The British Council is screening the classic 1928 Anthony Asquith film entitled Underground for the 11th International Silent Film Festival at the Shangri-La Plaza Cineplex this 1 September, at 19:30 pm.
The film, set on and around the London underground tube system, revolves around the lives of the Londoners of the time, and the romance between the four main characters. The film stars Brian Aherne, Elissa Landi, Cyril McLaglen and Norah Baring.
The British Council first joined the International Silent Film Festival last year and this year’s film choice will be accompanied by the music of the dub band Goodleaf. The festival offers the rare experience of watching silent films accompanied by live performances as musical scores.
’It will be an enjoyable evening of film and music. The London tube connects the world’s first underground railway, which opened in 1863. We hope that through films like Underground, we are able to encourage more reflections on how everyday people’s lives – then as now – are greatly affected by a city’s public transport system,’ shares Malaya del Rosario, British Council Head of Arts and Creative Industries.
Underground was made by British Instructional Films at Elstree and Cricklewood Studios on location in London, including scenes shot at Lots Road Power Station in Chelsea. It was Asquith’s second feature film in a career that spanned 37 years, with four short films and 38 feature films.
Asquith is considered a highly influential figure in British cinema but during his time, the film industry constantly attacked him due to his aristocratic background – his father was the Prime Minister from 1908–16, his mother was a society figure and his older sister married a Romanian aristocrat.
He is best known for his adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s ‘Pygmalion,’ which won him an Academy Award for Best Screenplay and which was later turned into a musical screenplay. He also directed The Importance of Being Earnest (1952), which Variety praised as the ‘best known version of Oscar Wilde’s perennial classic.’
Within the industry, he sat as the president of the Association and Television Technicians (ACCT), and contributed to the improvement of pay and conditions for workers.
In 2009, the British Film Institute restored Underground following the discovery of an alternative print at the Brussels Cinematheque Royale and advancements in photo-chemical and digital techniques.
The dub band Goodleaf consists of Edy Varde on melody/mutated vocals, Jolly Navarro on keyboards, Ryan Goan and Cliff Pama on guitar, Jas Sonido on drums, Ranjit Alabos on keyboard, and Marco Hautea on bass guitar.
Goodleaf minister their music with various influences, such as Ambient, Trip Hop, Post Punk, Vintage Dub from King Tubby to Jah Shaka. Their first album, Dub Pilipinas, was their first LP to be released on Inity Records.
The International Silent Film Festival runs from 31 August – 3 September at the Shang Cineplex, Shangri-la Plaza. Admission is open to the public on a first come, first served basis.