Aldeburgh: Festival will celebrate silent film

Musician Thomas Dolby's award winning film will feature in a festival celebrating silent cinema in A

Musician Thomas Dolby's award winning film will feature in a festival celebrating silent cinema in Aldeburgh

AN award winning film by electro-pop pioneer Thomas Dolby will be among the highlights of a cinematic showcase celebrating silent film.

The Sounds and Silents Festival is being held at Aldeburgh Cinema between May 3 and 5.

Organisers say it will celebrate the great many things that are important to the seaside community, with tales of brave seafarers, boats, lighthouses, and the beauty, pleasures and turbulences of small villages whose lifeblood was the coastal trade.

The weekend will be a step back in time to when the cinema opened its doors in 1919 - at the very height of silent cinema.

It begins with a showing of Dolby’s award wining film, The Invisible Lighthouse, which deals with subjects dear to the heart of many Suffolk communities including the Orford Ness lighthouse and the UFO sightings at Rendlesham.

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It will be followed by Going Coastal - The Stories of W W Jacobs on Film. The five comedies about “men who go down to the sea in ships of moderate tonnage” were made by English filmmaker Manning Hayes in the 1920s. They will be shown with live musical accompaniment from Neil Brand and John Sweeney.

Mr Brand has been accompanying silent films for more than 17 years and is currently working on a BBC 4 TV series on film music, to be broadcast in the autumn. Mr Sweeney has played for silent films since 1990 at venues including the Riverside Studios Cinema, the National Film Theatre, Nottingham Broadway and the Barbican Centre.

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The festival will also feature special shows programmed by Bryony Dixon, curator of silent film, from the collections of the British Film Institute’s (BFI) National Archive including Coast and Poetry and For those in Peril on the Sea - The Lifeboat Men on Film, complete with the launch of the lifeboat organised in partnership with the Aldeburgh Lifeboat Station.

The final night will feature Americana with BBC film critic Mark Kermode and The Dodge Brothers playing live with Mr Brand to William Wellman’s hobo western, Beggars of Life, starring Louise Brooks.

All screenings will be introduced by the programming team of the British Silent Film Festival, Laraine Porter, Bryony Dixon and Neil Brand.

Young audiences are encouraged and there is a special ticket price for under 18s, while teachers are also invited to get in touch to discuss group ticket options.

For more details visit and click on the “events” link.

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