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Festival Films

FESTIVAL FILMS + PASSES/TICKETS
APRIL 12-14, 2024 AT THE REVUE CINEMA, 400 RONCESVALLES AVE.
FESTIVAL PASS $75 / SENIOR/YOUTH* PASS $69
SATURDAY OR SUNDAY PASS $30 / SENIOR/YOUTH $27
SINGLE TICKET: $17
DISCOUNTED SENIOR/YOUTH* TICKETS: $14 ON MARK OF ZORRO & 1000 LAFFS: SURREAL SLAPSTICK
HST included in the price, Advance Ticket/Pass prices do not include service fees from Universe
*Senior= 65 yrs & OVER  Youth=25 yrs & under
TSFF RESERVES THE RIGHT TO REPLACE FILMS IF, DUE TO UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES,  THEY CANNOT BE SCREENED
FOR MORE INFO ON TICKETS/REFUNDS PLEASE GO TO TICKET INFO

PASSES AND TICKETS ARE NOT MAILED





ADVANCE PASSES AVAILABLE FROM OUR SQUARE SITE (if the webpage doesn't open properly, copy/paste Film Festival Passes | Toronto Silent Film Festival (square.site)






FRIDAY APRIL 12, 2024 Start Time: 6:30PM
PANDORA'S BOX 1928/1929 Germany 133 min TORONTO RESTORATION* PREMIERE
ACCOMPANIST: MARILYN LERNER
$17 in advance $20 at the door
Director: G. W. Pabst
Cinematographer: Gunther Krampf; Editor: Joseph R Fieseler; Screenplay: Ladislaus Vajda, based on the stage plays Erdgeist & Di Buchse Der Pandora by Frank Wedekind
Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Franz Lederer, Alice Roberts, Carl Goetz
The Beautiful and Damned.
Today, Pandora’s Box is rightly celebrated as one of silent cinema’s greatest masterpieces. It’s a brilliantly directed, dark, beautiful film filled with meticulous attention to details, fluid camera work, expressive lighting and, of course, the potent performance by Louise Brooks as Lulu.
But in its day, it had one of the more troubled histories of any major film. There were attacks about its adaptation from the famed German sources, the horror of using an American actress in such an important role, major censorship cuts, indifferent or even hostile reviews, and poor audience reactions. Ruthlessly cut to about 80 minutes, intertitles were also changed to temper moral outrages and a terrible saccharine ending tagged on in many counties. Other countries just ended up banning it outright for years. The release year of 1929 truly did signal the end of silent era so it’s fitting that what made silent film so powerful is also best personified in Pandora’s Box. It had achieved near perfection in image, style, content, and psycho-eroticism and then, like many excellent late 1920 films, it just disappeared for decades. Fortunately for us, the return of Pandora’s Box is now a cause for celebration with the new 2K restoration.
So, who is Lulu? She’s a portrait of a progressive and complex woman-one unconstrained by morality or social mores. But Lulu was no classic femme fatale-there’s an odd innocence that she exudes which is both disconcerting and, at times, questionable. She appears to go through life expressing herself through desire, challenging the complacency of everyone (and that includes her movie audiences), a measure of pleasure and pain to those who could not or would not break from their psychological bondage with her. Is she ignorant (or deliberately ignorant depending on your point of view) of the destructive wake she leaves? While there is luminous beauty in every frame, and Louise Brook’s is astonishing in her performance, the damnation of the dark soul of the film is always sitting just underneath.  
*Restored from the best surviving 35mm elements at Haghefilm Conservation under the supervision of the Deutsch Kinemathek with the co-operation of George Eastman Museum, the Cinematheque Francaise, Cineteca di Bologn, Narodni filmovy archi, and Gosfilmofond
TSFF would like to thank Janus Films for the DCP of this film
Recommended Reading: Louise Brooks by Barry Paris
Links: The Louise Brooks Society Pandora's Box



