Kino Pod Baranami’s 16th Silent Film Festival

The Hands of Orlac (dir. Robert Wiene, 1924)

The 16th Silent Film Festival takes place from the 3rd to the 6th of December at Kino Pod Baranami, bringing silent cinema masterpieces from all over the world to Krakow. This year’s festival, celebrating the 120th anniversary of cinema, focuses on “mystical experiments and the touch of the unknown.”

Films presented during this year’s festival balance on the edge between reality and dream, real and fantasy worlds, clarity of mind and lunacy, earthly and eternal life. The programme is dominated by horror movies, both European and American, but fans of science fiction and fantasy films will also find something for them.

As horror movies owe much to German Expressionism, the programme includes several outstanding works by its most renowned artists: The Hands of Orlac directed by Robert Wiene, Destiny by Fritz Lang and The Cat and the Canary – a dark comedy completed by Paul Leni in the United States after moving overseas. At this time the American film industry also gave birth to The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian), an immortal classic horror film.

The Fall of the House of Usher, an impressionistic masterwork by Jean Epstein, is characterised by an oneiric and subtle style; Secrets of a Soul by G. W. Pabst can be described as a psychoanalytic drama steeped in Freudian symbolism; The Phantom Carriage by Victor Sjöström, a masterpiece of the Swedish silent cinema, constitutes a reflection on human existence.

Supernatural powers are shared by the characters in The Vampires by Louis Feuillade, a cult series from the beginning of the last century, as well as those in The Arrival from the Darkness, one of the most remarkable silent films in the history of Czech cinema.

A Trip to the Moon – the first-ever science fiction film, Alice in Wonderland and The Call of Cthulhu – a successful contemporary film adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft’s famous story, all invite their viewers to vivid fantasy worlds.

Ten days after the festival all silent film lovers will be welcome to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the National Film Archive with a special screening of a digitally restored Polish drama People with No Tomorrow (for years considered lost), accompanied by live music performed by duo Sza/Za. The screening at Kino Pod Baranami will be held on the 16th of December – the day after the Warsaw premiere.

The Fall of the House of Usher (dir. Jean Epstein, 1928)

Film screenings will be accompanied by live music performances. This year, audiences will hear acoustic, electronic and electroacoustic compositions, created using both classical instruments and unusual devices and objects. The festival will open with a performance by a young band from Krakow, SALK, which employs a minimalistic combination of electronic and chamber music. Electronic sounds will also enrich a double bass solo by 3FoNIA, or Jacek Mazurkiewicz, as well as arrangements by two trios: Anna Zielińska /Rafał Iwański/Wojtek Jachna and Slalom. The Czech group Neuvěřitelno and the local music producer 1988 (Przemysław Jankowiak) are artists who are inspired not only by various music genres but also by the art of cinematography. An unconventional idea stands behind the work of the trio Malerai, which follows the dream of playing music inspired by entire world. There will also be appearances by longtime and trusted friends of the festival: Semi-Invented Trio, or Adrian Konarski (a Krakow composer known for music scores for Pręgi, Zbliżenia and Obywatel) accompanied by Sławomir Berny (drums) and Michał Chytrzyński (violin), as well as the favourite classical piano music performer – Professor Lesław Lic.

For families, there will also be Kids’ Screening: Baranki in Silent Cinema. On Sunday children can take part in workshops and presentations about the beginnings of cinema and attend a screening of the silent film A Trip to the Moon with live music by SALK.

Another special event of the Festival will be a video projection mapping on Palace Under the Rams’ (Pałac pod Baranami) inner facade, inspired by silent films and designed by Julie Land (MotionArt) with sound by Szymon Folwarczny (Stealpot).

On Saturday night the organizers have invited viewers to attend an afterparty at Betel Club with Alice in Wonderland and DJ Kixnare.

For full information about the festival, see the website here.

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