Super Silent Films for Super September

After our summer break (as well as Cinema Rediscovered 2017 to be honest) we are back! September is always an odd month, as it very much bookends not only our return but also the British Silent Film Festival as well as Le Gironate Del Cinema Muto (Pordenone Silent Film Festival). So usually we try and keep September quiet, but there is so much stuff we wanted to do this autumn and winter we just had to put a few things into September.

So, please find below the main highlights for September 2017 from us and the main events we are producing with the likes of the Curzon Cinema, Clevedon, Scalarama 2017  as well as a new incentive that we are thrilled to announce with Cube Cinema, Bristol. More information about that below; so for now, check out what we have planned for September and we will see you at the movies!

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William Friese-Greene (1855 – 1921)

Celebrating a Bristol Film Pioneer: William Friese-Greene
Thursday 7th September / 19:00
Victoria Pub, 2 Southleigh Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 2BH

It’s back! After the huge success of celebrating one of Bristol’s film heroes, South West Silents and Dawkins Ales are proud to announce another chance to raise a glass to celebrate the great Bristol film pioneer, William Friese-Greene.

Born in Bristol on 7th September 1855, William Edward Green (the Friese-Greene was added later) is classed by many as one of the founding fathers of British Cinema and a key figure in the early development of cinematography as a whole. In some circles he is celebrated, while in others he is damned for filing patents on devices he allegedly didn’t invent.

On Thursday 7th September 2017 (Greene’s birthday in fact) we will celebrate the inventor’s birthday by celebrating the return of the beer dedicated to him. ‘The Friese-Greene’ will be launched at the Dawkins’ pub The Victoria, Clifton (next to the Lido) with a selection of films inspired by the work of William Friese-Greene on the night.

The launch party starts at 7:00pm and will end late. Please arrive whenever you like, the doors and bar will be open!

More info about the beer itself and who William Friese-Greene was on our page from last year. Hope to see you there!


Napoleon (1927)

Napoleon (Abel Gance / 1927)
Sunday 10th September / 11:00
Curzon Community Cinema Limited, 46 Old Church Road, Clevedon, BS21 6NN

“Napoleon is pure cinema, and cinema was designed for sharing. There’s something about the way it was shot that makes it like no other. I can’t tell you how many people, having seen our restoration, have said: “That was the greatest experience I have ever had in a motion picture theatre” 
– Kevin Brownlow, Film Historian

Marking a new chapter in the history of one of the world’s greatest films, this release of Abel Gance’s Napoleon is the culmination of a project spanning 50 years – it is the film event of the century. Recently digitally restored by the BFI and Oscar®-winning film historian Kevin Brownlow, this cinematic triumph is available to see in a cinema atmosphere once again!

Abel Gance’s heroic depiction of the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte is an undisputed cinema landmark. Famed for its groundbreaking technical innovations, including its famous triptych finale, and a running time of 5 ½ hours, Gance’s epic traverses many of the formative experiences that shaped Napoleon’s rapid advancement.

Cool under pressure, Bonaparte overcomes fierce rivals, the deadly Terror and political machinations to seal his imperial destiny. Monumental and visionary, the story’s chapters play out in exhilarating fashion tied together by an incredible feat of editing and technical ingenuity.

Featuring an equally mammoth score composed and conducted by Carl Davis (newly recorded in 7.1), this definitive digital restoration presents this silent masterpiece in all its grandiose glory.


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SWS Club Screening: A Night of Early Colour Films
Wednesday 20th September / 20:00
The Lansdown, 8 Clifton Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1AF

After a summer break our free Club Screenings are back! September marks the start of autumn with the season’s wonderful variety of colours.

For our September free Club Screening we will be hosting a special programme showcasing a variety of rare early colour films from across the silent period. Tinted and toned specialities, some meticulously hand stencilled examples, and maybe even some of the earliest experiments in capture true colours on film.

A unique programme with some exclusive films never before seen in Bristol!

