People on Sunday (Menschen am Sonntag)
Killruddery Film Festival
Ireland’s Killruddery Film Festival, with its strong emphasis on silent film, returns 10-13 March 2011 and the programme has just been announced. Highlights include The O’Kalems in Ireland, La Roue, White Shadows in the South Seas, 7th Heaven, Early Masterpieces of the Avant Garde, The Garden of Eden, Regeneration, People on Sunday and Ireland’s Other Silent Film Heritage (the Irish in Early Hollywood), an illustrated lecture by Kevin Brownlow. Read more.
Kansas Silent Film Festival
The annual Kansas Silent Film Festival takes place 25-27 February 2011. Highlights include David Shepard speaking on Chaplin at Keystone, Speedy, Chang, The Circus, The Last Command, A Thief Catcher, 7th Heaven and Wings. Special guest will be Harold lloyd expert Annette D’Agonstino Llloyd. Read more.
Q&A with film scholar Frank Kessler
On Cinespect, there’s a thoughtful interview with Frank Kessler, early film historian, sometime Bioscope contributor, and all round good chap, discussing issues in media historiography and the trick film by way of Christian Metz and Georges Méliès. Read more.
How to be a motion picture director
Dan North’s rather fine Spectacular Attractions blog offers unusual advice from Marshall Neilan in 1925 on how to be a motion picture director. “How should a director act in public?” “Like a nut or like an owl. Both methods have proved successful. By no means act normal”. Read more.
It hasn’t much to do with silent films, but the BBC’s quiet announcement of a change in the Service Licence for its TV channel BBC4 and radio channels Radio 3 and Radio 4 is highly significant for access to audio-visual archives online. All three will now all have the the ability to offer programming on-demand for an unlimited period after broadcast, instead of the limited period at present. This is the start of something big – the permanent online archive for broadcast content. Keep watching. Read more.
‘Til next time.
Well, I’m biased, because Frank Kessler was my PhD supervisor, but I must say he is one of the few people who can write about film theory and still make it understandable and relevant to early film. I reckon that the 1908 article he mentions about tricks etc is: ‘Les trucs du cinématographe’, Lectures Pour Tous, June 1908. I found the volume a while back in a second-hand bookstore and it is indeed a very interesting article — showing how to do the tricks, even though M. Melies didn’t want the secrets revealed…
Are the photographs showing how Gaumont trick films were made the same as appear in F.A. Talbot’s Moving Pictures: How They are Made and Worked?
Interesting question. No they’re not. I did a quick check and they’re all(?) different. I’ll try to scan the pages of my ‘Lectures Pour Tous’ in the next week or so and email you the scans as a not-too-big file. Maybe you or one of Bioscope readers will be able to identify the films?
Please do if you can. We might have a piece on revealing the tricks of the trade.