Oscar-winning film maker for Limerick city talk

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

ACADEMY Award winning filmmaker and film historian Kevin Brownlow is to be the guest speaker at an event celebrating silent movies in the Strand Hotel in February.

ACADEMY Award winning filmmaker and film historian Kevin Brownlow is to be the guest speaker at an event celebrating silent movies in the Strand Hotel in February.

Mr Brownlow, whom Martin Scorcese called “film history”, will be the guest of the Friends of the Hunt Museum at their next event, one that will highlight the world of silent movies, currently en vogue given the success of The Artist, which swept the boards at the recent Golden Globes and is expected to do the same at the Oscars.

The BAFTA and Oscar winner, who is renowned in the business for film restoration, will give a talk called Those Surprising Silents, which will demonstrate his contention that “silent film was an art form in its own right, rather than a primitive step on the way to the maturity of the talkies, and that the people who made them had extraordinary stories to tell”.

The talk will be illustrated by film extracts of the silent era, ranging from films lasting a minute made in 1900, through action melodramas and slapstick comedies, to the spectacular epics of the late twenties.

An Englishman of Irish descent, Mr Brownlow has restored more than 25 silent films, including classics such as The Thief of Bagdad starring Douglas Fairbanks, Ben-Hur, Buster Keaton’s The General and Our Hospitality.

Martin Scorsese declared him to be “a giant among film historians and preservationists, known and justifiably respected throughout the world for his multiple achievements. On a broader level, you might say that Mr Brownlow is film history”.

Brownlow received his Academy Award alongside Francis Ford Coppola and actor Eli Wallach in 2010, castigating the Academy of Hollywood’s wretched record of saving silent film, an estimated 73 percent of which has been lost forever: “By God, your predecessors did a terrible job of preserving the silent era!”

The event will take place on February 18 at 2pm and early booking is advised. Tickets are available from the Hunt Museum on 061-312833 or 061-312960.