London & South East

 

 

 

 

 


 

2 February

A Cottage On Dartmoor  (Dir. Anthony Asquith, 1929) (Screening format – not known, 77mins)  Asquith’s tense and atmospheric A Cottage on Dartmoor explores the joys and savagery of love. Made in 1929, during the transition from silent cinema to the ‘talkies’, this simple but beautifully told story focuses on Joe, an assistant barber, who is in love with Sally, a manicurist. He reacts jealously as Sally rejects him in favour of another, with terrible consequences. This is, however, not a clean-cut ‘good vs. evil’ picture: the film has layers of both ambiguity and suspense. While touching on the themes of loneliness, lust and mental illness, ‘A Cottage on Dartmoor’ is ultimately about both the joys and savagery of love.  Daring and inventive in his craftsmanship, Asquith drew inspiration from cinema around the globe, from the work of large Hollywood studios, to the Soviet masters and German Expressionists. Now a little-known gem, this sophisticated thriller frequently draws comparisons to Hitchcock. It is easy to see why, as you will be on the edge of your seat throughout!  Find out more at  silentfilm.org .  With live musical accompaniment by local pianist Joss Peach. Fabrica Gallery, Brighton Link

4 February

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.    Accompanied by a live performance from the Aylesbury Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ben Palmer.  Aylesbury Vale Academy, Aylesbury  Link

A Trip to the Moon/Kingdom of the Fairies/ Courtship of the Sun and Moon (Dir. Georges Melies, 1902/1903/1907 )  (Screening format – not known, 16/17/ 9  mins)   A Trip to the Moon  follows a group of astronomers who travel to the moon in a cannon-propelled capsule, explore the Moon’s surface, escape from an underground group of lunar inhabitants, and return to Earth with a captive.   In The Kingdom of the Fairies, a witch carries away a princess just as she is bethrothed to the prince prompting a rescue mission.        The  Courtship of the Sun and Moon sees a romantic encounter between the two celestial bodies.  Find out more at wikipedia.org .     With live musical accompaniment by classical infused art rock trio STEMS.   Electric Palace Cinema, Hastings  Link

8 February

Salt For Svanetia (Dir. Mikhail Kalatozov, 1930) + The Arabian Nights (aka Tales of the Thousand and One Nights) (Dir.Viktor Tourjansky,  1921)  (Screening format – not known, 55/?? mins) Salt For Svanetia is feted as one of the earliest ethnographic films, documenting the life of the Svan people who live in isolated mountain villages in the Svanetia region of Georgia, which at that time was a republic within the former Soviet Union.   Focusing  upon the harsh living conditions of both villagers and their animals and in particular the chronic shortage of salt, the climax of the film shows how a Soviet built road connects the previously isolated mountain village to Soviet civilisation. Intended as a propoganda piece to highlight the benefits of the first Soviet Five Year Plan, many of the scenes in the film were clearly staged, and the authenticity of some scenes has been disputed by the Svan people. Salt For Svanetia was one of a number of silent documentaries directed by Kalatozov before he switched to feature films, his best known works probably being The Cranes are Flying (1957) and I Am Cuba (1964)Find out more at  imdb.com .  Viktor Tourjansky was a Russian film director who emigrated after the communist revolution of 1917, and worked in France, Germany, USA, UK, and Italy.  Tales of the Thousand and One Nights (Les contes de mille et une nuits) was one of the first films he directed upon arriving in France.  But it has fallen into obscurity since its initial release and no complete print is known to survive although an  abridged version prepared for home release in 9.5mm does survive.  The film is unusual for being shot on location in Tunisia and is apparently a visual delight  thanks to its gorgeous sets. Tourjansky is better known for his 1926 adaptation of Michel Strogoff and also worked as an assistant to Abel Gance on Napoleon (1927) and he continued to direct until the early 1960s.  Find out more at moviessilently.com .   Presented by the Kennington Bioscope with live piano accompaniment by New Hampshire based accompanist Jeff Rapsis making his London debut.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London   Link

12 February

A Sixth Part of the World    (Dir. Dziga Vertov, 1926) (Screening format – not known, 73mins) Prior to his revered Man with a Movie Camera (1929), Dziga Vertov directed this exquisite celebration of the Soviet Union and its peoples, with eight camera teams surveying the nation (the land mass of which constituted a sixth of the world) from the cities to the outermost regions. The film reflects the political idealism of the young filmmakers and the notion of ‘progress’, as religion and old traditions give way to machinery and industrialisation. Vertov’s dazzling survey is also a celebration of ethnic diversity across the Soviet Union and a call for unification, capturing the excitement and optimism of the early years after the 1917 Revolution. Find out more at  filmquarterly.org  With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.  Barbican, London   Link

