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Having attended last night’s opening to the 12th International Silent Film Festival, it is hard not to ascribe the experience to life’s better offerings. Basta solid siya, bes.

The festivities started off with a screening of Rapsodia Satanica (Satanic Rhapsody 1915-1917), a seminal Italian melodrama by filmmaker Nino Oxilia. The film follows an aging aristocrat, who strikes a fatal deal with the devil in exchange for eternal youth. Having entered the theatre, the audience happened upon MilesExperience, popular Filipino indie-rock outfit, tinkering with their instruments. It is utter magic that would soon follow.

Honestly, we have never experienced anything like it. MilesExperience was magnificent; every expression, every player’s gesture was punctuated by the booming of guitar, piano, and drums. It is by far the festival’s strongest feature.

For the casual moviegoer, the wordlessness may be a challenge, pero where would the fun be kung pare-pareho pinapanuod natin? Expand your horizons naman.

The viewing public will also get to view an interactive installation outside the theater; an enclosed space lined with mirrors, and television screens that show sequences from the featured silent films. And it’s IG-worthy, kids!

Nevertheless, Rapsodia, as well as the other films in the festival, will prove a treat for both raging cinephiles as well as casual  moviegoers, here in Manila. These films are a drastic departure from what we’re used to, which is sometimes a good thing, mga ka-Joshlia. If you would only open your heart to it, you might revel in the experience.

The below films, all to be scored by Filipino musicians, will be screened until September 2 at SM Megamall, Cinema 2:

The Film Development Council of the Philippines will show The Lost Film Triology. The Embassy of France will present the drama La Passion de Jeanne D’Arc (1928), directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer. The Goethe Institut will screen The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), dubbed as “the first true horror film.” The Japan Foundation, Manila will screen A Straightforward Boy (1929) by Yasujiro Ozu. The U.S. Embassy, meanwhile, will screen the groundbreaking film Our Hospitality (1923). Instituto Cervantes will present the musical comedy Frivolinas (1926). Culminating the festival at 7:30 pm will be the Embassy of Austria’s Die Kleine Veronika (1929), directed by Robert Land.  


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