The Barbican offers up an alternative, offbeat Christmas mini-season of films, all chosen for their wintry theme.
The Great Silence (Il Grande Silenzio) (15*)
8.30pm, 8 December 2014, Cinema 1
The pinnacle of the spaghetti western canon, Sergio Corbucci’s crowning achievement stars Klaus Kinski and Jean-Louis Trintignant as a vicious bounty hunter and a mute gunslinger, who lock horns in the snowy mountains of Utah during the Great Blizzard of 1899.
Inspired by the recent deaths of Che Guevara and Malcolm X, the film is notable for its explicitly radical politics and its bitter, pessimistic tone, matched by the unusual frozen, snow-bound settings and a melancholic score by Ennio Morricone.
Never theatrically released either here or in the States, its suppression only added to its mystique and over the years its reputation has grown. We are proud to be screening this film from the sole surviving touring 35mm print available.
Italy 1968 Dir Sergio Corbucci 105 min
Please note: This print is dubbed into English, and bears some signs of wear
In this sparkling, timeless comedy and Charlie Chaplin’s personal favourite among his own films, the Little Tramp turns Klondike prospector and ventures out into the frozen wastes of Alaska looking for gold.
Chaplin stages some of the funniest and most memorable set-pieces in the history of slapstick comedy: eating his leather boots out of sheer hunger and his cabin balancing on a cliff edge as he rolls around inside, are just two of the highlights.
Filmed partly on location on Lake Tahoe, Chaplin uses the freezing conditions, including blizzards, and fierce winds, to dramatic and hilarious effect. With its helter-skelter snow chases, avalanches and marauding bears, this is one of the great landmarks of silent cinema, and the perfect film to wrap up our Freezing Cold Movies season.
US 1925 Dir Charles Chaplin 82 min
Presented with a recorded soundtrack, composed and approved by Charlie Chaplin