SATURDAY APRIL 13, 2024 Start Time: 1pm
MARK OF ZORRO 1920 107 min
ACCOMPANIST: MORGAN-PAIGE MELBOURNE
$17 / $14-senior 65+ /youth -25
Director: Fred Niblo
Cinematographers: Hans Thorpe, William McGann; Art Direction: Edward Langley; Scenario: Douglas Fairbanks, Eugene Miller from the Johnston McCulley story The Curse of Capistrano
Douglas Fairbanks, Noah Berry, Charles Hill Mailes, Claire McDowell
Get ready for swashbuckling adventure! Douglas Fairbanks, the first king of Hollywood, was a well- known light comedian until he decided to change it all. With Zorro, he virtually created the swashbuckling adventure genre. Zorro was perfect vehicle for his daring athletic style, exuberance and mischievous comedy. His adaptation of The Curse of Capistrano proved so successful that all later versions on film, television, video games and comics books are based on the archetype that Fairbanks created, right down the Z. Zorro proved so popular that films, serials, tv show and comic books were born. Batman originator, Bob Kane, cites this film as his main influence in the Dark Knight’s development.
Fairbanks dove into the preparations for the action scenes with his usual dedication to every detail. The result were meticulous stunts and action sequences made, of course, in real time, in camera and absolutely no CGI or AI. They'll have you cheering right on through the final fade out.  
Fairbanks recognized that his double role of the dashing Zorro and contrasting foppish Don Diego Vega, was ripe for combining his extraordinary trademark athleticism and comedic stylings. While not the first to feature dual roles (TSFF goers will remember Filibus 1916) its immense popularity led to the solid tradition of the masked superhero and alter-ego, a practice that resonates down through today with such icons as Batman, and Spiderman.
Fairbanks’ gamble paid off-Zorro was not only a huge hit, but it led to some of his most ambitious works-the classics Robin Hood, Thief of Bagdad, and the Black Pirate.
MYSTERY OF THE LEAPING FISH 1916 25min
A hallucinogenic fever dream of the strange, absurd and the truly bizarre that’ll have you shaking your head saying, “how the heck did they get away with it?” Perhaps the knowledge that Tod Browning (West of Zanzibar) was involved as scenario writer of this burlesque setup on Sherlock Holmes will make it easier to believe. Coke addled detective Coke Ennyday attempts to thwart drug dealers importing contraband via inflatable rubber fish (I kid you not). Defying description, it just a film you HAVE see on the big screen. A cult classic.
Recommended Reading: The First King of Hollywood-The Life of Douglas Fairbanks by Tracey Goessel






SATURDAY APRIL 13, 2024 Start Time: 4:15 pm
WEST OF ZANZIBAR 1928 USA 65min
ACCOMPANIST: BILL O'MEARA
This programme is dedicated to the late David J Skal
$17
Director: Tod Browning
Cinematographer: Percy Hillburn; Editor: Harry Reynolds; Scenario: Elliot Clawson adapted from the play by Kilbourn Gordon; Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons
Lon Chaney, Warner Baxter, Lionel Barrymore, Mary Nolan
Vengeance is a dish best served ice cold.
Legendary director Tod Browning teams up again with equally legendary actor Lon Chaney in this macabre tale steeped in jealousy, vengeance, and fate. Through their films together, Browning & Chaney had developed a deep understanding of a character’s inner relationship with their outward appearance, much in the same way David Cronenberg has done in many of his films.
West of Zanzibar’s considered to be one of Chaney’s finest performances and it’s good to see him sans heavy makeup using his considerable skills to convey the broken soul of his character. That coupled with the otherworldly eeriness of the film makes West of Zanzibar an unforgettable film.  
The story centres on the magician Phroso who, in a jealous fight with his wife’s lover, breaks his back and ends up in a wheelchair. His wife leaves him but the next year he happens upon her, near death, with her baby daughter. In his blinding thirst for vengeance, he takes the child, and the “die is cast” for revenge upon his old rival. He follows his nemesis to the Congo where he sets himself up as a god-dictator to the locals using his magic tricks to keep them in line and sends the infant to a brothel to be raised. All the while he plots to lure his rival to him and to his doom.
*Note: there are numerous depictions of racial and cultural stereotyping in the last half. While it was as unacceptable then as it is now, we often can’t tell the stories of early film without running into these offensive incidences.
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 9413: A HOLLYWOOD EXTRA 1928 USA 13min
Directors: Robert Florey, Slavko Vorkapic
An experimental short film on the dehumanizing aspects of the Hollywood film factory system. A keen young man arrives in Hollywood hoping to break into the movies. The studio men, however, see him as just a drone and stamps him 9413, and puts him to work as an extra.
This avant-garde short was made for $97. Florey got his friend Douglas Fairbanks to loan him film negative and editing equipment. The cameraman credit was “Gregg” and was none other than celebrated cinematographer Gregg Toland (Citizen Kane). Not bad credentials for a low budget film.
Recommended Reading: Dark Carnival, The Secret World of Tod Browning by David J Skal & Elias Savada



   

