Silent Film Days

At Silent Film Days, classic silent movies match up with live music at Verdensteatret Cinematheque - a theatre built in the silent film era.

Welcome to the Silent Film Days 2022, taking place in Tromsø on April 27-30!

STUFF 2022

PROGRAM:

Wednesday 27th April

19h – Opening film,The Lodger / Live: Wako

Thursday 28th April

18h – In Spring / Live: Roksana Smirnova & Misha Kalinin

Friday 29th April

16h30 – Skatter fra arkivet (Nasjonalbiblioteket) / Live: Kjetil Schjander Luhr

18h – Erotikon / Live: John Sweeney

20:30 – The Wind / Live: Buster Sledge og Kjetil Schjander Luhr

Saturday 30th April

12h – Children Film Club: The Kid / Live: Kjetil Schjander Luhr & Michael Barett Donovan

17h – Intolerance / Live: Nasra Omar og Rakel Nystabakk

21h – Nosferatu / Live: The Nosfera 4


Sunday 1st May

18h – The Women of Ryazan/ Live: Herborg Rundberg, Marianne Halmrast, Diana Mikheeva & Lin Valentine

TICKETS/FESTIVAL PASS TO SILENT FILM DAYS 2022

One event:kr. 270,- (ordinary) / kr. 190,- (student/senior/member*)

Festival pass (all screenings included): kr. 525,- (ordinary) / kr. 425,- (student/senior/member*)

* Member of the Verdensteatret Cinemateque or film club.

Bring a friend: pay 1 ticket, get 2!

Buy your tickets at Verdensteatret.no and your festival pass here!

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Wednesday 27th April

18h

Welcome to the opening event of the Silent Film Days 2022!

The Lodger / Live: Wako

Dir: Alfred Hitchcock. UK 1927. 1h32

The Lodger

In The Lodger, the audience is invited to travel to a mysterious and foggy London. With this intense thriller, Alfred Hitchcock made his international breakthrough. The film was hailed by both audiences and critics alike. 

The Lodger opens as a Jack the Ripper-like serial killer, called The Avenger, terrorizes the foggy streets of London. The killer's victims are all young blonde women. One evening, a mysterious man seeks refuge with the Buntings. Their daughter Daisy is engaged to the policeman who is investigating the murder mystery, and when the strange tenant also shows clear interest in the young daughter, suspicions are aroused…


The Lodger
is Hitchcock's first thriller and the film became such a success among both critics and audiences that it is often considered to be his breakthrough as a director. The film was made after Hitchcock's stay in Germany, and is clearly inspired by German, expressionist films such as Dr. Caligari's Cabinet (1919) and Nosferatu (1922). These films were characterized by stylized images and strong light contrasts to highlight the characters' unstable psychological state. The Lodger was so important to the young Hitchcock that he himself often referred to it as his first film, even though it was actually his third production.

The Lodger
is also the first film in which Alfred Hitchcock appears in a cameo role, as a newspaper editor early in the film. He explained this by saying that one of the actors didn't show up, and that he himself had to take the role. Hitchcock's wife and co-star, Alma Reville, also has a supporting role in the film.

ABOUT THE MUSICIANS:

Wako

With five albums and hundreds of live performances behind them, the band Wako plays with an authority and personality that places them at the forefront of Nordic jazz. They are in constant creative development, and have toured Europe both as a quartet, together with Oslo Strings, as well as with trumpet virtuoso Arve Henriksen. The live performances are always carefully adapted to the audience, context and musical material, something that provides both top quality and unique experiences to the audience.

Individually, the musicians can also be heard in projects such as prize-winner Hegge, Siril Malmedal Hauge and Megalodon Collective, as well as other bands such as Espen Berg trio, Kjetil Mulelid Trio and Trondheim Jazz Orchestra.


