— Author: Charley Brady —
I’m not normally one for reading the gossip pages (honest!), but I made an exception this week. Ageing Romantic that I am, I was very happy to see two artists that I admire a lot coming out about their relationship, which has been going on for some months now. And even happier to note that one of their very first dates was to a silent film.
Well, I knew that they both had impeccable taste, but this has just confirmed that.
Mind you, if asked, I would have to say that I wouldn’t have put the two of them together in a thousand years. At 58, actress Monica Bellucci is, to these tired old peepers, one of the world’s most beautiful women. She is never less than the epitome of Italian elegance; whilst 64-year-old film director Tim Burton always looks as if he’s been pulled through a hedge backward, having gotten dressed in the dark in a house with no mirrors. But no matter! They look damned happy together.
It's hard to believe that it was back in 1992 that I sent my popcorn flying and almost fell out of the cinema seat when Ms. Bellucci appeared as one of the insanely gorgeous sirens in the Francis Ford Coppola-directed Bram Stoker’s Dracula. (Try saying that after a few beers.) As I watched Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker bravely fighting off her seduction attempt, I wondered if the poor boy had something wrong with him.
She has gone on to distinguish herself in many films – and let’s be honest, is the age-appropriate woman that James Bond should have married.
Meanwhile, I’ve always liked Tim Burton’s films, in particular his early collaborations with Johnny Depp, such as Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, and Sleepy Hollow. To my mind, he went off the boil there for a few years, but he’s very much back with the highly inventive streaming series Wednesday.
It seems that they met at the Lumière Film Festival in Lyon last October, where 17 of Burton’s films were being shown ahead of him being given a lifetime achievement award, presented by Bellucci. And one of their very first dates was to a showing of Lumière’s Silent Documentary Film.
I’m a little puzzled as to what that was. Perhaps A Train Arrives at the Station? If you know, you might drop me a note. Just as a sidebar, I only recently discovered that the date for this film has for many years been given wrongly as 1895 (including by Your Humble Narrator in my current review on these pages of Hugo). It now appears not to have been released until January 1896. A small fact, but interesting to me. As you can imagine, I’m a lot of laughs to get drunk with. Said no one ever.
Indeed, the whole bill for that event last October sounds good. At the time, Euronews.culture had this to say:
The festival’s celebration of silent cinema is of particular interest, with a selection of cine concerts accompanied by a live piano or organ. One specific film shouldn’t be missed: a restored copy of Dans La Nuit, the only film directed by Charles Vanel and the last French silent film (released in 1929). The screening takes place at the Auditorium de Lyon on Thursday 20, accompanied by Adam Bernadac on the organ.
Speaking of silent classics, Festival Lumière is marking the 100th anniversary of Murnau’s legendary masterpiece Nosferatu by way of a film concert (Saturday 22). The restored copy of the movie will be accompanied by Lyon’s Opera Orchestra, directed by the famous Timothy Brock.
Now that sounds like my kind of thing.
Ms. Bellucci, Mr. Burton, Silent Cinema Galway wishes you many years of happiness.