Spanning about 30 years, the Silent Age began in the late 1890s, shortly after the invention of the camera, which gave birth to the motion picture arts as well as the motion picture industry and the national film centers around the world, including Hollywood.
The era came to an abrupt end in the late 1920s with the rapid shift to walkie-talkies, brought on by advances in film sound technology, helping to usher in the Golden Age of Hollywood.
“Silent film was an art form unto itself, an art form that sound films may have replaced, but did not necessarily supersede,” AFI curators say in a statement announcing the Silent This year’s Cinema Showcase, billed as one of the largest of its kind in North America. .
The standout aspect of the 2022 showcase are three rarely-seen programs of shorts featuring lesser-known female performers, including Sarah Duhamel, Edna “Billy” Foster, Little Chrysia, Minnie Devereaux and Texas Guinan.
Collectively dubbed “cinema’s first female villains,” the official AFI description notes that the films capture working women to “organize labor strikes, engage in brutal slapstick comedy, and assume a gallery of playful identities. who happily dismantle gender binaries and sexual norms.
Additionally, these films will be screened to newly commissioned and recorded scores in a wide range of composer styles, “almost all [whom] are female or non-binary, and many are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. »
“Doubles/Doppelgangers”, a collection of nine international films, half of them in France, all exploring the narrative trope of the double using inventive and cinematic means “more spectacular, comic and convincing than ever”, at least when they were created a century ago. Saturday November 12 and Sunday November 13 at 11 a.m. and Thursday November 17 at 5 p.m.
“Gender Adventures” is an all-American program offering proof that fluid, alternative gender expressions “are not all that new”, given that the band’s latest short – titled Where is the world going? – dates back to 1926, the other four being about a decade earlier. From Saturday, November 19 at 11 a.m. and from Monday, November 21 to Wednesday, November 23 at 5 p.m.
The Silent Cinema Showcase runs until November 23. The AFI Silver Theater is located at 8633 Colesville Road in Silver Spring. Tickets are $8 for the three “Nasty Women” programs, $15 to $20 each for the other Silent Cinema Showcase programs, or $175 for a pass for each film in the showcase. Visit www.afi.com/Silver or call 301-495-6720.