A short note to let you know that I am introducing a screening of Murnau’s heartbreakingly brilliant The Last Laugh (1924) as part of the Mimetic Festival on 16 July 2013. More to the point, the extremely talented Costas Fotopoulos will be accompanying the film live on piano – so don’t miss it.
The Mimetic Festival is a celebration of the power of mime across film, theatre, cabaret, comedy and film. This particular screening is presented by the lovely people at Around the Corner Cinema, who recently showed Sunrise in Winchmore Hill, north London. We chose this film for the festival because it doesn’t rely on intertitles to tell its story. Instead, the audience is swept along by Murnau’s floating camera movements and Emil Jannings’ fluid, physical performance in the lead role.
The Last Laugh is a mesmerising film, a work of expressionist genius, which applies the visual genius of Ufa’s greatest talents to the seemingly dour and mundane tale of a hotel doorman who loses his position, and his self-respect, when he is demoted to a toilet attendant. The result is unexpectedly breathtaking – and without giving anything away, you won’t have seen an ending like this before.
CA Lejeune, the legendary film critic of the Observer newspaper, had this to say about it:
Probably the least sensational and certainly the most important of Murnau’s films. It gave the camera a new dominion, a new freedom…It influenced the future of motion picture photography…all over the world, and without suggesting any revolution in method, without storming critical opinion as Caligari had done, it turned technical attention towards experiment, and stimulated…a new kind of camera-thinking with a definite narrative end.
The Last Laugh will also screen with The Projectionist, Jamie Thraves’s short film about the mystery of The Mountain Eagle, which Fotopoulos wrote the score for.
The Last Laugh and The Projectionist screen at Enfield Grammar School Hall, EN2 on Tuesday 16 July, 2013. Doors open at 6.45pm and the film will begin at 7.30pm. There will be a licensed bar. Snacks, including Sardinian artisan antipasti boxes, will be on sale too. Tickets cost £6.50 or £5.50 for concessions. To read more, and to book tickets, click here.