Established in 2007 as the first of its kind in Asia, the 12th International Silent Film Festival Manila promises to offer all film and music aficionados in the country another extraordinary experience.

From the 1890’s to the 1920’s, audiences around the world were enchanted by the magic of watching soundless images on a screen accompanied by live music played by different performing artists. This year, the 12th iteration of the International Silent Film Festival in Manila will bring together the very best of silent cinema from its eight member-countries, to be accompanied by the best Filipino musicians in the scene from August 30 to September 2 at SM Cinema 2 of SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City.

The Festival which was formally launched last Tuesday (August 14) is presented by the Film Development Council of the Philippines together with the Philippine-Italian Association, the Embassy of France, the Goethe-Institut Philippines, the Japan Foundation Manila, the Embassy of the United States of America, the Instituto Cervantes, and the Embassy of Austria.

Festival Schedule

ITALY – August 30, Thursday, 8:00 pm

  • Film Title: Rapsodia Satanica (Satanic Rhapsody)
  • Total Running Time: 41 mins
  • Production Year: 1915-1917; Restored by Cineteca di Bologna in 2015
  • Cast: Lyda Borelli, Andrea Habay, Ugo Bazzini, Giovanni Cini
  • Film Director: Nino Oxilia
  • Genre: Italian Stylish Melodrama; based on a poem by Fausto Maria Martini and inspired by the aesthetic of Gabriele D’Annunzio
  • Accompanying Musician: MilesExperience

SYNOPSIS: An ageing Italian aristocrat, Dame Alba d’ Oltrevita (Lyda Borelli), willing to find a second youth, discovers a particular and special solution for her beauty problems: a pact with the devil. However, as for Faust, also for Dame Alba things don’t go as expected…

Rapsodia Satanica is the most important of those stylish melodramas made in Italy in the early silent days that gave prestige to the unique style of Italy’s film productions.  It is considered a 360 degrees artwork for its literary inspirations (mainly decadent movement), its Liberty scenery and indoor settings as well as for the skilled performance of Lyda Borelli, star of the Italian silent cinema.

PHILIPPINES – August 31, Friday, 7:00 pm

  • Title: This Is Not A Lost Film
  • Total Running Time: 60 mins
  • Year Released: Varied
  • Cast: Varied
  • Film Director: Khavn
  • Genre: Found-footage Horror
  • Accompanying Musician: Khavn & the Kontra-Kino Orchestra

Featuring “The Lost Film Trilogy” which is composed of “FILIPINIANA”, “ASWANG (1933)” and “JUAN TAMAD GOES TO THE MOON”; and an excerpt from “NITRATE: To the Ghosts of the 75 Lost Philippine Silent Films (1912-1933).”

FRANCE – August 31, Friday, 9:00 pm

  • Film Title: La Passion de Jeanne D’Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc)
  • Total Running Time: 81 mins
  • Year Released: 1928
  • Cast: Renée Jeanne Falconetti, Silvain Eugène Falconetti
  • Film Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
  • Genre: Drama (Theme/s – Religion, History)
  • Accompanying Musician: Dingdong Fiel

SYNOPSIS: The story of the trial of Joan of Arc in 1431 where she was accused of heresy by ecclesiastical judges determined to make her disclaim her visions, which ended with her being burned at stake

GERMANY – September 1, Saturday, 4:00 pm

  • Film Title: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari / Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari
  • Total Running Time: 77 mins
  • Year Released: 1920
  • Cast: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover, Hans Twardowski
  • Film Director: Robert Wiene
  • Genre: Horror
  • Accompanying Musician: Kontra-GaPi

SYNOPSIS: Dubbed as “the first true horror film”, Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari tells of a mad doctor who is being suspected of sending a reawakened corpse on a killing spree.  It is later revealed that he is the director of an asylum for the insane, where our protagonist finds out that the doctor has obsessions far darker and more sinister than he had imagined.

Das Cabinet is considered the quintessential work of German expressionist cinema and favors a fantastical and graphic visual style instead of a naturalistic one.  The sets feature structures and landscapes that lean and twist in unusual angles with sharp-pointed forms bathed in striking contrasts of shadows and light.  The film also helped introduce techniques such as the twist ending and the unreliable narrator to the language of narrative film.

