Tag Archives: East End Film Festival

Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror at the East End film festival, 7 July 2012

Nosferatu (1922)
Nosferatu (1922)

The outdoor silent film screenings at the East End film festival are always a highlight of the year. Held in the centre of Spitalfields market, the screenings are accompanied by live music from Minima – guaranteed to send a shiver down the spine. But this year Minima, and the festival, have come up with something that promises to be extra-special.

This summer’s screening is of Nosferatu, the landmark vampire horror by FW Murnau, which is 90 years old this year. It’s a movie Minima have accompanied many times before, but not like this:

East End Film Festival presents the World Premiere of A Symphony of Horror, a unique collaboration between soundscapers Minima, Paul Ayres’ Queldryk Choral Ensemble and Hackney-based spatial artist Lucy Jones to create a re-imagined film score and performance on the 90th anniversary of the classic 1922 film.

Enter the fully immersive eerie and unsettling world of Nosferatu where the very walls of Spitalfields Market will be alive with creeping shadows and silhouettes, and reverberating with the soaring tones of the Queldryk Choral Ensemble, featuring 60 choristers, accompanied by the festival’s favourite soundtrackers, Minima.

Silent film screenings with live music have always spearheaded the immersive, live cinema trend, but this event goes a step further, combining an atmospheric location with projections and a spooky soundtrack turned up to eleven.

Admission is free, and the film won’t start until the sun goes down, but you’ll want turn up early to get a good seat and bring your own cushions/blankets/cagoules. For more information, visit the East End film festival website.

For more on Nosferatu, check out Sight & Sound contributing editor Mark Sinker discussing the film on the first Silent London podcast.

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Manasse with Minima at the East End Film Festival, 30 April 2011

Minima (from Minimamusic.co.uk)
Minima (from Minimamusic.co.uk)

At last year’s East End Film Festival, Minima rocked up at Spitalfields Market for an outdoor screening of Hitchcock’s The Lodger. To say that you enjoyed that evening would be an understatement – it was a great night and the film was an inspired choice, with a plot coloured by the East End’s most notorious villain, Jack the Ripper.

This year, the East End Film Festival has booked Minima for another silent screening, and it’s one that reflects a happier aspect of the local area. The East End of London has long been home to a strong Jewish community, and the festival is celebrating this with a Romanian film, Manasse (1925).

This is not just a fresh addition to Minima’s repertoire, but a UK premiere! I was completely unfamiliar with it before today, but I can tell you that it is directed by Jean Mihail, and based on a play from the turn of the century, which was written by Roman Ronetti on the theme of religious intolerance. It’s a story about a romance between a Christian man and a Jewish woman, the niece of the title character Manasse Cohen, a Bucharest banker (played by the famous Romanian actor Romald Bulfinschi). The play was hugely controversial and was not performed in Romania for many years. So one would imagine that this film, made a quarter of a century later when the Yiddish cinema scene was flourishing, would have been highly anticipated. I’m definitely intrigued.

The festival programme has this to say:

Manasse is a highly dramatic take on the problems inherent in Romanian society at that time. Mihail was one of Romania’s most important early directors, and he explores and debates the most sensitive of issues with sincerity, visual panache and unflinching dramatic power.

As with previous years, the film will be screened in Spitalfields market, and it’s scheduled for Saturday 30 April 2011 at 8pm. Tickets for the East End Film Festival are available as of this morning, but this screening is free. Free. So fill your boots, people.