Pandora’s Box at BFI Southbank, 4 & 5 September 2011

Louise Brooks Pandora's Box (1929)
Louise Brooks in Pandora's Box (1929)

The Passport to Cinema strand returns to BFI Southbank in September and October, under the banner of Making the Modern. And the strand begins with a timeless silent cinema favourite, Pandora’s Box, starring Louise Brooks.

So, Pandora’s Box is the oldest film in the season, but its nonchalant treatment of sexuality, violent plot and chic Berlin architecture make it about as modern as modern can get. Perhaps that is why the film’s popularity has grown over the decades, from a disappointing start at the box office, to universal acclaim as a cool classic.

Judging by the running time given in the BFI programme, this might not be the new restoration of the film shown at the London Film Festival, but sex appeal like this really deserves to be seen on the big screen, nonetheless. So get your dancing shoes on, folks.

Pandora’s Box screens in NFT1 on Sunday 4 September at 3.20pm and in NFT2 on Monday 5 September at 6.10pm, with an introduction by Dr Nathalie Morris of the BFI and the Women and Silent British Cinema project. There will be live piano accompaniment at both screenings (by John Sweeney on the Sunday and Stephen Horne on the Monday), and tickets will be on sale in August.

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