Are you making New Year’s resolutions this year? I am a big fan of them – I made one last year, and although it wasn’t easy I definitely followed through on it (BTW did I mention that I am freelance now? Commission me!). The best are those that combine self-improvement with a little pleasure and entertainment (in fond remembrance of the Great Theatre Binge of Early 2012). Here’s one for you – how about you go to see more silent movies in 2017?
Reckon you already clock up quite a few silent screenings? Hmmm. How about something a little different?
For example, there’s a silent film screening with a twist at the ICA in January. You should come along! The event is part of the London Short Film Festival and takes place on 10 January. The screening takes its title from a Victor Hugo quote, “What matters deafness of the ear when the mind hears?”, and will explore the relationship between silent cinema and hearing impairment. To that end, all the films screened will play without musical accompaniment, and the programme is “designed to be accessible to people with hearing impairments as well as hearing audiences, creating a shared and uniquely immersive experience of silent film”.
Modern silent films. They’re the hottest thing since 3D, but far more popular in this neck of the woods. One film we’ve had our eye on for a while is the fantasy short Dogged (2011), written and directed by Jo Shaw and starring Lucy Goldie in all nine roles. The sinister premise of the film is summarised thus on IMDB: “In a world where bogeymen roam freely, devouring people randomly and the only creatures they fear are dogs, old dog does her best to defend the family home.” I think this dog is a very different breed to Uggie.
Dogged was described as “intriguing and insightful” by the judges at the Aesthetica film festival in York, who awarded it the prize for Best Experimental Film (read more here), but now, happily, you have the chance to see it in London and make your own mind up. Dogged is playing as part of the Making Tracks night programmed by Whirlygig Cinema at the London Short Film Festival. This event is especially notable because all the soundtracks for the short films being screened will be played live, by The Cabinet of Living Cinema. It’s a treatment that should particularly suit Shaw’s spooky silent film.
Want to know more about Dogged? There’s a trailer, which you can see on the IMDB page here and a regularly updated Facebook page.
Making Tracks is at Rich Mix, Bethnal Green on 14 January at 7.30pm. Tickets are £8 on the door or book them in advance for £6 at the Rich Mix website.