May

 

 

 

 

 


 

2 May

Sunrise; A Song of Two Humans (Dir. F W Murnau, US, 1927) (Screening format – not known, 94mins) F W Murnau’s debut American film, made at the technical zenith of the silent era  but already heralding the arrival of the talkies being one of the first silents made with synchronized musical score and sound effects soundtrack.  The simple story of a husband’s betrayal of his wife with a treacherous city girl, Sunrise moves from a fairytale-like depiction of rural life to a dynamic portrait of the bustling modern American city. Explored in elaborate tracking shots by Charles Rocher and Karl Struss’s pioneering camerawork, the city set was one of the most costly yet produced.  The result was a commercial flop, though the achievement did not go unheralded: Sunrise was awarded a special Oscar for unique and artistic production at the first ever Academy Awards and Janet Gaynor won the first Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.  The film’s legacy has endured, and it is now widely considered a masterpiece with many calling it the greatest film of the silent era. Find out more at theguardian.com With live organ accompaniment by David Bednall.  Auditorium, Victoria Rooms, University of Bristol Link

Easy Street  (Dir, Charles Chaplin, US, 1917) + Liberty (Dir. Leo McCarey, US, 1929) + Big Business (Dir. James W Horne/Leo McCarey, US, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 19/20/19 mins)  . For Easy Street, his ninth film for Mutual and the most famous of the twelve he was contracted to make, Chaplin ordered the first of the T-shaped street sets to be built that he would consistently utilize to provide a perfect backdrop to his comedy. The look and feel of Easy Street evokes the South London of his childhood (the name “Easy Street” suggests “East Street,” the street possibly of Chaplin’s early life). Poverty, starvation, drug addiction, and urban violence—subjects that foreshadow the social concerns in his later films—are interwoven in “an exquisite short comedy” wrote critic Walter Kerr, “humor encapsulated in the regular rhythms of light verse.” . In the film, Charlie is a down-and-out derelict, sleeping at the steps of the religious mission .  He is entranced by the beautiful mission worker and organist, Edna Purviance.  Passing a police recruiting notice he decides to join but his ‘beat’ is Easy Street, terrorised by giant bully Eric Campbell!   Upon its release, Easy Street was hailed as a watershed moment in Chaplin’s career.Find out more at silentsaregolden.com.    Liberty sees Laurel and Hardy making a successful prison break but mixed up trousers and an escaped crab somehow leads them to the top a partially completed skyscraper!  Find out more at laurel-and-hardy.com   Big Business sees Ollie and Stanley as two Christmas tree salesmen (in February!) who get into one of their usual mutual destruction fights with a homeowner. Presented by ‘Down the Shaft Film Club’. With live piano accompaniment by MegMorley. Brunel’s Thames Tunnel at the Brunel Museum, Rotherhithe, London Link

3 May

The Silent Pianist Speaks Neil Brand, the ‘doyen of silent film pianists’ (Radio 4) presents this unique and memorable show. Paying tribute to the great filmmakers of the Silent Era and the magic of the accompanists who breathed life and sound into their work, Neil uses clips from some of the greatest moments in silent cinema to illustrate his 25 years long career and the special place of music with silent film. The Brunton, Musselburgh Link

Nosferatu (Dir. F W Murnau, 1922) (Screening format – DCP, 95mins) A German Expressionist horror masterpiece starring Max Shreck as the vampire Count Orlok.  The film was an un-authorised adaption of Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ with names and other details changed because the studio could not obtain the rights to the novel.  Stoker’s heirs sued over the adaption and a court ruling ordered that all copies of the film be destroyed.  However, a few prints survived and the film came to be regarded as an inspirational masterwork of the cinema. In the film, Count Orlok travels across Europe leaving a trail of death in his wake.  Brilliantly eerie, with imaginative touches which later adaptions never achieved.  Find out more at wikipedia.org . Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With live piano accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London Link

Heaven On Earth (Dir. Reinhold Schünzel/Alfred Schirokauer, Ger, 1927) (Screening format – 35mm, 101mins) A  hapless politician (comic genius Reinhold Schünzel) leads a double life – publicly attacking the depravity of Berlin nightlife while secretly running ‘Heaven on Earth’, a notorious nightclub. This delicious distillation of the contemporary debate around moral degeneracy features raunchy chorus girls, a black jazz band, and a cross-dressing scene that anticipates Some Like It Hot by several decades. Find out more at letterboxd.com.    Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With live musical accompaniment from musician and composer Helen Noir.  BFI Southbank, London Link

4 May

The Idea (aka L’idee) (Dir. Berthold Bartosch, Ger, 1932) (Screening format – not known, 25mins) Experience the magic of the first animated film to deal with big philosophical ideas with a live score accompaniment. Berthold Bartosch’s dream-like allegorical film is a blend of metaphor, fable, and fantasy dealing with a conservative political order’s fight against the birth of a new idea. Based on a wordless novel by the preeminent woodcut artist Frans Masereel, a close friend of the Dadaist George Grosz, “The Idea” takes the form of a naked muse that runs amok, creating mayhem and disorder wherever she lingers in her furious foray through a world of men. Bartosch spent two years animating Masereel’s story of unbridled libertarian feminism in a series of 45,000 handcrafted frames, using jointed cardboard characters and photographing them though moving panes of glass, employing ingenious and often original effects to create the first serious, poetic and tragic work in animation.  Find out more at wikipedia.org With live musical accompaniment from Lydia Kavina (Theremin) and Thomas Ang (Piano).  Brompton Cemetery Chaple, London SW10 Link

The General  (Dir. Buster Keaton/Clyde Bruckman, 1926)  (Screening format – not known, 75mins)  Widely considered one of the greatest films ever made and one of the most revered comedies of the silent era, Buster Keaton’s effortless masterpiece sees hapless Southern railroad engineer Johnny Gray (Keaton) facing off against Union soldiers during the American Civil War. When Johnny’s fiancée, Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack), is accidentally taken away while on a train stolen by Northern forces, Gray pursues the soldiers, using various modes of transportation in comic action scenes that highlight Keaton’s boundless, innovative wit and joyful, lighthearted dexterity, to reclaim the train and thereby save the South. Find out more at  busterkeaton.com .  With live piano accompaniment from Jonny Best.  Arts and Community Centre, Leyburn, West Yorks. Link

