Well, pre-cinema really.
Tonight, on BBC1 at 10.35pm, The Weird Adventures of Eadweard Muybridge looks at the “Victorian enigma” who took those famous photographs of running horses, gymnasts and elephants and then started projecting his animations of said photographs on a big screen, thanks to his amazing zoopraxiscope. The documentary is presented by Alan Yentob as part of the Imagine… strand.
Need another reason to watch? Andy Serkis plays Muybridge himself.
This is a good month for silent film at BFI Southbank. You can still catch the “new” Metropolis, just about, and the BFI has a full programme as part of the Fashion in Film festival, but there’s plenty more besides:
There are a couple of cartoons from the silent era in Cartoon Classics and Animated Oddities 2, 15 December.
The 1910 Show, curated by Bryony Dixon and accompanied on piano by Stephen Horne, is on Monday 13 December.
One of Fashion in Film’s six kinoscopes will be installed in the foyer until 14 December. Also during the first half of the month, you can watch, deep breath, The Red Lantern (1919), Male and Female (1919), The Affairs of Anatol (1921), Salome (1923), La Revue des Revues (1927), The Island of Love (1928), Moulin Rouge (1928) and Secrets of the East – all of which feature fabulous costumes and most of which are screened on two separate dates.
Link: Birds Eye View returns in March 2011
A tantalising announcement from the Birds Eye View film festival – the dates for 2011 are 8-17 March and we are promised: “archive silent films with specially commissioned live scores”. These will include, in the “Bloody Women: From Gothic To Horror” strand, The Wind, starring Lillian Gish.
This is a real treat in the new year. The Philharmonia orchestra is performing a live score for Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush at the Royal Festival Hall on Monday 3 January 2011.
The score for this special performance (and screening!) has been ‘reconstructed’ with reference to Chaplin’s notes for his Oscar-nominated score for the 1942 sound version. It is the work of Carl Davis, who will also conduct.
If this is not a landmark date in the silent film calendar … I’ll eat my old boots.
Featuring Chaplin in his quintessential Little Tramp role, the film was described by The New York Times upon its 1925 release as ‘a comedy with streaks of poetry, pathos, tenderness, linked with brusqueness and boisterousness… the outstanding gem of all Chaplin’s pictures’.
Link: Free silent films at the Phoenix today
You can’t get a better bargain than this: a free programme of early British shorts at the Phoenix cinema in East Finchley at 2pm today.
This is from the Phoenix website: “A premier screening fusing work by Barnet’s first filmmakers, Robert Paul and Birt Acres, with brand new soundtracks composed by members of Barnet Council’s Rithmik Youth Music Studio and live musical accompaniment from world-renowned pianist Stephen Horne.”
Call the box office on 020 8444 6789.
There are still tickets available to see the fully restored, 25-minute longer version of Fritz Lang’s majestic Metropolis at BFI Southbank on Saturday, Sunday and Thursday. It’s showing on the big screen tonight!
Link: 4-5 December 2010, the Barbican
The Barbican’s amazing silent film and live music schedule continues with the 3rd Fashion in Film festival. They say:
Exploring costume as a form of cinematic spectacle, these sumptuous and rarely screened European films of the silent era comprise a captivating conclusion to our autumn/winter silent series
The weekend features La Princesse Mandane, accompanied by Stephen Horne, Red Heels, accompanied by Jane Gardner and The Golden Butterfly, with John Sweeney, plus a programme of early shorts on Saturday afternoon.
Looking for silent film screenings in London? Watch this space.