Past Event

First Light Silent Film Series: "The Birth of the Documentary"

July 4, 2017
7:30 PM - 10:30 PM

Come celebrate the summer with “First Light,” a richly curated selection of classics of the international silent cinema, many featuring live musical accompaniment by students of Jean-François Zygel's piano improvisation class at the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris. 

Too few are aware that the silent cinema was a period of almost incomparable artistic creativity; the lack of sound, rather than a hindrance, was actually a kind of inspiration for the era’s finest filmmakers, who found ingenious ways to expand the visual expressiveness of their works. Not surprisingly, the great silent filmmakers—from Méliès to Griffith, from Eisenstein to Buster Keaton—continue to influence and inform contemporary artists across the disciplines.

The Birth of the Documentary: "Nanook of the North" (1922, Robert Flaherty)

and "A propos de Nice" (1930, Jean Vigo and Boris Kaufman)

An intimate look at the world of the Inuit (Eskimo) people, and a sharp-edged portrait of one France’s best-known cities. By the 1920s, a number of artists across the world sought to escape the rigidity of the fiction feature film, opting instead for more experimental approaches of directly recording and confronting the world with their cameras. Thus, the documentary was born. With recorded musical accompaniment.

Followed by a conversation with Professor Richard Peña, Director Emeritus, New York Film Festival and José Mouré, professor of Cinema, University of Paris 1.

Free and Open to the Public