Our Hospitality (US, 1923)

A Buster Keaton classic including the maddest train journey (the dog walks there quicker) in cinema and typical deadpan brilliance. (DVD, 2) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0014341/


Fantômas – À l’ombre de la guillotine (France, 1913)

The Fantomas is regarded as a classic serial. Approaching 100 years old it is only impressive from an historical viewpoint as the pacing, for an action film, is far too slow by our standards. However, it’s easy to see how impressive this would’ve been in the early years of cinema; even now the shot in a theatre box, with the stage in background (deep focus nearly 30 years before Citzen Kane), is striking. So it is a classic and interesting to see how Feuillade constructed his narrative space. (DVD) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0002844/

Ballet mechanique (France, 1924)

Another surrealist film but this one passes the ‘classic’ test of standing the ‘test of time’ (so classics = transcending (at least for a time) their social context?). The opening five minutes, in particularly, are great. Fabulous below the ballet dancer shot (really does disorientate) and I liked the animation too. Also has a great score by Antheuil. (DVD). http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0014694/

Entr’acte (France, 1924)

A surrealist-dadaist film viewed on an appalling print. Of historical interest only, I think, to see how the mix of technical devices (eg slomo) was used to defamiliarise reality. (DVD). http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0014872/

Sherlock Jr. (US, 1924)

Keaton’s THE silent comedy genius for me and here his mix of slapstick, daredevil stunts and deadpan humour are at their peak. Apparently he fractured his neck doing the train stunt but it wasn’t noticed until 10 years later and the ride on the handlebars of a motorcycle is unbelieveable! (DVD, 3rd v). http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0015324/