Battleship Potemkin (Dir. Sergei Eisenstein, 1925) (Screening format – DCP, 75mins) Considered one of the most important films in the history of silent pictures, as well as possibly Eisenstein’s greatest work, Battleship Potemkin brought Eisenstein’s theories of cinema art to the world in a powerful showcase; his emphasis on montage, his stress of intellectual contact, and his treatment of the mass instead of the individual as the protagonist. The film tells the story of the mutiny on the Russian ship Prince Potemkin during the 1905 uprising.Their mutiny was short-lived, however, as during their attempts to get the population of Odessa to join the uprising, soldiers arrived and laid waste to the insurgents. Battleship Potemkin is a work of extraordinary pictorial beauty and great elegance of form. It is symmetrically broken into five movements or acts. In the first of these, “Men and Maggots,” the flagrant mistreatment of the sailors at the hands of their officers is demonstrated, while the second, “Drama on the Quarterdeck,” presents the actual mutiny and the ship’s arrival in Odessa. “Appeal from the Dead” establishes the solidarity of the citizens of Odessa with the mutineers. It is the fourth sequence, “The Odessa Steps,” which depicts the massacre of the citizens, that thrust Eisenstein and his film into the historical eminence that both occupy today. It is unquestionably the most famous sequence of its kind in film history, and Eisenstein displays his legendary ability to convey large-scale action scenes. The shot of the baby carriage tumbling down the long staircase has been re-created in many films. The sequence’s power is such that the film’s conclusion, “Meeting the Squadron,” in which the Potemkin in a show of brotherhood is allowed to pass through the squadron unharmed, is anticlimactic. Find out more at classicartfilms.com. With recorded soundtrack. Irish Film Institute, Dublin Link
City Lights (Dir. Charlie Chaplin, US, 1931) (Screening format – DCP, 84mins) Subtitled ‘A Comedy in Pantomime’, City Lights is viewed by many as Chaplin’s greatest film – a ‘silent film’ released three years into the talkie era. The melodramatic film, a combination of pathos, slapstick and comedy, was a tribute to the art of body language and pantomime – a lone hold-out against the assault of talking film. The writer-director-star achieved new levels of grace, in both physical comedy and dramatic poignancy, with this silent tale of a lovable vagrant falling for a young blind woman who sells flowers on the street (a magical Virginia Cherrill) and mistakes him for a millionaire. Though this Depression-era smash was made after the advent of sound, Chaplin remained steadfast in his love for the expressive beauty of the pre-talkie form. The result was the epitome of his art and the crowning achievement of silent comedy. Find out more at rogerebert.com. With recorded soundtrack. Irish Film Institute, Dublin Link
NB. Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure that the information contained in these listings is accurate, silentfilmcalendar.org can take no responsibility for any errors or inaccuracies. You are strongly advised to confirm with the venue that the event remains as detailed, particularly if traveling any distance to attend.