So seriously, I made a little online tour of the rep cinema’s last night to see what’s on offer this weekend, and felt very disappointed that I can’t go out to a silent film screening this week. The Toronto Silent Film Festival spoiled me! It might just be me and the dvds this weekend, folks. Despite my many silent film screenings this week, I still made time to scour the interwebs for you, dear readers. First, I want to say that over the week I collected a ton of links from The Cinementals and then I thought I should just tell you to follow The Cinementals. They’re doing an awesome job! Now, let’s get down to it. Here’s the best and the brightest the interwebs had to offer this week. Happy reading and happy viewing! Read the rest of this entry
I will not be leaving my house tonight to sit in a theater and watch a silent movie while a pianist plays along. This is, sadly, an unfortunate state of affairs. But I did have the rare privilege of leaving my house every night for the past 6 NIGHTS to enjoy a silent movie, with an appreciative audience, and amazing live accompaniment thanks to the Toronto Silent Film Festival. How great is that? Indeed, we partied like it was 1926, or at least went to the movies like was 1926, and it was good.
Here are a few of my personal highlights from this year’s festival:
- The actual gasp from about half the audience at the über tragic ending of Tabu. Silent film fans know you’ll never get a happy ending from a German filmmaker, and certainly never from F.W. Murnau. The silent film newbie tag-a-long I brought with me – well, her jaw actually dropped. Does this mean there were lots of noobs in the audience? I hope so.
- Meeting the actual people behind many screen names, in particular my Twitter pal @missmccrocodile and her fab sister @caftanwoman. It turns out Twitter handles do have faces. @missmccrocodile told me her dad woke she and her siblings at midnight whenever a John Ford movie was on TV, prompting me to call my own father and ask why my film education was so neglected.
- Seeing Lotte Reiniger’s Cinderella on a big screen with an audience. This was just a really special treat for me. I’ve long been a fan of Reiniger but have never had the opportunity to see a screening of any of her work. I mean, when does that happen? To observe an audience interacting with Cinderella adds a new dimension to my understanding of her work.
- The amazing accompaniment from Bill O’Meara. All of the accompanists were amazing and talented, but Bill O’Meara’s play along for 1000 Laffs: Playmates was a revelation. He has a very special way of playing to the emotional reaction of the viewer, not just the action on-screen. If any doubt remained about the value of an accompanist, Bill O’Meara blew it out of the water.
- The closing night film Variety. Emil Jannings, in spandex, on a trapeze. ‘Nuff said.
For me, there are two alternating pleasures in watching silent movies. The first is the opportunity to watch a fledgling medium, one that is still so much with us today, being born. Silent movies showcase the intuitive genius of a lot of early filmmakers who seemed to just know what to do with these moving images. This is the pleasure of watching Chaplin, Keaton, Murnau, Griffith. But even when a silent movie is not so innovative or culturally fresh or technically groundbreaking, it can still offer up a window into a moment in time. Movies are, after all, a reflection of both what we actually are (sometimes, unintentionally so) and a projection of what we wish to be. Our Dancing Daughters (1928) falls firmly within the second category. Read the rest of this entry
Wowee – is my feets sore from doing the Charleston with Joan Crawford in Our Dancing Daughters! Last night was the opening night of the Toronto Silent Film Festival and fabulous it was. But despite sipping bathtub gin til the wee hours of the morn, this jazz baby is hard at work this morning to bring you the best of the interwebs. That’s dedication my friends! Stay tuned for my review of Our Dancing Daughters and in the meantime you can amuse yourself with these links. And of course, leave some time to get yourself tickets to tonight’s screening of F.W. Murnau’s Tabu! Happy reading and happy viewing! Read the rest of this entry