Silent Films for Winter 2016

The nights are drawing in but that doesn’t mean you have to stay in this coming Winter! We are thrilled to announce a fantastic lineup of silent film events concluding 2016! Our celebration of Shakespeare in Silent Film concludes with a wonderful screening at the Bath Film Festival 2016 as well as a special screening of The Battle of the Somme on Remembrance Day at the stunning Curzon Cinema in Clevedon. And to conclude 2016! The return of a certain French Emperor to Bristol! And much more! More info Below:  Banner for Sws Shakespeare

Sunday 30th October 2016: Play On! Shakespeare in Silent Film
Curzon Community Cinema, Clevedon BS21 6NN – 4:30 pm

South West Silents and Curzon Cinema & Arts present an afternoon of rare films from the BFI National Archive’s to commemorate 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare.

From King John in 1899, film adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays proved popular with early filmmakers and audiences. By the end of the silent era, around 300 films had been produced.

The BFI’s feature-length celebration draws together a delightful selection of thrilling, dramatic, iconic and humorous scenes from two dozen different titles, many of which have been unseen for decades.

See Hamlet addressing Yorick’s skull, King Lear battling a raging storm at Stonehenge, The Merchant of Venice in vibrant stencil colour, the fairy magic of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and what was probably John Gielgud’s first appearance on film, in the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet!

These treasures from the BFI National Archive have been newly digitised and are brought to life by the composers and musicians of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

How to book your tickets.


Monday 7th November 2016: Hamlet (1921) – Live Accompaniment with Lillian Henley
Bath Film Festival 2016: Chapel Arts Centre, Bath, BA1 1QR – 6:00pm 

South West Silents are proud to present a very rare treat, a screening of Asta Nielsen’s Hamlet (1921) as part of the Bath Film Festival 2016.

As soon as Asta Nielsen had founded the company Art-Film, she set out on the ambitious project of a Hamlet adaptation with herself in the leading role. With Svend Gade and Heinz Schall she engaged two directors she had already worked with. Erwin Gepard was in charge of the script in which Hamlet was portrayed as a woman.

The reviews were ambivalent and criticized the falsification of Shakespeare but praised the acting of Asta Nielsen. Nevertheless the premiere of Hamlet in 1921 was a success. The film became a box office hit and was subsequently released in America.

A thrilling live experience not to be missed!

With live music by SWS’ good friend Lillian Henley:
Lillian has written for both contemporary film and silent films, and she shares a passion for both. Lillian has accompanied at the British Silent Film Festival (2014 & 2013), Barbican Centre, (Fashion in Film Festival 2010) Hoxton Hall (Laurel & Hardy shorts – Wrong Again & Habeas Corpus) and the Cinema Museum in London. Lillian regularly accompanies silent films with John Sweeney and Cyrus Gabrysch for the silent film club, Kennington Bioscope.

More info and how to book tickets.


Sunday 13th November 2016: The Battle of the Somme (1916) – Live Accompaniment by Stephen Horne & Martin Pyne
Curzon Community Cinema, Clevedon BS21 6NN – 2:00 pm 

Curzon Cinema and Arts and South West Silents are proud to present The Battle of the Somme (1916) with live with the original musical score from 1916 with accompaniment from Pianist Stephen Horne and Percussionist Martin Pyne. This screening will take place on Remembrance Sunday 2016.

A huge box office hit on release in 1916 with nearly 20 million people flocking to see it, this British government propaganda film blends real footage with sequences that were staged for the cameras. The Somme marked the first British offensive to which cameramen were given access, documenting front line action as it took place.

Marking it’s centenary the film will tour the UK increasing its audience reach that remains larger than Bond, Star Wars or any other film!

The Battle of the Somme, fought from 1 July – 18 November 1916, was the first British offensive of the First World War to which cameramen were given access, in order to film the front line action as it took place. Two official War Office cameramen, Geoffrey Malins and John McDowell, were attached to the British Expeditionary Forces and returned to London just ten days after the start of the battle with 8,000 feet of film.

The resulting 80-minute film, The Battle of the Somme, was released in picture houses across the UK in August 1916, while the battle was still being fought. It made an enormous impression on the public and was seen by at least half the population. Audiences were greatly impressed by the film’s realism, as well as being traumatised by the candid and unprecedented images of British wounded and dead. The Battle of the Somme also had considerable international impact, being shown to great acclaim throughout Europe, the Americas and in countries of the former British Empire.

“Stephen Horne displayed dazzling virtuosity in his accompaniment for a variety of films… creating orchestral effects with the piano soundboard and accompanying himself on flute and accordion!”
Leonard Maltin


Wednesday 16th November 2016: Irish Silent Film Night: SWS Club Screening
Cinema Room Upstairs, Lansdown Pub, Clifton, BS1 1AF – Doors 7:30pm / Intro 8:00pm

2016 marked the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, the rebellion against British rule that was a key moment in the history of Ireland. Though considered a military failure for the revolutionaries, it ultimately led to the birth of an independent republic.

To conclude our Club Screenings for 2016 we are thrilled to invite back our friend Dr Carol O’Sullivan (Bristol University) who will introduce one of the most infamous and yet, very much thought lost Irish films which depicts the Irish War of Independence.

Free Admission: More info on our Facebook Page.


Friday 2nd December 2016: A Very Merry Knees Up! Christmas Dirinks
Christmas Steps Pub + 20th Century Flicks, Bristol BS1 5BS – 7:30pm

Minces pies in the shops; the John Lewis advert is nearly here… It can only mean that Christmas is practically upon us!

What’s more it means it’s time for you to join us for our end of year Christmas drinks! And what better place to celebrate Christmas but on Bristol’s very own Christmas Steps Arts Quarter AND in particular, at the wonderful 20th Century Flicks!

We have once again taken over this great Bristol institution and are planning to screen something rather festive; although we can’t be sure what to screen yet… but rest ashored, it will be worth coming along!

The night will also give you a change to look through the vast collection 20th Century Flicks has to offer to rent out (they have every VHS known to man) or you can just come along to have a chat with your fellow film buffs.
More info coming soon! Save the Date!


Tuesday 27th – Friday 30th December 2016: Abel Gance’s Napoleon (1927)
Watershed, Bristol

The film itself is one of the real legends of the history of the cinema! The epic restoration undertaken by film historian Kevin Brownlow was legendary in itself. Abel Gance’s epic 1927 masterpiece finally enters the digital era following a monumental, generation-spanning restoration project led by Brownlow. This coming December join us to experience one of the most incredible films ever made on the big screen!

Book your tickets NOW! What better way to conclude 2016!


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