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Sheril Antonio

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Cruel and Unusual Comedy?

Posted: 03/12/2012 5:47 pm

In the piece I wrote about The Artist I mentioned the Silent Clown Film Series and I am delighted to report that I have had many inquiries since then about where to see more silent films. As an educator and film enthusiast I'm thrilled to once again be a supporter of the silent film experience and even more excited that we all have ongoing opportunities to partake.

What's next? Check out the
"Cruel and Unusual Comedy" at MoMA.

I was also asked what is the Silent Clown Film Series? And who is Ben Model?

Well, I didn't know either until a friend's father took us some years ago to an event. At this event, a silent film was being screened and beneath the screen someone would be playing a live musical accompaniment. It was to be just like it was when the movies first began in the silent era. The music was provided by a pianist named Ben Model silentfilmmusic.com and it was an awesome experience, one I never forgot. Since then I have been encouraging my colleagues and students to attend screenings by sending out every announcement I receive from silentclowns.com

Ben Model, a musician and a preservationist in his own right, has made this his life's work and excels at it. I say with a great deal of pride that he is an alum of NYU, where he completed a degree in our Undergraduate Film & Television department. Interestingly enough though, he started this career accompanying silent films in 1981 for our Cinema Studies department, in classes taught by Professors Robert Sklar and the legendary William K. Everson. Since then, he has been completing the silent film experiences at the Museum of Modern Art and other venues for close to 30 years now.

Everyone who loves the movies has to have the experience at least once...