Before Cortés defeated Moctezuma and the Spanish colonized what is now Mexico, Tepeyac—meaning “hilltop”—was sanctuary to Tonantzin, the Aztec goddess of the earth, corn, and fertility. Once Spain defeated the Aztecs, the Catholic Church began to hold sway over the souls of the indigenous people. … [Read more...] about Tepeyac
Talk About Funny!
Featuring two modern jesters inspired by the great comedians of the silent era Larry Pisoni cofounded The Pickle Family Circus, the first “new circus” to rely on clowns, jugglers, and acrobats without animals, in 1974. He taught clowning at the Ringling Brothers Clown College, and appeared in … [Read more...] about Talk About Funny!
The Smiling Madame Beudet
The time has come, I believe, to listen in silence to our own song, to try to express our own personal vision, to define our own sensibility, to make our own way. Let us learn to look, let us learn to see, let us learn to feel. —Germaine Dulac, Let Us Have Faith (1919) Germaine Dulac didn’t … [Read more...] about The Smiling Madame Beudet
In or out of makeup, the face of Lon Chaney is one of the silent screen’s most compelling. Unique among film personalities, Chaney was a character actor who used his physical dexterity and mastery of makeup not to conceal, but to add depth to his powerful performances. In doing so, he became one of … [Read more...] about The Penalty
Go West was an unusual film for Buster Keaton. With its portrayal of a down-and-out wanderer who becomes a reluctant hero, Go West could have been a vehicle for Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp. While the film wasn’t one of Keaton’s personal favorites, it was praised by critics and did well at the box … [Read more...] about Go West
Director King Vidor (1894–1982) had a long and distinguished career in both silent and sound films, but his masterpiece is unquestionably The Crowd. Within the simple framework of the life of an ordinary man trying to make his way in the big city, Vidor created a landmark American film. Vidor … [Read more...] about The Crowd
At the turn of the century, while others were worrying about the millennium bug, San Francisco filmmaker Rock Ross was creating a short film (Stupor Mundi) in defiance of the new age, and producer-director Milford Thomas was making a silent movie with the same type of camera used by cinematographer … [Read more...] about Claire
Carmen the tempestuous gypsy made her first appearance in an 1845 novella by Prosper Merimée, and this tale of the treacherous cigarette factory girl who discards her lover for a bullfighter has inspired countless operas, plays, ballets, musicals, and more than 30 films. Georges Bizet’s 1875 … [Read more...] about Carmen