Celebrate Silent Film with Bristol Silents this Winter 2015!

So the nights are getting darker but the selection of silent film events is getting bigger! So without further ado please find out the great events coming up in the next few days… and weeks!

Wednesday 21st October: Bristol Silents Club Screening: An Evening of Silent Farmers! aka Four Ways of Looking at a Farmer (or, With Only Peasants and Mountains for Company)

What do an extraordinary Georgian propaganda art film from 1930 and two popular dramatic shorts set in rural Ireland before the First World War have in common? Mikhail Kalatozov’s feature Salt for Svanetia (1930) was meant to be a piece of Soviet propaganda about the building of a road to an isolated town in Georgia.

It is a bizarre combination of ethnography and agitprop that was condemned by critics of the time for being too artistic and insufficiently ideological. Its interest in the lives of peasants on mountainsides is shared with The Lad from Old Ireland (1910) and Come Back to Erin (1914), two films by Sidney Olcott for the Kalem company. Before the ‘O’Kalems’, as they were called, no fiction film had ever been made in Ireland, and no American film had ever been made outside the United States.

These very different films are both in their different ways pioneering experiments in location shooting in the silent era.

Intro by Dr Carol O’Sullivan (University of Bristol)
Location: Lansdown Pub, Clifton: 7:30pm: Free Entry

Friday 23rd October: SOUTH WEST SILENTS PRESENTS: Varieté (1925) + Live Score Live Music by Stephen Horne

Hot on the heels of the London Film Festival this special screening is an event you do not want to miss!

Flying high above the crowds at the Berlin Wintergarten, Varieté is an exciting tale of love and jealousy played out on the high wires of the trapeze. A dazzling but forgotten classic of German silent cinema, this adaptation of a pulpy novel manages to be thrilling and erotic, an expressionistic window onto the excesses of the Weimar Republic. A touch of Cabaret set at vertiginous heights.

South West Silents is proud to present a brand new restoration of Varieté from the FW Murnau Foundation, taken from original nitrates, this edition finally does justice to one of Alfred Hitchcock’s top ten favourite silent films.

We are also glad to welcome multi-instrumentalist Stephen Horne to the Cube to provide a live improvised accompaniment to this wonderful film. “Stephen Horne displays dazzling virtuosity in his accompaniment for a variety of films… creating orchestral effects with the piano soundboard and accompanying himself on flute and accordion!” Leonard Maltin – indiewire.com

Location: Cube Cinema, Bristol: 8:00pm: Ticket Prices Vary

Monday 26th October: Make More Noise! Suffragettes in Silent Film + Live Score (Watershed, Bristol)
Thursday 29th October: Make More Noise! Suffragettes in Silent Film + Live Score (Cube Cinema, Bristol)

Please note there are two screenings in Bristol within one week; more info above!

The key tactic of the suffragettes’ campaign was to ‘make more noise’. That meant standing up at public meetings, in music halls and theatres, scrawling ‘votes for women’ over census papers, demonstrating on the streets and disrupting elections. It also applied to film – cinema was born just as the campaign was gathering momentum – and over the following years the suffragettes made it their business to get in front of the cameras!

This fascinating compilation of 21 short films – with a specially commissioned accompaniment by Lillian Henley, who will perform live – combines contemporary newsreels with anarchic early comedies that reveal as much about young women’s aspirations as does the reportage. Some offer grotesque parodies of female militants (often played by men in drag), but others feature unruly girl children, like the Tilly girls, who wreak havoc and still have the last laugh.


Friday 30th October 2015: Nosferatu (FW Murnau / 1922)

My Octopus Mind have prepared an hour and a half of original music for the 1920’s German expressionist classic Nosferatu…. refusing to listen to any previous versions, they are delving deep into the unknown with only a rough compass.

They take their inspiration from the big open spacious sounds of the dark jazz movement- namely Bohren & Der Club of Gore and rework themes that have been lurking within their already intricate and rich catalogue of material. They also tap into elements of Phillip Glass and the emotional honesty of Jeff Buckley to create a dynamic, emotionally rich and gripping soundscape. Their aspiration is to draw out some of the more subtle theme’s present in this classic Horror.

