Here at Silent London we would like to wish all our readers a very happy Christmas and a prosperous new year. We hope your stockings are full of cinematic treats – and that your family indulge you when you want to press play on your Die Nibelungen DVD after lunch. We’d also like to take a moment to consider 2012, a truly landmark year for silent cinema.
The Artist, its retro charm, and its unstoppable award-gathering, dominated the first half of the year. Martin Scorsese’s adorable Hugo did almost as much to popularise the silent era – while Miguel Gomes brought a hint of Murnau to the arthouses with his Tabu. Pablo Berger’s sumptuous Blancanieves stunned the critics at festival after festival, too and with any luck will get a UK release next year. The fact that it has been nominated as Spain’s official entry for the foreign-language Oscar should surely help.
On the west coast of the States, Napoléon fever struck in spring, with popular screenings of Abel Gance’s epic, the first in that country for many years. Will we see the triptychs back in London in 2013? Maybe.
Meanwhile we were spoiled for choice for screenings in the UK – from a chucklesome Slapstick Festival in Bristol in January, the return of the Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema in Bo’ness in March, the 15th British Silent Film Festival in Cambridge in April, and a summer of silent Hitchcocks in London, culminating with the gala screening of The Manxman.
Perhaps that’s why this year’s end-of-year poll has been the biggest yet – we’ll be announcing the winner on Friday.
It’s been a year of growth for this site all round: we introduced a new regular columnist when Ayse Behçet began guiding us around Chaplin’s London in March. She’s now got her own site, so don’t forget to bookmark Charlie’s London. We’ve have more reviews than ever before, by a bigger team of writers, and we started podcasting too. Also 2012 marked my first (hopefully of many) trip to the Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone – and my foolhardy attempt to blog it all, day by day.
The Silent London Calendar continues to be the raison d’etre of the site, though, so check regularly for new events. Early in 2012 we’ve got It at the Phoenix Cinema, introduced by Kevin Brownlow, and The Life Story of David Lloyd George, introduced by Ian Christie, to look forward to. A little bird tells me there will be news about the 2013 British Silent Film Festival to share soon, as well. And did I forget to mention the theatrical release of Anthony Asquith’s Underground?
Have a fabulous festive season everyone – and enjoy the silents.