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Archive Of Events: 2010

Something Almost Completely Different (with very special guest Michael Palin)

21 January 2010
Location: Colston Hall, Bristol – 19:30

Bristol’s Slapstick Silent Comedy Festival invites you to a star-studded evening of classic comedy and live entertainment for its Sixth Slapstick Gala.

This unique event presents two great comedy icons. Comedy legend and national treasure Michael Palin will be on stage to discuss his illustrious career in comedy, with fellow writer/performer Graeme Garden.

On screen – in homage to Michael’s travelling legacy – we present one of Buster Keaton’s greatest comedies THE NAVIGATOR (1924), with the world premiere of a live musical accompaniment by The European Silent Screen Virtuosi.

This newly- formed five-piece musical ensemble features triple Oscar-winning film animator and jazz cornetist Richard Williams and world-acclaimed silent film maestro Günter Buchwald on violin and piano, along with their international friends.

With other celebrity guests including ‘Seventh Python’ Neil Innes both on stage and on screen, this is a once-in-a-lifetime event not to be missed!

The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Directed by Lotte Reiniger, 1926)

10 April 2010 Arnolfini

Bristol Silents would like to draw your attention to this special screening at one of our partner venues at Arnolfini. In this special commission for Bird’s Eye View, renowned musician and composer Mira Calix will perform her musical accompaniment for The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926), the first feature length animation ever made. Signed to Warp Records, Calix is winner of the British Composer Award 2009 She has worked with artists such as Radiohead, the London Sinfonetta and Aphex Twin, and has performed all over the world.
At this unique event she will conjour an original and contemporary score for Lotte Reineger’s beautifully creative fairytale inspired by Arabian Nights. The pioneering, painstakingly hand-cut silhouette animation, a labour of love, stands as one of the great classics of early feature animation – witty, delicate, inventive, and romantic.

Dave Berry Memorial Event

23 April 2010 Chapter Arts Centre

2.30 pm Film ‘Only Two Can Play’ (PG)

6.15 pm Memorial event with tributes, film, music and more…

The Passion Of Joan Of Arc (1928)

7 May 2010 Colston Hall

Adrian Utley (Portishead) and Will Gregory (Goldfrapp) are to collaborate on a new score for Carl Theodor Dreyer¹s classic 1928 film ‘The Passion Of Joan Of Arc’.

The film will be screened at Bristol’s Colston Hall on May 7th, accompanied by a live premiere performance of the new score. Charles Hazlewood will conduct an eclectic group, including Utley and Gregory, consisting of six electric guitars, members of the Monteverdi Choir, percussion, horns and keyboards.

The music incorporates extended techniques for guitar and voices providing a powerful landscape for this incredibly innovative and moving film about the last days of Joan of Arc.

Long regarded as a towering masterpiece of silent cinema, the film chronicles Joan¹s trial, imprisonment, torture and execution. The story is told using her own words from trial transcripts discovered in 1924 shortly before her canonisation.

Dreyer shot much of the film in close up, allowing the faces of the actors to tell the story through their expressions, inspiring many future generations of film makers including Sergio Leone.

The original negative, was, for decades, feared lost in a fire until incredibly, in 1981, it was discovered in a cupboard in a Norwegian mental institution. This new print has been made available courtesy of Artificial Eye film distributors.

This one-off performance is a unique collaboration between internationally renowned musicians Utley and Gregory, the newly refurbished Colston Hall and Watershed, one of the UK’s leading independent cinemas.


11 June 2010 Arnolfini

The seductive city, represented by a murderous vamp, nearly destroys the idyll of two rural innocents. Murnau’s first Hollywood film pairs breathtaking studio artifice with the naturalism of an unbearably touching and luminous Janet Gaynor.

Working with the best on the studio lot Murnau offered up a masterpiece of visual, thematic and moral contrasts. An extraordinary work from the apotheosis of silent cinema.

Accompanied by the world’s only silent movie harpist Elizabeth-Jane Baldry. Film historian Russell Merritt described her solo accompaniment at Pordenone Silent film festival in Italy as ‘superb – fresh, bright – a revelation’.

THE EAGLE (PG) (Introduced by film historian Kevin Brownlow)

13 June 2010 Arnolfini

With this delightful romantic drama set in 18th Century Russia, Rudolph Valentino established himself as a highly versatile and charismatic actor, playing opposite Vilma Banky.

Aside from the subtle humour of the plot, are the technical achievements of the production, including a spectacular tracking shot and sumptuous sets.

The event features a beautiful print, and live improvised piano from one of the world’s foremost exponents of silent cinema live piano accompaniment by Stephen Horne.

Silent Sensations (Crime Mystery and Horror)

18 July 2010 Watershed

We are supporting out friends at Watershed and BFI with this excellent Summer Silents Programme.

From the vaults of the BFI National Archive, we bring you – death and crime – four great episodes from classic British crime and horror series of the early 1920s includes The Last Appeal and The Jest from Fred Paul’s Grand Guignol series; The Silver Buddha from the Mystery of Dr Fu Manchu series; and The Final Problem from the Last Adventures of Sherlock Homes set on the cliffs of Cheddar Gorge.

