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Tromsø Silent Film Days

18.-21. April 2024

Tromsø Silent Film Days started in 2006 and has been held every year since then. It is the only festival of its kind in Scandinavia. Silent Film Days is an arena for unique collaborations between professional musicians form the whole world. Specially written music is performed live to silent film classics of all genres.

Enjoy classic silent films and exciting live music during the Silent Film Days at Verdensteatret, a theatre built in the silent film era!


Festival Pass

The festival pass gives you free access to all eight film concerts during the silent film days of 2024! You pay a small fee and can attend as many performances as you wish.

Festival pass

760,- / 570,-*

Single tickets

320,- / 200,-*

*Student, Senior, Members at Verdensteatret or in Tromsø Film Club.

Buy a Festival Pass

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Thursday 18th April, 19.00

Welcome to the Opening of Tromsø Silent Film Festival 2024! 

We are so excited to present to you the Swedish silent film THE GIRL IN TAILS accompanied by the talented musician Mie Bergh!

Opening Night - THE GIRL IN TAILS / Live: Mie Bergh

Dir: Karin Swanström | Sweden 1926 | 2h 1m |Swedish Intertitles, English Subtitles 

The Girl in Tails

Katja wants to attend her graduation ball, but her strict father won’t give her any money for a dress. Her brother is treated quite differently and has his closet full of shirts and silk ties. When Katja decides to appear at the party in her brother’s tails – drinking, smoking cigars and dancing with other women, she causes a scandal in the village. Her father throws her out of their home, and she seeks refuge in her friends’s mansion meeting a bunch of lesbian intellectuals. This is a fun feminist comedy about female resistance and joyful play with gender roles.

The director Karin Swanström stars herself in the film as the widow of a prominent minister, and she is now ruling the village with her strict authority. Swanström was one of the most powerful persons in the Swedish film industry at the time working as a director, actress, and artistic director at Svensk Filmindustri (SF).


ABOUT THE MUSIC

Mie Bergh

To compose music for THE GIRL IN TAILS, we have invited multi-talented Mie Bergh, best known as the vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter of the indie band A Million Pineapples. Currently pursuing a master's degree in rhythmic music with a laptop as an instrument at the Music Conservatory in Tromsø, Bergh holds a previous BA in classical percussion. In this project, which is part of the Insomnia Festival's talent initiative Cloud Exit, Bergh will employ all her musical skills as she works on further developing herself as a solo artist.

This silent film concert is organized in collaboration with the Insomnia Festival and their talent program Cloud Exit with support from Talent Norway, SNN Samfunnsløftet and Musikkontoret.

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Friday 19th April, 18:00

MÉNILMONTANT/ Live: Trond Jervell

Dir: Dimitri Kirsanoff | France 1926 | 38m | No Intertitles

Ménilmontant

The film opens with a brutal axe murder. Two young sisters become orphans and move to Paris where they get involved in a love triangle with an enigmatic young man. They become his victims, and they both end up in difficult situations. The film is an avantgarde poetic and melodramatic masterpiece – an early example of French impressionist film. The director was born in Estoina under the name Markus David Kapla. He emigrated to France after his father was murdered by the Bolsjeviks in 1919, and then took the more Russian name Dimitri Kirsanoff. The actress playing the youngest sister, Nadia Sibirskaïa, makes an impressing performance in this film and she collaborated with Kirsanoff on several projects.


ABOUT THE MUSIC

Trond Jervell

Working in the cross section between Ambient, Musique Concrete and Noise, Trond Jervell strives to strike a balance between chaos and order, silence and noise, texture and tone. In his work composing music for Ménilmontant and the live performance of the composition, he has chosen to work towards a musical expression that incorporates both acousmatic sounds and free improvisation.

This silent film concert is organized in collaboration with the Insomnia Festival and their talent program Cloud Exit with support from Talent Norway, SNN Samfunnsløftet and Musikkontoret.

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Friday 19th April, 20:00

Step into a world of flying carpets, scimitars, live tigers and elaborate mustaches as Kjetil Schjander Luhr & Saleh Mahfoud breathe new life into early Hollywood's fascination with the exotic, blending Hollywood clichés with authentic Arab sounds.

