The Bioscope Newsreel failed to hit your screens last Friday, as the entire editorial team was in Spain. But we have returned, with items curious and diverting for your delectation and instruction.
100 Years of YouTube
In case you missed it, one of Google’s contribution to April Fools’ Day was to add a “1911” button to YouTube that allowed users to convert videos into faux silent films, complete with sepia tone, scratches (naturally) and tinkly piano (of course). Unfortunately the joke fell somewhat flat for some, as many videos of serious note (9/11, the Japanese tsunami etc.) hardly lended themselves to facetious treatment. Read more.
We have an app for that
More on faux silents, as we now have Silent Film Director, a new app made by MacPhun for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad and available on the iTunes App Store. It allows you to convert your videos into “classic silent movies”. There are six themed filters: an “old and grainy 20s-era movie filter”, 60s home video, 70s-era home video, standard black-and-white, sepia-toned, and “Vintage Sepia” with extra graininess and signs of wear and tear. There are soundtracks you can add, then upload your video to YouTube, share it on Facebook, or enter the developers’ “International Silent Film” content. Read more.
Eclipse has issued a three-disc set that brings together the five surviving silent films of Japanese master Mikio Naruse, pre-eminent in studies of women’s lives. They are the short film Flunky, Work Hard (1931), No Blood Relation (1932), Apart From You (1933), Every-Night Dreams (1933) and Street Without End (1934). The films are presented silent, with optional soundtracks, and come with English subtitles. Read more.
The Garbo note
Greta Garbo is going to be on a banknote. She is one of six prominent Swedes (including Ingmar Bergman) whose faces have been selected to appear on Swedish bills scheduled to come into circulation around 2014-15. Is she the first film person (and of course she was a silent film person) to be so honoured? Read more.
One of the items we brought with us from Spain was the English version of Joan M. Minguet Batllori’s Segundo de Chomón: The Cinema of Fascination. It’s a pleasing critical biography of the leading Spanish of the early cinema period, someone whose reputation as a master of the fantastical continues to grow. See for instance Chris Edwards’ detailed appreciation of Sculpteur moderne (1908) over at the fine Silent Volume blog. Read more.