49th International Film Festival Wuerzburg from 26th to 29th of January 2023

Silent Film Matinee

This time, the guests of the silent film matinee can look forward to a very special concert: a world premiere! Because especially for the film festival, jazz guitarist and composer Werner Küspert is applying his unique ‘Küspert Process’ to the three Bowers films and writing a brand new soundtrack. For the premiere, he has again secured the musical support of three excellent colleagues:

The ensemble includes Eberhard Budziat on trombone / tuba, Dietmar Fuhr, who is one of the most important European double bass players in contemporary jazz, drummer Julian Fau (among others New German Jazz Award) and of course the head and composer of the ensemble Werner Küspert on guitar.

Of course, what applies to every performance of the ensemble also applies this time: ‘Küspert & Kollegen‘ leave the well-trodden paths of traditional silent film accompaniment – with wit, great sensitivity, but also with expressive force, the films are reinterpreted.

Charley Bowers – the forgotten genius

As we all know, the camera does not lie! So when you see footage of a whole herd of elephants strolling into the White House for a celebration with Mussolini, that celebration must have happened. And cats growing on bushes? Sure there are! Haven’t you seen the pictures?! As well as cars hatching from eggs!

No, the camera doesn’t lie – at least in the celluloid world of Charley Bowers, a now almost completely forgotten comedy and animated film pioneer of the 1920s: ‘Bowers Process’ is what the filmmaker called his method of embedding animation sequences in live-action film so artfully that the boundaries between cinematic fib and filmed reality are no longer recognizable.

Between 1926 and 1928, Bowers applied his ‘process’ to 15 comedies (seven of which are unfortunately lost), which in terms of style lie somewhere between Buster Keaton, Tex Avery and Wallace & Gromit. The film weekend presents three of them:

NOW YOU TELL ONE 1926 | 21 min
Once a year, the Liar’s Club awards the Medal of Honor to the person who can tell the most incredible story. Sometimes the English Channel is swum and the aforementioned elephants invade the white house – but what happens to Charley when he confronts a nasty gang of mice on a run-down farm is really hard to believe …

EGGED ON 1926 | 23 min
When a household accident causes several eggs to fall on his head and leak, inventor Charley has a brainwave: how much safer would the world be if there were unbreakable eggs? But while he believes he has found a gap in the market that urgently needs to be filled, his potential backers don’t exactly think the project is the best thing ever …

THERE IT IS 1928 | 22 min
The Friesbie family is haunted: pants dance the Charleston on the dresser by themselves and whole hens appear on the kitchen table out of nowhere! Only Scotland Yard can help! Armed with bagpipes and kilts, Charley MacNeesha sets out to put a stop to the cunning phantom …