THE THIEF OF BAGDAD / Live: Kjetil Schjander Luhr & Saleh Mahfoud

Dir: Raoul Walsh | USA 1924 | 2h 29m | English intertitles

The Thief of Bagdad

THE THIEF OF BAGDAD is a spectacular silent film adventure from 1924, drawing inspiration from several stories in One Thousand and One Nights. The film provides an interesting glimpse into early Hollywood's fascination with the "exotic." It indulges in classic clichés borrowed or stolen from Arab culture: flying carpets, scimitars, dome architecture, live tigers, and elaborate mustaches. More unusually for American cinema, and noteworthy, is a highly positive portrayal of Islam, as Douglas Fairbanks' atheist thief undergoes a moral awakening that truly sets the adventure in motion. In 1996, the film was included in the Library of Congress's collection of historically, culturally, and aesthetically significant films.


ABOUT THE MUSIC

Kjetil Schjander Luhr
Kjetil Schjander Luhr

Long-time silent film pianist at Cinemateket in Oslo, Kjetil Schjander Luhr, has long wanted to create music for The Thief of Bagdad, which is the epitome of Hollywood's swashbuckler films: grand adventures with athletic heroics and good humor, usually set in an idealized, heroic past. At the same time, Kjetil wanted to approach the film with a broader cultural horizon than Hollywood could provide in the 1920s. Thus, the idea was born for a silent film concert that could be a true mashup of classic Hollywood clichés on one side and authentic Arab music and its own clichés on the other.

Realizing he knew too little about the Arab musical tradition, Kjetil contacted multi-instrumentalist and composer Saleh Mahfoud, who, since arriving in Norway from Syria in 2015, has been a central figure in promoting Arab culture and music on the Norwegian music scene, with a range of projects and ensembles like Majãz, Oslo Orientalske Orkester, and Solfrid Molland Ensemble. Together, they have created a new and joyful musical interpretation for this classic silent film gem, which can delight and entertain a new audience, 100 years after its first premiere.

Saleh Mahfoud

Schjander Luhr and Mahfoud are also joined by musicians Khaled Habeeb (oud), Hayden Powell (trumpet), Andreas Wildhagen (drums, percussion), and Johanna Scheie Orellana (flute).

The event is in collaboration with Tromsø World Festival.

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Friday 19th April, 22:30

SILENT DANCE POTPURRI / Live: Sebastian Brose

Dance mash-up from silent films | Edited by Marte Aasen

Sebastian Brose. Photo: Ema Motrescu.

Movement and body language is crucial in the silent films since the communication and storytelling depends on telling most of the story without dialogue or intertitles. The silent film era is also filled with striking dance scenes. The sensual “gaucho” dance scene with actress Asta Nielsen in THE ABYSS was too hot to handle for the Norwegian censorship in 1907, so the film was censored, but made a great success in Denmark, and launched Asta Nielsen’s international career. In METROPOLIS “Maria’s dance” is both eccentric and sensual and attracts men’s gazes. In PANDORA’S BOX Louise Brookes dances tango with another woman at her own wedding party, causing some attention from the men.

To this fun dance-mash up Sebastian Brose, known under the artist name Gostoso, is improvising with electronic music and DJ-samples on the dancefloor of Verdensteatret Bar.

This event has free entrance and is in collaboration with the Insomnia Festival and their talent program Cloud Exit with support from Talent Norway, SNN Samfunnsløftet and Musikkontoret.

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Saturday 20th April, 12:00

In collaboration with Tromsø Childrens Film Club. 

SHERLOCK JR. / Live: Aleksander Kostopoulos

Dir: Buster Keaton | USA 1924 | 45m | English intertitles, Swedish subtitles

Sherlock Jr

The classic masterpiece celebrates its 100th anniversary, with Buster Keaton in one of his most memorable roles as a cinema projectionist, with music by the acclaimed and multi talented Aleksander Kostopoulos!

In SHERLOCK JR. Keaton plays a simple and quiet projectionist. He shows films to audiences and cleans up after each show. The job is okay, but can be a bit dull. His biggest wish is to become a private detective, and he diligently reads books during work hours to educate himself. He falls in love with a girl but faces resistance from a rival suitor who uses dirty tricks to discredit the projectionist in the eyes of the girl's father. In real life, everything seems to go against him, but in his dreams, he is Sherlock, Jr., a stylish and elegant private detective who truly belongs on the big cinema screen.

