Archive Of Events: 2005

Celebrating Buster (With Paul Merton and Paul McGann)

23 April 2005 Barbican Cinema

We screened two films, The Cameraman (1928), Dir. Edward Sedgwick, Buster Keaton  67 min.
This film was introduced by Paul Merton, and had a live piano accompaniment by Neil Brand.

After becoming infatuated with a pretty office worker, Buster trades in his tintype operation for a movie camera and sets out to impress her with his work.  One of Paul Merton’s personal favourites, this was the last film in which Keaton had complete creative control, and is considered by many to be his last celluloid masterpiece.
This was followed by Buster Keaton Di Corsa Italy 2003  Dir. Francesco Ballo  11 min.

This film was introduced by Paul McGann, and had a live accompaniment by The Matinee Idles. Buster Keaton Di Corsa is compiled by Keaton fan and Italian filmmaker Francesco Ballo.  A poignant tribute to the great stone-faced clown.

A musical homage to Keaton from a capella group The Matinee Idles, consisting of ex-members of Darts and acclaimed actor Paul McGann.  Original band members Den Hegarty and Griff Fender re-unite with fellow ex-Darts member Pikey Butler, to perform a selection of a capella numbers specially chosen to accompany a new compilation of sequences from Keaton’s early films.  Paul McGann performed with Darts in the Eighties during a successful run in the west-end show Yakedy Yak and re-unites with them again here.

The Films of Mitchell & Kenyon

8 May 2005 Watershed

Chronicled in the hugely successful recent BBC television series (THE LOST WORLD OF MITCHELL AND KENYON), the discovery and restoration of 800 negative films shot by the Lancashire firm of Mitchell and Kenyon more than 100 years ago has been described as comparable to the opening of the tomb of Tutankhamen. Here, in images so sharp and pristine that they might have been shot yesterday, is a unique picture of the lives and leisure of ordinary working folk of a long-past Edwardian age, at once remote and familiar. These ancestors gaze out at us from the screen, often seeming as curious about us as we are about them.

We present here in association with The British Film Institute an eclectic mix of unique actualities from the very first moving images of Manchester United vs Burnley (1902) to a Panoramic View of Morecambe Sea Front (1901). In addition we have rare footage of Mitchell and Kenyon in Bristol (1900) that was not featured in the television series. A unique and delightful event.The historian John Barnes writes, “Other early actualities enable us to enter the past: in the Mitchell and Kenyon films, the past comes to us.”

With Live piano accompaniment from Stephen Horne.

The Cat, The Canary and The Composer (With Neil Brand)

22 May 2005 Watershed

Bristol Silents offers a very special opportunity to meet Neil Brand, already a frequent visitor to Watershed, and generally acknowledged as the world’s finest accompanist for silent films. He has composed orchestral scores for a number of silents, and Bristol’s Slapstick Festival in January was privileged to present the world premiere of his score for Laurel and Hardy’s You’re Darn’ Tootin’, personally sponsored by Paul Merton.

Neil has been accompanying silent films for more than 20 years, in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Israel, Sweden, Germany, France, Luxembourg and in Italy at the Bergamo, Bologna and Pordenone Festivals. Trained as an actor, he now works as writer-performer-composer. He performs his own one-man show « Through the Sound Barrier », has published a book on musical composition for the theatre, Dramatic Notes, and is currently preparing, in collaboration with Michael Eaton, a DVD on films from Dickens novels. He is Visiting Professor at London’s Royal College of Music, and has toured America with his remarkable illustrated lecture “Where does the music come from?”. He also writes radio plays : the most recent, Stan, a moving portrait of Laurel and Hardy in the final years. For the stage he has composed a musical adaptation of E.Nesbit’s The Phoenix and the Carpet.

In 2003-4 he composed full orchestral scores for E.A.Dupont’s Piccadilly and Paul Leni’s great comedy-thriller The Cat and the Canary. It is his work on this film which he will particularly discuss during this Bristol Silents event, and he will be showing extensive extracts from the movie. He says:

“I have wanted to score this film since 1986. It was the second film I ever accompanied as an improvising pianist and its theatricality and intensity seduced me on first viewing of the ropey 16mm print then available. When the idea of writing a new score for the film with the breathtaking newly available 35mm material I wanted that chance very badly.”

The Informer (With Stephen Horne)

26 June 2005  Watershed

Jack Cardiff’s film career behind the camera began in 1929 as clapper boy and production runner, in which capacity he worked on The Informer, one of the last British silent films.  This adaptation of Liam O’Flaherty’s 1925 novel about flight and betrayal during the Irish Events of 1917 is less famous than John Ford’s 1935 version, but in many ways is more powerful, with its Expressionist-influenced images and style. We are thrilled to screen the film with Jack in the audience and hear his memories of being on the set.

With live piano accompaniment from Stephen Horne.

An Audience with Jack Cardiff OBE

26 June 2005 Watershed

With a career that spans an incredible ten decades of movie history, Jack Cardiff is the cinema.

He photographed the first British Technicolor film, Wings of the Morning (1937) and has left the mark of his personal visual style and mastery of colour on such classics as A Matter of Life and Death, Black Narcissus, The Red Shoes and The African Queen.

