Silent movie fest showing International films to open in Manila
by FFE PH News staff
Movie line-ups for this year
Dubbed “the only festival of its kind in Asia,” the 7th International Silent Film Festival starts in Manila on August 23. The festival is organized by international embassies in Manila and Shangri-La Plaza mall.
Instituto Cervantes’ deputy for cultural affairs Jose Maria Fons Guardiola notes that the festival welcomes variety this year. Pierre Oser, a Munich-based composer-musician collaborating with Filipino musicians to score the German film adds “it’s admirable that Manila has a silent film festival.”
This year’s festival will showcase silent films from Japan, United States, Italy, Germany, Spain and the Philippines. Each film will be screened alongside a live Filipino band collaborating with composers and organizers from the respective countries. Film Development Council of the Philippines chair Briccio Santos says “it’s a ground-breaking, genre-bending fest.”
Japan’s entry Tomu Uchida’s Keisatsukan (A Police Officer) opens the fest on Friday night. The 1933 movie is noted as the director’s only extant film. Pulso, an “ambient rock band,” will be accompanying the film. Band member Robbie Mananquil says “[the band plans] to string some pieces together.”
The United States will be screening Rupert Julian’s 1925 thriller The Phantom of the Opera on August 25. Metal rock band Razorback will be accompanying the film, where singer Kevin Roy promises “new riffs [that] will match every gesture, every expression onscreen with a new sound.” Cultural affairs officer of the American embassy Kristin Kneedler says metal rock suits the movie as it gives a dramatic and scary feeling.
La Grazia, a 1929 drama to be screened August 24, is Italy’s entry to the fest. Cultural attaché Emanuela Adesini of the Italian embassy explains that Aldo De Benedetti’s film is a tribute to Nobel Prize winner for Literature Grazia Deledda. The film was “the last silent movie released before the age of sound.” Adesini is also excited to hear how Kat Agarrado of the jazz-funk-blues band SinoSikat will interpret the story through vocals. According to keyboardist Nikki Cabardo, their band’s music will “be the language of this silent movie.”
Director Petra Raymond of the Goethe Institut says that Germany’s entry Ernst Lubitsch’s comedy Ich Mochte Kein Mann Sein bears a strong female point of view. The 1918 movie is a touchstone in Germany’s history because it “deals with gender stereotypes” and was released months before women were granted suffrage in Germany. Oser and Jonas Baes, an ethnomusicologist from the University of the Philippines, are collaborating with Composer’s Lab for an “exciting experiment … that will reflect he environment depicted in the film—Berlin at the end of World War I.” The film will be shown August 24.
Spain will showcase El Abuelo, which was based on a novel by Benito Perez Galdos “who influenced (Philippine national hero) Jose Rizal,” says Guardiola. Ambient instrumentalists Earthmover was tapped to provide music for the 1925 melodrama on August 25. Dru Ubaldo, percussionist for the band, says they will use the instruments to convey emotions. Ubaldo has been instrumental to the collaboration with Instituto Cervantes.
Kamera Obskura stars Pen Medina
Raymond Red’s 2012 Cinemalaya hit Kamera Obskura will be the Philippines’ entry to the fest. The film is Red’s way of “paying homage to our country’s lost cinematic heritage,” as most of the country’s silent films were destroyed during World War II. The director asked collaborator Spy to maintain the film’s structure, but otherwise gave the band carte blanche “in keeping with the fest’s tradition of total creative freedom.” Drummer Reli de Vera comments that their collaboration “will be surprising. Nothing beats the live experience.”
The Philippine entry will close the fest on August 25.