Channel 4 has had another of its engrossing list programmes; this one was Fifty Films to See Before You Die. And, guess what, there wasn’t a silent film in it. In fact there were only six black-and-white films in it (A Night at the Opera, This Sporting Life, Touch of Evil, A Bout de Souffle, The Apartment and Manhattan). Our film critics, who selected this list, evidently see very little beyond their own lifetimes. And clearly many of them do not see silent films at all – probably literally so. Do we have separate film histories here? It’s been interesting to see in some recent film histories and reference books how themes in film history often seem to start in 1930, or are divided up into the silent and sound eras. Silent cinema has become a foreign country.

Crazy Cinématographe – Travelling Cinema in Europe


An update on the Crazy Cinématographe project and the forthcoming conference, Travelling Cinema in Europe, taking place in Luxembourg, 6-8 September 2007. There is now a project/conference website, not all of which is active as yet, but there are these details of the programme:

International Conference

Travelling Cinema in Europe / Wanderkino in Europa

Luxembourg, 6 – 8 September 2007

Under the auspices of Luxembourg and Greater Region European Capital of Culture, 2007
Hosted by Cinémathèque de la Ville de Luxembourg and Trier University
Curated by Martin Loiperdinger in cooperation with KINtop

Programme of the Conference (as of 23 May 2007):

Thursday, 6 September 2007

13.00 Conference Opening
Panel 1: Travelling Cinema in Europe Before World War One
13.30 – 15.00 Vanessa Toulmin (Sheffield): “The World at Your Doorsteps”: Travelling Cinematograph Shows in the United Kingdom
Matthew Solomon (New York): Méliès and the Fairground
15.00 – 15.30 Coffee Break
15.30 – 17.00 Guido Convents (Brussels): International Travelling Cinemas in Belgium
Mustafa Ozen (Utrecht): Travelling Cinemas in Istanbul
17.30 – 18.00 Coffee Break
18.00 – 19.30 N. N.: Travelling Cinemas As Seen From the Fairground Context
Jeanpaul Goergen (Berlin) : Memories of Travelling Cinema Showmen
20.00 Dinner

Friday, 7 September 2007

Panel 1 continued
09.00 – 10.30 Joseph Garncarz (Siegen): Travelling Cinema – A European Institution
Daniel Fritsch (Berlin): The Austrian travelling showbusiness magazine Die Schwalbe
10.30-11.00 Coffee Break
Panel 2: Non-commercial Uses of Travelling Film and Picture Shows
11.00 – 13.30 Torsten Gärtner (Trier): Travelling Lantern Mission in the United Kingdom
Christian Kuchler (München): Catholic Mission through Travelling Film Shows in Bavaria
Yvonne Zimmermann (Zürich): Advertising Brands through Travelling Corporate Film Shows in Switzerland
13.30 – 15.00 Lunch Break
15.00 – 16.30 Urszula Biel (Gliwice): German and Polish Agitation through Travelling Cinemas in Upper Silesia
Thomas Tode (Hamburg): Agitprop through Travelling Cinemas on Rail in the Soviet Union
16.30 -17.00 Coffee Break
Panel 3: Travelling Cinema Today
17.00-19.00 Short Presentations of Current Activities (Cinéma Numérique in France, Movimiento – Short Films on the Road, Ciné Fleuve in the Greater Region, Crazy Cinématographe)
20.00 – Crazy Cinématographe, Schueberfouer, Luxembourg

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Panel 4: Travelling Cinema in the Greater Region
09.00 – 10.30 Uli Jung (Trier): Travelling Cinema in the Greater Region – an Overview
Paul Lesch (Luxemburg): Travelling Cinema in Luxemburg
10.30 – 11.00 Coffee Break
11.00 – 12.30 Gerhild Krebs (Saarbrücken): Hirth’s Travelling Cinema Palace in the Saar Region
Brigitte Braun (Trier): Travelling Stand-Alone Film Shows in the Greater Region
12.30 – 13.30 Lunch Break
13.30 – 15.00 Closing Discussion
15.00 End of Conference

Crazy Cinématographe itself is a travelling cinema show, featuring films from the first decade of the twentieth century which is touring Luxembourg through August and September, and then Trier (Germany), Saarbrücken (Germany), Thionville (France) and Liège (Belgium). It’s described thus:

A travelling cinema in a circus tent brings new life to a traditional fairground attraction. Pedlars, musicians and barkers will sweep visitors into the festivities of ‘Crazy Cinématographe’ for zany, outlandish cinematic experiences. It’s a dive into a phantasmagorical, burlesque world with outrageous freak shows, and when night falls, a discovery of erotic fantasies.

There are two associated DVD releases, and when I find more information that’s not in German, I’ll tell you about them.