Different embassies and cultural offices in the Philippines are partnering with Shangri-La Plaza once more to unreel nine silent films, two of which were made within the last five years, at the 11th International Silent Film Festival Manila at the mall’s Shang Cineplex in Mandaluyong City from August 31 to September 3, 2017.
Among the movies to be screened is an American comedy that’s considered one of the best films ever made, and two of the country’s popular bands will join other musical acts in performing live.
The festival opens with the action-comedy El Golfo, directed by José de Togores, at 8 p.m. Presented by the Instituto Cervantes, the 1918 movie focuses on a tramp named Enrique Villar, who goes through much trouble to win the heart of his lady love. The rock group Talahib will play the music accompanying the film.
The first day of September will see the British Council’s presentation of Anthony Asquith’s 1928 romantic feature Underground, which shows life in London’s underground tube (train) system in the 1920s, at 7:30 p.m.; and the French embassy’s offering of L’Inhumaine or The New Enchantment (1923), directed by Marcel L’Herbier and described in a statement as “a story of love and deceit,” at 9:30 p.m.
Live music for the British film will be provided by the band Goodleaf, while French-Vietnamese harpist Heloïse LaHarpe will score the French feature with Ryan Villamor on piano and synthesizer and Aldous Castro on percussion and handpans.
Three films will be screened on September 2: Filipino-Italian actor-director Ruben Maria Soriquez’s experimental silent film Una Famiglia Perfetta (A Perfect Family) (2017), presented by the Philippine Italian Association with the Italian embassy and scored by the instrumental rock trio Tom’s Story, at 3 p.m.; renowned Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu Hijosen no Onna (Dragnet Girl) (1933), presented by the Japan Foundation Manila and featuring live interpretation by silent-fi lm narrator/storyteller Ichiro Kataoka and music by the Celso Espejo Rondalla group, at 5:30 p.m.; and Gym Lumbera’s two-person Filipino drama Taglish (2012), whose music will be provided by stoner-metal quartet Kapitan Kulam, at 8 p.m.
The festival closes with the Austrian embassy’s presention of Gustav Ucicky’s Café Elektric (1927), which was the last film released by the now-defunct Viennese film studio Sascha-Film, at 3 p.m.; Goethe-Institut Philippinen’s offering of George Wilhelm Pabst’s Pandora’s Box (1929), which shows silent-film star Louise Brooks sporting her iconic bobbed haircut, at 5:30 p.m.; and the United States embassy’s presentation of Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton’s The General (1926), at 8 p.m.
Ranked No. 18 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 greatest American films of all time, The General features iconic comedian Keaton as an ill-fated railroad engineer during the American Civil War.
Top rock bands Rivermaya and Sandwich will play live for Café Elektric and Pandora’s Box, respectively, while Flippin Soul Stompers—a group of veteran musicians who are into Motown, stax, funk, blues and soul—will do the same for The General.
For the festival’s duration, Shangri-La Plaza partner-organization Para sa Sining will hold an exhibit at The Atrium, where filmmakers can present contemporary silent films, as well as “Musika x Pelikula” on September 3, in which up-and-coming musicians shall provide the score of these movies. ALVIN I. DACANAY WITH HANANEEL BORDEY
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/InternationalSilentFilmFestivalManila.