Entering the Classical World through Silent Cinema

film screening & live musical accompaniment

Saturday 6 July 2019 7.30 to 10pm
The Bloomsbury Theatre, 15 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0AH

This live screening draws audiences to ancient Greece and Rome through four rarely seen but remarkable films. Pompeii and Vesuvius (1906) juxtaposes disturbingly the damage caused by the modern eruption of Vesuvius with shots of Pompeii, the ancient city of the dead. An Excursion in Ancient Greece (1913) takes its elegant sightseers up the Corinthian canal to view the monumental ruins on the Acropolis.

The films document the ruins of the classical world as they appeared to inquisitive travellers in the early twentieth century. Slave of Phydias (1916/17) tells the story of the tragic love a slave-girl stirs in the sculptor for whom she models, while The Tragic End of the Emperor Caligula (1917) reaches a turbulent climax when a terrified Christian must dance before the emperor to save her fellow believers from death. Through their enticing use of gesture and look, elaborate sets, movement and music, Phydias and Caligula offer the opportunity to enter another world, and to experience the classical past as if you were there. The screening of Caligula will be the UK premiere of a beautifully restored print from Italy. The other prints were obtained especially for this occasion from archives in Austria, the USA, and the UK.

A professional pianist (Stephen Horne) will improvise throughout, thus replicating the means by which music once engaged audiences emotionally with cinema’s classical worlds.

Tickets £12 from http://www.thebloomsbury.com/event/run/18247