MEIFF to showcase 'golden age' of cinema

Silent film fest a first for UAE, argues MEIFF exec director Scarlett.
A still from the 1926 silent feature Might Like a Moose.
A still from the 1926 silent feature Might Like a Moose.

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The 2009 Middle East International Film Festival in Abu Dhabi will present a special program of silent film comedies in pristine archival prints accompanied by live musical accompaniment.

The initiative, presented under the Laugh Till it Hurts banner, may represent the first public screening of such a collection of silent films in the UAE, claimed Peter Scarlet, MEIFF executive director.

“I haven’t been able to find any references to public screenings of silent films ever having taken place here,” he said. “And if they did, they almost certainly were not with the sorts of magnificent prints as those we’ll be showing, nor is it likely they were presented with an accompaniment as brilliantly professional as the one Neil Brand will be providing.”

The presentation will include early two-reelers starring Charlie Chaplin (The Immigrant, 1916) and Buster Keaton (One Week, 1920), along with a pair of shorts by lesser known Charley Chase (Mighty Like a Moose, 1926) and Charley Bowers (Egged On, 1927).
The internationally renowned pianist and composer Neil Brand will provide live keyboard accompaniment for the program. Brand will also be offering an illustrated lecture “The Silent Pianist Speaks” as one of the MEIFF Master Classes on Thursday, October 15. Full details of the Master Classes program can be found on the MEIFF website.

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