Let's hear it for silence
text size

Let's hear it for silence

3rd Silent Film Festival in Thailand has a quality line-up


In the world full of noise, let's appreciate the sound of silence. The 3rd Silent Film Festival in Thailand will run from June 16-22 at Scala and Lido, with a programme of marvellous classics from the 1920s. Two pianists specialising in performing with silent films will accompany every screening.

The highlights will be three films by German master F.W. Murnau. The festival will open at Scala with Nosferatu (1922), the grandfather of all horror films with that emblematical shot of the vampire's silhouette with his outstretched talons. Made at the height of German Expressionism, the film is a loose adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, though the gnarled appearance of the monster has the symbolic nervousness of Weimar Germany.

Thai musician Anan Nak-khong will perform live with Gunter A Buchwald. The festival will also show Murnau's Sunrise (1927), often regarded as one of the best films in cinema history. The film is a romantic drama in which Murnau explored many photographic and perspective techniques; it was made in Hollywood after the German director had emigrated to the US. The third Murnau film to be shown is The Last Laugh (1924), about a doorman who is demoted to bathroom cleaner and his subsequent ordeals.

One of the greatest silent film stars Buster Keaton will enliven the screen in Go West (1925). This year marks the 50th after Keaton's death, and here we'll see the genius clown playing a man who leaves New York for the West and finds himself in a ranch where he befriends a cow and tries to become, naturally, a cowboy. Keaton's slapstick tricks, poker-faced humour and precise comedic rhythm are on full display here.

Two French films with two different sensibilities are in the programme. Two Timid Souls (1928) is a comedy and the last silent film by the renowned Rene Claire; it tells the story of a shy lawyer and his sly client who tries to seduce the former's girlfriend.


Meanwhile The Swallow And The Titmouse (1920) is a drama shot in a documentary style: the film, by Andre Antoine, is set entirely on a barge that is transporting coal and other supplies to remote areas that have been starved by World War I.

From Britain, we'll see Shooting Stars (1928), a romantic drama with a Hitchcockian twist in the story of a married actress who falls for another man on the set. Directed by Anthony Asquit, the film is a morality tale that also brings the audience to confront the illusion of filmmaking.

Two more films in the festival include the German film Hamlet (1921), an adaptation of Shakespeare's play, and the German drama Varieté (1925), about a love affair in a circus.

The 3rd Silent Film Festival in Thailand will run from June 16-22 at Scala and Lido. Tickets are available from today.

Do you like the content of this article?