1917 silent films at Zvezda cinema for free

1917 silent films at Zvezda cinema for free
From 26 October to 29 November, nine retro films will be shown at the cinema. These will include Russian filmmaker Yevgeny Bauer’s The King of Paris plus some Charlie Chaplin comedies. The shows will be preceded by lectures on the history of pre-revolutionary Russia. Cinema goers will not have to pay for these.

The films, which will also be shown free of charge, released in 1917, will be presented by the Zvezda cinema from 26 October to 29 November. The retrospect marks the centenary of the October Revolution. Through these nine silent black-and-white films the audience will learn what the public mood was like on the eve of the October Revolution in Russia and abroad as well as how the filmmaking industry responded to them. Each show will begin with a bit of historical background. The event starts at 8 pm.   

“These are the very films that our great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers watched at cinemas and electric theatres in Moscow during the 1920s. Featuring different plots, the only thing the films have in common is the year of their production. The films are filled with the atmosphere of the late silver age with women wearing intricate hats, ballerinas and cabriolets. Shortly after that, films about construction, electrification and revolution would be shown at Soviet cinemas,” said the press service of the Moskovskoye Kino cinema network of the Moscow Department of Culture.

On Thursday, 26 October, Zvezda cinema will show The King of Paris, a work by one of the first Russian silent film directors Yevgeny Bauer (1865-1917). The action is set in France. The main character, a young man named Roger is trying to get on top of society through fraud. The King of Paris became Bauer’s last work which the director didn’t finish.  This was done by Lev Kuleshov.

On Wednesday, 8 November, three short films by American comedians and directors Roscoe Arbuckle (1887-1933) and Buster Keaton (1895-1966) will be shown. There was time when comedies The Butcher Boy, Coney Island and Oh Doctor! were hits in the United States and beyond it. The films feature sketches from the everyday life of Americans.

On Wednesday, 15 November, the two-episode drama Satan Triumphant by Russian and Soviet director Yakov Protazanov (1881-1945) will take place. This is a story of a virtuous pastor who is lured by the Devil first into breaking the vow of chastity and then into killing his own son. The main character is played by Ivan Mozzhukhin, who was a famous actor in early 20th century. The film fully recreates the dull atmosphere in the Russian society before 1917.

On Wednesday, 22 November, comedies by US and British actor and director Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977) will be shown. On this day, three of his short films will be shown – Easy Street, The Immigrant and The Adventurer. Although Chaplin has been firmly associated with silent films, his walking stick, moustache and bowler hat were not known in pre-revolutionary Russia. The United States used to conduct negotiations with the temporary government on screening Chaplin’s films in Moscow. It was only the young generation of Soviet filmmakers of the 1920s who could appreciate the talent of the great comedian.

On Wednesday, 29 November, A Man There Was (Terje Vigen) directed by Swedish filmmaker Victor Sjöström (1879-1960) will be presented. The film is based on the drama Terje Vigen by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It is set during the Napoleonic war. Poor sailor Terje Vigen is trying to reach Denmark by sea to bring barley to his starving family.

Admission to the cinemas will be free. Registration on the website of the Moskovskoye Kino cinema network and booking a seat is required. The shows will be preceded by short lectures on the history of pre-revolutionary Russia conducted by famous historians, journalists plus writers.

Zvezda cinema 18/22 Zemlyanoi Val Street. 

Films: free admission

26 October, Thursday, 8 pm

— The King of Paris (1917, 63 minutes, Russia, 0+, director Yevgeny Bauer, Olga Rakhmanova).

8 November, Wednesday, 8 pm

— The Butcher Boy (1917, 30 minutes, United States, 0+, directors Buster Keaton and Roscoe Arbuckle)

— Oh Doctor! (1917, 23 minutes, United States, 0+, directors Buster Keaton and Roscoe Arbuckle).

15 November, Wednesday, 8 pm

— Satan Triumphant (1917, 87 minutes, Russia, 0+, director Yakov Protazonov).

22 November, Wednesday, 8 pm

— Easy Street (1917, 23 minutes, United States, 12+, director Charlie Chaplin)

— The Immigrant (1917, 25 minutes, United States, 12+, director Charlie Chaplin)

— The Adventurer (1917, 24 minutes, United States, 12+, director Charlie Chaplin).

29 November, Wednesday, 8 pm

— Terje Vigen (1917, 48 minutes, Sweden, 0+, director Victor Sjöström).