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Modern silent films?


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#1 Oliver Ojeil

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 04:09 PM

has there any modern silent films been made? I have always looked at those good old silent movies with so much respect for many reasons. I'd love to hear if there has been some attempts in modern cinema (recent 15yrs) in making silent movies.

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#2 David Sweetman

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 04:35 PM

has there any modern silent films been made? I have always looked at those good old silent movies with so much respect for many reasons. I'd love to hear if there has been some attempts in modern cinema (recent 15yrs) in making silent movies.


Sound serves such an important and unquestionable function in the narrative that you may be hard-pressed to find examples...my favorite is the parody in "Three Amigos." A forum member also posted a good example of contemporary silent filmmaking which he directed and was shot in b&w 16mm - "Short Film Completed with major help from this Forum"
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#3 Oliver Ojeil

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 05:07 PM

Sound serves such an important and unquestionable function in the narrative that you may be hard-pressed to find examples...my favorite is the parody in "Three Amigos." A forum member also posted a good example of contemporary silent filmmaking which he directed and was shot in b&w 16mm - "Short Film Completed with major help from this Forum"

sure thing David, but I think that attempting to tell a story silently creates many intersting challenges. Attempting to make modern silent films could be a very creative process, one that uses body language and facial expressions in a clever way. Color, lighting, pacing, cutting would all add up to the narrative.

Edited by Laurent Andrieux, 13 November 2006 - 02:27 PM.

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#4 Oron Cohen

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 06:04 PM

"Le- bal" by ettore scola, is not new (not from the past 15 years but from 1983) but I think is very modern and a beautiful picture to watch :-)
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#5 Matt Irwin

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 07:53 PM

Look up Guy Maddin.
He's a Canadian director that's made several modern-day silent films (shorts and features) using old 35/16 stocks, super 8, etc.
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#6 Chris Burke

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 08:56 PM

has there any modern silent films been made? I have always looked at those good old silent movies with so much respect for many reasons. I'd love to hear if there has been some attempts in modern cinema (recent 15yrs) in making silent movies.




Franka Potente has just made a silent film on Super 8. Not sure of the title, but it is getting a fare share of buzzzzz.

chris
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#7 Trevor Greenfield

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 09:37 PM

I too had some help from Cinematography.com and made "High Fire Danger!" on 7265. I did everything I could to make it authentic to the 1920's, with period costumes, props and locations. It has now played 3 fests (it won Best Cinematography in its premiere) and we're going to Gold Beach, OR where we shot it in November for a special screening at the Savoy Theater. http://highfiredanger.com . Sorry its not online yet, though.

Edited by Trevor Greenfield, 15 October 2006 - 09:38 PM.

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#8 David Venhaus

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 09:55 PM

Check out "Lumière and Company", 41 modern film directors used an original 1890's cinematagraphe camera to make short silent films. This is from 1995 and includes directors such as Spike Lee, David Lynch, Peter Greenway and John Boorman.
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#9 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 02:59 PM

has there any modern silent films been made? I have always looked at those good old silent movies with so much respect for many reasons. I'd love to hear if there has been some attempts in modern cinema (recent 15yrs) in making silent movies.


Teshigahara's 'Antonio Gaudi' is from 1984, so it falls a bit out of your restriction.But is well worth mentioning.

It's a documentary about the Spanish architect Gaudi. There is some narration at the end sequence about the unfinished Templo de La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The narration tells about how he got the commission and how work continued after his death.
The film as a whole shows the inspirations for his designs in older spanish churches and villages, the landscape and organic forms and how his work blends back into the culture; all through visuals and music.
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#10 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 05:24 PM

sure thing David, but I think that attempting to tell a story silently creates many intersting challenges.


Exactly. Never forget that film is a visual medium. Therein lies the story.
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#11 Bryan Darling

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 07:29 PM

I think a major challenge for modern people working with silent film is in the conventions. Now I understand that when asking about modern silent films it is merely a qualifier used so that the majority of people understand that one is looking for information on "current" silent films not ones made 100 years ago. However, just to use the word "modern" when referring to silent film takes on an air that silent film is an old genre. Silent film isn't even a genre and age is irrelevant to filmmaking. Styles and conventions however are a different story.

