Tag Archives: Southbank Centre

Competition: win tickets to see Tanya Tagaq in concert with Nanook of the North at the Southbank Centre

Nanook of the North (1922)
Nanook of the North (1922)

One of the most enduring, and controversial, of silent films is to screen at the Southbank Centre in April, with a very special soundtrack. Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North presented what seemed to audiences in 1922 to be an authentic “Story Of Life and Love In the Actual Arctic” – and they flocked to cinemas to see it. Nowadays we know that several of the scenes were staged, and that Nanook’s igloo was a fake – but the film remains a favourite. A docudrama rather than a documentary, made before the boundaries before those two genres were made distinct, Nanook of the North is a trailblazing film and one that is loved almost as much for the idiosyncrasies of its production as for the events on screen.

What’s particularly special about this screening is the music will be provided by a woman from the Canadian Arctic – not so far from the territory shown on screen in Nanook. Tanya Tagaq is an award-winning throat singer, who will accompany the film solo. Throat singing is traditional to the Inuit region but is usually performed by women in duets – a sort of sing-off to see which vocalist can last longest. You might remember the throat singing score for Pudovkin’s Storm Over Asia that was performed by Yat-Kha at the BFI Southbank a few years back.

Inuit throat singer, Tanya Tagaq, presents to UK audiences for the first time her live accompaniment to Robert J Flaherty’s classic 1922 silent docu-drama – Nanook of the North. To celebrate this rare screening, we are offering you the chance to win two tickets to see the film and Tanya Tagaq’s mesmerising accompaniment at Southbank Centre on Friday 4 April. To be in with the chance of winning, all you need to do is email …

To win a pair of tickets to see Nanook of the North with Tanya Tagaq at the Southbank Centre, email the answer to this simple question to silentlondontickets@gmail.com with Nanook in the subject header by noon on Friday 28 March 2014.

  • Nanook was not really called Nanook. What was his real name?

Good luck!


Terms and Conditions
– To enter the competition entrants must email…
– The competition closes at 12.30pm on 28/03/14 and entries sent after that time will not be considered.
– The prize will be awarded to 1 winner and will consist of 2 tickets to see Tanya Tagaq in concert with Nanook of the NorthThe winner will be picked at random and notified shortly afterwards.
– The prize are as stated in the competition text, are not transferable to another individual and no cash or other alternatives will be offered.
– Prizes are subject to availability and the prize suppliers’ terms and conditions.

Salomé (1923) at the Purcell Room, 9 February 2012

Salomé (1923)
Alla Nazimova in Salomé (1923)

A rare screening of a much-gossiped-about silent film, made by one of Hollywood’s most controversial stars, presented in a unique way. Well, that tickles our fancy just fine.

Alla Nazimova was born in what is now Ukraine in 1879. She made her stage debut in Moscow as a teenager and swiftly became a big star. She then moved to New York to work on Broadway, winning plaudits with roles in plays by Chekhov and Ibsen and made her first movie, War Brides, in 1916.

Nazimova is best remembered for her colourful life in Hollywood: her several affairs with women, the rumoured wild parties at her mansion and her position of influence in the industry, helping many a young actress to get a start, including Anna May Wong, Patsy Ruth Miller, Natacha Rambova and Jean Acker. The last two were married to Rudolph Valentino, but were also romantically linked to Nazimova.

Her most famous film, Salomé, was also fodder for the rumour-mill. An adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s play, it was said that the cast comprised only gay and bisexual actors, in homage to the author. It’s impossible to say whether this was really true, but the idea has certainly stuck. Nazimova takes the title role, Charles Bryant directs and the whole thing is just over an hour of extravagant Aubrey Beardsley-inspired design, sexy costumes and decadence. Salomé slumped at the box office, bankrupting Nazimova’s production company, but continues to intrigue audiences, becoming something of an art nouveau cult sensation.

This February, Salomé will be screened at the Purcell Room in the Southbank Centre, with live music composed by Charlie Barber, which is inspired by ” the evocative sounds and intricate rhythms of traditional Arabic ensembles”. Instead of sitting in front of the screen, the musicians will perform on two towers on either side of it, which sounds like a fantastic idea.

This clip shows the famous “Dance of the seven veils” from Salomé, with a taster of Charlie Barber’s score:

Salomé screens at the Purcell Room, Southbank Centre on Thursday 9 February 2012 at 7.45pm. Tickets begin at £12 and are available here.

• We’ll see more of Nazimova when the silent Rudolph Valentino biopic Silent Life is released later this year. Nazimova is played by Galina Jovovich.

Arun Ghosh Cine-Concert: The Adventures of Prince Achmed at the Purcell Room 23 April 2011

When is a silent film screening not a silent film screening? When it’s a cine-concert perhaps…

Clarinettist Arun Ghosh‘s event at the Southbank Centre in April is all about fusion. Playing as part of the Alchemy Festival, which celebrates the convergence of UK and Indian South Asian culture, the Cine-Concert also merges film and music in an unusual way. Ghosh and his musicians will perform his score to Lotte Reiniger’s pioneering animation The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) – and as they play, their silhouettes will be projected on to the screen, mingling with Reiniger’s animated cut-outs. What’s more, the soundtrack itself takes inspiration from a diverse range of musical and cinematic references:

Ghosh’s revitalised score – written for clarinet, bass clarinet, double bass, vibraphone, cello and percussion – draws upon the cinematic orchestration styles of retro 70s blaxploitation, Bollywood melodrama, classic westerns, and the infamous Hammer horror films, with elements of hip-hop, jazz and traditional Middle Eastern sounds.

It might not be a traditional silent film screening, but it promises to be a fascinating night out. After the film-performance, there will be further live performances in the Front Room at the Queen Elizabeth Hall – these too will have been curated by Ghosh.

Arun Ghosh Cine-Concert: The Adventures of Prince Achmed plays at the Purcell Room on Saturday 23 April 2011. Ticket prices £13 or less for concessions and they are available here.

The Passion of Joan of Arc, Queen Elizabeth Hall, 28 April 2011

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

I hoped this might happen: a standalone performance of Adrian Utley and Will Gregory’s score for Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), as a warmup to the screening at the I’ll Be Your Mirror Festival in July. It’s a staggeringly powerful film, with an unforgettable performance by Falconetti in the title role. If you’ve never seen it, I urge you to do so.

This score, which involves rock guitars, a choir and an orchestra, promises to be of a suitably epic scale and has been reviewed well. It was commissioned by Colston Hall in Bristol and premiered there last May. This, its first London performance, is part of the Ether Festival, a celebration of “innovation, art, technology and cross-arts experimentation”. You might also be interested in another event in the festival: a live soundtrack by the Philharmonia Orchestra and Philharmonia Voices to Kubrick’s 2011: A Space Odyssey in the Royal Festival Hall.

The Passion of Joan of Arc screens at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank on 28 April 2011 at 7.30pm. Tickets are available here. You can watch a video about the development of the score here.