FROM 25 JULY 2020

A selection of classic silent French films

We’re looking back at some classic silent movies – all currently free to watch online! Included in the line-up is the feature film The Hunchback of Notre-Dame – we screened the 1956 Jean Delannoy version during last year’s Festival. 


Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat


L’Arrivée d’un train à La Ciotat

Dirs Auguste and Louis Lumière

Documentary. One of the most famous early silent films shot by Auguste and Louis Lumière. It is said that as Paris audiences watched the train chug toward the screen, they believed it was about to crash out of the frame and into the auditorium, and ran out screaming.

Dirs Auguste and Louis Lumière | 1895 | France | 50 secs | Silent.

The Dreyfus Affair


L’Affaire Dreyfus

Dir Georges Méliès

Documentary. Dramatised re-enactments of the events of the Dreyfus affair from 1894 to 1899. Not only was this one of the earliest silent films, but the subject matter was also  controversial and censored by the French Government for 50 years.

Dir Georges Méliès | 1899 | France | 10 mins | Silent film with English intertitles.

The Smiling Madame Beudet


La souriante Madame Beudet

Dir Germaine Dulac

An unhappily married woman devises a scheme to get rid of her husband. Considered to be the first feminist film and the first surrealist film directed by a woman.

Dir Germaine Dulac | 1922 | France | 38 mins | Silent film with English intertitles.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame


Notre-Dame de Paris

Dir Wallace Warsley


In 15th-century Paris, the brother of the archdeacon plots with the gypsy king to foment a peasant revolt. Meanwhile, a freakish hunchback falls in love with the gypsy queen.

Dir Wallace Warsley | Cast Lon Chaney, Patsy Ruth Miller | 1923 | United States | 102 mins | Silent with English intertitles.




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