Director's pick: Four feature films in the Silent Film Festival and why they're great
The 35mm films are in place, and the University of Colorado Denver music students have their instruments ready. The Denver Silent Film Festival runs tomorrow through Sunday at the King Center on the Auraria campus, with screenings of silent-era classics and some lesser-known gems.
We asked artistic director Howie Movshovitz for his thoughts on what makes the festival's four feature films great.
Paramount Famous Lasky Corporation
William A. Wellman, 1927
Howie Movshovitz: There was a good print available, which is not a very sexy reason until you see a crappy print. I have a particular interest in films about WWI. Because WWII films are about victory, but WWI films are about loss. It gives you a feeling of what it was like flying and being in combat, but it also paints a really surprising picture of upper-class people that gets away from stereotype treatments.
It's about two young fighter pilots. One of them is a middle-class guy, the other is a rich kid. And you think the film is going to diss the rich kid, but he comes from a really loving family, and I like that.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Robert Wiene, 1920
HM: It's, I think, the essential and most eccentric example of German Expressionist film-making. It was filmed on a constructed set where there were no true verticals and horizontals, so you can feel the unevenness and get a real sense of these distorted angles. It's a very disturbing film and I love Conrad Veidt, who plays the somnambulist. Last year, for Nosferatu, Davis Sosin and the music students created a musical score in two days, and they're doing that for Caligari this year.