THE ARTIST (2011)
This fantasy brought back the strengths and imagination of the 1920s silent era. It reminds moviegoers of the potency of film imagery. At one point, a person in the depths of depression considers suicide. His dog intervenes. That’s right, his dog. The image of that animal tugging on the pant leg of his despondent master should bring a tear to the eye of the most hardened of cynics. PG-13. PREVIEW REVIEW
THE BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN (1925–Russian)
Directed by Sergei Eisenstein about the 1905 Russian Revolution. Still powerful with many milestone thematic images including the Odessa Steps sequence which has been copied and spoofed a thousand times. This film made the world aware of just how influential the medium could be.
CITY LIGHTS (1931)
Charlie Chaplin’s eloquent masterpiece about a man who finds satisfaction by caring for others. Both funny and sad, it has an incredible ending.
THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE (1921)
Rudolph Valentino stars in this epic spectacle about cousins on either side of WWI. Impressive imagery, great storytelling.
THE GENERAL (1927)
Buster Keaton directed and stars in this classic comedy set during the Civil War about a stolen train.
Truly a work of art, this exquisite, though long film (140 min. or 242 min., depending on which version you see) concerns a simple man whose wife’s obsession with money eventually drives him insane. Directed by Erich von Stroheim.
MODERN TIMES (1936)
Chaplin’s last 'silent' film (it was filled with sound effects), the little genius made it while others were exploring the use of the microphone. This funny, often poignant satire concerns a factory worker rebelling against the machine age.