Bristol Silents are delighted to welcome the celebrated cinematographer and director to Watershed to discuss his life and work with Matthew Sweet Journalist and author of the recent and critically acclaimed Shepperton Babylon. The event will include a Q&A session with and book signing from both Jack and Matthew.

The Charles Chaplin Conference

21 July 2005 – 21 July London College of Communication

The British Film Institute, in association with the University of Southampton and the London College of Communication, announces a major conference on the work and worldwide cultural influence of Charlie Chaplin. This will coincide with the establishment of the bfi’s Charles Chaplin Research Programme, which is designed to foster innovative research in relation to Chaplin and his contemporaries. The emphasis will be on dialogue and the bringing together of archivists, researchers and scholars from a range of disciplines for screenings, the presentation of papers and symposia to reassess Chaplin’s British music hall roots and his impact and influence on film, the arts and modern culture.

To be held at the London College of Communication, Elephant & Castle in the heart of Chaplin’s London.

Chaplin’s image has been an enduring symbol for the twentieth century, it is an image that simultaneously stands for the celebration and the condemnation of the modern world. Chaplin’s life, art and influence offer a thought-provoking site of convergence for film history, theatre history, literary modernism, and the social and cultural history of everyday life in the twentieth century. Through screenings of newly restored material, events, talks and discussion the conference will offer a number of perspectives on Chaplin’s work.

Guest speakers include:
David Robinson. David is also the Director of Cinema Muto, Pordenone Italy
Jennifer Bean University of Washington
Tom Gunning University of Chicago

Flicker: Un Chien Andalou (and 1920s Experimental Classics)

23 September 2005 Watershed

An evening of French experimental cinema with musical accompaniment by COMA, a contemporary music group specialising in the creation of original composition. Un Chien Andalou is the most renowned surrealist film of all time. A collaborative work by Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali made in 1929, its structure and content is founded on the illogical and unexpected conjunctions and transitions commonly associated with surrealism.

The programme will also include other films that confronted the orthodoxies and challenged the social conventions of their day accompanied by 10 members of the COMA collective.

The event will be hosted by BAFTA award winning film editor and author Don Fairservice.

Flicker: Voyage into the Unknown 2

24 September 2005 Secret Location

I am the Mighty Jungulator and Pedestrian follow up 2003’s spectacular river-based mystery trip with another journey to an uncanny world of eerie delight. Travel by coach to a secret destination, where IATMJ present a re-score of Jacques Tourneur’s ‘I Walked With A Zombie’, alongside a diverse assemblage of audio-visual artists.

This 1943 film holds a substantial reputation among movie aficionados for it’s poetic quality and dream-like atmosphere. The overall tone of the event is defined by the film, and evoked through dramatic interplay of landscape, architecture and performers.

Flicker: 21st Century Silents

24 September 2005 Watershed

This event explores the dynamic relationship between contemporary silent film and soundtrack. An eclectic collection of new films including from a variety of artists, musicians and filmmakers exploring perspectives on the notion of ‘silent’ film and their different ways of working.

Encompassing a broad range of work, both visually and musically from super 8 film to digital video and music both live and generated electronically by the images on screen, abstract landscapes, low budget sci-fi, music videos and films inspired by the silent film era.

A dynamic exploration of image and sound at the core of Flicker’s raison d’etre. See extracts of a selection of these films on Electric Pavilion during September.

Flicker: Der Golem (with live score from legendary guitarist Gary Lucas)

25 September 2005 Watershed

We are delighted to welcome Captain Beefheart guitarist, New York composer and recording artist Gary Lucas to Watershed for this special closing event in our Flicker season. Performing his original score for “The Golem” the score – a seamless sonic web of themes and improvisations composed for electric and acoustic guitars and synthesizers, was hailed recently by Village Voice as “hauntingly brilliant and meticulously timed”.

The film tells the story of an actual historical Rabbi, Jehudah Loew, who legend has it fashioned a man from clay in 16th century Prague to save the Jewish community from annihilation. Filmed many times since and adapted to many other mediums, this 1920 version is still considered the definitive one. The film went on to profoundly influence such films as James Whale’s “Frankenstein” (1931). A unique chance to experience Wegener’s silent German expressionist masterpiece with Gary Lucas’s internationally acclaimed live performance.

Silent September (Lancaster)

26 September 2005 The Dukes Lancaster

At a time when the Dukes, and cinema across the world, is moving forward into the digital age, in collaboration with Bristol Silents we have created a special season in honour of an era that ended with the film industry’s last great technological revolution – the arrival of sound.

As well as delving into film archives to screen some of the greats of the historical silent era, Silent September will celebrate silent film as a thriving contemporary art form and one with as much relevance in the digital era, as it had when cinema was born.

Paul Merton’s Silent Clowns

30 October 2005 The Rex, Berkhampsted

The Rex presents an afternoon of film, entertainment and laughter with Paul Merton and a host of silent comedians. Paul will be introducing his favourite comedy shorts by silent screen legends; Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd and Laurel & Hardy.

There will be a live accompaniment by renowned silent film accompanist Neil Brand on piano,The Matinee Idles – an acapella group including actor Paul McGann and ex-members of doo-wop group Darts, and a 10-piece classical ensemble performing Neil Brand’s new score for Laurel & Hardy’s classic silent “You’re Darn Tootin”.


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