It doesn’t take long to find out that the Pordenone Silent Film Festival is not at all about the individual films, but the program as a whole. That’s because silent film, even when bad, is good; because there’s always a sense of discovering something vulnerable, something that must be protected.
It is also because even in the most exaggeratedly melodramatic moments, silent film, unlike contemporary works, is laughable – but that’s good!
In human psychology, when faced with sudden drama, it is only natural to react with a fit of uncontrollable laughter. The standard is the funeral example, the moment when we should never laugh and yet somehow, at the back of our minds, it might come natural to do so and we must stop ourselves from being absolutely inappropriate.
Silent cinema is pure because it is child play. Child play to a child is serious business. It is while playing that they anticipate things such as class division, sexuality and so on. Because I believe that the cinema-going experience is one that begs a spectator to become a child – in fact, a film can only be good if it is able to make us feel like like a child in terms of empathy, engagement, entertainment – silent cinema is the type of cinema that is most likely to succeed in this regard.