Silent Cinema Showcase
April 13–June 9

With the recent Oscar success of THE ARTIST (silent) and HUGO (not silent, but an homage to a silent film pioneer), silent cinema hasn't had it this good since the glory years of the late 1920s. This spring, get acquainted with the unique art of silent filmmaking, as well as the dedicated and talented modern musicians who bring these films to life with their inventive accompaniment.

HUGO

Martin Scorsese's adaptation of Brian Selznick's beloved novel follows an orphan boy in 1930s Paris, Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield), who hides from sight in the attic recesses of a train station. Intrigued by the gizmos on offer in the station's toy store, Hugo gets caught stealing by the store's curmudgeonly proprietor, Monsieur Georges (Ben Kingsley), and is in danger of being sent to the orphanage. But an amazing turn of events instead sets Hugo to solving a mystery that connects him with his father and Georges with his past. Eleven Oscar nominations and five wins.

DIR/PROD Martin Scorsese; SCR John Logan, based on the book "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick; PROD Graham King, Tim Headington, Johnny Depp. US, 2011, color, 126 min. RATED PG

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Fri, Apr 13, 4:30; Sun, Apr 15, 11:00 a.m.

THE EXTRAORDINARY VOYAGE
[Le voyage extraordinaire]

With the success of Martin Scorsese's HUGO, the fantastic film pioneer Georges Méliès (1861-1938; portrayed by Ben Kingsley in HUGO) is once again a household name. Serge Bromberg (INFERNO) and Eric Lange document the effort to restore Méliès' most famous film, A TRIP TO THE MOON, working with a hand-tinted color nitrate print discovered in 1993. Interviews with filmmakers Costa-Gavras, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Michel Gondry and Michel Hazanavicius reveal Méliès' enduring influence, with charming excerpts from Tom Hanks' FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON paying homage to Méliès' vision of space travel.

DIR Serge Bromberg, Eric Lange. France, 2011, color, 60 min. Digital presentation. NOT RATED

Followed by:
A TRIP TO THE MOON [Le voyage dans la lune]

Georges Méliès's most famous and iconic work, painstakingly restored and featuring a new score by the French duo Air. "The gorgeous restoration of his [Méliès'] masterpiece A TRIP TO THE MOON that was shown at the Cannes and Telluride film festivals was surely a cinematic highlight of the year, maybe the century." — A. O. Scott, The New York Times.

DIR/SCR/PROD Georges Méliès. France, 1902, color/b&w, 14 min. Silent. Digital presentation. NOT RATED

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Fri, Apr 13, 7:00; Sat, Apr 14, 5:15

SUNRISE: A SONG OF TWO HUMANS
Live musical accompaniment by Andrew Simpson

F. W. Murnau's moving and poetic film was his first in Hollywood after tremendous success in Germany with FAUST, THE LAST LAUGH and NOSFERATU. A woman from the city (Margaret Livingston) beguiles a man from the country (George O'Brien), tempting him to kill his devoted wife (Janet Gaynor) in order to be with her; returning to his senses, he is reconciled with his wife. Given an Academy Award as the most "Unique and Artistic Production" in the inaugural edition of the ceremony, plus Best Actress for Gaynor and Best Cinematography, it appears on many lists of the greatest films of all time.

DIR F. W. Murnau; SCR Carl Mayer, from the short story "Trip to Tilset" by Hermann Sudermann; PROD William Fox. US, 1927, b&w, 94 min. Silent with live accompaniment. NOT RATED

About Andrew Earle Simpson
Andrew Earle Simpson, composer, pianist and organist, is ordinary professor and head of the division of Theory and Composition at the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music of The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. An active silent film composer, pianist and organist, Simpson is house film accompanist at the Library of Congress' Mt. Pony Theater, and also appears regularly at the National Gallery of Art and AFI Silver Theatre. He has performed at the Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone, Italy, the New York Public Library, the Kennedy Center, Slapsticon and Cinefest, among other festivals and theaters (for more information, visit www.andrewesimpson.com).
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No passes accepted.

