The National Film Center has collaborated with the Swedish Film Institute to put together a silent-film festival, which kicks off on Oct. 11 and runs until Oct. 16. Screening seven re-mastered classics, “Silent Film Renaissance 2016: Treasures From the Archive of the Swedish Film Institute” is a showcase of unusual gems.
Highly recommended is “Den Starkaste” (“The Strongest One”). Part-documentary, part-fiction, this is one of the most innovative works of its time. Initially, it was the pet project of cinematographer Axel Lindblom who, in 1920, took his camera the North Pole where he stayed for five months filming some amazing footage. Three years later, he wrote a film story with the footage in mind, but it wasn’t until 1929 that filmmaker Alf Sjoberg came along and made it all happen.
There are truly some incredible scenic views of the Arctic — before oil drilling and climate change left its mark — but there are also two central male (very male) characters who not only appear intent on bear and seal hunting on Arctic ice, but also don’t have issues with sexually harassing a love interest. Nothing is ever perfect.
For a film with a more feminist slant, there’s “Norrtullsligan,” which follows four female friends and housemates working in Stockholm. It’s like a silent, all-women version of “Friends” and tackles similar issues, including careers, love and friendship. To think Swedish women were so progressive in 1923. No wonder they seem to have it together now.
For more details, visit bit.ly/silentfilmswedish.
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