Wako is composed of: 
Kjetil A. Mulelid - piano
Martin Myhre Olsen - saxophone
Bárður Reinert Poulsen - double bass
Simon Olderskog Albertsen - drums

Thursday 28th April

18h

In Spring / Live: Roksana Smirnova & Misha Kalinin

Dir: Mikhail Kaufman. Ukraine 1929. 1h19

TIFF is proud to present a brand-new production that showcases a Ukrainian groundbreaking documentary of Kiev in the 1920s, set to music of Ukrainian musicians Roksana Smirnova & Misha Kalinin.

Shot in Ukraine in the spring of 1929, In Spring (Vesnoy) is a non-fiction masterpiece of avant-garde cinema. It depicts people’s struggle against the harsh winter, and the revival of life as Spring returns. The film observes the transition from winter to Spring through moments of life: a melting snowman, the cacophony of street vendors, birds building nests, a sport competition, as well as industrial sights. This lyrical tribute to Kiev is shown alongside music by Ukrainian musician Roksana Smirnova and guitarist Misha Kalinin.

The urban symphony is a unique genre that was born in the 1920s: documentary in essence, these films are characterized by their experimental content and poetic mood. Director Mikhail Kaufman is the brother of another famous director, Dziga Vertov, a pioneer of the cinema verité style. His film Man with a Movie Camera (1929) is often deemed one of the greatest films ever made.


ABOUT THE MUSICIANS: Pianist Roksana Smirnova and guitarist Misha Kalinin have played together many concerts. Over the last seven years they have been developing their duo. A combination of acoustic piano and electric guitar with effects creates a very special sound.

They came together from different musical backgrounds, combining interesting elements to create a unique musical style. Misha Kalinin takes guitar out of its traditional place. He brims over with ideas, creating something new at the field of guitar sound. Pianist Roksana Smirnova combines the spontaneity of improvisation with a sense of form influenced by her background as a classical musician. Their performances feature original compositions by both members of the duo.

Thursday 28th april

20h30

The Women of Ryazan / Live: Herborg Rundberg, Marianne Halmrast, Diana Mikheeva og Lin Valentine

Dir: Ivan Pravov, Olga Preobrazhenskaya. Soviet Union 1927. 1h07

Women of Ryazan

The Women of Ryazan, is a Soviet silent drama from 1927 about village life in rural Russia. Anna and her sister-in-law Vasilisa have different approaches to life, the latter openly defying the old way of life.

It is spring 1914, just before the outbreak of World War I. Russia is still the old Empire, not yet modernized by the war to come and the Bolshevik revolution. Farmer Vasili has two children. He marries his son Ivan off to Anna, but is strongly opposed to his daughter Vasilisa’s love for Nicolai. Vasilisa pays it no mind, and leaves home to start a new life with Nicolai without being formally married. Soon both Ivan and Nicolai are drafted to fight for their Mother Land, leaving their women behind to fight their own struggles.

Women of Ryazan is a masterly crafted tale of old vs new. We see how Russia transforms, as told through Soviet eyes not much more than a decade after the events took place. A tremendous success at the time of its release, the film is both an important historical document on how the Soviets of the late 1920s saw their own recent history, and a groundbreaking achievement of silent cinema in and of itself.

ABOUT THE MUSICIANS: 

Herborg Rundberg (NO) is both composer and musical director for The Women of Ryazan 2022. She is a versatile musician and composer with an education as both classical and rhythmic pianist from the University of Tromsø. During her career, she has written commissioned works for the Riddu Riððu festival, been a theater musician at the National Stage in Bergen, and composed and performed music for the performance Blue Fields at Hålogaland Theater, for which she was also musical director. She is part of the experimental duo LEAGUS, which has released several critically acclaimed albums. In 2021, LEAGUS was the composer and musical director of the newly started North Norwegian Jazz Ensemble.