With a live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.

Asphalt (1929 Directed by Joe May 90mins)

8 September 2010 The Picturehouse Bar

On our 10th Anniversary year we are proud to announce the return of the Bristol Silents club screening!

Please join us just before the film start time for an informal drink and then watch a rare, obscure or classic silent film.

Our first chosen film is the german silent classic ASPHALT. Asphalt is set in Berlin. A well-dressed woman steals a precious stone from a jewelery shop.

She tries to seduce the policeman who catches her, and he gradually succumbs to her charms.

Bristol Silents stalwart and supporter Horst Claus will briefly introduce the event.

Special thanks to James Harrison for organising this screening.


26 September 2010 Arnolfini

Only slightly less miraculous than the eventual rescue of Ernest Shackleton’s entire crew was the survival of incredible footage shot by Frank Hurley and later assembled into South, a gripping travelogue recently restored from surviving prints and original glass slides. The film is a fascinating record of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-16 Polar expedition.

On his return Shackleton’s lecture tour featured the film and he read extracts from his own diaries to the audience whilst the audience watched the film. Whilst not a re-creation of these shows exactly we have been working closely with Bristol Silents patron and actor Paul McGann to bring Shackleton’s own words and passion once more to accompany this extraordinary film live.

This screening is part of Bristol Silent’s ongoing 10th year anniversary celebrations. A unique cinematic experience not to be missed!

This restored print is accompanied by Stephen Horne’s multi-instrumental talents and Paul McGann reading extracts from Shackleton’s diaries.

Dir. Frank Hurley, Australia / UK, 1919, 1h 28m

The Mysterious Lady (1928) 96 Mins

13 October 2010 The Picture House

…1928 was key year in Garbo’s MGM career (1925 – 1941); within the course of those 12 months, she would star in three of the studio’s biggest productions and work with three of her best directors; The Divine Woman (directed by Victor Sjöström) which is sadly now lost, A Woman of Affairs (directed by Clarence Brown), and The Mysterious Lady (directed by Fred Niblo).

Out of the two which are intact, we have decided to screen Niblo’s The Mysterious Lady for the 2nd Bristol Silents Club Screening. Set in World War One, The Mysterious Lady tells the story of an attractive Russian spy (Garbo of course) who seduces an Austrian officer (Conrad Nagel) in order to get some important plans.

However, not everything goes according to plan and Garbo’s Russian spy falls in love with the Austrian officer, due to this, they are both placed in certain danger. When the film was released one of many tag-lines which followed the film was: ‘No man knew what she really was. And no man could resist her exotic beauty. A famous Russian spy, moving through the lives of men in a maze of intrigue, passion and love’. And as one critic said at the time ‘There are love scenes by the score!’; so how could we not disagree to screen this!

The film will be introduced by Aardman Animation’s very own film archivist Tom Vincent. Plus Bonus film: following the film there will be screening of a short cartoon a starring an animated Garbo!

The Phantom Carriage (1921)

Date: 27 October 2010 The Picture House

There are many classic Horror silent films which we could have chosen for this special Halloween Club Screening.
Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligarii, Der Golum are just a few which spring to mind (and over the years, Bristol Silents have screened all of these classic films).

However the club screenings give us a chance to see the less well known films from the silent era and not just the regular classics which are screened more often.

So for this years Halloween Club Screening we are happy to announce a rare screening of Victor Sjöström’s wonderful “Körkarlen” The Phantom Carriage (1921).

Dark, stylish and impressive throughout; Sjöström’s classic film is based based on the novel Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness! (Körkarlen; 1912), by Nobel-prize winning Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf and tells of the legend of the phantom carriage and its driver, Death. The film opens with David Holm (played by Sjöström himself) , a drunk who explains to his mates, that if you are the final person to die on the final minute, on the final night of the year, that unlucky fellow would have to take over as the coachman of the infamous ‘Phantom Carriage’ for an entire year. Unknown to David, he is the one to take over…

Classed as one of the major works of early Swedish Cinema, the film would go on to heavily influence Ingmar Bergman (no guessing which film I guess, seeing that this film involves Death).

This Halloween Club Screening will be introduced by BBC Bristol’s Film Critic Paul Cowgill.

Celebrating Louise Brooks (Diary of a Lost Girl PG)

29 October 2010 Arnolfini

10 years ago Arnolfini hosted Bristol Silent’s first event, a double bill of Louise Brooks films.

To mark this anniversary, Bristol Festival of Ideas in collaboration Arnolfini present an evening celebrating the life and work of this extraordinary silent screen actress. Brooks has become a genuine icon of cinema, her legacy shaped by her mesmerising work in a handful of European films made in the late twenties.

