My thanks to John Riley for alerting me to these two videos. They depict the screening of Metropolis at the Seminci film festival in Valladolid, Spain, late October, when the Fritz Lang film was exhibited at the Miguel Delibes Auditorium with live orchestral accompaniment from the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León. Of itself, this might be of passing interest but nothing special. What pleases me is what these two festival-produced videos is what they capture of the atmosphere of a prestige silent screening. The first shows the audience arriving, chatting in the auditorium and taking their seats. It captures the sense of a cultural treat, the festival spirit. Brief as it is, it’s a people-watching treat.
And then the audience settles down, the orchestra takes its place, the conductor is applauded, the lights go down and the film begins. The second video captures such opening moments familiar to anyone who has attended a silent film show with orchestra, but there’s not much recorded of such events in this way, particularly the point where the film gets underway and we can see both orchestra and film on screen. It’s a brief record, but one worth sharing with you.