Why not pop down to the National Film Theatre on London’s South Bank next Tuesday evening to see a programme of some of the less usual kind of silent films? The Birds and the Bees is a special programme of early natural history films, put together by the BFI’s curator of silent film, Bryony Dixon. Early British film history is rich in naturalist filmmakers who, decades before David Attenborough, were combining science with entertainment to prove that the movies could do more than just distract the masses with slapstick and melodrama. Filmmakers such as Oliver Pike, who specialised in recording birds in their habitat in films such as St Kilda, its People and Birds (1908); or the wonderful Percy Smith, who made stop-frame films of plant growth that could take over a year to produce, as well as meticulous studies of animal life with a touch of showmanship about them. Or what about the extraordinary J.C. ‘Bee’ Mason, war cameraman, adventurer and apiarist, whose films of his life-long hobby, such as The Bee’s Eviction (1909), are mad entertainment.
It’s on at 18.15, Tuesday June 16th in NFT2. More details from the BFI Southbank web pages.