Firstly, Happy New Year from all of us at South West Silents!
As always with a new year it isn’t too long until we start talking everything silent comedy with Bristol’s very own Slapstick Festival (18th – 22nd January 2017). Much has changed since the first Slapstick Festival in 2005 but the passion for everything silent comedy is most certainly there as the 2017 Festival Line Up shows!
As always, the festival covers a wide range of tastes so we thought we would quickly highlight four events which we are very excited about… although it was incredibly difficult to decide as there is so much great stuff scheduled.
Also, don’t forget our free Club Screenings start back up just after Slapstick Festival on Wednesday 25th January when we look at Animated Silent Comedy. More info on this and future events can be found on our main webpage and on our Twitter and Facebook pages.
More about Slapstick Festival 2017 soon…but for now get clicking on the links below and get booking to avoid disappointment!
In October 2016 we lost a very good friend. Pierre Étaix (1928-2016) was a hugely talented filmmaker and a wonderful person to be around; there was never a sad face when he was about. We paid our own tribute at our October Club Screening last year but this special event gives you an even better chance to see the celebrated work of Pierre.
One of the best films from one of the greatest French filmmakers, Pierre Étaix’s The Suitor is a remarkable homage to the great American silent comics, with Étaix himself in the lead role of an innocent young man still in the bosom of his family as they urge him to get out and find himself a wife.
Pierre plays a shy man whose seemingly sole focus in life is studying astrology in solitude – a pastime he often finds trying since he still lives at and studies in his parents’ house. They would rather he started dating and got married. Eager to please but not knowing how to approach women in a romantic way, he embarks on the task with a keen enthusiasm – and also a hilarious lack of skill. Hugely entertaining and remarkably inventive, The Suitor will lift your imagination and spirit. Don’t miss this rare chance to see a Pierre Étaix classic on the big screen.
Introduced by David Robinson, Director Emeritus of Giornate Cinema Muto.
It is incredibly hard to see any Raymond Griffith films anywhere, let alone on the big screen, so the chance to see Paths to Paradise is a really rare treat, especially seeing that the actual print is coming from Kevin Brownlow’s very own personal collection.
Kevin will champion this unsung comic who, whilst mostly forgotten today, produced a series of funny, creative features in the 1920s and was deservedly considered a contemporary of the great silent clowns. Live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney. Highly recommended.
Two of the giants of the silent era crash land on Saturday morning! This should be a great combination of action (from Fairbanks) and comedy (from Chaplin) with some fascinating information from Kevin Brownlow. The double bill will be made up of:
The Matrimaniac (1916): Paul Powell / US / 44mins
An early Fairbanks outing showcasing his flair for charm, comedy and athleticism.
The Count (1916): Charles Chaplin / US / 24mins
The first outing at Slapstick for this little known Mutual film from Charlie’s happiest years of film-making.
One element which hasn’t really been discussed before at Slapstick is the importance of small gauge formats such as 8mm and 9.5mm so let’s hope this event specially looking at 16mm titles will start a series of events for a future Slapstick Festival.
Slapstick comedy shorts were excellent fodder for home movie companies of the 1920s and 1930s. Kodascope and Pathéscope rented or sold safety film prints for people to watch in their homes, not realising that decades later they would out-survive the 35mm versions originally in circulation. This programme contains hilarious rare slapstick shorts starring comedy stars whose work has been largely forgotten.
This event has been curated by Ben Model (silent film historian, accompanist and filmmaker) and will be hosted by Goodie Bill Oddie and Infinite Monkey Cage (Radio 4) Star Robin Ince.
With live accompaniment from Guenter A. Buchwald.