Silent Films at Cinema Rediscovered 2018
Updated: Oct 12
It’s almost that time again when we join forces with 20th Century Flicks and Watershed to bring you our celebration of classic and restored films in the shape of Cinema Rediscovered Film Festival! Plenty of good filmic treats to keep you busy over the course of the festival, including a selection of festival strands celebrating the work of Cinematographer Dougie Slocombe at Ealing Studios, Bazin 100, the work of Bristol born film director Mike Hodges (Get Carter, Flash Gordon) and much much more! Do check out the Cinema Rediscovered 2018 Website to see the full schedule.
But happy 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 don’t forget to book your tickets early to avoid disappointment:
Join us on a trip to our favourite local cinema the Curzon Cinema and Arts in Clevedon, one of the oldest running cinemas in the UK, for a screening of Bill Douglas’ epic story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, six Dorset labourers deported to Australia in the 1830s for forming a trade union.
Unfolding in the pastoral haze of Dorset and blinding light of Australia, this beautiful film is rich with carefully layered visual illusions and nuances. The story moves between each of them in separate episodes, providing a glimpse into their new lives as convicts before their eventual pardon. With moving, profound performances from a magnificent cast – including Alex Norton, Imelda Staunton, Robin Soans, Philip Davis, Vanessa Redgrave, Keith Allen and Barbara Windsor, Comrades is a compelling account of struggle and injustice.
The afternoon includes a guided tour of the cinema building with a behind the scenes look at the original projection booth, a demonstration of the original Christie cinema organ followed by a screening of Comrades. The trip offers a unique opportunity to experience movie-going at one of Britain’s oldest and grandest cinemas.
As part of the Bazin 100 strand, celebrating the work of film critic and writer André Bazin we are screening one of his favourite silent films. The threads of silent cinema are tightly woven into some of the greatest cinema ever made, yet few yarns are quite as bold as Victor Sjöström’s Phantom Carriage (Körkarlen). Based on a novel by Nobel laureate Selma Lagerlöf, the tale tells of the last person to die on New Year’s Eve, who as per folklore is cursed to ride Death’s carriage, collecting souls for the year ahead.
The image of Death walking amongst us recurs throughout the history of the visual arts, but Sjöström brought it to cinema, in a way that still reverberates to this day. Famously echoed by Ingmar Bergman in the Seventh Seal, the troubled Swede spoke at length how Sjöström’s film grabbed him and shook him as a 12 year old boy. But it is through Sjöström’s innovative use of flashback and ghostly superimposition that his mark can be seen all the way through to film history, right up to last year’s A Ghost Story.
Not without its detractors, the critic André Bazin derided the film’s use of double exposure, 25 years after the it’s original release. The comments sparked debate in Cahiers Du Cinema, and caused a new wave of French critics and filmmakers to revisit the film: a tidy 97 years after its release, this is our chance to revisit this classic film again.
Bristol, now UNESCO City of Film, has a rich cinema history both on and off the screen, and over the course of the 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 our very own Dr Peter Walsh on a guided tour through the city centre, and reflect on Bristol born filmmakers and actors including Cary Grant and Mike Hodges, discover cinema related establishments, and look at the crumbling ruins of Bristol’s filmic past. From the actuality documentaries shot by Mitchell & Kenyon in 1902 to the recent big budget TV productions of Doctor Who and Sherlock, how Bristol is seen and represented on film 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.
There’s nothing better than having a bit of Aardman Animation at a film festival. For over 40 years, Aardman has entertained and charmed the world, creating much-loved characters and bringing unforgettable stories to life. From humble tabletop beginnings in the 1970s to one of the pre-eminent world leading studios today, Aardman has earned a unique place in the history of film and animation.
In this special event, the festival will host the UK Premiere of new 4K restorations of Aardman’s earliest films: the two films from Animated Conversations (1977) and the five films from Conversation Pieces (1983). Originally commissioned by the BBC and Channel 4, these films enabled Aardman founders Peter Lord and David Sproxton to develop the innovative technique of animating puppet characters to real-life conversations. With films like Early Bird (set in a local radio station), Aardman demonstrated that real people could be characterised with insight, humour and sensitivity.