The Tenement Ghost (2010)

The Tenement Ghost
Barry Ward and Gary Lawson in The Tenement Ghost

Yes, this film is dated 2010. Silent film-making didn’t keel over and die when Al Jolson waved his jazz hands in 1927, though we admit modern silent films are rare beasts. The Tenement Ghost is unusual on two counts – it’s silent, and it is being distributed online.

The Tenement Ghost was written and directed by Thomas Cochrane for the Twisty-Headed Man Company and features the story of a married couple in Glasgow in 1919. The idea seems to be that the issues the newlyweds face, of domestic violence and alcoholism, may be the stuff of Edwardian melodrama, but they are still sadly prevalent today. The film-makers put it this way:

Combining eternal themes with exquisite period detail, The Tenement Ghost successfully recreates the flickering ambience of a movie as it would have been filmed in a world still licking its wounds after the great conflict of World War I.

The soundtrack is definitely not from 1919 – it’s an edgy electronic score by experimental duo Skirlin Burster, which emphasises the film’s tragic subject matter. This crisp soundtrack stands in contrast to the film’s soft, scratched, sepia cinematography. As the director Thomas Cochrane says:

I love silent films. I love the look of them, the feel, the atmosphere. And in producing one I thought the effect would be… the first effect that came to mind was charming – it would be something pleasant to look at.  You’d get a warmth from it.

You can read an interview with the director here and you can watch a trailer for The Tenement Ghost, buy a DVD or download it here.

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