An issue I see is the perception of silent film. If indeed silent film is considered a genre then it is a genre marred by exaggerated acting, crude camera movements & editing, and simplified stories and/or motifs. In my opinion these are the conventions employed not just by filmmakers of a bygone era but even by filmmakers of today. Very few have gone on to explore, experiment, and expand the silent film beyond that of movie house fare from 1915. If you look at the very words "silent" & "film" and break it down to their most basic meaning, it would be "film without sound." I think that is a good way to look at silent film- not as genre but as medium.

Now why would I make such a fuss just about language and semantics. It's because those very things aid in perpetuating staid conventions, styles, and motifs. By changing our perspective, through language and such, it allows us to change how we look at and interact with everyday things, or in this case silent film. Looking at such people as Maya Deren and Stan Brakhage, just to name two, they did much to grow silent film- film as medium- out of it's infancy starting with D.W. Griffith and F.W. Murnau, just to name two.

Silent film itself has far more to offer filmmakers than oversimplified stories, montage theorized editing, indulgent eye shadow, hand movements to the heavens, and expressionistic sets. That is not to say that these things themselves did not serve a purpose in their times. Those styles and conventions were a natural out birth of the technology, education, and awareness of the people in their times. Just as society and cultural evolves so must it's mediums and art forms- they are extensions of us human beings.

That said I would recommend exploring the filmmakers and their films that work with this very medium- film. There are quite a lot both "current" and historical. A lot of the current do not show their work in big theaters for obvious reasons. They are relegated to galleries, basements, occasional festivals, microcinema venues, etc. I'd google things such as experimental film, avant-garde film & microcinema. Check out http://en.wikipedia....i/Stan_Brakhage and look into Kino @ http://www.kino.com/video/index.php

There's a lot to this world but those are some good places to start.
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#12 David Venhaus

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 12:04 AM

Using the term "silent" for pre-1930's movies is also rather misleading. In general, films of that period, while they did not have pre-recorded sound, in theatrical settings almost always had live music performed with them. Ranging from a large theater having an orchestra and small theater having a single organist or pianist. There were also specialized organs made with sound effects gadgets built into them to be used to match the film playing. By the mid 1910's, it was common to have a film score especially written for the movie to be played with it upon projection.

Edited by David A Venhaus, 18 October 2006 - 12:05 AM.

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#13 Wendell_Greene

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 12:29 AM

has there any modern silent films been made? I have always looked at those good old silent movies with so much respect for many reasons. I'd love to hear if there has been some attempts in modern cinema (recent 15yrs) in making silent movies.



I'd recommend you watch Sidewalk Stories Directed by Charles Lane with cinematography by Bill Dill, ASC. Pays tribute to the Chaplin films.

You can also read a review on the film by Roger Ebert here.
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#14 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 02:53 AM

Check out "Lumière and Company", 41 modern film directors used an original 1890's cinematagraphe camera to make short silent films. This is from 1995 and includes directors such as Spike Lee, David Lynch, Peter Greenway and John Boorman.


MAN I would TOTALLY dig checking that out!!! That sounds sooooooo Bad A**! Lynch doing a silent film with turn of the century equipment, MIND BOGGLING! :lol:
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#15 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 03:09 AM

While there are many very interesting silent films both modern and old, Edison always intended a phonographic device to be synchronized with the projector. So much so that he did not internationally patent the silent system because he thought it was a passing phase. He unfortunately lost millions of dollars because this passing phase lasted many years.
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#16 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 11:25 AM

Although not technically silent, these two films have no dialogue:

JJ Annauds brilliant Quest For Fire and Luc Besson's Dernier Combat.
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#17 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 12:16 PM

Stan Brahkage made silent films up until his death a few years ago.

Experiemental film makers continue to make silent films.

I also beileve that Elias Mirage's first feature was silent.

Scoot MacDonald's series of books titled "A Crital Cinema" contains descriptions of a number of silent films made since the 1950's.

Silent [sic.] filmmaking still gets done all the time but its not the same kind of simple narratives, such as all the vairations on chases, that were done in the early days of American commercial narrative cinema.
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#18 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 07:31 AM

Don't forget Mel Brooks' 'Silent Movie' from the 70s!

Edited by Patrick Cooper, 21 October 2006 - 07:32 AM.

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