DIARY OF A LOST GIRL confirmed Pabst’s artistry as one of the great directors of the silent period and established Brooks as an “actress of brilliance, a luminescent personality and a beauty unparalleled in screen history.” (Kevin Brownlow). Brooks plays Thymian who, raped by her father’s assistant, gives birth to an illegitimate child. When she refuses to marry him she is forced to leave the baby and is sent to a strict reform school for wayward girls. Dir. GW Pasbt, Germany, 1929 (114mins)

This special event will be preceded by the illuminating documentary, Arena: Lousie Brooks (Dir. Leacock, UK, 1986) 55m
Directed by Richard Leacock, fascinating study aired shortly after Brooks death and features rare Interviews with Brooks, in which she talks of her days in
Paris and Berlin and her experiences of Hollywood, with extracts from her films.

Wings (1927)

6 November 2010 Watershed

To mark Armistice Day and as part of the celebrations to mark 100 years the Bristol Aviation Company Bristol’s Festival of Ideas, in partnership with Bristol Silents present this WW1 classic screen drama introduced by film historian and restorer Kevin Brownlow.

Presented in a restored 35mm print and with a specially commissioned epic synchronised orchestral score by Carl Davis. Clara Bow plays Mary, the girl next door who loves Jack and his home-made car. At training school, Jack fights with Dick, soon to be his closest comrade. They go to France. Mary has volunteered to serve at the front as an ambulance driver. The two boys are decorated and are given leave. At last – Paris!

Wellman hurls his camera around the vast battlefield with exhilarating abandon. Even by today’s standards, his setups are remarkable and his epic handling of the flight scenes is still overwhelming.

A true silent epic, the film deservedly won the first Academy Award for Outstanding Production.

The Live Cinema presentation of WINGS is by arrangement with Photoplay Productions and was originally produced by Kevin Brownlow and David Gill.

Slapstick Special Event (THE GOODIES 40th Anniversary)

7 November 2010 Watershed

Venue: Watershed Cinema, Bristol (Box Office 0117 927 5100)

For more than a decade The Goodies were a national comedy phenomenon and one of our most loved comedy teams.

The Goodies TV show attracted viewing figures almost unimaginable today (over 20million on their specials) and they became a household name and bone fide pop stars.

From 1970 until 1982 their anarchic visual humour and insightful scripts delighted audiences young and old and though the series was never repeated in the UK the shows have once again been a attracting new generations with the release of three fast selling DVD releases.

On the eve of their 40th Anniversary Tim, Bill and Graeme join Sir Christopher Frayling to discuss and celebrate their unique comic creations and to receive a special award for Excellence In Visual Comedy from Aardman Animations and Bristol’s Slapstick Festival.

Underworld (1927) (Free Bristol Silents Club Screening)

10 November 2010 The Picture House

There is something quite fantastic about Josef Von Sternberg’s ‘Underworld’ (1927). It almost seems that everything which can be found in the film, is perfect.

The way the film looks and breaths in front of you is wonderful. The film has an incredible atmosphere on the viewer, with great set pieces to tell the story. However, it doesn’t batter what makes this film great, as time has established it as one of the first great gangs…ter films ever produced in Hollywood.

‘Underworld’ tells the story of gangster Bull Weed (played by George Bandcroft) and his clashes not only with the local authorities, but also with the local hoods who continue to cause trouble for him; all at the same time he tries to control his jealousy over his moll, Feathers (Evelyn Brent) and her rising relationship with Rolls Royce Wensel an alcoholic lawyer (Clive Brook). Everything comes to a head with a fantastic finale.

Classed by its studio Paramount, as a disaster the film would become a major success for not only Paramount, but would pave the way for director Josef Von Sternberg has one of the great film directors in the early story of film.

It’s also worth noting that ‘Underworld’ was written by Ben Hecht who would go and win the first ever Academy Award for Best Screenwriter for the film in 1927. Hecht would later write some of the major Hollywood classics such as Howard Hawks’ ‘Scarface’ (1932) and ‘His Girl Friday’ (1940), John Ford’s ‘Stagecoach’ (1939) and Hitchcock’s ‘Spellbound’ (1945) and ‘Notorious’ (1946).

‘Underworld’ will be introduced by silent film enthusiast and regular Bristol Silents supporter and friend Mark Fuller.

“Underworld was the film that began the gangster cycle, and it remains the masterpiece of the genre… Von Sternberg handles the film with a controlled narrative style, enlivening sequences with sudden flashes of imagination.” Kevin Brownlow

Silent Sensations 1910 (with live piano accompaniment)

12 December 2010 Watershed

The year 1910 saw 300 titles being produced in Britain of which 84 survive.

This unique BFI programme shows the range of films on offer in the first purpose built cinemas, or in music halls.

The films are largely from Britain and France (one from Italy) and give a real sense of films that would have be seen in the newly opening cinemas. They include actual events such as the terrible floods in Paris and the activities of Suffragettes plus some music hall acts including the stunning acrobatics of the Bartels sisters and plus dramas and comedies.

There will be programme notes and an introduction to set the scene for what was happening in the world and in the film industry in 1910.

With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.


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