West of England

 7 October

Passion of joan of arc 1The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 82 mins) In 1926 Danish film director Dreyer was invited to make a film in France by the Société Générale des Films and chose to direct a picture about Joan of Arc due to her renewed popularity (having been canonised as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church in 1920 and subsequently adopted as one of the patron saints of France). Apparently discarding a script provided by the Société, Dreyer spent over a year researching Joan of Arc including study of the actual transcripts passion of joan of arc 2of her trial before producing a script of his own.  In the title role, Dreyer cast the little known stage actress Renee Jeanne Falconetti, who had previously acted in just two inconsequential films, both in 1917.  The film focuses on the trial and eventual execution of Joan of Arc after she is captured by the English.  Although not a popular success at the time, the film attracted immediate critical praise.  The New York Times critic wrote “… … as a film work of art this takes precedence over anything that has so far been produced. It makes worthy pictures of the past look like tinsel shams. It fills one with such intense admiration that other pictures appear but trivial in comparison.”  Falconetti’s performance has been widely lauded with critic Pauline Kael writing in 1982 that Falconetti’s portrayal “may be the finest performance ever recorded on film.”  The film was subsequently re-edited against Dreyer’s wishes and his original version was long thought lost.  But in 1981 a near perfect copy was found in the attic of a psychiatric hospital in Oslo.  The Passion of Joan of Arc now regularly appears in ‘Top Ten’ lists not just of best silent films but best films of all time.  Find out more at  rogerebert.com  Supported by Hauser & Wirth Somerset, the film will be accompanied by a new score written by Adrian Utley (Portishead) and Will Gregory (Goldfrapp) and performed by them and an eclectic group of musicians on electric guitars, percussion, horns, harp and synthesizers together with members of the  Monteverdi Choir and led by led by conductor Charles Hazlewood .  Wells Cathedral, Cathedral Green, Wells, Somerset  Link

8 October

The Kid 1921The Kid (Dir. Charlie Chaplin, 1921) + The Scarecrow (Dir. Edward F Cline/Buster Keaton, 1920)  (Screening format – not known, 68/19   mins )  In The Kid, Edna (Edna Purviance) deposits her new baby with a pleading note in a limousine and goes off to commit suicide. The limo is stolen by thieves who dump the baby by a garbage can. The Tramp (Charlie Chaplin)  finds the baby and makes a home for him. Five years later Edna has become an opera star but does charity work for slum youngsters in hope of finding her boy. A doctor called by Edna discovers the note with the truth about the Kid (Jackie Coogan) and reports it to the authorities who come to take him away from Charlie. Before he arrives at the orphan asylum Charlie steals him back and takes him to a flophouse. The proprietor reads of a reward for the Kid and takes him to Edna. Charlie is later awakened by a kind policeman who reunites him with the Kid at Edna’s mansion. This was Chaplin’s first full-length film as a director . It was a huge success and was the second-highest grossing film in 1921, behind The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and is now considered one of the greatest films of the silent era.    Find out more at  wikipedia.org   In The Scarecrow 1920 KeatonScarecrow, Buster plays a farmhand who competes with Joe Roberts to win the love of the farmer’s daughter (Sybil Seely). Running from a dog , Buster falls into a hay thresher and ruins his clothes. Forced to borrow the clothes of a nearby scarecrow, Sybil believes Buster to be proposing as she stumbles upon him tying his shoe. The couple speed off on a motorcycle with Joe and the farmer (played by Buster’s father, Joe) in hot pursuit. Scooping up a minister during the chase, they are married on the speeding motorcycle and splash into a stream at the climax of the ceremony and the film. Find out more at imdb.com. Live organ accompaniment by renowned organist Donald MacKenzie  St Aidan’s Church, Bristol   Link

19 October

othello-1922-emil-janningsGerman ShakespeareAn analysis of  what the power house that was German cinema was doing when it came to adapting the great Bard’s works. In particular a look at one of the first major adaptations of one of his most treasured of works in which also starred one of the true legends of the silent era, Emil Jannings. (Ed.  Although not stated, it is assumed that this is Othello (Dir. Dimitri Buchowetzki, 1922) ) Presented by South West Silents with introduction by James Harrison, BBC Bristol.  The Lansdown Pub, Clifton, Bristol  Link

20 October

lodger-1927-alfred-hitchcock-movie-poster The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1927) (Screening format – not known, 92mins ) A serial killer known as “The Avenger” is on the loose in London, murdering blonde women. A mysterious man (Ivor Novello)  arrives at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Bunting looking for a room to rent. The Bunting’s daughter (June Tripp)  is a blonde model and is seeing one of the detectives (Malcolm Keen) assigned to the case. The detective becomes jealous of the lodger and begins to suspect he may be the avenger.  Based on a best-selling novel by Marie Belloc Lowndes, first published in 1913, loosely based on the Jack the Ripper murders,  The Lodger was Hitchcock’s first thriller, and his first critical and commercial success. Made shortly after his return from Germany, the film betrays the influence of the German expressionist tradition established in such films as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919) and Nosferatu (1922). Find out more at silentfilm.org  With live musical accompaniment by Minima.   Electric Picture House, Wotton, Gloucestershire  Link

30 October

King_John_1899Play On! Shakespeare in Silent Film (Dir. Various) (Screening format – DCP, 90mins) Adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays proved popular with early film-makers and audiences alike, from King John in 1899.  By the end of the silent era around 300 such films had been shakespeareproduced.  This feature-length celebration from the BFI National Archive draws together a delightful selection of thrilling, dramatic, iconic and humorous scenes from two dozen different titles, many of which have been unseen for decades, newly restored and digitised.  See Hamlet addressing Yorick’s skull, King Lear battling a raging storm at Stonehenge, the Merchant of Venice in vibrant stencil colour, the fairy magic of A Midsummernight’s Dream and what was probably John Gielgud’s first appearance on film in the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet.   Presented by South West Silents.  Curzon Community Cinema, Clevedon, N Somerset  View