A chance to see In­vis­i­ble Woman

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - LM -

SO here’s a chal­lenge. Run through the best ac­tor Os­car win­ners of the last five years – how many of those cen­tral char­ac­ters will still be re­mem­bered in a cen­tury’s time?

There’s no doubt that Jean Du­jardin did a fine turn as Ge­orge Valentin in The Artist and Daniel Day Lewis de­liv­ered a pretty good job at bring­ing old Abraham Lin­coln to life, but iconic? Mem­o­rable in a 100 years from now when we’ve been bom­barded by a thou­sand other films? Per­haps not.

It’s what makes Char­lie Chap­lin so spe­cial. This year marks the cen­te­nary of the first film in which Chap­lin’s love­able down-atheel char­ac­ter The Tramp ap­peared. It wasn’t just his most mem­o­rable role, but one which would as­sure his star sta­tus long af­ter the silent film era had come to an end.

To mark the an­niver­sary, the Univer­sity of Sh­effield has just an­nounced that it is to launch a two-week city-wide fes­ti­val ded­i­cated to the work of Chap­lin this May.

Full de­tails will be an­nounced on Mon­day, but to whet the ap­petite a lit­tle the or­gan­is­ers have said that three of his most fa­mous films will be pro­jected onto the side of the We­ston Park Mu­seum for one night only.

The ac­com­pa­ny­ing score for one of the films will be per­formed by an orches­tra made up of lo­cal mu­si­cians, while the oth­ers will fea­ture im­pro­vised live sound­tracks by in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned artists.

As part of the fes­ti­val, ac­claimed ex­perts and academics will also give a range of talks about Chap­lin’s ex­tra­or­di­nary life and work.

“This year is the 100th an­niver­sary of The Tramp, ar­guably one of the most in­stantly recog­nis­able char­ac­ters of mod­ern times – the fa­mil­iar com­bi­na­tion of mous­tache, bowler hat, baggy pants and large shoes is an im­age very much em­bed­ded into our col­lec­tive con­scious­ness,” says Sh­effield Univer­sity con­certs man­ager Stewart Camp­bell. “Chap­lin was a true artist and one who ex­er­cised com­plete au­ton­omy of his art, from con­ceiv­ing artis­tic con­cepts, script­ing, act­ing, di­rect­ing, pro­duc­ing, edit­ing and com­pos­ing his own mu­si­cal scores.

“Our fes­ti­val ex­am­ines many sides of this in­cred­i­bly com­plex icon. It com­bines vis­it­ing mu­si­cians and speak­ers of in­ter­na­tional renown with our own ta­lented stu­dents and con­nects with in­no­va­tive film or­gan­i­sa­tions in the city.

“It’s an op­por­tu­nity to learn, lis­ten and most im­por­tantly laugh out loud and I look for­ward to shar­ing the whole pro­gramme on Mon­day.”

Chap­lin was work­ing at Mack Sen­nett’s Key­stone Stu­dios when he de­vised the char­ac­ter of The Tramp. The first film to fea­ture him in the role was Kid Auto Races at Venice which was re­leased in Fe­bru­ary 1914.

He went on to play the char­ac­ter in dozens of short films and fea­ture length pro­duc­tions and while there were no fancy spe­cial ef­fects or witty one liners, The Tramp was quickly em­braced by au­di­ences. As the decades rolled on, it was of­ten hard to work out where Chap­lin ended and the Tramp be­gan.

An in­spi­ra­tion for count­less fancy dress cos­tumes and one of cin­ema’s ear­li­est stars, Chap­lin is de­serv­ing of ev­ery plau­dit and Sh­effield may well find that a two week celebration is sim­ply not long enough. A SCREEN­ING of The In­vis­i­ble Woman will in­clude a live in­tro­duc­tion from Dr Suzanne Fa­gence Cooper who helped to cre­ate the his­tor­i­cal vi­sion of Dick­ens and his world.

Based on the award-win­ning book by Claire To­ma­lin, The In­vis­i­ble Woman, tells of the rocky re­la­tion­ship be­tween Charles Dick­ens (played by Ralph Fi­ennes) and Nelly Ter­nan (Felicity Jones). York’s City Screen Pic­ture­house will host the spe­cial screen­ing on Fe­bru­ary 22 and for more de­tails or to book tick­ets go to www. pic­ture­houses.co.uk

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