Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bristol Silent’s Celebrating Louise Brooks

(adapted from my article on

Ten years ago, a local film group in the UK named Bristol Silent’s hosted its first ever event, a double bill featuring Louise Brooks. To mark the anniversary, the group (in conjunction with the Bristol Festival of Ideas and Arnolfini - a contemporary arts organization located in the English city) is putting on a special evening on October 29th celebrating the life and work of the actress. It’s an event no British fan of Brooks will want to miss.

Celebrating Louise Brooks” feature G.W. Pabst's Diary of a Lost Girl (1929). It will be preceded by Arena: Louise Brooks (1986), a superb British television documentary featuring interviews with Brooks in which she talks of her days in Paris and Berlin and her experiences in Hollywood. Film historian William Everson as well as Lothar Wolf (Pabst's publicist on Pandora's Box) are among the individuals seen speaking in the film.

This 55-minute documentary aired shortly after Brooks’ death. It is credited to Richard Leacock as director and includes footage of the actress he shot in the 1970s (some of which can be seen in the documentaries Lulu in Berlin and Looking for Lulu), as well as extracts from Brooks’ films. Arena: Louise Brooks is very rarely shown and is not otherwise available on video or DVD. If you live anywhere near Bristol, it's not to be missed.

Above is a clip from Diary of a Lost Girl which reminds us of what the Academy Award winning British film historian Kevin Brownlow once said, that Diary confirmed Pabst as one of the great directors of the silent period and established Brooks as an “actress of brilliance, a luminescent personality and a beauty unparalleled in screen history.”  


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