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Parsons the New School for Design

Silent Clowns: From Modern Times to Zelig


ZeligSilent Clowns explores the legacy of the silent comedy, and the hidden traces of its influence in the sound era.  Playing a game of broken telephone, the series begins with Charlie Chaplin’s sound-era silent comedy, Modern Times, and proceeds to take in a number of other examples of American comic filmmakers attempting to recreate the aura of the silent comedy long after the parade had gone by: Jerry Lewis’ directorial debut, The Bellboy (1960), Blake Edwards’ The Party (1968), starring Peter Sellers, and Woody Allen’s Zelig (1983).  Silent Clowns serves as a reminder of the incredible potency of the silent comedy, best known for such luminaries as Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd, and the lingering repercussions of its brief but potent run.  Each film pays tribute to the silents in its own way, while blazing a new trail for the still-unexplored possibilities of the form.

On Tuesday, May 3rd, we will screen Zelig, the final film in the series, at 7:30 PM in the Tishman Auditorium (66 W 12th Street). The film will be introduced by Matt Zoller Seitz, Film and TV Critic for Salon.

See our mention in The Village Voice‘s “Have You Heard The One About the Art Scene Embracing Comedians?” by Martha Schwendener.