Relive silent cinema’s resonant legacy, culture, and historical importance at the 16th International Silent Film Festival Manila.
Before IMAX and Dolby theaters, streaming platforms, smartphones and headphones, cinema used to cast its spell through silence. From Lumiére Brothers’ actualités (or documentaries as we call it now), which capture the quiet beauty of the mundane in the late 1800s, the astoundingly short reels from the master illusionist George Méliès, to Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton’s adventurous comedies, it was silent films which had first captured the interests of the early filmgoers and planted in them the first seeds of cinematic wonder. And this rich legacy of silent films is once again spotlighted at the annual International Silent Film Festival Manila where we get to celebrate the strength of silence.
CELEBRATE THE STRENGTH OF SILENCE
Since 2007, the Silent International Film Festival Manila (ISSFM) has been reliving the cinematic might of silent films through reigniting interest in silent filmmaking as well as providing a platform for filmmakers to develop their skills in creating unique and quality stories.
A first of its kind in Asia, ISFFM is back after two years of virtual events with in-person festivities which aim to celebrate the strength of silence. The four-day event will bring you a resonant cinematic experience with screenings of classic silent films from Germany, Spain, Japan, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom live scored by Filipino bands and musicians.
Forming this year’s ISSFM lineup is E.A. Dupont’s 1929 showbiz melodrama Piccadilly, which is considered to be a pinnacle of British silent cinema. Legendary filmmaker Martin Scorcese even calls it “one of the truly great films of the silent film era.” The film will be scored by the Filipino acoustic pop band Anahata in collaboration with Sensoria Film and Music Festival’s co-founder and film music composer, Nigel Humberstone.
F.W. Murnau’s 1922 German horror Nosferatu: A Symphony Of Horror is the first-ever (unauthorized) adaptation of Bram Stoker’s famed novel Dracula. Experience Nosferatu in its centennial anniversary at ISFFM with music from The Brockas (composed of renowned Filipino filmmakers Lav Diaz, Khavn Dela Cruz, and Rox Lee).
With music from the ten-piece local band Brass Pas Pas Pas Pas, René Le Somptier and Charles Burguet’s 1919 French fairytale La sultane de l’amour (The Sultan of Love–A Thousand and One Nuits) is the festival’s oldest film in the selection this year. The 1926 Spanish romantic drama Malvaloca by Benito Perojo also joins the lineup with a score by the grassroots world music rock band Talahib People’s Music.
The Lady and the Beard tells the story of a kendo champion who has a difficult time integrating into modern society because of his old-fashioned beard. The romantic comedy is directed by the acclaimed Japanese filmmaker Yasujirō Ozu and will be live scored by the Awit Award-winning indie and folk singer-songwriter Bullet Dumas. Finally, capping off this year’s International Silent Film Festival Manila selection is the 1921 Italian drama I Figli de Nessuno (Nobody’s Children) by Ubaldo Maria Del Colle with music from sound designer Pepe Manikan.
Wrapping up ISFFM 2022 is a screening of three silent short films from young emerging filmmakers who were part of the festival’s inaugural Mit Out Sound: International Silent Film Labs and Competition last year. They are Ing Tianak by EJ Gagui and Marienel Calma and the best picture winners, Alingasngas ng mga Kuliglig by Vahn Leinard Pascual and Dikit by Gabriella Serrano, who also bagged the best director prize.
Sidebar events like a webinar that spotlights this year’s selection of silent films, roundtable discussions with musicians about their experiences and with local archivists about the challenges of restoring Filipino films will also be part of the festival’s program.
The International Silent Film Festival Manila is made possible by the Embassy of France to the Philippines and Micronesia, Goethe-Institut Philippinen, Embassy of Italy in the Philippines with The Philippine Italian Association, The Japan Foundation, Manila, Film Development Council of the Philippines, Instituto Cervantes de Manila, and the British Council Philippines.
Experience the strong sound of silent movies from November 24-27, 2022, at the Red Carpet, Shangri-La Mall, Mandaluyong City. Head over to International Silent Film Festival Manila’s social media page for more information about the schedule and events.