As 2018 continues to march on we are very happy to announce another key new collaboration which gives you even more opportunities to see unique and rare silent film titles on the big screen in the south west.
Based on the romance between 17th-century Mughal ruler Shah Jahan and his queen Mumtaz Mahal, this epic silent film (with a new score) is the ravishing, romantic tale behind the creation of one of the world’s most iconic structures: the Taj Mahal.
Produced by and starring Indian film legend Himansu Rai, the film is performed by an all-Indian cast, featuring Rai as humble potter Shiraz, who follows his childhood sweetheart Selima (Enakshi Rama Rau) when she’s sold by slave traders to the future emperor (Charu Roy).
Directed by Franz Osten (A Throw of Dice (1929) and 1925’s Light of Asia) Shiraz is a sumptuous 1928 silent classic has been meticulously restored by the BFI National Archive. Shot entirely on location in India, it features lavish costumes and gorgeous settings – all the more impressive in this sparkling restoration which features a specially commissioned score by the Grammy Award-winning Anoushka Shankar. Shankar was taught by her father, the celebrated Ravi Shankar, a pivotal figure in the popularisation of the sitar, introducing the instrument to many Western ears, and she continues to open up new possibilities for this instrument.
It’s a film as remarkable and ornate as the Taj Mahal itself – and Shankar’s new score is magnificent.
Join us for a rare screening of Italian silent films on 35mm with live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne.
The silent period was a golden era for Italian cinema, with pioneer directors like Giovanni Pastrone, whose 1914 epic Cabiria influenced filmmakers such as DW Griffith. Historical epics were particularly popular. This event features five restored films from the collections of the Turin Film Museum, all with a classical theme. They include Pastrone’s Fall of Troy (1911) and The Last Days of Pompeii (1910), from the novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, which was the first Italian historical epic.
The programme also includes Hero and Leander and Dido Abandoned from 1910; and Judas from 1911.
Followed by a Q&A featuring Stella Dagna from the Turin Film Museum.
The event is generously supported by a grant from the Institute for Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition at the University of Bristol.