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  • Writer's pictureSouth West Silents

Silent Films at Cinema Rediscovered 2017

Updated: Oct 12, 2020

We know! We put our hands up right now! We have been very quiet here at South West Silents recently. But we do have a good reason for that. Give us a few more weeks and we will be able to announce the lineup of silent film events for late 2017. But before the summer disappears we have also been busy putting together Cinema Rediscovered Film Festival 2017 (Thu 27 – Sun 30 July 2017) with our friends at Watershed and 20th Century Flicks.

We are really thrilled that Cinema Rediscovered is returning to Bristol this July for its second year! The film festival will bring some of the finest digital restorations, contemporary classics and film print rarities back where they belong, on the big screen at cinemas including Watershed, Clevedon’s Curzon Cinema & Arts and The Cube Microplex.

We are also thrilled to say that we have given you a selection of silent film related titles that will wet your appetite, even with this hot summer we are having! So please check out Cinema Rediscovered 2017, book your tickets and see you there!


Bristol has a rich cinema history both on and off the screen, and over the course of last 70 years it has established itself as a creative hub for film and television. Just as Cinema Rediscovered aims to put our filmic past back on the big screen, so too must we take a moment to reflect on the film history that is woven through the streets of Bristol.

Join Dr Peter Walsh on a guided tour through the city centre, looking at the icons, establishments, and the crumbling ruins of Bristol’s filmic past. From the actuality documentaries shot by Mitchell & Kenyon in 1902 to the recent big budget television productions of Doctor Who and Sherlock, how Bristol is seen and represented has changed drastically over the years. How Bristolians go to the cinema has also changed, and our cityscape is still marked by the buildings that once served our cinematic appetites.

The tour will take just under two hours, covering a distance of two miles, and will begin and end at Watershed Box Office. It will carry on come rain or shine, so please bring what clothing you need to make the tour comfortable! We aim to make the tour as accessible as possible, and there will not be any stairs on the route.


Families can get inspired by catching the original 1923 King Kong on the big screen, before getting creative at this free drop-in workshop in which we’ll be making King Kong masks in the Café/Bar.

This workshop is FREE and families can drop-in to the Café/Bar anytime between 10.00 and 12.00. There’s no need to book for the workshop but you will need to buy tickets to the film at 11:30. It is most suitable for adults and children aged 6-11 but participants of all ages are welcome. All children must be accompanied by an adult.


Eight decades on since its original release this mighty monarch of monster movies still deserves its classic status. Full of iconic moments and one of the greatest endings in cinema history, this monstrous outpouring of creative energy remains indispensable entertainment. A beast of stop-motion filmmaking that’s still demanding our attention, join us for the one, the only, King Kong.

When documentary film producer Carl Denham sets sail with his film crew to the tropical outcrop of Skull Island for an exotic location shoot it’s because the island is home to a legendary giant ape, which he hopes to utilise in the starring role. But when the mighty Kong shows his sensitive side by taking a shine to Denham‘s leading lady, the beast shows he’ll go to any length – including battling with two dinosaurs, a giant snake, a flying reptile and a Tyrannosaurus rex, not to mention scaling the Empire State Building batting down a biplane as he goes, in search of his new found love.

It’s amazing to observe today how this low-rent monster movie pointed the way toward the current era of special effects, science fiction and cataclysmic destruction. Ageless and primeval, King Kong still somehow works – its very artificiality containing a creepiness that’s lacking in today’s slick, computer-generated movie landscape. Back on the big screen, come and behold the eighth wonder of the world!

Presented on 35mm with thanks to BFI

The Music Room (1958)

One of Satyajit Ray’s most exquisite films, The Music Room brilliantly evokes the crumbling opulence of the world of a fallen aristocrat (the beloved actor Chhabi Biswas) desperately clinging to a fading way of life after his music room, his greatest joy which has hosted lavish concerts for year, turns into a shadow of its former self.

An incandescent depiction of the clash between tradition and modernity, The Music Room is a defining work by the great Bengali filmmaker, featuring music composed by Ustad Vilayat Khan and sung by the legendary Begum Akhtar, with Roshan Kumari’s kathak dance. It also boasts atmospheric cinematography, and is a fitting and elegant elegy to its protagonist, the connoisseur.

Dr Suman Ghosh is Senior Lecturer in Film and Screen Studies. He was Senior Reporter with The Asian Age, India when he opted for an academic career and joined Jadavpur University, India as Lecturer in Comparative Literature. He completed his Ph.D on the films and screenplays of Satyajit Ray from Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK. He taught Film Studies in the universities of Lancaster and Central Lancashire before he joined Bath Spa university in September 2010.

Village in India 1

On this specially curated programme selected from the BFI National Archive, South West Silents presents an unparalleled collection of rare films of pre-Independence India, from the earliest days of Indian cinema.

From the oldest surviving film of India, Panorama of Calcutta (1899), showing the ghats of Varanasi, to the glorious Tins for India (1941) which finds poetry in the kerosene can, directed by Bimal Roy, one of Indian cinema’s greatest directors, these films are being made accessible to audiences in the UK and India for (largely) the first time.

See them on the big screen with us here at Cinema Rediscovered ahead of the newly digitised online collection of 300 films being made accessible to audiences via the BFI Player in August.

Presented in partnership with Asian Arts Agency with a live accompaniment by pianist Stephen Horne.


After last year’s Cinema Rediscovered In Search of Colour event we are thrilled to have this returning event with a brand new selection of titles. A programme of striking shorts straight from this year’s II Cinema Ritrovato festival, including some brand new restorations from L’Immagine Ritrovata labs. This collection showcases Kinemacolor and the Pochoir colour technique, which employed elaborate stencils to add precise colour detail to two-tone Kinemacolor prints.

Patented in England, this short-lived commercial film format produced a series of absolutely spectacular films, a strikingly colourful chapter from the mostly black and white days of early cinema. With a brand new digital restoration direct from the collections held in Bologna, this is an excellent opportunity to experience these films as they were meant to be seen: with an audience, on the big screen, and with a live accompaniment from pianist Stephen Horne.

The screening will be introduced by a representative from Il Cinema Ritrovato.

This event is presented with Bologna’s Il Cinema Ritrovato the inspiration for Cinema Rediscovered with thanks to Cineteca Di Bologna.

A story this good is worth its weight in gold and that’s exactly where this tall tale begins. Attracted to the Klondike and Yukon Rivers in Canada for their promise of great and instant wealth, the North American Gold Rush of 1896 brought rapid development to the First Nation hunting ground now known as Dawson City. In 1903, they started showing movies. Because the city was so remote, the studios wouldn’t cover the costs of having the films returned and many reels ended up in the river. Some, however, were unwittingly saved by the permafrost, only to be rediscovered in 1978.

Lovingly pieced together with rare footage of American movies, expert archival and experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison uncovers the amazing history of an unwitting repository for hundreds of reels of once lost nitrate film. Beautifully recounting the story with all the wonder and verve that those rare, re-animated clips can offer, Morrison gives a voice to forgotten silent movie stars and a one-time bigtime town.

With thanks to Picture Palace Pictures.

Dawson City_Frozen Time still of DAAA Swimming pool courtesy Dawson Museum_Hypnotic Pictures_Picture Palace Pictures
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