Silence is golden at cabaret supperclub Volupté with its silent movie Sundays continuing to shake up the City.
Screened just a film roll’s throw from Chancery Lane, the Sunday series continues with a winter schedule that transports film fans back to a bygone era when glitz and glamour were part and parcel of the cinematic experience.
Lights, Camera, Action!
Called ‘Cine Illuminé’, the winter season champions celluloid at its chicest: every first Sunday of the month at 7pm the downstairs Cabaret Salon will be transformed into an old-world theatre with a pianist tinkling the ivories as guests are seated by dickie bow-wearing usherettes.
How you enjoy the movie is up to you – whether sat at white-clothed tables or in rows of seats – whilst a schedule of silent movies light up the silver screen. Cinemagoers will need to check the schedule at volupte-lounge.com/cineilluminé prior to booking, but you can bet your ticket stub that the star-spangled season will include all the big names:
19th August – Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera by Robert Julien is a masterpiece of cinematography and by far the best version of Gaston Laroux’s much-interpreted novel. The screening is brought to life by magnificent electro-jazz duo Cipher and their haunting live score. Their unique and experimental soundworld, incorporating dark, ambient layers of live flutes, saxophone and bass, is perfectly suited to some of the early cinema classics. An unmissable marriage of sound and sight!
2nd September – Orochi
Orochi is a 1925 black-and-white Japanese silent samurai epic directed by Buntar? Futagawa and featuring Tsumasabur? Band? at the height of his fame. Hailed as a ‘cornerstone’ of Japanese cinema, the screening is also a chance for Londoners to get a taste of traditional tsugaru shamisen – a Japanese stringed instrument – and accompaniment by Hibiki Khikawa and live benshi*.
During silent films, the benshi stood to the side of the movie screen and introduced the story to the audience. In theatrical style, benshi often spoke for the characters on-screen and played multiple roles. Stemming from the traditions of kabuki and Noh theatres, the benshi’s narration and general commentary were an important part of the Japanese silent film experience. There will be English subtitles.
7th October – Chicago
The original silent film of the story retold in the popular 2002 production – originally produced in 1927 by Cecile B DeMille, directed by Frank Urson and recently restored to its original glory. Drawn from the play of the same name by Maurine Dallas Watkins, Chicago tells the true story of Beulah Annan, fictionalised as Roxie Hart (Phyllis Haver), and her spectacular murder of her boyfriend. Live piano accompaniment by Mr Meredith – a modern-day, burlesque-ing Noel Coward.
4th November – Phantom Carriage
For Halloween we’ll be screening this spooky Swedish ghost story, based on the novel Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness! (Körkarlen; 1912) by Nobel Prize-winning Swedish author. The 1921 Swedish film is generally considered to be one of the central works in the history of Swedish cinema.
Released on New Year’s Day 1921, it was directed by and starred Victor Sjöström alongside Hilda Borgström, Tore Svennberg and Astrid Holm. This time, Steven Severin – English musician, composter bassist and co-ounding member of the legendary Siouxsie and Banshees – will accompany the movie with his own original score live.
Snacks come in the fabulous form of sweet-and-salty popcorn and a range of pick ‘n’ mix sweets from The Bon Bon Bar upstairs, whilst guests can munch ‘n’ crunch their way through cinema classics such as chips ‘n’ dips, mini burgers and hotdogs from a special ‘Silent Slider’ menu. And there’s more movie magic with a Vintage Cocktail list packed with pre-prohibition poisons created especially for Cine Illuminé soirées.
Silent screenings are ?7 in advance, ?8 on the door or ?10 per person for a table (minimum 2 people). Cinemagoers are asked to put on the glitz in the style of that era – 1800s to early 1900s – and are advised to arrive when the doors open at 6pm. After the movie, guests can retire to the bar upstairs where a DJ will be spinning vintage classics until the credits roll at midnight.
9 Norwich Street, EC4A 1EJTweet