 SUNDAY APRIL 14, 2024 Start Time: 1:30pm
SO THIS IS PARIS 1926 USA 67 MIN
ACCOMPANIST: TANIA GILL
$17
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Cinematographer: John J Mescall; Set Design: Harold Grieve; Scenario: Hans Kraly adapted from the play Henri Meilhac
Monte Blue, Patsy Ruth Miller, Lilyan Tashman, George Beranger, Myrna Loy (as the maid)
A naughty, savvy, wickedly delicious comedy of errors-Parisian style!Lubitsch’s remarkable series of marital mishap comedies earned him the reputation as one of Hollywood’s most elegant and sophisticated directors, commonly summed up as “the Lubitsch Touch”.
Reality and fantasy crosscut in a comic, primal love quadrangle amongst the Parisian upper class. He adds to the mental and physical kinetics with surreal animations and a phenomenally psychedelic avant-garde dance sequence that author Scott Eyman writes “amount to one of the silent cinema’s most audacious leap toward the musical.”
So much has been written about the dazzling kaleidoscope of images in the Ball Charleston sequences that it might be easy to forget the delightful humour, dry wit and sly innuendo that makes up the bulk of the film. Reminiscent of his earlier Marriage Circle, it conveys an almost Oscar Wilde attitude in its loopy homage to Parisian mores.
Happily married Suzanne notices her new neighbours across from her window to be an extraordinary couple of “expressive dancers”. While she inwardly fantasizes about the almost constant state of undress of the striking male dancer, she is “shocked” enough to send her dutiful, dull husband over to complain about the “lack of morality”. That knock on their door sets in motion a chain of events that only a maestro like Lubitsch could conduct.
“Lubitsch applies his naughty touch to a sexual roundelay, as two sophisticated, straying couples flirt their way towards a mammoth dance contest, a good-natured send-up of sheikhs, jazz babies and would be wife swappers, replete with binge drinking, outrageous Freudian symbolism and a writhing kaleidoscope that must be the ultimate Charleston scene/” J Hoberman NY Times
PARISIAN THEMED SHORTS-FYI- there will be some nudity




SUNDAY APRIL 14, 2024 Start Time: 4pm
1000 LAFFS: SURREAL SLAPSTICK 90MIN+
ACCOMPANIST: JORDAN KLAPMAN
$17 Regular / $14 Senior 65+ & $14 Youth 25 & under / $9 Children 12 & under
The moment filmmakers discovered cinema made anything possible, reality flew out the window. Logic and barriers were meant for the physical world, not the filmic.
 
From as early as 1896 (think of that!), French magician/film director George Méliès — the central figure in Martin Scorcese’s HUGO — crafted more than 500 brilliantly bizarre fantasies that dropped cinemagoers’ jaws. Méliès not only invented surrealism in film, he unleashed it.
 
The animation genius behind Betty Boop and Popeye, Max Fleischer, started his career with a series of Out Of The Inkwell cartoons — the first to mix live-action with animation. In each film Max plays the earnest animator whose impish creation, Koko The Clown, leaps from his pen’s nib to wreak havoc however, wherever he can. It’s a Fleischerian fever dream when cartoon craziness collides with Max’s efforts to make it all stop.
 
Charley Bowers is an unsung creator or surreal sight gags extraordinaire — half Buster Keaton / half madman animator who, when he decides that pussy cats can grow from pussy willows, just makes it happen with precision stop-motion animation skills and a free-range imagination. In Now You Tell One, Charley weaves a fantastic tale so extraordinary that even the esteemed gentlemen of The Liars Club can’t believe it. And any film that introduces the protagonist with his head stuck in a cannon as he blindly attempts to light the fuse is okay with us.
 
Lupino Lane was a British music hall star who became one of the leading comedians of the late silent era — separated from the back by his remarkably acrobatic body. While he generally played a somewhat foppish, monocled and down-on-his-luck gent, Only Me has Lupino portraying every single character — on the stage and in the audience — at a vaudeville show. It’s Lupino, Lupino, Lupino everywhere. Just try to count the number of Lupinos packed into 15 minutes. Bet you can’t do it. And if it’s reminiscent of Buster Keaton’s The Playhouse well, yes, guilty as charged.
 
We’ve mentioned Buster Keaton a few times, so let’s get to the star of our show and the real thing. Keaton’s Sherlock Jr. continues to amaze 100 years after its making, thanks to its anything-goes ingenuity and the sheer brilliance of its execution. Buster is a forlorn projectionist who literally steps into the movie he’s showing to become a suave, master detective. How does he do it? You have to see it for yourself, with intricate camera trickery accomplished generations before CGI made the scene. No wonder modern filmmakers still pay homage to Buster today. He made the impossible possible. -Programmer Chris Seguin
Introduced by  Chris Seguin


 




© Toronto SILENT FILM Festival 2010-2021
TORONTO SILENT FILM FESTIVAL
© Toronto SILENT FILM Festival 2010-2021
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