Opium (Dir. Robert Reinert, Ger, 1919) (Screening format – DCP, 91mins) This sensational silent drama, made during the early censorship-free period, warns against the perils of drug addiction and sexual debauchery. Now newly restored in gorgeous colour, it stars Werner Krauss (pre-Caligari) as a Chinese opium dealer and Conrad Veidt as a love-crazed English doctor. Its exotic scenery and brazenly erotic opium dream sequences were hailed as a triumph of the cinematic medium. Find out more at  berlinale.des.  Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With live piano accompaniment .  BFI Southbank, London Link

5 May

The Golem: How He Came Into The World  (Dir. Carl Boese/Paul Wegener, Ger, 1920) (Screening Format – DCP, 76mins) The only one of three films directed by and starring Paul Wegener concerning the Golem, a figure from Jewish folklore, to have survived, this is, along with The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene, 1920), one of the key works of Expressionism, as well as being one of the earliest and most influential horror films. In medieval Prague, Rabbi Loew fears disaster for the Jewish community at the hands of the Christian Emperor. To defend his people, he creates from clay the Golem, whose awakening leads to a series of disasters in this visual feast.  Find out more at filmmonthly.com .  Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With live piano accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London Link

Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler (Dir. Fritz Lang, Ger, 1922) (Screening format – DCP, 270mins) Lang’s epic but fast-moving two-parter, about an all-powerful underworld genius and master of disguise creating all kinds of chaos in Berlin, is one of the earliest and greatest conspiracy thrillers. Mabuse is focused on manipulating the economy in his quest for power, as made clear in the opening scenes, which convey the frighteningly wide range of his malign influence. A visionary classic. Find out more at  wikipedia.org   Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With recorded Aljoscha Zimmermann score .  BFI Southbank, London Link

The General (Dir. Buster Keaton/Clyde Bruckman, 1926)  (Screening format – not known, 75mins)  (NB Two Screenings) Widely considered one of the greatest films ever made and one of the most revered comedies of the silent era, Buster Keaton’s effortless masterpiece sees hapless Southern railroad engineer Johnny Gray (Keaton) facing off against Union soldiers during the American Civil War. When Johnny’s fiancée, Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack), is accidentally taken away while on a train stolen by Northern forces, Gray pursues the soldiers, using various modes of transportation in comic action scenes that highlight Keaton’s boundless, innovative wit and joyful, lighthearted dexterity, to reclaim the train and thereby save the South. Find out more at  busterkeaton.com .  With live musical accompaniment from instrumental trio Haiku Salut.  Rich Mix Cinema, London E1 Link

The Kid (Dir. Charles Chaplin, US, 1921) (Screening format – not known, 68mins) Chaplin’s first full-length feature is a silent masterpiece about a little tramp who discovers a little orphan and brings him up but is left desolate when the orphanage reclaims him. Beneath the comedy, there are definitely some more serious thematic elements at work and and the film is noted for its pathos. In that regard, the opening inter-title proves to be true: “A picture with a smile — and perhaps, a tear.”Chaplin directed, produced and starred in the film, as well as composed the score.  Find out more at wikipedia.org . Presented as part of the Flatpack Festival.  With recorded score.  MAC Cinema, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham. Link

6 May

Nosferatu (Dir. F W Murnau, 1922) (Screening format – DCP, 96mins) A German Expressionis horror masterpiece starring Max Shreck as the vampire Count Orlok.  The film was an unauthorised adaption of Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ with names and other details changed because the studio could not obtain the rights to the novel.  Stoker’s heirs sued over the adaption and a court ruling ordered that all copies of the film be destroyed.  However, a few prints survived and the film came to be regarded as an inspirational masterwork of the cinema. In the film, Count Orlok travels across Europe leaving a trail of death in his wake.  Brilliantly eerie, with imaginative touches which later adaptions never achieved.  Find out more at wikipedia.org With recorded soundtrack.  Saffron Screen, Saffron Walden Link

Cabinet of Dr Caligari (Dir. Robert Wiene, 1920) (Screening format – DCP,  77 mins) In the village of Holstenwall, fairground hypnotist Dr Caligari (Werner Krauss) puts on show a somnambulist called Cesare (Conrad Veidt) who has been asleep for twenty three years.  At night, Cesare walks the streets murdering people on the doctor’s orders.  A student (Friedrich Feher) suspects Caligari after a friend is found dead and it transpires that the doctor is the director of a lunatic asylum.  Fueled by the pessimism and gloom of post-war Germany, the sets by Hermann Warm stand unequaled as a shining example of Expressionist design.  Find out more at  wikipedia.org.  Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With recorded score.  BFI Southbank, London Link

The Fight for the Matterhorn (Dir. Mario Bonnard/Nunzio Malsomma, Ger, 1928) (Screening format – DCP, 117mins)  Out of the studio and into the wild: this Alpine thriller (a peculiarly German genre) is based on the true story of English climber Edward Whymper who vies with Jean-Antoine Carrel, an Italian mountain guide, to conquer the Matterhorn. Tyrolean athlete Luis Trenker, later a leading director, cuts a dash as the mean and moody Italian. The breathtaking camerawork creates nail-biting suspense. Find out more at giornatedelcinemamuto.it.  Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With live piano accompaniment .  BFI Southbank, London  Link

Metropolis (Dir. Fritz Lang, 1927) (Screening format –DCP , 149 mins ) Made in Germany during the Weimar period, Metropolis is set in a futuristic urban dystopia and follows the attempts of Freder (Gustav Frohlich), the wealthy son of the city’s ruler, and Maria (Brigitte Helm), a poor worker, to overcome the vast gulf separating the classes of their city. Filming took place in 1925 at a cost of approximately five million Reichmarks, making it the most expensive film ever released up to that point. It is regarded as a pioneering work of science fiction and is among the most influential films of all time. Following its world premiere in 1927, half an hour was cut from Fritz Lang’s masterpiece and lost to the world. Eighty years later a spectacular discovery was made when the footage was found in a small, dusty museum in Buenos Aires. The film was then painstakingly reconstructed and digitally restored so that at last audiences could see the iconic futuristic fairy tale as Lang had envisioned it. Find out more at silentfilm.orgPresented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With live piano accompaniment .  BFI Southbank, London Link

