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Silent Summer Film Fest Celebrates Cinema's Earliest Sirens

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 28, 2011 7:40PM

Janet Gaynor and George O'Brien in a scene from F.W. Murnau's Sunrise
With a large number of silent films lost to decay and destruction, many of the screenings and film festivals around town built around them have can seem redundant. Why see Fritz Lang's restored Metropolis at the Music Box when it can pop up at DOC Films, the Siskel Film Center, Northwestern's Block Cinema or any other smaller screening in town?

This is why we've long supported the Silent Film Society of Chicago's "Silent Summer" film series. The Society places a premium on not only screening the best silent film prints available, but re-creating the entire silent film experience for a modern audience.

This year's lineup from July 22 - August 26, focuses on the great leading ladies of the Silent era - Greta Garbo, Louise Brooks, Gloria Swanson, Mary Pickford, Marion Davies and Janet Gaynor. The centerpiece of the festival is an August 12 screening of F.W. Murnau's Sunrise. Considered one of the best films of the Silent Era, Sunrise won an Oscar for Unique and Artistic Production at the first Academy Awards in 1929.

The Society will screen Sunrise with a 35 mm print from the Museum of Modern Art and live photoplay accompaniment from the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.

The Silent Film Society of Chicago's "Silent Summer" Film Festival runs Fridays from Jully 22 through August 26 at the Portage Theater (4050 N. Milwaukee Ave.). Tickets can be purchased in advance from the Portage Theater box office at during event box office hours, or call 773.736.4050. They are also on sale at City Newsstand, (4018 N. Cicero Ave.), open 7 days a week, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets are $12 on the day of show ($17 for the Aug. 12 screening of Sunrise). Advance prices and student/senior discounts are available for viewing here.