Marianne Halmrast (NO) is a double bassist and electric bassist trained in Jazz in Trondheim. Since 2008, she has worked as a regional musician in Scene Finnmark, where she toured both domestically and abroad. She has expertise in many rhythmic genres such as jazz, pop, rock, free improv and various types of folk music. Her musical expression is strong and unique. In her work as a regional musician, in addition to playing, she has also composed and produced music for a number of different projects and theater.

Diana Mikheeva (RU) on drums and percussion. She is a young and promising drummer from Murmansk. She has a degree from the College of Arts in Murmansk. She has established herself as a professional freelance musician and collaborates with several bands in Russia both as a studio musician and also at concerts. She is about to release her debut album with her own project, Goreo Tuma. In addition to being an active musician, she is also a teacher.

Lin Valentine (RU) various wind instruments, harps and vocals. Lin Valentine (Лин Валентин) is a musician, artist and songwriter from Arkhangelsk, Russia. She has a degree in Linguistics from NArFU (Arkhangelsk) and in Circumpolar Studies from Nord University (Bodø), and she uses her music as a means to tell a story about the North and its people. Lin plays multiple instruments, but self identifies as "a musical alchemist". In 2017 she started a project called Music Alchemy, and has both performed and organized dozens of interactive concerts in the Russian North.

Friday 29th April

16h30

Treasures from the Archives (National Library) / Live: Kjetil Schjander Luhr

Join the treasure hunt! Tina Stenkulla Anckarman, film archivist at the National Library, shows clips from her finest archival finds and tells us their stories.There are many treasures in metal boxes on the shelves of the film archives at the National Library. Sometimes when the film archivist opens a half-forgotten film box, a fascinating journey begins. Sometimes it is clear as soon as the film roll is on the spool table for the first time in decades that a treasure is hidden in the dusty material. But most often it only becomes clear when the archivist has examined and identified the roll: they suddenly discover that it's content is really unique, astonishing, exciting and/or captivating!
Come watch a bunch of colorful jewels from the treasure chest of the National Library, and hear the amazing stories that make these films so special.

ABOUT THE MUSICIAN:

Kjetil S L

Kjetil Schjander Luhr is a composer, pianist and sound designer. In addition to working for film, television and theater, he has been a regular silent film musician at the Cinematheque in Oslo since 2001. Since 2018, he has been a key artistic contributor to the Cinematheque in Oslo's own silent film festival, where he with his silent film ensemble has written and performed new music for great classics like Sunrise, Metropolis and The Kid. Under Luhr's musical leadership, the films are clad in new musical colours, embracing both the musical clichés and inspiration of the 20s, as well as the styles and techniques from recent film history. In Luhr's film musical universe, however, it is always the storytelling and the film's own premises that take precedence - to create a soundtrack that makes you forget that the film is silent.

Friday 29th April

18h

Erotikon / Live: John Sweeney 

Dir: Gustav Machatý. Czechoslovakia 1929. 1h25

Erotikon


Don't miss Erotikon, the masterpiece from director Gustav Machatý, starring the fantastic Slovenian actress Ita Rina, who became a European star with this film
.


The plot is simple: a country girl is seduced by a suitably slick fellow from the big city when he misses the train back to the city and has to spend the night in the country. This forms the framework for what has been delicately referred to as "a poetic study of a woman's sexual awakening". The film is an exemplary depiction of the destructive effects of an erotic "love at first sight", whose power goes against all moral principles. This film surprises for its modernist montage that confronts objects and movements of bodies, and for its beautiful cinematography and rich contrasts.

Erotikon
is considered a classic in avant-garde film and became the first of a trilogy about female sexuality by director Machatý. He followed up with Ecstasy and From Saturday to Sunday. Ecstasy caused the most controverse of all three, but it also gained the most recognition: Machatý won the award for best director at the Venice Film Festival in 1934 (Fun fact: It was the second edition of the festival, and the world's first competition at a film festival).

