April Club Screening – The Bridal Procession in Hardanger

Wednesday 11th April 2012;
The Kings Arms Pub,
Blackboy Hill,
Whiteladies Road,
7:30pm Free Admission
A brief introduction to this Wednesdays Club screening by Peter Walsh:

This is a great unknown masterpiece!’ Tom Gunning

An almost forgotten classic of Norwegian cinema, The Bridal Procession in Hardanger (1926) arrives to the world after a meticulous six year restoration process by the Norwegian Film Institute. A tale of young love, early marriage, and the looming draw to emigrate from rural Norway to the promise of America, the film is a beautiful realisation of 19th century heritage and tradition, set against the stunning backdrop of the Hardangerfjords.
The film stands prominently as part of Norway’s cultural history, not just as brilliant movie of the late silent period, but also as a visual continuation of the young nation’s still emerging identity. An adaptation of the novel Marit Skjølte, and a recreation of the 19th century landscape painting which inspired it, Bridal Procession the film shows us the idealized view the new country had of its own historic past, just twenty one years after it’s own independence. Traditional cottages, wooden churches, intricate folk dress, and the unique music of the region are all interwoven in a vivid tableaux of life in 19th century Norway. 
The place of this traditional folk music is not lost in this silent film either, as part of the film’s extensive restoration process involved rediscovering contemporary cue sheets, integrating among others the work of Edvard Grieg. At the heart of the film is the haunting Hardanger fiddle, unique to the region, and key to the film’s central scene as the bridal procession cross the mirror-blank Hardangerfjord at speed in traditional rowing boats. A spectacular scene in a brilliant but overlooked film, The Bridal Procession in Hardanger is not to be missed.    

The film will be introduced by Bristol Silents’ very own Scandinavian Film Enthusiast Peter Walsh. Peter is (and has for many years) been a regular supporter of Bristol Silents in and around the UK. He also bides his time with many of us at Le Giornate Del Cinema Muto. He indulges in everything Scandinavian, including Silent Film and Folk Music, which this film neatly combines.
  1. #1 by James Harrison on April 9, 2012 - 8:34 pm

    Really worth going to see this one guys…. like all our Club Screeenings i guess….

  2. #2 by burntretina on April 11, 2012 - 4:49 pm

    No no James, this film’s a special one, above and beyond the average. If I may say so myself!

    Just thought I’d post a few footnotes for tonight’s screening, something people can follow up after the film, or just check out if they haven’t got the chance to make it.

    Firstly, there’s a great little radio documentary on the BBC iPlayer, about a Swede who moved to Norway to learn the beautiful art of the Hardangerfele, or the Hardanger Fiddle to give it it’s English name. A brief but insightful interview piece, the doc shows how fiddle-playing is part of a wider Norwegian folk tradition. [It’s on the iPlayer until 2099, so no hurry!]


    Secondly, if you want some more words of endorsement then check out Paolo Cherchai Usai’s review of the film in international federation of film archivist’s journal. It’s free for all, and the review’s on page 65 –

    Click to access FIAF76.pdf

    Paolo’s one of the chief curators of the Pordenone Silent Film Festival, so when he says that this version of the Bridal Procession in Hardanger “is one of the best orchestral performances of original silent music ever recorded”, well he isn’t saying so lightly!

  3. #3 by James Harrison on April 11, 2012 - 10:32 pm

    I eat my words Peter; fantastic film, with a fantastic score; fantastic Club Screening. Many Thanks to Peter and Mark Fuller for their help!

  4. #4 by milanstuermer on April 11, 2012 - 11:20 pm

    What a wonderful film, thanks a lot for screening it.

    Apart from a few longueurs in the middle it was absolutely wonderful.The acting was simply incredible, especially some of the close-ups of Marit (young and old) were incredibly touching.

    Okay, I have a weak spot for Greig anyway, but the score still blew my mind! And what a great instrument the hardanger fiddle is [currently browsing through whatever youtube has to offer if one searches for hardanger fiddle 😉 ]

    And yeah, pretty much throughout the whole movie I felt the urge to take a screenshot and print it off as a poster for my plain room =)

    So thanks again for the screening and the intro!

    PS: Like the new site!

  5. #5 by Mark Fuller on April 12, 2012 - 8:45 am

    Great to see it on a big screen at last……..the bridal boat race across the fjord is one of THE sequences in silent film, in the sheer beauty on display in the stunning cinematography, the editing, the immaculate state of preservation, and the score. In the whole film, the combination of the use of landscape, and the landscapes of the extra’s faces, is perfect.
    It does give me pause that, as far as I know, the British films on similar themes are all lost or at least unavailable…..I’d love to see a silent Thomas Hardy adaptation on the big screen; I know the synchro-scored Under The Greenwood Tree exists, but it’s a tad underwhelming…..but what wouldn’t I give to see Sydney Morgan’s Mayor of Casterbridge…..

  6. #6 by Ceri on April 15, 2012 - 8:17 pm

    This was quite a gem. Great score. Mesmerising in parts – and a beautiful print. I want to visit Norway now!

  7. #7 by James Harrison on May 6, 2012 - 4:46 pm

    Some extra comments can be found here…http://realreeljournal.com/2012/05/05/bristolsilents/

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  2. Championing Silent Cinema: Bristol Silents « Real|Reel Journal
  3. A Bridal Procession in Hardanger: Some Screening Notes « Burnt Retina

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