HomeEntertainmentSilent dispatches Spring 2023: essays, films and festivals

Silent dispatches Spring 2023: essays, films and festivals

Film on Film Festival

Lots to enjoy at the BFI Film on Film festival this summer (8-10 June) but now the lineup is out we can confirm that there are silents to be savoured among the banquet. British silents in fact: The First Born (Miles Mander, 1928), and two Manning Haynes films: Sam’s Boy (1922) and The Boatswain’s Mate (1924). All three films with be screened on vintage prints with live piano accompaniment, naturally. And I am also intrigued by a programme of dialogue-free “visual documentaries” dating from 1947-71 with live musical accompaniment.

Stella Dallas (1925)
Stella Dallas (1925)

Stella Dallas

Register now at the Film Foundation Screening Room for access to a stream of Henry King’s sublime Stella Dallas (1925), starring Belle Bennett. This is the new, MOMA restoration of the film, and it will screen with a recording of Stephen Horne’s gorgeous score. Don’t miss out.

Weimar Cinema Spring 2023

Remember I told you about the fabulous resource that is This comprehensive website is also a journal, and the Spring 2023 edition has just been published. Contents include a dossier by Oksana Bulgakova on the difficult reception of Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin in Berlin in 1926, as well as essays by Tom Gunning, So Mayer, Tatjana Hramova, Leonard Quaresima, Michael Cowan and Anton Kaes. Oh, and, um, me on Pabst. I especially enjoyed reading Mayer on Queer Weimar Cinema Across Borders, ahead of tomorrow’s Gender Rebels event in Bristol.

Feminist Media Histories 9.2

The Feminist Media Histories journal edited by Jennifer Bean has devoted its newest issue to Women and the Silent Screen, and it is full of goodness, including Christine Gledhill on Dinah Shurey, and WFPP’s Kate Saccone interviewing Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi. Pinch me, but at Pordenone last year I got to interview the incredible Julie K. Allen all about Asta Nielsen for this issue, which was a real highlight. From the same press, please also lookout for the edited collection Incomplete: the Feminist Possibilities of the Unfinished Film. The editors for this one are Alix Beeston and Stefan Solomon.

House on the Volcano

Klassiki Online celebrates 100 years of Armenian cinema by streaming this silent classic by Hamo Bek-Nazaryan from 1928, with a newly commissioned score by Juliet Merchant.  The film is about an oil workers’ strike in Baku, recalled by an older man later in life.

Special Effects and German Silent Film

Dr Katharina Loew will be giving a free talk on Zoom to discuss her book, also titled Special Effects and German Silent Film on 26 April. Sign up here. Thanks to the Weimar CInema Network for this one.

Sound of Silent

Also in June, there is a new silent film festival on the circuit. Sound of Silent will take place in Chartres, northern France and promises 200 films and 30 ciné-concerts. Ambitious, certainly. The festival runs 30 May to 4 June and tickets are already on sale. Here’s what we’re promised. “Sound Of Silent – Chartres International Silent Film Festival, will notably celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Disney studio, Warner Bros and Pathé Baby, but also German expressionist cinema, the golden age of Italian and Chinese silent cinema and Japanese, Alice Guy, the first female director, or even Oscar Micheaux, the first African-American producer, director and screenwriter.” 

Lulu at the Paramount

Yet further afield (depending on where you start out), San Francisco Silent Film Festival is screening Pandora’s Box (GW Pabst, 1929) at the stunning Paramount Theatre in Oakland next month, accompanied by Club Foot Orchestra and San Francisco Conservatory of Music. It’s quite a film, trust me ( 😉 ), and seeing the new restoration in such grand surroundings will be an unforgettable experience. Watch out soon for details about the festival itself, which runs 12-16 July this year.

Remember Ritrovato

Wherever you are in the world.

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