ABOUT THE MUSIC

Aleksander Kostopolous

Aleksander Kostopoulos is an audiovisual drummer, composer, and artist from Bodø. He is known for his work in the band ISÁK, where he collaborated with producer James Daniel Njie Eriksen and vocalist Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen. As a solo artist, he creates cinematic electronic music and has released three albums, two audiovisual works, as well as composed music for dance performances, theater, and short films. In addition, Kostopoulos has played drums and percussion for various artists and bands, including Mari Boine, Adjagas, Moddi, Marthe Valle, Julie Alapnes, and Pil & Bue.

This screening is in collaboration with Tromsø Barnefilmklubb. The screening is free to members. Membership and tickets can be purchased at the door before the film concert. If you have a festival pass, you can show it at the entrance to get in.

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Saturday 20th April, 19:00

In collaboration with Tromsø Film Club.

STEREO / Live: Ekkoboks

Dir: David Cronenberg | Canada 1969 | 1h 3m |English intertitles

Stereo

Seven young adults voluntarily sign up to participate in a parapsychological experiment conducted at the Canadian Academy of Erotic Enquiry, where Dr. Luther Stringfellow's shocking theories are to be tested. Here, the volunteers undergo a form of brain surgery that removes their ability to speak but grants them the power of telepathic communication. How can two bodies make contact and engage in sex without actually touching each other? This is the question Stringfellow aims to unravel.

A young girl experiences a mix of horror and delight in the experiment but develops a secondary personality to cope with her new state of consciousness, gradually taking over her original personality. Encouraged through sexual relationships, they are prompted to develop their newfound abilities, and as the experiment progresses, Stringfellow's theories become reality. At the same time, he and the other researchers increasingly lose control over the participants.

This somewhat erotic science fiction film is directed, written, filmed, and edited by the Canadian David Cronenberg, marking his debut in feature films. "Stereo" bears many traces of his career-spanning cinematic interests, exploring alternative sexual behaviors, alienation from one's own body, and shifts in identity.

ABOUT THE MUSIC

Ekkoboks


Ekkoboks (Lars-Erik Kroken Mikkelsen) is electronic beats, hypnotic themes, and occasionally heavy bass, constructed with drum machines, sampling, and synths. Rhythmic sequences and evolving soundscapes are framed with inspiration drawn from trip-hop, ambient, IDM, dub, and other delightful treats from the corners of the candy box.

This is a brand new project by drummer Lars-Erik Kroken Mikkelsen, most known from the rock side of Tromsø's music scene, including his involvement in the duo Jabba. Mikkelsen has previously composed and performed music for silent films such as Häxan (1922) and Der Golem (1920) as part of Jabba, as well as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920) and Cave of the Spider Women (1927) as part of Reptile Master.

Jump on the opportunity to catch the very first concert from Ekkoboks!

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Saturday 20th April, 21:00

HÄXAN / Live: Cult Member

Dir: Benjamin Christensen | Sweden, Denmark 1922 | 1h 45m |Swedish intertitles, English subtitles

Häxan

Grave robbing, torture, possessed nuns, and a satanic Sabbath: Benjamin Christensen’s legendary film does not hold back and uses a series of dramatic vignettes to explore the scientific hypothesis that the witches of the Middle Ages suffered the same hysteria as turn-of-the-century psychiatric patients. But the film itself is far from serious– instead it’s a witches’ brew of the scary, gross, and darkly humorous.

A cultural-historical lecture, that's what the Danish director Benjamin Christensen called his film about medieval witch trials. With drawings and a pointer, he explains how the cosmos was imagined. In a model, planets move in spheres of glass, grotesque devils grin on woodcuts, and in a mechanical hell, sinners go up and down in pots.

With Häxan, Christensen thew the plot overboard and truly found a new way to use the film medium. He dared to start with a long educational section, use almost only amateurs in the roles, mix horror film effects with equally frightening realism, and finish with a humanistic appeal. When Häxan premiered in 1922, the Swedish Film Institute had paid for the most expensive Scandinavian silent film in history. It was heavily edited in many countries and banned in the USA, yet it was a global success. More than one hundred years later, Häxan is still unlike anything else you have ever seen.

