It's are the perfect comedy for our digital age. After all, what are GIFs if not tiny silent films?by Caroline O'Donoghue / February 16, 2018 / Leave a comment
I have ended up at a silent film event. I say this to be honest from the outset, because there are two kinds of cultural events you “end up at” (rather than knowingly, wilfully attend) and they are thus.
One: events you are roped into because a friend-of-a-friend is playing Macbeth, and
Two: events you suggest as a way to signal how high-minded and interesting you are, but have no intention of actually going to, until someone calls your bluff and buys the tickets.
There are a total of 14 surviving silent film stars—none of whom I am friends with— so I am at the BFI on a Sunday, with five other women, for the second reason. We are attending Double Trouble: Early Female Comedy Double Acts, a 90-minute long presentation of the silent film comediennes that time forgot, after I suggested it over e-mail and someone called my bluff.
We settle in, thinking that at best we will appreciate—in a distant, abstract way—what silent film was giving the world in the 1920s and 30s, and leave feeling high-minded and interesting.