ABOUT THE MUSICIAN:

John Sweeney

The British pianist John Sweeney has made a name for himself since 1990 with his powerful and evocative music for silent films. He is a regular pianist at The National Film Archive in London, and has traveled the world as a silent film pianist. Those who experienced Sweeney's fantastic music for Seven Chances and The Lovers of an Old Criminal at Silent Film Days 2019, know what to look forward to!

Friday 29th April

20h30

The Wind / Live: Buster Sledge og Kjetil Schjander Luhr 

Dir: Victor Sjöström. USA 1928. 1h12


Come and experience Victor Sjöström's windswept western - one of the last great psychological dramas of the silent film era. The film was a commercial failure in America when it was released, but became a hit among critics Europe.


The Wind
is based on Dorothy Scarborough's novel about the harsh life on the American plains. We follow a young woman who has to move from the East coast to the more untamed Texas, where she has to deal with both lustful men and the constant and relentless wind. The cold reception she receives from her cousin on the ranch, as well as the intense tension within the family makes her more and more unstable.

There are several factors that explainThe Wind's special position in film history: it was the last of Metro Golden Meyer's major ventures in silent film with a script written by the renowned Frances Marion. It was the last silent film by one of the great directors of the time, Victor Sjöström, and the last silent film for one of the biggest stars, Lillian Gish. So the film marks in many ways the end of the silent film era in Hollywood. Gish, who plays the heroine in The Wind, also stars in D. W. Griffith's Intolerance, which you can also watch at Silent Film Days.

Victor Sjöström is one of Swedish film's most important pioneers, and his film work, both in front of and behind the camera, has left its mark in film history in Nordic countries and internationally. In previous editions of Silent Film Days, we have shown Sjöström's Terje Vigen (1917), which became a breakthrough film for Sjöström, and Körkarlen (1921), a gripping film that is considered perhaps the most important work in the Swedish film golden age. In Sweden, Sjöström also became a towering figure in film with his lead role in Ingmar Bergman's Jordbærstedet in 1957.

When silent film musician Kjetil Schjander Luhr happened to hear the band Buster Sledge at a concert for the first time, he knew he wanted to collaborate with them on making music for silent films before the first set was even over. He was also sure about the film they should make music for: Victor Sjöström's magnificent, dramatic and strange western epic,
The Wind from 1928. Banjo, guitar and fiddle have a natural place in the Western genre, but in the silent film context, it is not quite as common to hear bluegrass-inspired music. It is likely that the 2022 edition of The Wind will be a silent film experience out of the ordinary.

ABOUT THE MUSICIANS:

Kjetil

Kjetil Schjander Luhr is a composer, pianist and sound designer. In addition to working for film, television and theater, he has been a regular silent film musician at the Cinematheque in Oslo since 2001. Since 2018, he has been a key artistic contributor to the Cinematheque in Oslo's own silent film festival, where he with his silent film ensemble has written and performed new music for great classics like Sunrise, Metropolis and The Kid. Under Luhr's musical leadership, the films are clad in new musical colours, embracing both the musical clichés and inspiration of the 20s, as well as the styles and techniques from recent film history. In Luhr's film musical universe, however, it is always the storytelling and the film's own premises that take precedence - to create a soundtrack that makes you forget that the film is silent.

With Oslo-based American-Norwegian trio Buster Sledge, you can expect fiddle, banjo, guitar and three voices, which are the vehicle for lyrical storytelling against an orchestral backdrop anchored in the acoustic music traditions of the United States.  Banjoist Mikael Jonassen, from Bodø in the far north, is Norway's first higher-education certified banjo player. Despite beginning with an electric banjo and playing exclusively fusion jazz, Jonassen currently focuses his efforts on Scruggs style acoustic banjo via the playing of Béla Fleck and has taken several trips to the US to learn from the masters themselves. Jakob Folke Ossum, jazz-guitarist turned flat-picking aficionado, discovered the sound of acoustic flat-picking through Tony Rice and Bryan Sutton and meticulously taught himself from records and videos. Fiddler Michael Barrett Donovan made a living as a musician in New York City doing a master's in classical composition while touring with a Grateful Dead tribute band. The three met in a comment section on a bluegrass forum after Donovan moved to Norway in 2019.

