001Frank Borzage Silent Film Night   Co-founder of Bristol Silents Norman Taylor returns with a night celebrating the work of the great silent film director Frank Borzage (1894 – 1962).  Borzage switched from acting to directing in 1916, bringing to the screen a dedication to romanticism that became his trademark. Although undoubtedly sentimental–and criticized by some for it–his films, from “Humoresque” (1920) through “Moonrise” (1948), were not only undeniably popular but, at their best, were also the moving, highly artful and visually enthralling work of an instantly recognizable filmmaker, a genuine auteur. Borzage was a pioneer in the use of techniques, such as soft focus, that have become standards of romantic film-making. Find out more at  imdb.com   Presented by South West Silents  The Lansdown Pub, Clifton, Bristol  Link

22 June

AnnaMayWongPiccadillyCoverPiccadilly (Dir. E A Dupont, 1929)  (Screening format – Blu-Ray/DVD,  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.    Pilton Palais Cinema, Glastonbury Festival, Somerset      Link

23 June

amleto 1917Amleto (aka Hamlet) (Dir. , 1917) (Screening format – 35mm, 80mins)   The 1917 silent film Amleto (the Italian name for Hamlet) is regarded as one of the best Shakespeare films in existence and yet, it has hardly been screened since its original run nearly 100 years ago.  In contrast to earlier silent film adaptations of Hamlet, which were often in thrall to the theatrical tradition, Italian director Rodolfi’s  adaptation applies an altogether more cinematic approach. No mere stage play performed before the cameras, it’s distinguished by its consistent sense of the visual – the camera constantly engaged and alert to the nuances of the action. The film also represents an incredibly rare record of one of the most important stage actors of the late 19th and early 20th Century – the Italian born Ruggero Ruggeri – classed amongst the most important actors to play Shakespeare’s Prince of Denmark and one of the pioneering figures in early Italian film and theatre. And although the acting is redolent of the theatre, there is a real sense of place and time – the royal court scenes in particular in which the interrelationships integral to the drama emerge naturally and convincingly – was an incredible feat for a Shakespearean film made at the time.  Don’t miss this very rare screening of one of the cinema’s most celebrated adaptations of one of Shakespeare’s most vital plays.Find out more at  wikipedia.org      Introduced by noted film historian Luke McKernan followed by a Q&A session.  With live piano accompaniment  by Neil Brand.  Watershed Cinema, Bristol Link

Diary323Diary of a Lost Girl  (Dir. G W Pabst, 1929) (Screening format – Blu-Ray/DVDLouise Brooks plays Thymian Henning, an unprepossessing young woman seduced by an unscrupulous and mercenary employee of her father.  After Thymian gives birth to his child and rejects her family’s expectation for marriage, the baby is stripped from her care and Thymian is placed in a purgatorial reform school that seems less an institute of higher learning than a conduit for fulfilling the headmistress’s sadistic fantasies.  A masterpiece of the German silent cinema whose reputation has only increased over time and the final pairing of director Pabst with screen icon Brooks.  Find out more at IMDb   With live musical accompaniment by Wurlitza.  Pilton Palais Cinema, Glastonbury Festival, Somerset      Link

24 June

Sunrise_vintageSunrise: A Song Of Two Humans (Dir. F W Murnau, 1927) (Screening format – Blu-Ray/DVD) 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 Wurlitza.  Pilton Palais Cinema, Glastonbury Festival, Somerset      Link

28 June

hamlet-movie-poster-1921-1020683934hamlet 10Hamlet (Dir. Svend Gard/Heinz Schall, 1920)  (Screening format – not known, 73 mins)  Fairly loose but very good adaption of Shakespeare’s play.  Hamlet (Asta Nielson) is a woman forced by her mother to disguise herself as a man.  Danish silent movie-star Nielsen formed her own production company to make this film, inspired by Dr.E P Vining’s 1881 book The Mystery of Hamlet.   Nielson’s performance won praise and further cemented her reputation as an actress transforming movie acting from overt theatricality to a more subtle naturalistic style.  Find out more at   IMDb    The Arts House, Bristol  Link