Walthamstow wants a cinema. In fact, Walthamstow has a cinema, but it is in a terrible state of disrepair at the moment, and its owners want to use it as a church. So the campaign fights on, but meanwhile the cinephiles of E17 are starved for local entertainment. Which is where Screen 17, a local ‘microplex’ cinema comes in.
Based in a Regency villa in the heart of Walthamstow Village, Screen 17 is a new, but very welcome, addition to the local arts scene. They’ve been showing children’s films on Saturday mornings and movies for grownups on Thursday evenings for a few weeks now, but they wanted to offer something a little different – to give people a chance to try another flavour of cinema. So Screen 17 is showing a silent movie with live music in October, and the film they have chosen is the beautiful Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927).
I’m not exaggerating when I say that Sunrise, directed by FW Murnau, is one of the greatest films of all time, and a masterpiece of late silent cinema. The story concerns a pair of newlyweds from the country, and a vamp from the city who tries to come between them. It’s beautifully photographed, with stunning fluid camerawork, and touching lead performances from Janet Gaynor and George O’Brien. It’s by turns comic, romantic and as in this scene, thrillingly melodramatic:
I’m really excited about this. If you hadn’t guessed, I’m a proud Walthamstow resident, and it’s wonderful to see a silent film shown in my local area. The guys who run Screen 17 are also behind the popular Vintage Cabaraoke evening, so they know how to put on a great night’s entertainment too. There will be a live improvised piano accompaniment for the film, just like in the good old days, and DJ Roxy ‘Moonshine’ Robinson will be spinning some 78s as well. If you want to dress up in your best 20s gear for the occasion – go ahead!
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans screens at Screen 17 on 20 October 2011. Doors open at 7.30pm and the film begins at 8.30pm. There will be a licensed bar, hotdogs and popcorn. Over 18s only. Tickets cost £8 and are available on the door or on We Got Tickets. For more details, visit the Screen 17 website.