Tickets $13/$11 AFI Members
Sat, Apr 21, 5:00

THE GENERAL
#18 on AFI's 100 Years…100 Laughs
Live musical accompaniment by Alloy Orchestra

When the Civil War breaks out, railroad engineer Buster Keaton tries to join the Confederate army to make his fiancée proud. Deeming his profession a valuable Southern asset, the army rejects him — and so does she. But after Union spies steal his beloved locomotive (and his girl along with it) Keaton springs into daring action. Keaton's deadpan drollery, pitch-perfect comedic timing and his incredible physical talent and bravery make this one of the greatest silent-era comedies. Alloy Orchestra has commissioned a stunning new 35mm print, derived from the original camera negative in the Rohauer Collection.

DIR/SCR/PROD Buster Keaton; DIR/SCR Clyde Bruckman; PROD Joseph M. Schenck. US, 1927, b&w, 75 min. Silent with live accompaniment. NOT RATED

"The best in the world at accompanying silent films."
– Roger Ebert

About Alloy Orchestra
Alloy Orchestra is a three-man musical ensemble that writes and performs live accompaniment to classic silent films. Working with an outrageous assemblage of peculiar objects, they thrash and grind soulful music from unlikely sources. Performing at prestigious film festivals and cultural centers in the US and abroad (Telluride Film Festival, the Louvre, Lincoln Center, Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences, the National Gallery of Art and others), Alloy has helped revive some of the great masterpieces of the silent era.
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No passes accepted.

Tickets $20/$15 AFI Members/$10 kids 12 and under
Fri, May 4, 7:30

SPEEDY
Live musical accompaniment by Alloy Orchestra

SPEEDY is Harold Lloyd's last silent film, and certainly one of his best. See why Lloyd was more popular than even Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton at the end of the silent era. This fast-paced dramatic comedy, shot on the streets of New York City (look for a cameo by Yankee legend Babe Ruth!), explores the theme of modernization, pitting the last horse-drawn trolley in the city against the evil forces of the transit monopoly.

DIR Ted Wilde; SCR John Grey, Lex Neal, Howard Rogers; PROD Harold Lloyd. US, 1928, b&w, 85 min. Silent with live accompaniment. NOT RATED

"The best in the world at accompanying silent films."
– Roger Ebert

About Alloy Orchestra
Alloy Orchestra is a three-man musical ensemble that writes and performs live accompaniment to classic silent films. Working with an outrageous assemblage of peculiar objects, they thrash and grind soulful music from unlikely sources. Performing at prestigious film festivals and cultural centers in the US and abroad (Telluride Film Festival, the Louvre, Lincoln Center, Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences, the National Gallery of Art and others), Alloy has helped revive some of the great masterpieces of the silent era.
BUY TICKETS
No passes accepted.

Tickets $15/$12 AFI Members/$10 kids 12 and under
Sat, May 5, 2:00

THE LITTLE PRINCESS (1917)
Live musical accompaniment by harpist Leslie McMichael

"America's Sweetheart" Mary Pickford stars in this early adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic tale, from a script by prolific screenwriter Frances Marion. Strong-willed Sara Crewe (Pickford) struggles to fit in at her new boarding school with its cruel headmistress, sent there while her beloved father has gone off to war. ZaSu Pitts stars as her best friend, Becky.

DIR Marshall Neilan; SCR Frances Marion, based on the novel "A Little Princess" by Frances Hodgson Burnett; PROD Mary Pickford. US, 1917, b&w, 62 min. Silent with live accompaniment. NOT RATED

Leslie McMichael's original score for harp was commissioned in 2011 by the Children's Film Festival Seattle.
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Sat, May 19, 1:30

PETER PAN (1924)
Live musical accompaniment by harpist Leslie McMichael

Decades before Mary Martin became synonymous with the role of Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie's play was the subject of a lavish Paramount production, a major hit in 1924. Long thought lost, the film was recently rediscovered and fully restored from original nitrate materials, with authentic color tints. Teenager Betty Bronson stars as Peter Pan, the boy who refuses to grow up, and charms Wendy Darling and her brothers to fly with him to Never-Never Land. There, they struggle to rescue the Lost Boys from Captain Hook (Ernest Torrence, Buster Keaton's father in STEAMBOAT BILL, JR.) and his pirates, encountering the fairy Tinker Bell (Virginia Browne Faire), a man-eating crocodile and a group of valiant Indians (led by Anna May Wong as Tiger Lily). Inventive special effects by Roy Pomeroy and fine photography by James Wong Howe.