7 May

Sherlock Jnr (Dir. Buster Keaton, 1924) (Screening format – not known, 45 mins) In Sherlock Jr, a kindly movie projectionist (Buster Keaton) longs to be a detective. When his fiancée (Kathryn McGuire) is robbed by a local thief (Ward Crane), the poor projectionist is framed for the crime. Using his amateur detective skills, the projectionist follows the thief to the train station – only to find himself locked in a train car.  Disheartened, he returns to his movie theatre, where he falls asleep and dreams that he is the great Sherlock Holmes.   Although not a popular success on its initial release, the film has come to be recognised as a Keaton classic with its special effects and elaborate stunts making it a landmark in motion picture history.  Find out more atsilentfilm.org. With recorded soundtrack.  Curzon, Wimbledon Link

Opium (Dir. Robert Reinert, Ger, 1919) (Screening format – DCP, 91mins) This sensational silent drama, made during the early censorship-free period, warns against the perils of drug addiction and sexual debauchery. Now newly restored in gorgeous colour, it stars Werner Krauss (pre-Caligari) as a Chinese opium dealer and Conrad Veidt as a love-crazed English doctor. Its exotic scenery and brazenly erotic opium dream sequences were hailed as a triumph of the cinematic medium. Find out more at  berlinale.des.  Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With live piano accompaniment .  BFI Southbank, London Link

The Weimar Dream Factory: An Introductory Survey  Weimar cinema was Europe’s Hollywood, supplying a new mass audience with thrills and sensations, from gothic hallucinations to comic fantasies. Emerging from the catastrophe of WWI, it also projected visions of a new reality: glittering modernity, nightmare poverty, conflicting social and political ideals. Making abundant use of film clips, the BFI’s Weimar Season programmer Margaret Deriaz guides us through a dazzling and disturbing dreamscape.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

8 May

Hungarian Rhapsody (Dir. Hanns Schwarz, Ger, 1928) (Screening format – 35mm, 97mins)  A charming comedy of romantic intrigue among members of the upper and lower classes is set in 19th century Hungary. During the wheat harvest on the fertile Hungarian plains, a lordly estate holds a harvest festival. Impoverished officer Franz Graf v. Turoczy (Willy Fritsch) woos Marika (Dita Parlo), daughter of the estate’s foreman, but Franz’s financial circumstances mean that marriage is impossible.  Instead, he turns his attentions to the aristocratic Camilla (Lil Dagover), wife of General Hoffmann (Erich Kaiser-Titz).  But when the General hears rumours about his wife’s new interest tensions rise. Shot at the Babelsburg Studios in Berlin and on location in Hungary, this was one of the most popular German films of its year.  It was subsequently re-released in 1929 with an added soundtrack.  Find out more at imdb.comPresented by the Kennington Bioscope.  With live piano accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link.

9 May

Song (Dir. Richard Eichberg, Ger, 1928) (Screening format – 35mm, 122mins) This superb melodrama, a British-German co-production, was designed to appeal to international markets. Set in a bustling Asian port, it centres on a vaudeville artist (Chinese-American star Anna May Wong) whose emotional attachment to a knife-thrower (Heinrich George) is complicated by the reappearance of his former mistress. A lavish treat, with scintillating dance numbers and mesmerising close-ups of Wong. Find out more at berlinale.de.  Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With live piano accompaniment .  BFI Southbank, London Link

10 May

Victorian Film Study Day  Celebrate the launch of the BFI’s newly digitised collection of 500+ British films from the earliest days of projected moving pictures with this day of papers, panels and screenings. Invited experts and historians will be on hand to share their insights into the research, identification, restoration and digital preservation of the filmsPresented as part of the BFI’s Victorian Film Weekend.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

Six Stories About London in Victorian Film  What can Victorian film tell us about life in London in the last five years of Victoria’s long reign? Watch six of the quirkier stories about the capital and early film, including a Thames-side tragedy, a tale of early film piracy, a near mishap with the Queen of England’s coffin, the search for London’s first film studio and more.  Presented as part of the BFI’s Victorian Film Weekend.  With live musical accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

11 May

Heroes of Victorian Film  The French have the Lumière brothers and the Americans have Thomas Edison, but how many people in Britain can name our own pioneer filmmakers? Come and meet the youthful, adventurous, tech-savvy and financially astute heroes of British Victorian film in a live debate with film screenings. Experts will champion the filmmaker they think deserves to be known by everyone in the land.  Presented as part of the BFI’s Victorian Film Weekend.  With live musical accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London Link

The Great Victorian Moving Picture Show This spectacularly entertaining compilation is back by popular demand after a sell-out event at the 2018 London Film Festival. The bold experimenters at the dawn of the moving-picture revolution were quick to explore the possibilities of the medium. The large-format film was one way to astound audiences with the depth and clarity of the images projected onto a massive screen. The BFI National Archive’s restoration of these astonishing 60mm and 68mm films from the Victorian era is presented by the BFI’s Bryony Dixon, with John Sweeney and his Biograph Band – reprising their spectacular sell-out event at the 2018 London Film Festival.  Presented as part of the BFI’s Victorian Film Weekend.  With live musical accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London Link