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  With live improvised organ accompaniment by Nicholas Miller.  St John’s Church, Hyde Park, Bayswater, London W2 Link

15 February – 17 March

Fashion in Film Exhibition  (Screening format – DCP) As part of its 2017 programme the Fashion in Film Festival is mounting an exhibition which features a number of short, silent films to highlight aspects of fashion and dress.  These consist of; Animated Fan (L’Eventail animé) France, 1909. Directed by  Emile Cohl / Gaumont. Black & White;   Costume through the Ages, executed by the couturier Pascault (Le Costume à travers les âges – Reconstitué par le couturier Pascault) France, 1911. Directed by Anon / Pathé frères. Black & White;  Beautiful Ladies’ Hats (Les Chapeaux des belles dames) France, 1909. Directed by Emile Cohl / Gaumont. Black & White; and,. A Retrospective Look at Corsets (Rétrospective sur les corsets) France, c. 1920, Pathé newsreel. Black & White. Presented as part of the Fashion in Film Festival.  Window Gallery, Central Saint Martins, London  (No link as yet)

17 February

Battleship Potemkin (Dir. Sergei Eisenstein, 1925) (Screening format – 35mm, 66mins)  Originally conceived as part of a cycle of films commemorating the revolutionary events of 1905, Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin recreates in documentary-style the failed mutiny of the Black Sea fleet and the subsequent massacre of the people of Odessa. Innovative cinematography and editing techniques heighten the horrific nature of events.  Although banned outright in many countries outside Soviet Russia, the film became an international sensation, and has had a lasting impact on world cinema. The arresting sequence of the massacre of civilians on Odessa’s steps is one of the most celebrated, analysed, and quoted in cinema history.  Find out more at sensesofcinema.com .    Presented by Kino Klassika to mark the centenary of the October Revolution. With live music accompaniment by Late Junction presenter Max Reinhardt and an instant orchestra of professional and non-professional musicians drawn from across London. Followed by Q & A.   Regent Street Cinema, LondonLink

19 February

napoleon-portraitNapoleon (Dir. Abel Gance, 1927) (Screening format – DCP332 mins) Gance’s epic biopic of Napoleon traces his career from his schooldays (where a snowball fight is staged like a military campaign), his flight from Corsica, through the French Revolution (where a real storm is intercut with a political storm) and the Terror, culminating in his triumphant invasion of Italy in 1797.  The film ends here because it was intended to be part one of six, but Gance was unable to raise the money to make further episodes. The film’s legendary reputation is due to the astonishing range of techniques that Gance uses to tell his story ( including fast cutting, extensive close-ups, hand-held camera shots, location shooting, point of view shots, multiple camera set-ups, multiple exposure, superimposition and under water shots) culminating in the final twenty-minute triptych sequence, which alternates widescreen panoramas with complex multiple- image montages.  This is the most complete version of the film available, compiled by Academy Award-winning film-maker, archivist and historian Kevin Brownlow who spent over 50 years tracking down surviving prints from archives around the world since he first saw a 9.5mm version as a schoolboy in 1954.  Find out more at  BFI and  Wikipedia   With recorded Carl Davies orchestral accompaniment.   New Park Cinema, Chichester   Link

24 February

greatwhitesilence_originalThe Great White Silence (Dir. Herbert Ponting, 1924) (Screening format – not known, 108mins) A record of the British Antarctic Expedition 1910, led by Captain Scott on the Terra Nova, and its ultimately doomed attempt to be the first team to reach the South Pole.  But the expedition also had a complex (and completely genuine) scientific brief. Scott’s decision to include a cameraman in his expedition team was a remarkable one for its time, and it is thanks to his vision – and to Herbert Ponting’s superb eye – that, a century later, we have an great-whiteastonishing visual account of his tragic quest. The silent feature The Great White Silence, released in 1924, served as a eulogy to Scott.  The final film was tinted and toned to express lighting effects. Ponting had the foresight to film Scott, Edward Wilson, ‘Taff’ Evans and Henry Bowers (interestingly, the same men, with Lawrence Oates, were to form the – as yet un-selected – polar team) man-hauling the sledge and cooking and sleeping in their tent, just as they were to do for real on the way to and from the Pole. Find out more at silentfilm.org .  Presented by the Fleapit Film Society.  Accompanied by the recorded Simon Fisher Turner soundtrack.  The screening will be introduced by polar explorer Jason de Carteret.  Westerham Hall, Westerham, Kent Link