Saturday 30th April

12h

Children Film Club: The Kid / Live: Kjetil Schjander Luhr & Michael Barett Donovan

Dir: Charlie Chaplin. USA 1921. 1h08

Come and experience one of Charlie Chaplin's cult films, The Kid, with live music! This masterpiece from 1921 will make you laugh and maybe shed a few tears as well.

In The Kid, Charlie Chaplin plays a character called Tramp, who finds an abandoned child -the titular Kid- in an alley. The good-hearted Tramp also finds the note the abandoned child's mother left with him, which says "Please love and care for this orphan child." So begins an unlikely friendship between the two, and as the baby becomes a small boy, he is both the Tramp's adopted son and his sidekick. Living on very little, they are nonetheless happy. Meanwhile, the Kid's mother has had a change of heart, and now a wealthy actress, she seeks to find her son back. And after a series of chance encounters, the Mother realizes that the Kid is indeed her son.

Critically acclaimed as soon as its release, and later deemed one of the greatest silent films ever made, The Kid is one of Charlie Chaplin's most personal works. Jack Coogan, the child actor who plays the Kid, was a revelation and later became a vaudeville performer. Chaplin and Coogan's bond is evident on screen, and it has been said that it was only reinforced by the fact that Chaplin had just lost his firstborn baby before production began.

In December 2021, it was exactly 100 years since the premiere of Charlie Chaplin's The Kid. During a short window of possibility in the corona autumn, the Cinematheque in Oslo marked that day with a screening of The Kid, with newly written music by Kjetil Schjander Luhr, performed by Luhr and violinist Håkon Aase in the hall at Filmens Hus. In Tromsø, Aase has been replaced by Buster Sledge violinist Michael Barrett Donovan.

ABOUT THE MUSICIANS:

Kjetil Schjander Luhr is a composer, pianist and sound designer. In addition to working for film, television and theater, he has been a regular silent film musician at the Cinematheque in Oslo since 2001. Since 2018, he has been a key artistic contributor to the Cinematheque in Oslo's own silent film festival, where he with his silent film ensemble has written and performed new music for great classics like Sunrise, Metropolis and The Kid. Under Luhr's musical leadership, the films are clad in new musical colours, embracing both the musical clichés and inspiration of the 20s, as well as the styles and techniques from recent film history. In Luhr's film musical universe, however, it is always the storytelling and the film's own premises that take precedence - to create a soundtrack that makes you forget that the film is silent.

Fiddle player and violinist Michael Barrett Donovan made a living as a musician in New York City doing a master's in classical composition while touring with a Grateful Dead tribute band. The three met in a comment section on a bluegrass forum after Donovan moved to Norway in 2019.

Saturday 30th April

17h

Intolerance / Live: Nasra Omar og Rakel Nystabakk

Dir: D.W. Griffith. USA 1916. 2h43

Intolerance is one of the landmarks in film history. D.W. Griffith's 3-hour-long silent film is an epic story in 4 acts about intolerance through the ages. By composing and performing a new musical work for this film, Nasra Ali Omar wants to shed light how narratives justifying intolerance are formed today.

Griffith directed Intolerance in response to criticism of his first film, Birth of a Nation, which was considered racist and a glorification of the Ku Klux Klan. Intolerance consists of four separate stories that illuminate and reinforce each other by means of cross- and parallel editing. The different acts take place in Babylon in 539 BC, in Judea around the year 27, in France in 1572, and in the United States in 1914. Each of the stories in the film is meant to show how hatred, prejudice, oppression and intolerance always come in conflict with love, unity and goodness.

