Shadows dance upon the walls of Robert Wiene’s Das Cabinet Des Dr. Caligari (1920). The world of shadows and light, edges and angles, the slanted and the macabre, all seem so much more at home in silent cinema as a whole; images that negate sound have a very natural ghostliness to their nature. This is doubly so for a film that nigh on invented horror … Continue reading Das Cabinet Des Dr. Caligari (1920) – Masters of Cinema Restoration.
Said to be a labour of love lasting over forty years, the restoration of Abel Gance’s Napoléon by filmmaker, restorer and archivist Kevin Brownlow, has gone down in the annuls of film history. With the latest restoration having been successfully screen and rapturously received at the San Francisco silent film festival, this November sees a special screening of the epic five hour film with a … Continue reading Kevin Brownlow Discusses Abel Gance’s Napoléon.
During the first quarter of film history, film language very quickly cemented itself into forms that would stay that way in mainstream cinema until the middle of the 20th century. Looking back at the surviving imagery of the first era of film (i.e. the silent era), it’s easy to see how these forms quickly solidified and became the norm for the typical and the innovative … Continue reading Train to Train – Early Rhythms of Silent Film (Lumière and Keaton)
The BFI have done wonders over the last few years in highlighting and promoting the work of Yasujirô Ozu to potential new viewers in the UK. Their Ozu collection is gradually filling in the many gaps within his work available in Region 2 and he is now perhaps the most represented Japanese director in the Region 2 DVD market outside of Akira Kurosawa. Ozu’s work … Continue reading Yasujiro Ozu Collection – The Gangster Films (BFI)
The Persistence of Modernity in Japanese Film Scores. Introduction The scores and music produced for Japanese cinema highlight a constant change of values within the country; a relationship rarely mirrored so accurately in the cinema of anywhere else. Whereas the film scores of other countries can be looked at as a product of the trends and studio directions, the evolution and changes found within the … Continue reading The Persistence of Modernity in Japanese Film Scores – Part 1 (Ozu, Tradition and Silent Film)
Before the Second World War, mythology was in a healthy and respectable state of affairs. With Jewish mysticism in particular dominating the beliefs and influences of many fields, it was only a matter of time before it found its way into film. The fantasy elements and myths in particular seem a perfect mould for the cinematic medium, yet it seems to have been resisted in … Continue reading Der Golem – Paul Wegener (1920)
Silent film is having something of a renaissance at the moment. Though it’s doubtful whether the success of The Artist will actually bleed through into the industry itself and create more silent film, the interest in it is currently the highest it’s been for decades. With this in mind then, the DVD of the week this time is from that era and is not only considered brilliant … Continue reading The General – Buster Keaton (1926)
F.W. Murnau should be a name familiar to everyone. Sadly this is not the case so some explanation should be given as to his importance. He was one of the key instigators of the German expressionist movement, a group of films that not only visually defy the time in which they were made but are also almost always beautiful to look at. Faust: A German Folk … Continue reading Faust – F.W Murnau (1926).