Book now for the 20th British Silent Film Festival

Consider this more of a signpost than a blogpost. The 20th British Silent Film Festival is just around the corner, next month in Leicester! That is to say 11-15 September at the Phoenix Cinema and Art Centre and the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery.

If you haven’t booked yet, you should know that all the details you need to make that happen, including the timetable of screenings, is on the website now. Specifically:

  • Here is the timetable of screenings
  • Here’s how to book. Passes for one day or the entire festival can be bought, on the phone only, from the Phoenix box office. Be aware that these passes include screenings at all venues. The prices are the same as they were two years ago, which is a WIN.

As usual, there are plenty of rarely screened British silents on the schedule, including Maurice Elvey’s Comradeship (1919), with an introduction by Lucie Dutton, and Bryony Dixon will present a selection wonderful large-gauge Victorian films.

DER KAMPF UMS MATTERHORN (La grande conquista/The Fight for the Matterhorn) (DE 1928) di Mario Bonnard, Nunzio Malasomma Credits: Coll. Marcello Seregni
DER KAMPF UMS MATTERHORN (La grande conquista/The Fight for the Matterhorn) (DE 1928) di Mario Bonnard, Nunzio Malasomma Credits: Coll. Marcello Seregni

There’s also a focus on Weimar cinema, from comic favourites such as The Oyster Princess (1919), which will be introduced by Margaret Deriaz to lesser-seen films including The Battle for the Matterhorn (1928), which will be introduced by Miranda Gower-Qian. The schedule also include Anglo-German co-productions such as The Alley Cat (1929) and The Runaway Princess (1928).

The Alley Cat (1929)
The Alley Cat (1929)

In sympathy with the Weimar focus, the festival will also look at the birth of horror. The opening-night screening at the art gallery will be the high expressionist classic From Morn to Midnight (1920), and elsewhere you can see gems such René Clair’s first feature film, The Phantom of the Moulin Rouge (1925).

Von Morgens bis Mitternachts (From Morn until Midnight, 1920)
Von Morgens bis Mitternachts (From Morn until Midnight, 1920)

The musicians for this year’s festival should all be familiar to you, and it’s quite a lineup: Neil Brand, Lillian Henley, Stephen Horne and Elizabeth-Jane Baldry!

The festival will be returning to early sound films, in all their variety, and there will be some very British areas of focus too, with a presentation by Ray and Sylvia Spare on Alf Collins, and another by Sue Porter on the Leicester Film Society in the 1930s.

On Sunday morning, there will even be a surprise movie, introduced by Geoff Brown. So make sure you wake up early for that one. According to the festival organisers: “You won’t be disappointed by taking a punt on this surprise film with a stellar cast!”

What can I say? See you in Leicester!

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Book now for the 20th British Silent Film Festival”

  1. This should be a wonderful film festival, I wish I could be there! One of the films that stands out immediately to me: “The Runaway Princess”, directed by Anthony Asquith. I’ve got the three BFI releases of his (“Shooting Stars”, “Underground”, and “A Cottage on Dartmoor”), but that’s his only silent movie that’s not on home video. Have you seen it? Judging by his other silents, I hope it will get a DVD/Blu-ray release someday.

  2. Thanks for your response and the link! I didn’t see much on this film in previous Google searches, so it was interesting to get your take on it. I’d like to see it, but at least the others are around in excellent home video editions.

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