12 May

Assunta Spina (Dir. Gustavo Serena and Francesca Bertini, It, 1915)  (Screening format –not known, 70 mins) Assunta Spina is one of the great films of Italian silent cinema. Shot in fall 1914 in Naples the picture shows the city’s soul, scrutinizes its every aspect, realistically portraying the serenity and beauty of its most colorful areas, the chaotic frenzy of its neighborhoods and markets, as well as the run-down state of the working class suburbs. The film tells the dramatic  story of laundress Assunta Spina (Francesca Bertini) engaged to a violent butcher Michele (Gustavo Serena) but courted by the handsome Raffaele (Luciano Albertini).  When, in a jealous rage, Michele slashes Assunta’s face with a knife the scene is set for high drama and tragedy.   The film reveals the spirit of Neapolitans, emphasizing their exuberance and passion but also their vengefulness and unrestrained reactions that often degenerate into violence.But Bertini and Serena are not the film’s only main characters: the unlucky laundress’s shawl, in Bertini’s skilled hands, comes to life and acts as a kind of metronome marking the various stages of the tragedy as it unfolds. When approached by the studio to star in the film, Bertini only accepted as long as she was also the film’s writer and director.  But Bertini demonstrated skill and sensitivity in this, her directorial debut.  Find out more at medium.com/cuny-fashion/film-review-assunta-spina. With live musical accompaniment from six-piece Italian folk band The Badwills. Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle Link

Silent Cinema presents: Screening the Victorians  Discover the pioneering sound and colour, news, travelogues, drama, fantasy and comedy films of the Victorian era.  Nearly every aspect of filmmaking that we know today was tried during the first few years of projected moving pictures: sound and colour, news, travelogues, drama, fantasy and comedy. BFI curator Bryony Dixon will take you on a tour of highlights from the BFI’s newly digitised 500+ Victorian films, and will show how they can still charm and entertain audiences over a century later.  Presented as part of the BFI’s Victorian Film Weekend.  With live musical accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London Link

Madame Dubarry (Dir Ernst Lubitsch, Ger, 1919) (Screening format – DCP, 114mins)  Louis XV (Emil Jannings) is smitten by a Parisian shopgirl (Pola Negri) with an insatiable appetite for sex, food, fashion and fun. But as she schemes to become the most powerful woman in France, the spectre of revolution looms. Combining breathtaking spectacle with a sharp eye for telling detail, this tragicomic epic was a passport to Hollywood for both Lubitsch and Negri.  Find out more at sensesofcinema.com Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With live piano accompaniment .  BFI Southbank, London  Link

Heaven On Earth (Dir. Reinhold Schünzel/Alfred Schirokauer, Ger, 1927) (Screening format – 35mm, 101mins) A  hapless politician (comic genius Reinhold Schünzel) leads a double life – publicly attacking the depravity of Berlin nightlife while secretly running ‘Heaven on Earth’, a notorious nightclub. This delicious distillation of the contemporary debate around moral degeneracy features raunchy chorus girls, a black jazz band, and a cross-dressing scene that anticipates Some Like It Hot by several decades. Find out more at letterboxd.com.    Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With live piano accompaniment .  BFI Southbank, London Link

13 May

Variety (Dir. E A Dupont, Ger, 1925) (Screening format – DCP, 95mins) Actor Emil Jannings was one of the most esteemed actors of this time, working with directors such as F.W. Murnau and Josef von Sternberg, before moving to America to become the first winner of the Oscar for Best Actor, and ending his career in disgrace after appearing in Nazi propaganda films. In this seamy melodrama, he plays Boss Huller, a former trapeze artist who abandons his family for a younger colleague (Lya De Putti). When the couple becomes a professional trio, a love  triangle is formed, and tragedy ensues. The film features some of the most inventive camerawork of the period, its ‘unchained’ approach making for breathtaking performance scenes. Find out more at moviessilently.com .  Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With live piano accompaniment .  Introduced by film historian and filmmaker Kevin Brownlow.  BFI Southbank, London Link

The Chronicles of the Grey House (Dir Arthur von Gerlach, Ger, 1925) (Screening format – DCP, 97mins) The Castle of Grieshuus, an eerie, fantastical old dark house, is the object of a deadly inheritance dispute between two brothers with strikingly different wives. Pictorially ravishing – even by Weimar standards – this period drama evokes the feudal past in all its uncompromising strangeness. It’s renowned for its Rembrandt-inspired lighting, magnificent production design and wild, poetic landscapes shot on location.  Find out more at  wikipedia.org Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With recorded Gottfried Huppertz score.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

14 May

The Last Laugh (Dir. F W Murnau, Ger, 1924) (Screening format – DCP, 90mins) The Last Laugh is one of the most important films of the Weimar Republic and a most important piece of cinema history.  Emil Jannings, probably the greatest actor of his time, plays a proud hotel doorman, whose character is devastated when his manager demotes him to washroom attendant because of his advanced years.  The film also gained importance for film history through a new camera technology, the “unchained camera” used by the famous UFA-cinematographer Karl Freund for the first time.  Find out more at rogerebert.com .  Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With live piano accompaniment from Jonny Best.  BFI Southbank, London Link

Metropolis (Dir. Fritz Lang, 1927) (Screening format –DCP , 149 mins ) Made in Germany during the Weimar period, Metropolis is set in a futuristic urban dystopia and follows the attempts of Freder (Gustav Frohlich), the wealthy son of the city’s ruler, and Maria (Brigitte Helm), a poor worker, to overcome the vast gulf separating the classes of their city. Filming took place in 1925 at a cost of approximately five million Reichmarks, making it the most expensive film ever released up to that point. It is regarded as a pioneering work of science fiction and is among the most influential films of all time. Following its world premiere in 1927, half an hour was cut from Fritz Lang’s masterpiece and lost to the world. Eighty years later a spectacular discovery was made when the footage was found in a small, dusty museum in Buenos Aires. The film was then painstakingly reconstructed and digitally restored so that at last audiences could see the iconic futuristic fairy tale as Lang had envisioned it. Find out more at silentfilm.orgPresented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With recorded Gottfried Huppertz score .  BFI Southbank, London Link

