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.