The IFI Irish Film Archive presents The Sound of Silents this April, comprising a colourful range of rarely-screened silent films dating from 1897 up to 1970.

The Sound of Silents, part of Dublin City Council’s Musictown 2016, is a selection of factual and fictional films, many not seen before in a public arena, and should be a real treat for anyone with an interest in our history.

The screenings include the earliest moving images of Dublin filmed by Alexander Promio for the Lumière Bros in (1897); remarkable scenes of inner-city church-goers at St Francis Xavier’s Church (pictured below) and the Pro-Cathedral in 1901; a sweeping panorama of College Green in 1902; wry commentary on the streets of Dublin from US comedian Will Rogers (1927); a day in life of the Masonic Girls’ School in Ballsbridge (now the Clayton, formerly Bewleys Hotel) in the late ’30s; a rural idyll filmed by amateur enthusiast Conway Maxwell in Lusk in the late ’30s; and an enigmatic drama about a boy whose life is transformed at the Holy Ghost Youth Club in Dun Laoghaire in the early ‘70s.

Congregation Leaving Jesuit Church of St Francis Xavier, Dublin (1902)
The special screenings, uncovering the treasures of the IFI Irish Film Archive, will be accompanied by by live improvised scores from Bottlenote Music, an artist-led project dedicated to presenting Dublin’s leading musicians working in improvised music today. Its activities are curated by musicians Shane Latimer, Justin Carroll and Seán Mac Erlaine.

Shane (guitar/electronics) and Seán (woodwind/electronics) will perform with Eoghan Neff (fiddle), Jack McMahon (turntables) and Seán Carpio (percussion/guitar/voice), breathing new life into these old films with a range of soundscapes from traditional to electronic, using woodwind, percussion, turntables, fiddle and electric guitar.

Sunniva O’Flynn, Head of Irish Film Programming at the IFI, said “We’re delighted to be part of Dublin City Council’s Musictown 2016 and to work again with Bottlenote whose musical responses always provide a fresh and intriguing counterpoint to the archival films. This film programme is particularly rich, tonally varied and with an energetic combination of urban and rural, drama and documentary, public and personal material. It will be a pleasure to share the Archive’s treasures with contemporary audiences.”

From the Vaults: The Sound of Silents will be screened at the IFI on Saturday, 9th April at 2pm and again at 8:30pm. Tickets are priced at €12 (€10 concessions) and may be purchased online or by calling the IFI on 01 679 3477.

IFI banner
Irish Film Institute
6, Eustace Street
Temple Bar
Dublin 2

Tel: 01 679 3477


the thin grey line

All photos courtesy IFI


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