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  • Writer's pictureSouth West Silents

New Monthly Silent Film Events in Bristol

Updated: Aug 10, 2020

We hope you will forgive us if we seem a tad excited. But we have good reason to be. As we are thrilled to announce a new season of monthly silent film events in collaboration with Cube Cinema, Bristol.

This new strand of events, produced under the banner ‘Presented by South West Silents’ at Cube will run from October 2017 until Spring 2018 and will cover a number of different classic silent film titles. But we are not just planning to screen the usual suspects here. Over the course of the next few months we will screen some rarer gems from the silent era. Some of which would have been recently restored by key international film archives while others we plan to screen from that wonderful film format which is, 35mm.

‘Presented by South West Silents’ will also, at times, coincide with our regular free Club Screenings which take place every third Wednesday of every month in the upstairs screening room at The Lansdown Pub, Clifton. With both screenings working together, this will give everyone more insight into the wonderful films we have planned for you over the course of the next few months.

And of course, silent films were never really silent and many of these new Cube screenings will be accompanied with live music by some of the best silent film accompanist in the country (in the world to be honest with you).

Plans are already afoot for the titles for early 2018 so watch this space, but for now let us leave you with the first two screenings we have planned for 2017 as well as the free Club Screening which are coming up. Which oddly enough, all concentrate in one particular era of filmmaking in Germany! We recommend you book your tickets in advance!


To tie in with the nationwide cinema release of Alex Barrett’s London Symphony (2017), we return to one of the key films that inspired Barrett.

Berlin: Symphony of a Great City is a visual symphony in five movements celebrating the Berlin of 1927: the people, the place, the everyday details of life on the streets. Director Walter Ruttman, an experimental filmmaker, approached cinema in similar ways to his Russian contemporary Dziga Vertoz, mixing documentary, abstract, and expressionist modes for a non-narrative style that captured the life of his countrymen. But where Vertov mixed his observations with examples of the communist dream in action, Ruttman re-creates documentary as, in his own words, “a melody of pictures.”

Within the loose structure of a day in the life of the city (with a prologue that travels from the country into the city on a barreling train), the film takes us from dawn to dusk, observing the silent city as it awakens with a bustle of activity, then the action builds and calms until the city settles back into sleep.

But the city is as much the architecture, the streets, and the machinery of industry as it is people, and Ruttman weaves all these elements together to create a portrait in montage, the poetic document of a great European city captured in action.

Held together by rhythm, movement, and theme, Ruttman creates a documentary that is both involving and beautiful to behold.

This screening is also to tie in with Festival of the Future City 2017, Bristol Festival of Ideas’ season which aims to be the largest public debate about the future of cities. Our thanks for their support!

Berlin Symphony of a City will be screened with the original 1927 score by Edmund Meisel which was recently recorded.

Berliner_Leben_LingeBerlin_Archiv_Paysan Cut

Our final free Club Screening for 2017 takes us back to the classic era of German cinema. Between 1919 and 1933 the Weimar Republic had an enormous influence on international perceptions of German film. This first German democratic state, which at the end of the First World War succeeded the imperial regime of Kaiser Wilhelm II, enabled film to emerge as a socially significant art form both despite and because of economic, political, and civil crises.

Making his South West Silents debut, we welcome Jonny Best (Pianist and founder of the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival) to the November Club Screening.

But not only is Jonny planning to take us through the world of Weimar films we are thrilled to say that Jonny will be accompanying his chosen film on piano! A first for our Club Screenings… live accompaniment!

Pandora_s Box

G.W. Pabst’s 1929 silent masterpiece Pandora’s Box stars Louise Brooks in the role that secured her place as one of the immortal goddesses of the silver screen.

This controversial, and in its day heavily censored, film is regularly ranked in the Top 100 films of all time (including Cahiers du Cinema and Sight & Sound). Brooks is unforgettable as Lulu (Louise Brooks), a sexy, amoral dancer who creates a trail of devastation as she blazes through Weimar-era Berlin, breaking hearts and destroying lives. From Germany, she flies to France, and finally to London, where tragedy strikes.

This stunning photographed film is loosely based on the controversial Lulu plays by Frank Wedekind, and also features one of the cinema’s earliest lesbian characters.

This film will show from a 35mm film print from the National Film and Television Archive with live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney, and will feature an introduction by Pamela Hutchinson, author of a forthcoming BFI Film Classics book on Pandora’s Box.

A lot more to announce in the coming weeks! For now tho, enjoy the events listed above and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for on the spot news and updates from the international world of Silent Film.

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