UCL News


The Ancient World in Silent Cinema

1 June 2009

UCL Diary Notice - The Ancient World in Silent Cinema Date: Monday 22 June 2009 Location: UCL Bloomsbury Theatre, 15 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0AH The UCL Bloomsbury Theatre is hosting a free afternoon and evening of rarely seen, silent film screenings - together with piano accompaniment and related talks.


14:00 - 16:00 Screenings of silent films set in Pharaonic Egypt, Babylon & Old Testament times.
16.30 - 18:00 Talks by Prof. David Mayer (University of Manchester), historian Prof. Margaret Malamud (State University of New Mexico) and Judith Buchanan (University of York).

19:00 - 21:00 Screenings of silent films set in Old & New Testament times.

Open to the Public - Admission Free - No Ticket Required

"In the first four decades of cinema, more than 800 films were made which drew their inspiration from ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt and the Bible," says Professor Maria Wyke, event organizer and an academic in UCL's Department of Greek and Latin. "Only a few of those films have been studied, and nobody has attempted to collate them. They have a lot in common - from the actors, directors and studios involved, to their themes and the mode of representation they use - but they have never been collectively analyzed along these lines.

"Very few of the films included in our screening are available for purchase on video or DVD," continues Professor Wyke. "They are rarely shown in cinemas and only survive as viewing copies in film archives, so this is a rare opportunity for people to come along and see a piece of early 20th century cinematic history for themselves."


Notes for Editors

1. Journalists seeking more information can contact Dave Weston in the UCL Media Relations Office on tel: +44 (0)20 7679 7678, out of hours +44 (0)7917 271 364, e-mail: d.weston@ucl.ac.uk.

2. A synopsis of every film in the programme can be found at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/GrandLat/newsandevents/events/silentcinema

3. The full list of screenings consists of:


Wanted a Mummy (UK 1910) 4 mins

Sposa del Nilo/ The Bride of the Nile (IT 1911) 11 mins

Vergine di Babilonia / The Virgin of Babylon (IT 1910) 9 mins

Caïn et Abel / Cain and Abel (FR 1911) 5 mins

Sacra Bibbia / The Sacred Bible (IT 1920), episode of 'The Story of Joseph in Egypt' 9 mins.

Moïse sauvé des eaux / Moses Saved from the River (Fr 1910) 8 mins

L'exode (FR 1910) 13 mins

La vie de Moïse (FR 1910) interspersed with Life of Moses (US 1909-10) 13 mins

Jephthah's Daughter (US 1909) 6 mins

Jephthah's Daughter (US 1913) 25 mins


Samson et Dalila (FR 1902) 3 mins

Samson (FR 1908) 11 mins

David et Goliath (FR 1910) 8 mins

Reine de Saba / Queen of Sheba (FR 1913) 19 mins

Giuditta e Oloferne (IT 1908) 6 mins

Judith (FR 1910) 8 mins

Aveugle de Jérusalem / The Blind Man of Jerusalem (FR 1909) 8 mins

Vie de Jesus (FR 1905-1914) 8 mins, episodes from childhood to transfiguration

Vie de Jesus (FR 1905-1914) 18 mins, episodes from annunciation to ascension

4. The event has been organised by Professor Maria Wyke (Department of Greek and Latin, UCL) and Pantelis Michelakis (Department of Classics, University of Bristol). They are indebted to the BFI National Film Archive and its staff for all their help, and to UCL Futures and the University of Bristol for their generous financial support.

5. About UCL (University College London): Founded in 1826, UCL was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to admit students regardless of race, class, religion or gender, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. UCL is the seventh-ranked university in the 2008 THES-QS World University Rankings, and the third- ranked UK university in the 2008 league table of the top 500 world universities produced by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University. UCL alumni include Marie Stopes, Jonathan Dimbleby, Lord Woolf, Alexander Graham Bell, and members of the band Coldplay. UCL currently has over 12,000 undergraduate and 8,000 postgraduate students. Its annual income is over £600 million. For further information see: www.ucl.ac.uk