Tag Archives: Costas Fotopoulos

Competition: Win tickets to see The Phantom of the Opera at Hackney Picturehouse

The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera

Good news for the silent film hipsters of east London: the Hackney Attic goes from strength to strength as a silent film venue. The Filmphonics group regularly take over the top of the Hackney Picturehouse for an increasingly ambitious series of silent film screenings with live music.

The next date for your diary is a showing of one of our favourites: Lon Chaney in the gorgeously grotesque The Phantom of the Opera (1925). You owe it to yourself to see this classic on the big screen!

A mad, disfigured composer seeks love with a lovely young opera singer…. Far beneath the majesty and splendour of the Paris Opera House, hides the Phantom in a shadowy existence. Shamed by his physical appearance and feared by all, the love he holds for his beautiful protégée Christine Daaé is so strong that even her heart cannot resist.

And there’s more: this screening of The Phantom of the Opera will be accompanied live by the marvellous Costas Fotopoulos on piano.

Costas is based in London and works internationally as a concert and silent film pianist, and as a composer and arranger for film, the stage and the concert hall. He regularly provides live piano improvisations to silent films at BFI Southbank and he has also accompanied films at other major British venues such as the Barbican Centre and the Prince Charles Cinema, as well as in New York, Warsaw and Northern Italy.

The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera

The great news is that you could get your hands on a free pair of tickets to this screening. Get in! To win a pair of tickets to see The Phantom of the Opera at Hackney Attic, just send the answer to this question to silentlondontickets@gmail.com by noon on Wednesday 16 July 2014. The winner will be chosen at random from the correct entries.

  • Lon Chaney was known as the Man of a Thousand … what?

The Phantom of the Opera screens at 7.30pm on Sunday 20 July 2014 at Hackney Attic. To book tickets, please click here. To visit the Filmphonics Facebook page, click here.

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The Last Laugh at the Mimetic Festival, 16 July 2013

The Last Laugh (1924)
The Last Laugh (1924)

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.

Silent film pianist Costas Fotopoulos – video interview

Costas Fotopoulos is based in London and works internationally as a concert and silent film pianist, and as a composer and arranger for film, the stage and the concert hall. He regularly provides live improvisations to silent films at BFI Southbank and he has also accompanied films at other major British venues as well as in New York, Warsaw and Italy. I interviewed him after a screening of Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans in Winchmore Hill, north London, organised by Around the Corner Cinema. We also discussed his score for modern silent film The Projectionist.

Silent films at the Cheltenham Film Festival, 4-6 November 2011

Piccadilly (1929)
Piccadilly (1929)

The beautiful regency town of Cheltenham is home to a very impressive film festival and this year’s lineup is particularly exciting for lovers of silent cinema. Across the festival weekend in November there are no fewer than six silent events – all with live music, and incorporating fiction and non-fiction films. Some of these special events have already been seen in London – but by no means all of them. Let’s go straight into a list:

Continue reading Silent films at the Cheltenham Film Festival, 4-6 November 2011