This August, silent film fans in search of a summer holiday should take trip to sunny West Sussex, and the Chichester International Film Festival. The festival is now in its 31st year, and in 2023 Roger Gibson steps down as Artistic Director and Programmer of the festival, a post he has held for many years. It’s no coincidence that there are a few of his favourite films in the programme, including some of the silent classics.
In fact, there is an especially strong lineup of silent cinema with live music at the festival this year, which runs 4-27 August. The silent film programme comprises Neil Brand’s acclaimed Laurel and Hardy show, John Sweeney playing for Gibson’s choice The Italian Straw Hat, Ben Hall accompanying The Phantom of the Opera on the St John’s Chapel organ, and the Buster Plays Buster show featuring Steamboat Bill, Jr. There’s also a screening of Harold Lloyd’s jaw-dropping stunt comedy Safety Last!.
Here is the full silent lineup, and links for booking tickets, which will be on sale on Friday 21 July.
- 13 & 26 August Safety Last!, New Park Cinema, Chichester – book here.
- 15 August The Italian Straw Hat with John Sweeney, Guildhall, Priory Park, Chichester – book here.
- 16 August Buster Plays Buster, Guildhall, Priory Park, Chichester – book here.
- 22 August Neil Brand Presents Laurel and Hardy, New Park Cinema, Chichester – book here.
- 25 August The Phantom of the Opera, St John’s Chapel, Chichester – book here.
- Explore the full lineup of the 2023 Chichester International Film Festival here, and the Special Events in particular here.
- I am also giving a talk at the festival, on the career of Cate Blanchett, who is the subject of a retrospective strand, and strikes permitting, Roger and I will be leading a Q&A with the actress after a screening of the fabulous Tár. Both of these events are on 21 August.
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