16 May

Easy Street  (Dir, Charles Chaplin, US, 1917) + Liberty (Dir. Leo McCarey, US, 1929) + Big Business (Dir. James W Horne/Leo McCarey, US, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 19/20/19 mins)   For Easy Street, his ninth film for Mutual and the most famous of the twelve he was contracted to make, Chaplin ordered the first of the T-shaped street sets to be built that he would consistently utilize to provide a perfect backdrop to his comedy. The look and feel of Easy Street evokes the South London of his childhood (the name “Easy Street” suggests “East Street,” the street possibly of Chaplin’s early life). Poverty, starvation, drug addiction, and urban violence—subjects that foreshadow the social concerns in his later films—are interwoven in “an exquisite short comedy” wrote critic Walter Kerr, “humor encapsulated in the regular rhythms of light verse.” . In the film, Charlie is a down-and-out derelict, sleeping at the steps of the religious mission .  He is entranced by the beautiful mission worker and organist, Edna Purviance.  Passing a police recruiting notice he decides to join but his ‘beat’ is Easy Street, terrorised by giant bully Eric Campbell!   Upon its release, Easy Street was hailed as a watershed moment in Chaplin’s career.Find out more at silentsaregolden.com.    Liberty sees Laurel and Hardy making a successful prison break but mixed up trousers and an escaped crab somehow leads them to the top a partially completed skyscraper!  Find out more at laurel-and-hardy.com   Big Business sees Ollie and Stanley as two Christmas tree salesmen (in February!) who get into one of their usual mutual destruction fights with a homeowner. Presented by ‘Down the Shaft Film Club’. With live piano accompaniment by Neil Brand. Brunel’s Thames Tunnel at the Brunel Museum, Rotherhithe, London Link

Helen of Four Gates (Dir. Cecil Hepworth, UK, 1922) (Screening format – not known, 90mins) Director Cecil Hepworth was a major pioneering figure in British Cinema. Like several of Hepworth’s later films, Helen of Four Gates was a ‘literary adaptation’ – in this case a novel by a former mill girl from Blackburn, Ethel Carnie, published in 1917 when Ethel was living near Hebden Bridge.  She was a socialist, feminist and a peace campaigner and now acknowledged as one of the most important working-class women writers in British literary history.  In the film, Helen (AlmaTaylor) marries a young man who has poisoned her mind against her other suitor Abel Mason (Carew) by convincing her that there is hereditary madness in the Mason family. Within two years Helen’s husband is dead and she is dying. She entrusts her baby daughter to Abel to bring up, as she has no family to call on. Abel agrees to take the baby, but Helen does not realise that it is out of desire to gain revenge on her for rejecting him.  The baby (also called Helen) grows up believing Abel to be her father, and is subjected to his bullying and cruelty. As a young woman Helen meets Martin Scott (George Dewhurst), a  seasonal labourer on a local farm. The pair fall in love, but Abel now tells Martin of the supposed madness in the Mason blood and Martin breaks off the engagement as a result.  Instead, Abel arranges for helen to marry the equally abusive Fielding Day (John MacAndrews).  Trapped in a violent marriage, will Helen ever find escape and happiness?  Helen (and her mother) is memorably played byAlma Taylor, one of the biggest British stars of the period who worked extensively with Hepworth.  Find out more at screenonline.org.uk.  With live piano accompaniment by Darius Battiwalla.  Square Chapel, Halifax   Link

17 May

The Parson’s Widow (Dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer, Swe,  1920) (Screening format – not known, 94mins) A small but perfectly formed masterpiece that confounds all expectations: a comedy from the famously dour director Dreyer (Passion of Joan of Arc)… a light-hearted romantic froth about young love that will take you by surprise and break your heart.  In 17th century Norway a young theology student determines to secure the position of minister so that he can have the means to marry his sweetheart. But his jubilation at triumphing over his rivals for the role is short-lived when he learns that the position is conditional upon marrying his predecessor’s widow. An affecting and beautiful drama from one of the acknowledged great artists of cinema.  Find out more at silentfilm.org.  Presented by South West Silents. With live musical accompaniment by John Sweeney. Cube Cinema, Bristol  Link

The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, UK, 1927)  (Screening format – not known, 91 mins ) In The Lodger, a serial killer known as “The Avenger” is on the loose in London, murdering blonde women. A mysterious man (Ivor Novello)  arrives at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Bunting looking for a room to rent. The Bunting’s daughter (June Tripp)  is a blonde model and is seeing one of the detectives (Malcolm Keen) assigned to the case. The detective becomes jealous of the lodger and begins to suspect he may be the avenger.  Based on a best-selling novel by Marie Belloc Lowndes, first published in 1913, loosely based on the Jack the Ripper murders,  The Lodger was Hitchcock’s first thriller, and his first critical and commercial success. Made shortly after his return from Germany, the film betrays the influence of the German expressionist tradition established in such films as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919) and Nosferatu (1922). Find out more at silentfilm.org. With live musical accompaniment by acclaimed musicians Minima. Ombersley Memorial Hall, Ombersly, Worcs. Link

18 May

Song (Dir. Richard Eichberg, Ger, 1928) (Screening format – 35mm, 122mins) This superb melodrama, a British-German co-production, was designed to appeal to international markets. Set in a bustling Asian port, it centres on a vaudeville artist (Chinese-American star Anna May Wong) whose emotional attachment to a knife-thrower (Heinrich George) is complicated by the reappearance of his former mistress. A lavish treat, with scintillating dance numbers and mesmerising close-ups of Wong. Find out more at berlinale.de.  Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With live piano accompaniment .  BFI Southbank, London Link

The Fight for the Matterhorn (Dir. Mario Bonnard/Nunzio Malsomma, Ger, 1928) (Screening format – DCP, 117mins)  Out of the studio and into the wild: this Alpine thriller (a peculiarly German genre) is based on the true story of English climber Edward Whymper who vies with Jean-Antoine Carrel, an Italian mountain guide, to conquer the Matterhorn. Tyrolean athlete Luis Trenker, later a leading director, cuts a dash as the mean and moody Italian. The breathtaking camerawork creates nail-biting suspense. Find out more at giornatedelcinemamuto.it.  Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With live piano accompaniment .  BFI Southbank, London  Link

