With live, improvised piano accompaniment
20 The Green, N21
Part of Mimetic Festival 2013
Join in the conversation: #Mimetic2013
Tuesday 16th July 2013
The Last Laugh
“Der letzte Mann” (original title)
Germany | 1924 | Dir F. W. Murnau | 91 min | Certificate: U
With live, improvised piano accompaniment from British Film Institute silent film pianist, Costas Fotopoulos
A landmark work in the history of cinema, German Expressionist film, Der letzte Mann is considered by some to be the greatest silent film ever made.
+ Short film
UK | 2012 | Dir Jamie Thraves | 9 min
- Introduced by Pamela Hutchinson; Editor of Silent London and Features Production Editor for The Guardian.
- Licenced bar serving alcohol, soft drinks and snacks.
- Sardinian artisan antipasti boxes on sale from Palmavera Fine Foods.
Enfield Grammar School Hall, Wilford Close, Enfield Town, EN2 6LN
Date and time:
Tuesday 16th July 2013. Doors open at 6:45pm. Film starts at 7:30pm
£6.50/£5.50 concession. Concessions are available to: senior citizens (age 65 or over), full-time students, unwaged and disabled visitors. Proof of eligibility may be requested on entry.
Parking will be available on site, but spaces will be limited.
Seats will not have cushions, so for extra comfort we advise bringing one along with you.
What did you enjoy most?
‘A totally engrossing film – brilliant. Excellent venue. Looking forward to another evening!!’
‘Last Laugh was excellent – really enjoyed it. More please!’
‘Amazing live piano accompaniment. Great introduction to film’
‘Introduction to film – helped understanding & enjoyment. Amazing piano!’
‘The film. The excellent improv’ music from pianist. Well presented (including friendly welcome at door!)’
‘A very different experience. Opportunity to see something different locally.’
‘The lighting, the camera work, the director’s ingenuity.’
‘Live musical accompaniment. Good choice of film. Interesting introduction. Welcoming atmosphere.’
‘Loved the choice of film. … Musical accompaniment was fantastic.’
‘Intros, pianist, film, wonderful, thank you!’
‘A great film accompanied by amazing pianist which completely fitted mood of film – can’t wait to see it again & more silent movies.’
‘…Well priced wine, top pianist & interesting film. The Mountain Eagle was wonderful – thank you’
‘Storyline was gripping & totally comprehensible – subtitles definitely not needed.’
‘The venue, intro by Pamela, staff, refreshments, artisan box, wine. Piano by Costas!’
The Last Laugh
| Germany | 1924 | Dir F. W. Murnau | 91 min | Certificate: U |
Starring: Emil Jannings, Maly Delschaft, Max Hiller
“Der letzte Mann represents a breakthrough on a number of fronts. Firstly, it introduced a method of purely visual storytelling in which all intertitles and dialogue were jettisoned, setting the stage for a seamless interaction between film-world and viewer. Secondly, it put to use a panoply of technical innovations that continue to point distinct ways forward for cinematic expression nearly a century later…
“…the tale of an elderly hotel doorman whose superiors have come to deem his station as transitory as the revolving doors through which he has ushered guests in and out, day upon day, decade after decade. Reduced to polishing tiles beneath a sink in the gents’ lavatory and toweling the hands of Berlin’s most-vulgar barons, the doorman soon uncovers the ironical underside of old-world hospitality. And then — one day — his fate suddenly changes…” – © Masters of Cinema and Eureka Entertainment.
Links and Reviews
| UK | 2012 | Dir Jamie Thraves | Chiara Bovemakiedo, Director (Behind The Scenes) | 9 min |
In summer 2012 students from five cohorts of University of the Arts London courses came together to produce a 16mm silent film produced in collaboration with the British Film Institute as part of their The Genius of Hitchcock season, celebrating the most influential and iconic British film director of all time.
The film was written by acclaimed film director Jamie Thraves (winner of the Hitchcock award at the Dinard Film Festival 2011), and is loosely based on a story about the only missing or ‘lost’ film of Hitchcock’s 57 films, The Mountain Eagle (1926).
The piano score was composed and performed by Costas Fotopoulos, who will also be providing a live, improvised piano accompaniment for The Last Laugh.
Written for this screening by Pamela Hutchinson: Editor of Silent London and Features Production Editor for The Guardian.
“FW Murnau’s masterful The Last Laugh (1924) has two great stars. The first is Emil Jannings, who takes the lead role in this urban tragedy, as a man who loses his position and his self-respect. It’s an unforgettably moving performance from the man who would go on to win the first ever Best Actor Oscar. It’s pertinent that Jannings is known for playing heroes and great figures from history – here he plays a hotel doorman, puffed up with pride, cruelly demoted to a toilet attendant. But Jannings gives the hero of The Last Laugh the dignity of a king or an emperor – and the emotional stakes are just as high. The film has no dialogue, not even in caption form; Jannings’ mobile face, his hulking body, express his character’s shame and misery more eloquently than words.
“The second star is Murnau’s famous “unchained camera”, manipulated by cinematographer Karl Freund. It’s a technique beautifully explained by French film director Marcel Carné as a device whereby: “The camera … glides, rises, zooms or weaves where the story takes it. It is no longer fixed, but takes part in the action and becomes a character in the drama.” To create this weightless, subjective magic, the camera was strapped to Freund’s torso while he cycled around the studio, , suspended from wires, tilted and mounted on a swing. Some of those moves were then reversed in post-production. The effect is liberating, graceful and betrays little of the mechanical effort required to achieve it. The camera stays close to Jannings; he is in almost every shot, and when he isn’t, the camera often presents his point-of view.
“The Last Laugh is a great film, and a puzzling one. The German title, Der letzte Mann, or The Last Man, better expresses the first nine-tenths of the film. The “last laugh” arrives in a strange, dreamlike coda. How do you read this? As a sop to the American export market, a critique of Hollywood style, or a satisfactory conclusion for our downtrodden hero?
“In the end, Murnau and Jannings had the last laugh – the success of this film enabled them to go on to make a big-budget production that would further seal Murnau’s reputation as a director of genius, and Jannings as a great film actor: Faust. And for both men, Hollywood soon came calling …”
Costas is based in London and works internationally as a concert and silent film pianist, and as a composer and arranger for film, the stage and the concert hall. He regularly provides live improvisations to silent films at BFI Southbank and he has also accompanied films at other major British venues as well as in New York, Warsaw and Northern Italy. For more information: www.costasfotopoulos.com
Enfield Grammar School,
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