Take a trip back to the earliest days of cinema this May, when Yorkshire Silent Film Festival returns for a third year. The festival will unearth rarely seen silent films, screening them alongside live scores and improvisations from some of the finest musicians around today.
The festival is bringing silent film to cinemas, theatres, arts centres and community venues across Yorkshire – including Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre to the north, Hull Truck Theatre to the east, and Hebden Bridge Picture House to the west. In South Yorkshire, meanwhile, the venues are the beautiful old Abbeydale Picture House and landmark indie cinema the Showroom.
The films in Sheffield's lineup range from a Joan Crawford horror to a beautifully restored Louise Brooks melodrama to an 8-hour experimental film by Warhol, never before screened in a UK cinema.
Oliver Twist with live orchestral score by Neil Brand
11 May, 7pm, Abbeydale Picture House, £8.50-16.50
The 1922 version of Dickens' classic novel will be accompanied by the first performance of an orchestral score by celebrated silent film composer Neil Brand. The film will be screened with the 1924 short film Dickens' London.
Sheffield Silent Film All-Dayer
12 May, 11am-11pm, Abbeydale Picture House, £19-25 (or pay per film)
Spend all day in the dark! The brilliant all-dayer of films plus live scores will feature one of the most celebrated comedy double acts, a Sherlock Holmes classic, the documentary record of Shackleton's 1914 Antarctic adventure, dreamlike impressionist French cinema, a Harold Lloyd New York comedy, and rounded off with a macabre, twisted melodrama starring Joan Crawford and Lon Chaney. Tickets are available for the full day or for individual screenings.
11:45am – Another Fine Mess: a Laurel and Hardy triple bill
1pm – The Hound of the Baskervilles
2:30pm – South: Sir Ernest Shackleton's Glorious Epic of the Antarctic
4:30pm – French cinema double bill: Menilmontant & L'invitation au Voyage
8pm – Speedy
10pm – The Unknown
Shiraz – a Romance of India, with live piano by Utsav Lal
13 May, 6:30pm, Showroom, £10
A dazzling, romantic epic filmed in India with live music by celebrated young pianist Utsav Lal.
The Late Mathias Pascal
23 May, 8pm, Showroom, £10
A rarely-seen classic of French cinema, about an eccentric dreamer trapped in a loveless marriage and a dead-end job until an unlikely piece of luck transforms his existence forever. Accompanied by Jonny Best (piano), James Wood (percussion) and Trevor Bartlett (vibraphone), and introduced by Elisabetta Girelli from University of St Andrews.
Prix de Beauté
26 May, Showroom, £10
Louise Brooks stars as a typist whose life is turned upside down when she wins a beauty contest in San Sebastián. A rare opportunity for Brooks fans to see a beautiful restoration of this unusual and beguiling film. Live musician TBC.
27 May, 12pm, Abbeydale Picture House, £7-10
The first UK cinema screening of Andy Warhol's notorious, almost-never-seen minimalist epic Empire, consisting of a single stationary shot of the Empire State Building filmed from 8:06pm to 2:42am on 25-26 July 1964. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see this 8-hour classic of experimental cinema on the big screen. This screening is featured in our Hannah's film picks.