19 May

The Oyster Princess (Dir. Ernst Lubitsch, Ger, 1919) + I Don’t Want to Be a Man ( Dir. Ernst Lubitsch, Ger, 1918) (Screning format – DCP, 58/45mins)  ‘If I don’t have a husband in five minutes, I’ll demolish the entire house!’ Ossi Oswalda, one of the funniest females in screen history, plays a spoilt young woman in The Oyster Princess whose self-made millionaire father promises to marry her to a prince. Lubitsch’s exquisitely orchestrated comedy satirises the fashion for all things American, with surreal gags about conspicuous consumption and crazy dance styles.  Find out more at sensesofcinema.comThe question posed in I Don’t Want to Be a Man is ‘Why do men have all the fun?’ Chastised for her lack of ladylike manners, a rebellious young woman (the ever exuberant Oswalda) dons top hat and tails and heads off to a fashionable Berlin night haunt. This gender-bending romp, made shortly before the end of WWI, is an utter delight  Find out more at sensesofcinema.com. Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With Aljoscha Zimmermann and neil Brand recorded scores respectively.  BFI Southbank, London Link

The Student of Prague (Dir. Henrik Galeen, Ger, 1926) (Screening format – DCP, 134mins) This darkly romantic tale, with echoes of the Faust legend and Poe’s William Wilson, is a superbly crafted remake of Stellan Rye’s supernatural chiller of 1913. An impoverished student (Veidt) sells his mirror reflection to a moneylender and is subsequently stalked by a Doppelgänger over whom he has no control. Veidt’s virtuosic portrayal of a split personality plumbs terrifying depths. Find out more at 1000misspenthours.com   Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  Introduced by Miranda Gower-Qian, programmer, Phoenix Cinema.  With live piano accompaniment .  BFI Southbank, London Link

21 May

Shooting Stars (Dir. Anthony Asquith and A.V. Bramble,  UK, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 80mins)  At Zenith Studios, a starlet plots an escape to Hollywood with her lover and the murder of her superfluous husband. Shooting Stars is a must for any silent cinema fan. Offering a rare insight into the workings of a 1920s film studio, there are location scenes, comic stunts and an on-set jazz band which demonstrate just what life was like in the early days of cinema. Shooting Stars begins as a witty and affectionate look at the smoke-and-mirrors world of filmmaking, with many a wink to its audience, but as the paranoia associated with adultery takes its toll, the mood becomes somewhat darker.  Find out more at screenonline.org.uk . With live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne.  Phoenix Cinema, LeicesterLink

22 May

Piccadilly (Dir E A Dupont, UK, 1929) (Screening format – not known, 92 mins)  A film noir before the term was in use, uncredited German director E.A. Dupont’s Piccadilly is one of the true greats of British silent films, on a par with the best of Anthony Asquith or Alfred Hitchcock during this period. Valentine Wilmot (Jameson Thomas) owns a nightclub featuring dancers Mabel (Gilda Gray) and Vic (Cyril Ritchard). After a confrontation with Wilmot, Vic quits performing at the club. When the joint starts losing business, a desperate Wilmot hires former dishwasher Shosho (Anna May Wong) as a dancer. She is an instant hit and forms a rapport with Wilmot, which makes both Mabel and Shosho’s friend (King Ho Chang) jealous, leading to a mysterious murder.  A stylish evocation of Jazz Age London, with dazzlingly fluid cinematography and scenes ranging from the opulent West End to the seediness of Limehouse. One of the pinnacles of British silent cinema, Piccadilly is a sumptuous show business melodrama seething with sexual and racial tension – with an original screenplay by Arnold Bennett.  Find out more at screenonline.org.uk.  With live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne.  Broadway Cinema, Nottingham Link

Nosferatu (Dir. F W Murnau, 1922) (Screening format – DCP, 95mins) A German Expressionist horror masterpiece starring Max Shreck as the vampire Count Orlok.  The film was an un-authorised adaption of Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ with names and other details changed because the studio could not obtain the rights to the novel.  Stoker’s heirs sued over the adaption and a court ruling ordered that all copies of the film be destroyed.  However, a few prints survived and the film came to be regarded as an inspirational masterwork of the cinema. In the film, Count Orlok travels across Europe leaving a trail of death in his wake.  Brilliantly eerie, with imaginative touches which later adaptions never achieved.  Find out more at wikipedia.org . Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With recorded score.  BFI Southbank, London Link

The Golem: How He Came Into The World  (Dir. Carl Boese/Paul Wegener, Ger, 1920) (Screening Format – DCP, 76mins) The only one of three films directed by and starring Paul Wegener concerning the Golem, a figure from Jewish folklore, to have survived, this is, along with The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene, 1920), one of the key works of Expressionism, as well as being one of the earliest and most influential horror films. In medieval Prague, Rabbi Loew fears disaster for the Jewish community at the hands of the Christian Emperor. To defend his people, he creates from clay the Golem, whose awakening leads to a series of disasters in this visual feast.  Find out more at filmmonthly.com .  Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With live piano accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London Link

24 May

Smouldering Fires (Dir. Clarence Brown, US, 1925) (Screening format – not known, 80mins)  Forty-ish businesswoman Jane Vale (Pauline Frederick) falls in love with a much younger Robert Elliott (Malcolm McGregor) an employee from her factory. She promotes him to the position of her private secretary, and out of gratitude and to defend her reputation from rumors, he asks her to marry him. However, before the marriage can take place, Jane’s younger sister Dorothy (Laura La Plante) returns home from college and Robert and Dorothy fall in love. Lacking the courage to confess to Jane of his love for her sister, Robert marries Jane but finds that the difference in ages between him and Jane are creating complications. The now almost forgotten Pauline Frederick gives an outstanding performance, her subtlety, sensitivity, and intelligence creating an unforgettable characterisation. Find out more at giornatedelcinemamuto.it Presented as part of the Fastnet Film Festival.  With live piano accompaniment from renowned composer and musician Carl Davis.  Followed by discussion with Carl Davis, noted silent film historian Kevin Brownlow and film academic Gwenda Young.  Palace Cinema, Schull, West Cork Link