JAPAN – September 1, Saturday, 6:00 pm

  • Film Title:Tokkan Kozo (突貫小僧) A Straightforward Boy
  • Total Running Time: 19 mins
  • Year Released: 1929
  • Cast: Tomio AOKI, Tatsuo SAITO, Takeshi SAKAMOTO
  • Film Director: Yasujiro OZU (小津安二郎)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Tito Genova Valiente: The Filipino Benshi (Silent Film Narrator)
  • Accompanying Musician: Tanikala Tribe

SYNOPSIS: Bunkichi kidnaps a boy Tetsubo with an appetite for sweets. Unable to keep him under control, the kidnapper returns him to his boss, who refuses to take him back. He tries to dump him on his playmates, but he incites them to demand toys and other goodies from him.

The original theatrical release of Tokkan Kozo was 38 minutes long, but it was presumably lost.  A 9.5 mm version which was sold as a format for home viewing was discovered in 1988 but this was incomplete due to degradation of the film reel. The version found in 1988 was 14 minute long, and it was shown at the 2015 edition of the International Silent Film Festival in Manila. Screening this year is a most complete and intact 9.5 mm Pathé baby version that was fortunately discovered just three years ago, which is 19 minutes long.

U.S.A. – September 1, Saturday, 8:00 pm

  • Film Title: Our Hospitality
  • Total Running Time: 75 mins
  • Year Released: 1923
  • Cast: Buster Keaton, Natalie Talmadge, Joe Roberts
  • Film Directors: Buster Keaton and John G. Blystone
  • Genre: Comedy, Romance, Thriller
  • Accompanying Musician: Brass Munkeys

SYNOPSIS: After her husband John McKay is killed in an ongoing feud with the Canfield family, a woman takes her baby boy Willie to her sister’s house in New York hoping he will never know of the feud with the Canfields.  Twenty years later, Willie is a grown man and he receives a letter saying he has inherited his father’s estate and must travel to his family home to take possession.  On the train, there he meets a beautiful young woman and falls in love with her.  She invites him to dinner but he realizes too late that she is the only daughter of patriarch Joseph Canfield with whom his family has been engaged in a long violent feud.  He accepts her invitation and quickly realizes that the Canfield men won’t harm him while he’s in their home.  His plan to stay there as a permanent guest is short-lived and the Canfields are soon after him.

SPAIN – September 2, Sunday, 5:00 pm

  • Film Title: Frivolinas
  • Total Running Time: 80 mins
  • Year Released: 1927
  • Cast: Ramper, José López Alonso, Juan Belmonte,María Caballé, Miguel Ligero, Felisa López, Blaca Pozas, Ramón Álvarez Escudero
  • Film Director: Arturo Caballo
  • Genre: Musical Comedy
  • Accompanying Musician: Tapati

SYNOPSIS: A slight plot, about a widower who loves nightlife and a comedian who falls in love with the old man’s daughter, is the excuse to film musical and dance shows featured at a very popular Madrid theater in the 1920s

AUSTRIA – September 2, Sunday, 7:30 pm

  • Film Title: Die kleine Veronika
  • Total Running Time: 70 mins
  • Year Released: 1929
  • Cast: Käthe von Nagy, Maly Delschaft, Mizzi Zwerenz and Harry Hardt
  • Film Director: Robert Land
  • Genre: Drama
  • Accompanying Musician: Joee & I

SYNOPSIS: “Die kleine Veronika” tells the story of Tyrolean mountain girl, Veronika, who travels to Vienna to visit her aunt, only to find out that the city experience she has been dreaming of is not all the fun and glamourous life she had previously imagined.  Rediscovered and restored by the Austrian Film Archive, the film is prized for scenes that show the Tyrolean mountains and the still-famous Vienna Prater amusement park in the 1920s.

The Austrian Embassy in Manila presents “Die kleine Veronika” in partnership with Hearlife Foundation, Inc., a non-stock, non-profit organization created to champion the Filipino deaf and MED-EL Philippines, affiliate of MED-EL WorldWide, Innsbruck Austria and a cochlear implant provider for 20 years in the Philippines.  MED-EL continues to innovate, research, develop and manufacture implantable hearing solutions impacting lives of both deaf children and adults.

Hearlife Foundation and MED-EL pursue to transform and better the world with the gift of hearing.

This year’s film festival experience will have a unique addition, an exhibit at the SM Cinema lobby.  The exhibit will be presenting a visual installation of this year’s participating films.

All screenings will be open to the public on a first come, first served basis.

For more information on the schedule and inquiries, please check our Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/InternationalSilentFilmFestivalManila

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Writer, Wanderer, Child of God


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