Silent films at the Glasgow Film Festival

Faust (Murnau, 1926)
Faust (Murnau, 1926)

The schedule for the Glasgow Film Festival has just been released and as expected there are plenty of great films old and new being screened as part of the event next month. Of special interest to this blog is the Music and Film Festival strand, which comprises documentaries about music and musicians as well as films shown with live scores. Not all of the films with live musical accompaniment are silents, but of course some are – and they look very exciting.

Crank up the volume to eleven and prepare to immerse yourself in a celebration of the special relationship between music and film. Glasgow Music and Film Festival is lovingly co-curated by film buffs from Glasgow Film Festival and music geeks from The Arches. Their carefully selected programme of extraordinary live events, documentaries and feature films balances reverent celebration of the past with a keen enthusiasm for future innovations in music, sound and moving image. Their must-see choices range from the effortlessly entertaining to the positively inspirational and the downright weird.

Sounds good, right? Minimal techno DJ Alex Smoke has collaborated with a string quintet from the Scottish Ensemble to create a soundtrack for FW Murnau’s Faust (1926), a classic, beautifully shot film from the director of Sunrise. Minima will be performing their score for the Soviet sci-fi movie Aelita: Queen of Mars (1924) just a few days before they head down to London to do the same show at the Prince Charles Cinema. There’ll be another chance to see French duo Zombie Zombie soundtrack Battleship Potemkin (1925) – as seen at the Branchage festival and the BFI Southbank last year. If you missed it in 2010, this is a great opportunity to catch a brilliant show.

And there’s more. Guitarist Gary Lucas will be performing his solo score for Dracula (Tod Browning, 1931), which is not a silent film, quite, but contains little music and only a few lines of dialogue. Finally, composer Michael Nyman, who wrote a score for Dziga Vertov’s Man With a Movie Camera (1929) presents Nyman With a Movie Camera, his shot-for-shot reconstruction of the Soviet documentary.

  • Faust with Alex Smoke, 18 February, 6.30pm
  • Dracula with Gary Lucas, 21 February, 8pm (updated)
  • Nyman With a Movie Camera, 21 February, 4pm
  • Aelita: Queen of Mars with Minima, 21 February, 8.45pm
  • Battleship Potemkin with Zombie Zombie, 23 February, 7.30pm

For the full listings of the Glasgow Film Festival, and to buy tickets for any of these screenings, check out the website here.

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