The Last Laugh (Dir. F W Murnau, Ger, 1924) (Screening format – DCP, 90mins) The Last Laugh is one of the most important films of the Weimar Republic and a most important piece of cinema history.  Emil Jannings, probably the greatest actor of his time, plays a proud hotel doorman, whose character is devastated when his manager demotes him to washroom attendant because of his advanced years.  The film also gained importance for film history through a new camera technology, the “unchained camera” used by the famous UFA-cinematographer Karl Freund for the first time.  Find out more at rogerebert.com .  Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With recorded Giuseppe Becce score .  BFI Southbank, London Link

Variety (Dir. E A Dupont, Ger, 1925) (Screening format – DCP, 95mins) Actor Emil Jannings was one of the most esteemed actors of this time, working with directors such as F.W. Murnau and Josef von Sternberg, before moving to America to become the first winner of the Oscar for Best Actor, and ending his career in disgrace after appearing in Nazi propaganda films. In this seamy melodrama, he plays Boss Huller, a former trapeze artist who abandons his family for a younger colleague (Lya De Putti). When the couple becomes a professional trio, a love  triangle is formed, and tragedy ensues. The film features some of the most inventive camerawork of the period, its ‘unchained’ approach making for breathtaking performance scenes. Find out more at moviessilently.com .  Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With live piano accompaniment .  BFI Southbank, London Link

25 May

The Artist   (Dir.  Michel Hazanavicius, Fr, 2011)  (Screening format – not known, 100  mins) A ‘modern’ black and white silent, the story takes place in Hollywood, between 1927 and 1932. Outside a movie premiere, enthusiastic fan Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) literally bumps into the swashbuckling hero of the silent film, George Valentin (Jean Dujardin). The star reacts graciously and Peppy plants a kiss on his cheek as they are surrounded by photographers. The headlines demand: “Who’s that girl?” and Peppy is inspired to audition for a dancing bit-part at the studio. However as Peppy slowly rises through the industry, the introduction of talking-pictures turns Valentin’s world upside-down.  It was nominated for ten Academy Awards and won five, including Best Picture.  Oh, and Uggie the dog makes a great co-star.  Find out more at  rogerebert.com .  Presented by Collective Cinema.  St Margeret’s Church, Lee, London SE13 Link

Cabinet of Dr Caligari (Dir. Robert Wiene, 1920) (Screening format – DCP,  77 mins) In the village of Holstenwall, fairground hypnotist Dr Caligari (Werner Krauss) puts on show a somnambulist called Cesare (Conrad Veidt) who has been asleep for twenty three years.  At night, Cesare walks the streets murdering people on the doctor’s orders.  A student (Friedrich Feher) suspects Caligari after a friend is found dead and it transpires that the doctor is the director of a lunatic asylum.  Fueled by the pessimism and gloom of post-war Germany, the sets by Hermann Warm stand unequaled as a shining example of Expressionist design.  Find out more at  wikipedia.org.  Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With live piano accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London Link

Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler (Dir. Fritz Lang, Ger, 1922) (Screening format – DCP, 270mins) Lang’s epic but fast-moving two-parter, about an all-powerful underworld genius and master of disguise creating all kinds of chaos in Berlin, is one of the earliest and greatest conspiracy thrillers. Mabuse is focused on manipulating the economy in his quest for power, as made clear in the opening scenes, which convey the frighteningly wide range of his malign influence. A visionary classic. Find out more at  wikipedia.org   Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With recorded Aljoscha Zimmermann score .  BFI Southbank, London Link

Battleship Potemkin (Dir. Sergei Eisenstein, 1925) (Screening format – not known, 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 live piano accompaniment by Jonny Best.  MAC, Birmingham Link

26 May

Waxworks (Dir. Paul Leni/Leo Birinisky, Ger, 1924) (Screening format – 35mm, 70mins)A wax museum owner employs a poet (William Dieterle) to create stories for his pieces. The poet dutifully pens disturbing tales, envisioning himself as a significant character in each story — a baker sentenced to death by the Caliph of Baghdad (Emil Jannings), a Russian prince contending with the deadly paranoia of Ivan the Terrible (Conrad Veidt) and a man who is pursued through the haunting streets of London by Jack the Ripper (Werner Krauss). Actor Conrad Veidt will forever hold a place in popular culture following his performance in The Man Who Laughs (1928), which inspired the appearance of Batman’s nemesis, the Joker. However, he had a significant career during the Weimar era, appearing as the murderous somnambulist in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and the similarly fantastic Unheimliche Geschichten (Richard Oswald, 1919) and The Hands of Orlac (Robert Wiene, 1924).  Find out more at filmdirtblog.blogspot.co.uk .  Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With live piano accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London Link

The Chronicles of the Grey House (Dir Arthur von Gerlach, Ger, 1925) (Screening format – DCP, 97mins) The Castle of Grieshuus, an eerie, fantastical old dark house, is the object of a deadly inheritance dispute between two brothers with strikingly different wives. Pictorially ravishing – even by Weimar standards – this period drama evokes the feudal past in all its uncompromising strangeness. It’s renowned for its Rembrandt-inspired lighting, magnificent production design and wild, poetic landscapes shot on location.  Find out more at  wikipedia.org Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With live piano accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London Link

27 May

Piccadilly (Dir E A Dupont, UK, 1929) (Screening format – not known, 92 mins)  A film noir before the term was in use, uncredited German director E.A. Dupont’s Piccadilly is one of the true greats of British silent films, on a par with the best of Anthony Asquith or Alfred Hitchcock during this period. Valentine Wilmot (Jameson Thomas) owns a nightclub featuring dancers Mabel (Gilda Gray) and Vic (Cyril Ritchard). After a confrontation with Wilmot, Vic quits performing at the club. When the joint starts losing business, a desperate Wilmot hires former dishwasher Shosho (Anna May Wong) as a dancer. She is an instant hit and forms a rapport with Wilmot, which makes both Mabel and Shosho’s friend (King Ho Chang) jealous, leading to a mysterious murder.  A stylish evocation of Jazz Age London, with dazzlingly fluid cinematography and scenes ranging from the opulent West End to the seediness of Limehouse. One of the pinnacles of British silent cinema, Piccadilly is a sumptuous show business melodrama seething with sexual and racial tension – with an original screenplay by Arnold Bennett.  Find out more at screenonline.org.uk .  With live organ accompaniment from Donald Mackenzie.  Regent Street Cinema, London Link