David Wark Griffith was one of the most influential pioneers in the history of film, and one of those who helped make the film medium an independent form of expression. His experiments with form - the use of close-ups, moving cameras, expressive lighting, editing techniques and dramaturgical mastery - had enormous significance for the development of the new art form, and the film influenced a whole generation of young filmmakers, such as Sergej Eisenstein, Vsevolod Pudovkin, Carl Th. Dreyer, John Ford and Erich von Stroheim, to name a few.

Nasra Ali Omar explains her motivation to make new music for Intolerance: “As an artist, a female performer of African background and citizen, I myself have experiences of, and am concerned with what it might mean to belong, and who the privileged and underrepresented are. I wanted to develop an artistic project that addresses issues around race, power relations and hatred in society and the public discourse. The understanding of the concept of tolerance is changing. I wonder if it can be the case that society tolerates as long as it does not concern "us", or "I-individual"? Who is the one who tolerates and who is the one who does not tolerate? Could it be that it is the role of the privileged to tolerate? Or is it the less privileged's right to tolerate? The film is historical, but also forward-looking in the way it stages the different eras' versions of intolerance, hatred and prejudice. I wanted to go further and re-actualize the film's historical role by adding new music to it based on music historical approaches to this contemporary issue.”

ABOUT THE MUSICIANS:

Nasra Ali Omar (born 1979, Mogadishu) is a cross-genre percussionist, educated at the music conservatory in Tromsø and Aarhus. In recent years, she worked mostly in the genres of electronics / world music with a drumming stick. Nasra has worked as a session musician with artists and bands such as Bel Canto, Ost & Kjex and Sizzle, and has been invited as a soloist on stages with, among others, Bugge Wesseltoft, Mari Boine, Cleaning Women (FIN), Vokal Nord and Sissle Ohthaka (JPN) to name a few. As a freelancer, Nasra is currently a permanent band member in the electronics concept UGRESS. When it comes to silent film music, Nasra has played live to Metropolis and The End Of St. Petersburg, both of which have toured the Barents region. The last time Nasra was at the Silent Film Days, she played live to the film Brudeferden in Hardanger.

Rakel Nystabakk (b. 1988) has a broad musical and artistic background. Among other things, she has studied classical trumpet and computer music performance, and now works mainly as a composer and computer musician. In recent years, she has worked mostly as a composer for performing arts, in addition to being a performing improvisation musician, and writing concert music for various ensembles. Nystabakk draws much of her sonic material from field recordings and sampling of concrete sound, and is often inspired by folk music and minimalism. She lives daily in Sørfold municipality in Nordland, but regularly works with the music and performing arts scene in Oslo and Tromsø.

Saturday 30th April

21h

Nosferatu / Live: The Nosfera 4

Dir: F.W. Murnau. Germany 1922. 1h34

Newlywed Hutter leaves his wife Ellen to travel to the Carpathian Mountains and conclude a business deal with Count Orlok, a mysterious figure who fascinates as much as he repulses. His behavior appears at first glance to be pure eccentricity, but when Orlok shows up with his teeth blood-stained, Hutter realizes that there is danger ahead, and that his beloved Ellen is in Orlok's longing thoughts.


With Nosferatu, F. W. Murnau directed what was to be the very first film adaptation of Bram Stoker's famous novel "Dracula", which has since been adapted into more than 200 different variants. What is so appealing about Dracula is not entirely easy to define. Is it immortality, the search for eternal love, or his probably large consumption of toothbrushes? What we do know for sure is that Nosferatu is still the most iconic vampire movie ever made, and perhaps the best.

This screening is in collaboration with Tromsø Filmklubb.

ABOUT THE MUSICIANS:

The Nosfera 4 consists of two members from the now disbanded "River to Aintry", which played for the silent film Nosferatu during the Silent Film Days in 2010; and two members from the band Iran Mayen who in 2021 and 2022 played silent film concerts for the self-produced film entitled "Korona" during the Silent Film Days and TIFF. Together, these musicians have been members of countless bands over the years, and they have now come together with a goal in mind: to make horrifying (but sometimes pleasant) music for a terribly scary and iconic film!