ABOUT THE MUSIC

Cult Member

Cult Member is a rare feat of power. The Tromsø band released their first EP in 2020 and released their debut album Infinite Death that was nominated at the Norwegian Grammys the year after. With a vocalist from Denton County Texas and members from well-known punk and hardcore bands such as Die A Legend, Jabba and Reptile Master, they play a fast and heavy mix of hardcore and thrash.

After playing all over Norway, they are becoming an established name in the underground scene. Members of Cult Member have earlier played silent film concerts to the movies Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Tromsø Brenn.

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Sunday 21st April, 15:00

THE NAVIGATOR / Live: Kjetil Schjander Luhr

Dir: Donald Crisp, Buster Keaton | USA 1924 | 1h 5m |English intertitles, Norwegian subtitles

The Navigator

Buster Keaton shines in his and Donald Crisp’s brilliant masterpiece from 1924, celebrating its 100th anniversary at this year’s Silent Film Days, with terrific music from Norway’s leading silent film pianist Kjetil Schjander Luhr!

Keaton is Rollo, a hopeless romantic who decides to propose to his neighbor Betsy and offers a sailing trip to Hawaii as their honeymoon. When she rejects Rollo, he decides to go alone but boards the wrong ship. Instead, he ends up on "The Navigator," owned by Betsy's father. And when Betsy also boards to talk to her dad, the ship drifts out to sea...


ABOUT THE MUSIC

Kjetil Schjander Luhr

Kjetil Schjander Luhr is a Norwegian composer, pianist and sound designer. In addition to working on film, television and he’s been a regular silent film musician at the Cinematheque in Oslo since 2001. Since 2018 he’s been a key contributor to the cinematheque’s own silent film festival, where he and his various ensembles have composed and performed original music to great classics such as Sunrise, Metropolis and The Kid.

At the hands of Luhr films are revamped with a fresh musical expression that includes the grand clichés of the 1920s as well as inspiring takes on styles and techniques from modern film history. In his musical universe the film’s storytelling and premise are always in focus, and the goal is to have the live soundtrack make you forget that the film was ever silent!


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Sunday 21st April, 19.30

LIMITE / Live: Hedvig Mollestad and Barents Band

Director: Mário Peixoto | Brazil 1931 | 1h 54m | English subtitles

After a packed premiere at TIFF 2024 in January, the silent film concert LIMITE / Live: Hedvig Mollestad and Barents Band returns to Tromsø for Silent Film Days 2024!

LIMITE by Mário Peixoto is a true avant-garde experimental masterpiece. Limite can be directly translated to boundaries, transitions or divisions, and there are many of those in the film; between land and sea, between past and present, life and death, and especially between one image and the next.

The Brazilian film follows a kind of narrative about a man and two women in a rowing boat, lost at sea. They have left something behind, and are looking towards a new future. Through flashbacks, the story is poetically linked together. Here, the meaning lies not necessarily in the individual scenes, but rather in the relationship between them. It is a mysterious, innovative and philosophical film, and Mollestad has composed music that creates a harmonious interplay between listening and seeing.

Mário Peixoto (b. 1908) was a Brazilian poet, writer and director best known for the film Limite. He directed it at the age of just 21, and never made another film. Limite had an almost mythical reputation until critics restored the only copy in the 70s. In 1988, it was chosen as the best Brazilian film of all time in a national poll, and again in 1995.

ABOUT THE MUSIC

Hedvig Mollestad. Photo: Julia Marie Naglestad


Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen is the musical director for the project. With seven albums with her own trio and three solo releases, two Spellemann Awards, and several nominations, she has established herself as a recognized artist. Her current musical exploration, including the performance "Liquid Borders," aligns well with the theme of the film. In dialogue with Mollestad, TIFF has formed a new ensemble that will, during the festival week, recontextualize this classic silent film.

This year's Barents band consists of four independent professional musicians:

Aleksander Kostopoulos, drums
Vladislav Demin, violin
Innokentiy Ivanov, vibraphone
Ståle Storløkken, keyboard

LIMITE / Live: Hedvig Mollestad and Barents Band at TIFF 2024. Photo: Jacob De Hoop.