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By IBARRA C. MATEO
August 23, 2013 5:02pm
 

Organizers of the 7th Manila International Silent Film Festival (MISFF) said six silent films from Japan, Italy, Germany, the U.S., Spain, and the Philippines are to be shown until August 25, Sunday, for free on a first-come, first-served basis, at the Shang Cineplex in Mandaluyong.

All the film showings will be accompanied by live music from Filipino bands such as Pulso, Sino Sikat, and Composers’Lab, alongside German musician Pierre Oser, and other bands such as Razorback, Earthmover, and Spy.

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An era of silence

This year's scheduled lineup. 7th Manila International Silent Film Festival
Teodoro Granados, executive director of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), said the MISFF pays tribute to the origins of cinema and the era of silent films and the live sound and music that accompanied the silent films.

“It was an era of silence, and yet, as we will witness in this roster of films, then as it is today, we see a shared language that pervades national cinemas all over the globe. These films will be brought to life by ground-breaking and genre-bending Filipino musicians, a feature that makes this festival unique,” Granados said.

During the silent film era, live musical accompaniment was either provided by a solo pianist or a full-blown orchestra. The MISFF differs from other silent film festivals abroad, however,  as it showcases local Filipino bands performing live scores before audiences, organizers said.

The MISFF past editions featured groups such as Tropical Depression and Radioactive Sago Project.

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Opening with 'Keisatsukan' (A Police Officer, 1933)

The seventh edition of Asia’s lone international silent film festival will open on August 23, Friday, with the screening of “Keisatsukan” (A Police Officer), a 1933 Japanese crime film to be accompanied by the Filipino rock and blues musical group, Pulso.

Shuji Takatori, director of the Japan Foundation, Manila, said they had encountered “difficulties” in locating a copy of the 121-minute “Keisatsukan” directed by Tomu Uchida, whom he described as “among the masters of Japanese cinematic lyricism.”

Takatori said “Keisatsukan” was based on the 1932 bank robbery which inspired a novel. The copy of “Keisatsukan” to be shown is from the National Film Center of the National Museum of Modern Art-Tokyo, he said.


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2013_08_23_18_07_28 - Asia’s only international silent film festival opens 7th edition in Manila - Lifestyle, Culture and Arts
Japan's silent film entry, "Keisatsukan" (A Police Officer). 7th Manila International Silent Film Festival

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Other silent film fare: Europe

Professor Emanuela Adesini, cultural attaché of the Italian Embassy and officer for the Promotion of Italian Language and Culture, said they are presenting “La Grazia” (The Grace) and the rock band “Sino Sikat.”

Adesini said the 1929 film by Aldo de Benedetti was “one of the best films produced in Italy in the late 1920s” and was based on the short story “Di Notte” (At Night) written in 1894 by Nobel Prize for Literature Winner Grazia Deledda.

“La Grazia” is a love story in a small village in Sardinia, Deledda’s hometown, where ancient traditions and strict code of honor among shepherds clash with the unpredictable laws of passion and love.

Dr. Petra Raymond, director of Goethe-Institut Philippinen, said the movie “Ich Mocthe Kein Mann Sein” (I Don’t Want to be A Man) “deals with stereotypes of gender and the linked expectation of people’s behaviors.”

Raymond said the film was released in Germany in October 1918, one month before the voting right for women was introduced in Germany. It will be accompanied by the Composers’Lab led by Professor Jonas Baes of the UP College of Music and composer Oser, of the Jazz School of Munich.

Jose Maria Fons, senior cultural officer of the Instituto Cervantes de Manila, said “El Abuelo” (The Grandfather), directed by Jose Buchs and released in 1925, was adapted from the novel of famous author Benito Perez Galdos.

The music of the group Earthmover supplements the story of “El Abuelo” which revolves around the discovery of one of the film's two granddaughters being illegitimate and the search for the true descendant of the Count of Albrit.

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The U.S.'s silent film entry, "The Phantom of the Opera." 7th Manila International Silent Film Festival

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Other silent film fare: US and the PHL

Kristin Kneedler, cultural officer of the US Embassy, said the 1925 movie, “The Phantom of the Opera” directed by Rupert Julian, is their contribution to this year’s festival.

Kneedler said they tapped Razorback to provide music to the famous movie dealing with the mysteries at the Paris Opera House and the love struck opera ghost, Christine, and Raoul.

The Philippine film featured this year is “Kamera Obskura” (2012) by director Raymond Red. The movie is about a group of film historians finding a rare Filipino silent film of unknown origins.

“Kamera Obskura” is a film within a film, and it challenges the viewers to travel back in time and re-imagine the lost silent cinema heritage in the Philippines. The musical group Spy will play Pinoy Blues, among others, to accompany “Kamera Obskura.” — VC, GMA News


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