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The Unusual Times
Fiction & Drollery

Bring Back Silent Films!

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Tired of being sledge-hammered with the clamorous cacophony of the modern cinema? Sick of 45-speaker surround systems drowning your ears in polyphonic car crashes? We plea for a return to the civilised world of silent films.

As the famously back-footed mime artist Arisztid Bajusz once said, sometimes a step backwards is a step forward. With this counterintuitive truism in mind we look to see how we could improve the cinematic experience.

Today we have 4D, Smell-o-rama and even anti-gravity cinema. The picture house lily is well and truly gilded –  what else could be added to improve it? Well, maybe we shouldn’t be looking to add, but instead refine. The noise in cinemas is akin to having your hat cleaned with a blunderbuss orchestra. It’s only natural that your beloved beleaguered ears seek some serenity, and that is why we suggest a return to the silent film. Of course ‘silent films’ were rarely silent, so we might allow an accompanying piano or Wurlitzer; in fact, this tasteful accompaniment is what’s best about silent films. Next time you watch a film at home, turn the volume off and whip out your favourite theremin. Alternatively you could book every seat at the cinema, ask for the sound to be turned down and then play your harp. What a wonderful opportunity for a reflective interaction with the film, no longer will it be a Pavlovian sorcerer’s window – instead it will be a gateway into the melodious beauty of your subconscious. Toot-toot!

Recommendation: Eefing was a kind of proto-beatboxing invented in Appalachia in the 19th century. We recommend adding your own eefing soundtrack to Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin.

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