As a film reporter and participant of this year’s collegium at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival, my schedule is pretty busy. My work with FRED Film Radio and JAZZIZ makes me even busier. Then, there is the fact that for some reason, I decided to start a postgrad, and I have an assignment due in two days. I also must get ready for the London Film Festival, which I will be going to straight after Pordenone.
All these things resulted in me seeing less screenings today than I have in the past few days. It seems that this will be the trend for the next couple of days. It was work that forbid me, for the first time, from seeing another episode of the Who’s Guilty? serial, and this will happen tomorrow as well, as I have a screening scheduled for 9 o’clock.
I managed to make it on time for the screening of the Italian version of Nana (1917) by Camillo de Riso. It looked like a really big production, but the story was confusing and possibly, to make things worse, put together inaccurately. This is easily explained. Only one third of the lengthy original production exists to this day, so we are still quite privileged to have anything at all from it. Furthermore, its leading lady, billed as Tilde Kassay, is almost completely unknown today, so much so that the date of her death remains a mystery.
Later on in the day, Jean Renoir’s Nana (1926) would screen. A few people pointed it out to me as a highlight for them. Yet, I was not able to miss it, as I had scheduled an interview with filmmaker Krzysztof Zanussi, who will be presenting one of only about 20 silent Polish features that have survived to this day (Pan Tadeusz). I am a big fan of Jean Renoir but I have yet to see any of his silent films.
However, I can’t complain.
Not only was meeting Zanussi great, but before then I also got to meet and talk with David Robinson, shortly after he almost tripped on my laptop cable – goddamn technology! The latter is one of my heroes in terms as a film critic and historian. We had a good conversation, and he approved my idea, or dream dream if your will, of setting up silent art-house film screenings in my hometown of Galway, Ireland. The former gave me further insight on the early Polish cinema situation, which is tragic and sad.