28 May

The Last Laugh (Dir. F W Murnau, Ger, 1924) (Screening format – DCP, 90mins) The Last Laugh is one of the most important films of the Weimar Republic and a most important piece of cinema history.  Emil Jannings, probably the greatest actor of his time, plays a proud hotel doorman, whose character is devastated when his manager demotes him to washroom attendant because of his advanced years.  The film also gained importance for film history through a new camera technology, the “unchained camera” used by the famous UFA-cinematographer Karl Freund for the first time.  Find out more at rogerebert.com .  Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With recorded Giuseppe Becce score .  BFI Southbank, London Link

The Oyster Princess (Dir. Ernst Lubitsch, Ger, 1919) + I Don’t Want to Be a Man ( Dir. Ernst Lubitsch, Ger, 1918) (Screning format – DCP, 58/45mins)  ‘If I don’t have a husband in five minutes, I’ll demolish the entire house!’ Ossi Oswalda, one of the funniest females in screen history, plays a spoilt young woman in The Oyster Princess whose self-made millionaire father promises to marry her to a prince. Lubitsch’s exquisitely orchestrated comedy satirises the fashion for all things American, with surreal gags about conspicuous consumption and crazy dance styles.  Find out more at sensesofcinema.comThe question posed in I Don’t Want to Be a Man is ‘Why do men have all the fun?’ Chastised for her lack of ladylike manners, a rebellious young woman (the ever exuberant Oswalda) dons top hat and tails and heads off to a fashionable Berlin night haunt. This gender-bending romp, made shortly before the end of WWI, is an utter delight  Find out more at sensesofcinema.com. Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With Aljoscha Zimmermann and Neil Brand recorded scores respectively.  BFI Southbank, London Link

Madame Dubarry (Dir Ernst Lubitsch, Ger, 1919) (Screening format – DCP, 114mins)  Louis XV (Emil Jannings) is smitten by a Parisian shopgirl (Pola Negri) with an insatiable appetite for sex, food, fashion and fun. But as she schemes to become the most powerful woman in France, the spectre of revolution looms. Combining breathtaking spectacle with a sharp eye for telling detail, this tragicomic epic was a passport to Hollywood for both Lubitsch and Negri.  Find out more at sensesofcinema.com Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With live piano accompaniment .  BFI Southbank, London  Link

29 May

City Girl (Dir. F W Murnau, US, 1930) (Screening format – not known, 89mins).  Murnau made three silent movies for Fox in Hollywood. The first, Sunrise, is universally acclaimed; the second one, Four Devils, no longer exists; and the third, City Girl, was for years known only through a re-edited, semi-sound version which Murnau disowned. But the restored full silent City Girl is a lyrical masterwork of pastoral realism, in which Lem, a simple farm boy from Minnesota (Charles Farrell), in Chicago to sell the family’s wheat crop, meets and marries Kate (Mary Duncan), a waitress yearning for an idyllic life in the countryside. When they return to Minnesota, however, they’re met with hostility by coarse, lascivious harvesters and Lem’s overbearing father. It is a rural melodrama of great beauty and honesty, and in many ways was the inspiration for Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven (1978).  Find out more at  sensesofcinema.com.  Presented by the Kennington Bioscope.  With live piano accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link

30 May

The Student of Prague (Dir. Henrik Galeen, Ger, 1926) (Screening format – DCP, 134mins) This darkly romantic tale, with echoes of the Faust legend and Poe’s William Wilson, is a superbly crafted remake of Stellan Rye’s supernatural chiller of 1913. An impoverished student (Veidt) sells his mirror reflection to a moneylender and is subsequently stalked by a Doppelgänger over whom he has no control. Veidt’s virtuosic portrayal of a split personality plumbs terrifying depths. Find out more at 1000misspenthours.com   Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.   With live piano accompaniment .  BFI Southbank, London Link

Waxworks (Dir. Paul Leni/Leo Birinisky, Ger, 1924) (Screening format – 35mm, 70mins ) A wax museum owner employs a poet (William Dieterle) to create stories for his pieces. The poet dutifully pens disturbing tales, envisioning himself as a significant character in each story — a baker sentenced to death by the Caliph of Baghdad (Emil Jannings), a Russian prince contending with the deadly paranoia of Ivan the Terrible (Conrad Veidt) and a man who is pursued through the haunting streets of London by Jack the Ripper (Werner Krauss). Actor Conrad Veidt will forever hold a place in popular culture following his performance in The Man Who Laughs (1928), which inspired the appearance of Batman’s nemesis, the Joker. However, he had a significant career during the Weimar era, appearing as the murderous somnambulist in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and the similarly fantastic Unheimliche Geschichten (Richard Oswald, 1919) and The Hands of Orlac (Robert Wiene, 1924).  Find out more at filmdirtblog.blogspot.co.uk .  Presented as part of the BFI’s Weimar Cinema Season.  With live piano accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London Link

31 May

Sunrise; A Song of Two Humans (Dir. F W Murnau, US, 1927) (Screening format – not known, 94mins) F W Murnau’s debut American film, made at the technical zenith of the silent era  but already heralding the arrival of the talkies being one of the first silents made with synchronized musical score and sound effects soundtrack.  The simple story of a husband’s betrayal of his wife with a treacherous city girl, Sunrise moves from a fairytale-like depiction of rural life to a dynamic portrait of the bustling modern American city. Explored in elaborate tracking shots by Charles Rocher and Karl Struss’s pioneering camerawork, the city set was one of the most costly yet produced.  The result was a commercial flop, though the achievement did not go unheralded: Sunrise was awarded a special Oscar for unique and artistic production at the first ever Academy Awards and Janet Gaynor won the first Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.  The film’s legacy has endured, and it is now widely considered a masterpiece with many calling it the greatest film of the silent era. Find out more at theguardian.comWith live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne. Preceded by a short programme of archive footage revealing aspects of women’s lives across the Midlands over the past 100 years. Stephen Langton Theatre, University of Lincoln, LincolnLink