Silent Film Events in August 2014: German Silent Film Month (almost)

As we stated back in April; when it comes to silent film screenings in the Bristol area (or even the South West) we would usually just list them on our events calendar (always worth keeping an eye on this page however, especially for dates for the rest of this year). But once again, like April, August has become a hive of silent films screenings in our area a situation which we really couldn’t ignore.

So, what is planned, well August kick starts with a special early evening screening celebrating cinema going in 1914; the rest of the month then takes a turn celebrating many different aspects of German cinema in the silent era. More info for each screening can be found below:

Monday 4th August: BFI: A NIGHT AT THE CINEMA IN 1914
Location: Little Theatre Cinema, Bath: 6:30pm / Ticket Prices Vary

Cinema a century ago was a new, exciting and highly democratic form of entertainment. Picture houses nationwide offered a sociable, lively environment in which to relax and escape from the daily grind. With feature films still rare, the programme was an entertaining, ever-changing roster of short items with live musical accompaniment.

100 years on, this special compilation from the BFI National Archive recreates the glorious miscellany of comedies, dramas, travelogues and newsreels which would have constituted a typical night out in 1914. Our selection includes a comic short about a face-pulling competition, a sensational episode of The Perils of Pauline, scenes of Allied troops celebrating Christmas at the Front, and an early sighting of one of cinema’s greatest icons…

Tuesday 5th August: Seventyseven Film Club: The Joyless Street (1925)
Location: The Arts House, 108A Stokes Croft, Bristol >: 8:00pm / Tickets £2

Incredibly hard at times and one of the toughest films to watch, it isn’t surprising what the experience of watching The Joyless Street is going to be like. But God! It’s worth watching if you love your German cinema. The story is very simple and yet incredibly interlaced between the inhabitants of a single street in Vienna who fight to survive social unrest and economic turmoil in the wake of World War I.

Directed by G. W. Pabst (we are planning a celebration of Pabst’s work in 2015) and starring the great Asta Nielsen and superb Greta Garbo, is there anything else we need to say to get you to go?

Wednesday 13th August: Bristol Silents Club Screening: German Mountain Silent Film Night
Intro by Dr Horst Claus
Location: Lansdown Pub, Clifton: 7:30pm: Free Entry

One of the many film genres that have been forgotten by many over the decades, but thankfully we haven’t forgotten about it. The classic German mountain film has everything going for it, incredible cinematography and sharp story lines (usually based around the theme of man vs nature).
For some, the German mountain film is an indigenous national and cultural genre, comparable to the American western.
August’s Club Screening will see regular Bristol Silents contributor and German Film Historian Dr Horst Claus take us back to one of the most important German mountain silent films, Arnold Fanck’s Der heilige Berg (The Holy Mountain).

Starring the future filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl in her first ever screen appearance. The Holy Mountain was written in three days and took over a year to film on location in the Alps with the help of expert skiers and mountain climbers. The Holy Mountain is one film you don’t want to miss!

Free admission to all, doors open at 19:30 for a 20:00 start with intro by Dr Horst Claus.

Friday 29th August – Thursday 4th September:
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920): The Brand New Masters of Cinema Restoration Edition

Location: Watershed, Bristol ; Times & Prices Vary (Please check Watershed website for more details).

Now newly restored (some of us saw it in Berlin and then Bologna earlier this year and the restoration is incredible), Robert Wiene’s classic of Germany expressionism is far more than a landmark of film history: to this day it remains unsettling, thought provoking and very impressive.


About – or is it? – a sinister hypnotist who sends out a somnambulist (Conrad Veidt) to commit a series of murders, it is remarkable for its brazen style (all distorted perspectives, sharp angles and twisted architecture) and unresolved ambiguities.

As such, it is a milestone of the silent film era and one of the best known and most successful experimental films ever made. The new restoration from the original print is like watching the film through fresh eyes – it is truly a theatrical experience, almost akin to watching it for the very first time.

So, there you have it… BUT! More about CALIGARI NEXT WEEK… WATCH THIS SPACE!

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