Location: The Southbank Club, Dean Lane, Bristol, BS3 1DB at 19:30. Tickets available from Bristol Ticket Shop for £5.50 (online and in store) and £7 on the door.


Tuesday 3rd November 2015: Metropolis (Fritz Lang / 1927)

Fritz Lang’s classic expressionist drama is set in 2026. Wealthy industrialists rule the vast city of Metropolis from high-rise tower complexes, while down below a lower class of underground-dwelling workers toil constantly to operate the machines that provide the city’s power. In this futuristic urban dystopia, we follow the attempts of Freder, the wealthy son of Metropolis’ ruler, and Maria, a poor worker, as they attempt to overcome the vast gulf separating the classes of their city.

Newly restored, and now with 25 minutes of previously lost footage here’s your chance to see this science fiction classic as its director originally intended. Lavish and spectacular, with elaborate sets and hugely ambitious production values , it has much to say about current urban life and work and stands today as testament to Lang’s vision of what cinema could be. Truly one of history’s most definitive films.

Location: Watershed, Bristol: 6:00pm: Tickets Prices Vary

Wednesday 18th November 2015: Bristol Silents Club Screening: Wallace Reid Part 2

James Harrison returns for our final Club Screening for 2015 with a final outing with the great Wallace Reid in his sequel to the Roaring Road (1919) called Excuse My Dust (1920).

This Club Screening will pay tribute to Wallace Reid (1892 – 1923) who was, in many ways, a walking film studio! The man did everything and died way too young!

This handsome, clean-cut, star of the late 1910s who frequently directed, and sometimes wrote his own films was one of biggest stars in the early years of Hollywood.

Son of a well-known actor and playwright, Reid got his start as an actor when he was a child. After prep school, he spent some of his time editing a race car magazine, he then entered films in earnest in 1910.

The handsome, dark-haired Reid worked as an actor, cameraman, stuntman and screenwriter for such companies as Vitagraph, Reliance, Universal and American Film Company for the next few years until his sudden death in 1923.

Intro by James Harrison (BBC Bristol)
Location: Lansdown Pub, Clifton: 7:30pm: Free Entry

Monday 23rd November 2015: The Man With A Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov / 1929)

A man travels around a city with a camera slung over his shoulder, documenting urban life with dazzling invention. Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera is a film about film production – from the cameraman and the editor to the projectionist and the orchestra involved with the exhibition of the film we see being made. It’s a documentary of a day in the life of the Soviet Union. It’s also, critically about cities and urban life in a period of swift change as seen in 1929. Regarded as one of the greatest films of all time and perhaps the best documentary film ever made, it’s presented here in a new print with live accompaniment by the HarmonieBand and a new score composed by Paul Robinson.

HARMONIEBAND are: Adam Robinson – Viola; Colin Blamey – Clarinets; Paul Robinson – Keyboards.
HarmonieBand, formed in 1985, is an ensemble of multi-instrumentalists with an internationally established reputation for performing contemporary music, presenting especially composed scores to accompany silent film, and leading educational projects for young people.

HarmonieBand has made appearances at many UK film festivals and Art Centres. The ensemble has also travelled widely in Europe, including visits to the Dresden Musikfestpiele, the Giornate Del Cinema Muto in Italy and three tours of the Brabant, the last of which featured Paul Robinson’s score to Cocteau’s Le Sang d’un Poète. In 2007, the ensemble was invited to appear alongside the Hilliard Ensemble to present Paul Robinson’s score to Carl Dreyer’s La Passione de Jeanne D’Arc in the Opera House in Wroclaw. The performance was recorded and broadcast by Polish television. They make regular appearances at The Barbican, most recently with Paul Robinson’s score to Nosferatu.

Presented in partnership with Festival of Ideas as part of Festival of The Future City.

Location: Watershed, Bristol: 8:00pm: Ticket Prices Vary

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