Doors open at 19:30 for a 20:00 start, upstairs at the wonderful Lansdown pub in Clifton.


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London Symphony (2017)

London Symphony (Alex Barrett / 2017)
Monday 18th September / 18:30
Wednesday 20th September / 20:45
Cube Cinema, Dove St S, Avon, Bristol BS2 8JD

Thursday 21st September / 19:30 
Curzon Community Cinema Limited, 46 Old Church Road, Clevedon, BS21 6NN

Director Alex Barrett brings his gloriously beautiful variation on the lost silent city symphony genre of the 1920s to the South West with his debut feature, London Symphony!

Soundtracked by a deft contemporary score (composer James McWilliam), London Symphony takes the viewer on a poetic journey through London today, a city that is as vibrant in places as it is quaint in others, and as marked by change as it remains quintessentially identifiable. Diverse, energetic, and meditative, Barrett’s film explores the contradictions and charms of modern life in our capital city.

It is a meditative and blissful film that celebrates a vibrant and visually stunning city. It has been nominated for the Michael Powell Award for Best British Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2017.

October Highlights:

Much is already planned for October 2017, but because we like you all, we thought we would give you an advance look.

Firstly, we are thrilled that October will mark a new relationship between South West Silents and the Cube Cinema, Bristol. For the next few months we are planning to bring you some of the best prints in the world and screen them on the big screen, sometimes, with special introductions as well as live music! Some screenings will include newly restored films on DCP, while others will have a more rugged look when we screen some films on 35mm!

Berlin: Symphony of a City (1927)

SWS Presents: Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (Walter Ruttman / 1927)
Friday 13th October / 20:00
Cube Cinema, Dove St S, Avon, Bristol BS2 8JD
(Screening format – DCP of the new restoration by the Deutsche Kinemathek)

To tie in with the general cinema release of Alex Barrett’s London Symphony (2017), we return to one of the key films that inspired Barrett.

This is a visual symphony in five movements celebrating the Berlin of 1927: the people, the place, the everyday details of life on the streets. Director Walter Ruttman, an experimental filmmaker, approached cinema in similar ways to his Russian contemporary Dziga Vertoz, mixing documentary, abstract, and expressionist modes for a non-narrative style that captured the life of his countrymen. But where Vertov mixed his observations with examples of the communist dream in action, Ruttman re-creates documentary as, in his own words, “a melody of pictures.”

Within the loose structure of a day in the life of the city (with a prologue that travels from the country into the city on a barreling train), the film takes us from dawn to dusk, observing the silent city as it awakens with a bustle of activity, then the action builds and calms until the city settles back into sleep.

But the city is as much the architecture, the streets, and the machinery of industry as it is people, and Ruttman weaves all these elements together to create a portrait in montage, the poetic document of a great European city captured in action.

Held together by rhythm, movement, and theme, Ruttman creates a documentary that is both involving and beautiful to behold.

Original 1927 recorded soundtrack by Edmund Meisel.

Hamlet (1921)

Hamlet (Svend Gade & Heinz Schall / 1921)
Sunday 22nd October / 19:00
Curzon Community Cinema Limited, 46 Old Church Road, Clevedon, BS21 6NN
(Screening format – DCP of the new restoration by the Deutsches Filminutestitut)

Probably for the last time for us (for now anyway) the superb Asta Nielsen and the wonderful Lillian Henley return for one last time to screen Asta Nielsen’s stunning Hamlet in late October!

Starring the gorgeous Danish siren of the silent screen, Asta Nielsen, this adaptation supposes that Hamlet’s inner turmoil centred on being born a girl and having to pass incognito as the male heir to the throne. Visually stunning and tragically fated, this will be a familiar yet novel adaptation for young and old fans of the Bard.

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.

Presented here in a vibrant new restoration with tinted colour tones, this screening will be accompanied by the wonderful Lillian Henley, experienced pianist at the Cinema Museum in London. A thrilling live experience not to be missed!

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