Berkeley Silent-Film Conference
The Department of Film and Media at the University of California, Berkeley presents The First International Berkeley Conference on Silent Cinema, with a theme of Cinema Across Media: The 1920s, running February 24–26 2011. The international, interdisciplinary conference will include plenary speeches, roundtables, concurrent panels, and a series of silent film screenings with live musical accompaniment at the Pacific Film Archive.
The announcement of the event explains: “Cinema’s institutional consolidation in the 1920s enlisted practitioners from many other fields and transformed the entire ensemble of established media. Avant-garde cinemas borrowed extensively from a variety of artistic practices, while the ‘cinematic’ became the new standard for both modernist aesthetics and popular culture. Today’s multimedia environment brings cinema of the 1920s into new focus as the site of rich intermedial traffic, especially if the term ‘media’ encompasses not only recording technologies and mass media, such as photography, phonography, radio, and illustrated press, but also the physical materials used for aesthetic expression, such as paint, print, plaster, stone, voice, and bodies. Cinema Across Media: The 1920s is a two-and-a-half-day conference that will include five plenary speeches, two plenary roundtables, eight concurrent panels, and a weeklong series of silent film screenings with live musical accompaniment at the Pacific Film Archive. The purpose of the conference is to gather scholars, archivists, and students from a variety of fields in order to assess international cinema from the 1920s as a dynamic center for adjacent media practices. The conference will feature an international group of scholars from a variety of disciplines, including music, architecture, literature, art history, theater, dance, and performance studies, as well as film archivists, curators, and researchers from archives, museums, and institutes worldwide.”
Noted presenters include Thomas Elsaesser, University of Amsterdam; Tom Gunning, University of Chicago; Gertrud Koch, Free University of Berlin; Paolo Cherchi Usai, Haghefilm Foundation; and Anthony Vidler, Cooper Union.Also on the program is a series of evening film showings whose highlights include the screening of The Complete Metropolis by Fritz Lang (Germany, 1926). Included are 25 minutes of the masterpiece that were discovered in a Buenos Aires archive in one of the biggest finds in recent film history. The footage accounts for nearly a fifth of the film, and the screening of the restored film at the conference will be the first public showing since the film’s original 1927 premiere. The restoration puts back into place missing subplots, characters, and events.
Also on the program is Rien que les heures (France, 1926) in a preservation print, with live piano accompaniment. Alberto Cavalcanti’s film is credited as the first ever to provide a inject a sociological perspective into documentary film, and as his experimental, avant-garde work.
For more information about the conference, visit its website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.