Leslie McMichael's original score for harp was commissioned in 2007 by the Northwest Film Forum in Seattle.

DIR/PROD Herbert Brenon; SCR Willis Goldbeck, based on the play by J. M. Barrie. US, 1924, color-tinted, 105 min. Silent with live accompaniment. NOT RATED

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Sun, May 20, 4:15

"Masters of Silent Comedy: Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd"
Live musical accompaniment by the Peacherine Ragtime Orchestra

Relive the thrilling era of silent comedy with this trio of shorts by three of the masters —Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd— featuring live musical accompaniment from the Peacherine Ragtime Orchestra, the nation's only collegiate ragtime orchestra!

About the Peacherine Ragtime Orchestra

"One of the best ragtime orchestras I think you'll hear." –Rob Bamberger, Hot Jazz Saturday Night, WAMU

Founded in 2010, the Peacherine Ragtime Orchestra is one of the few groups in America that recreates a standard theatre orchestra from around the turn of the 20th century. They perform concert and silent film presentations as close as possible to how it was done during this time, drawing from a treasure trove of over 1,800 original musical scores from the era.

COPS
Buster Keaton tries to get back on the good side of the LAPD after mistakenly throwing a bomb into their parade in this Kafkaesque comedy short.
DIR/SCR Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline; PROD Joseph M. Schenck. US, 1922, b&w, 18 min. Silent with live accompaniment. NOT RATED

NEVER WEAKEN
Harold Lloyd tackles harrowing skyscrapers and love in this thrilling, stunt-filled classic.
DIR Fred C. Newmeyer; SCR/PROD Hal Roach; SCR Sam Taylor, H. M. Walker. US, 1921, b&w, 19 min. Silent with live accompaniment. NOT RATED

SHOULDER ARMS
Enlisted during the First World War, Charlie Chaplin dreams of becoming a war hero who goes behind enemy lines disguised as a tree trunk in this 1918 gem, being performed for the first time since its release with the original cue sheet.
DIR/SCR/PROD Charles Chaplin. US, 1918, b&w, 46 min. Silent with live accompaniment. Digital presentation. NOT RATED

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No passes accepted.

Tickets $15/$12 AFI Members/$10 kids 12 and under
Sun, Jun 3, 1:30

THE WIND
Live musical accompaniment: World premiere of original score by Andrew Simpson for chamber ensemble and chorus, featuring the Cantate Chamber Singers

Best remembered for his lead performance in Ingmar Bergman's WILD STRAWBERRIES, Swedish director Victor Sjöström was one of silent cinema's greatest filmmakers. THE WIND is the best of several excellent films he made during his sojourn in Hollywood, as "Victor Seastrom." Lillian Gish gives a haunting performance as a Southern belle from Virginia living with family in the West Texas desert, where the harsh wind never stops blowing, shifting the sands and threatening to erase those brave or foolish enough to live there. Gish must choose between two suitors, courtly Lars Hanson and roughhewn Montagu Love, whose dueling attentions unleash surprising depths of passion from within her.

DIR Victor Sjöström; SCR Frances Marion, from the novel by Dorothy Scarborough. US, 1928, b&w, 75 min. Silent with live accompaniment. NOT RATED

About the Cantate Chamber Singers
One of the Washington region's most critically acclaimed chamber choruses, the Cantate Chamber Singers are a 30-voice auditioned vocal ensemble devoted to artistically exciting performances of distinctive choral music and to promoting awareness of the choral art (for more information, visit www.cantate.org).
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No passes accepted.

Tickets $15/$12 AFI Members
Sat, Jun 9, 3:00