Unsilent Night was a screening of classic silent short films accompanied by live experimental music at the Big Screen Liverpool. Building upon an approach first explored in 2008 with Nosferatu, we chose to explore a more piecemeal programme in an attempt to offer a ‘taster’ event with shorts of around ten minutes duration – allowing observers to come and go during a more flexible viewing schedule.
The choice of films included arguably the first ever narrative film, The Great Train Robbery (1903), Georges Méliès’ dreamlike Voyage a travers l’impossible (1904); the Arabian tale of Aladin ou la lampe merveilleuse (1906) plus Tea Party and Jitter Bug by TanDog using Prelinger Archive footage of Disneyland in the 1960s and New York World Fair (1939 – 40).
North West musicians Fonik (Manchester), a.P.A.t.T. (Liverpool) and Frakture (Warrington) provided new, contemporary soundtracks, appearing via live relay from BBC Merseyside Performance Space, while Norweigian musician and saw player Ragnhild Zeigler performed her ethereal compositions beneath the screen itself. Additional atmospheric title animations were created by filmmaker Sam Meech.
An attempt to prove that early cinema doesn’t have to be stashed out of reach on a cineaste mantelpiece, we wanted to show that although the content was over 100 years old, it can still appeal, or even shock, modern audiences. I defy anyone not to be creeped out by the genie in Aladin ou la lampe merveilleuse… it’s not every day you see a seven-foot giant in a green body stocking with a full nappy hump and a tangerine beard!
A free event preceeding Halloween weekend, it was made possible by support from Northwest Vision & Media and Liverpool City Council, in association with Liverpool Music Week, the British Film Institute and PMS: Popular Music Show on BBC Radio Merseyside 95.8FM.
AWARDED LONDON 2012 OLYMPIC INSPIRE MARK