Charles Dickens, most celebrated of English novelists, was born on 7 February 1812. As part of Festival of Ideas, Watershed presents a season of films and talks to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth. This includes four Sunday Brunch screenings throughout May. Visit Dickens 2012 at www.dickens2012.org for further details of the events taking place during the bicentenary. You may also be interested in the event with Claire Tomalin on 22 May.
FILM: Great Expectations (PG) 6 May 2012, 12.00-14.00: Widely considered to be the greatest of all the many film versions of Dickens’ novels, David Lean’s brilliant adaptation follows the fortunes of Pip, a blacksmith’s apprentice who, as a child, befriends an escaped convict. Further details here. [PAST EVENT]
TALK: Dickens on Screen 8 May 2012, 18.00-19.30: Dickens was a man ahead of his time, as his style lends itself to a medium that did not exist in his lifetime. Most of his novels have been adapted for the screen, and by way of celebration Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London, explores how well cinema and television has treated them. Further details here. [PAST EVENT]
FILM: A Tale of Two Cities (U) 13 May 2012, 12.00-14.00: Impressive 1950s British adaptation of Dickens’ ever-popular story of tragic self sacrifice, which saw Dirk Bogarde, playing Sidney Carton, give one of his most accomplished performances while at the height of his matinee-idol fame. Further details here. [PAST EVENT]
FILM: Dickens Before Sound – Silent Shorts Before 1914 15 May 2012, 18.00-19.30: Around 100 silent films were made from Dickensian sources, two thirds of which are now lost. This selection from those which still exist includes the first version of the oft-filmed A Christmas Carol, Scrooge (UK 1901); The Cricket on the Hearth (USA 1909); and Oliver Twist (USA 1909). Further details here. [PAST EVENT]
FILM: Dickens on Film 19 May 2012, 13.30-14.30: Screening of the recent Arena documentary that revisits films and interviews from the archive to answer the question of why Dickens’ novels have inspired so many hundreds of adaptations on screen, from 1898 to the present. Further details here. [PAST EVENT]
FILM: The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (U) 20 May 2012, 12.00-13.50: Directed by Alberto Cavalcanti, the story of a young man’s progress, struggling to make his way in a brutal, heartless world, in which light eventually triumphs over darkness and consideration for others finally wins out over self-serving avarice, has been unjustly overshadowed by Lean’s post-war Dickens films. Further details here. [PAST EVENT]
FILM: Oliver Twist (U) 22 May 2012, 20.30-22.00: After Jackie Coogan’s heart-rending debut in Chaplin’s The Kid, his father formed a company to exploit the talented seven-year-old. Helmed by Dickens aficionado Frank Lloyd and with Lon Chaney adopting one of his thousand faces, the result was a charming, spirited production. Lost for decades, the silent, 1922 film was rediscovered in Yugoslavia in the early 70s. Further details here. [PAST EVENT]
FILM: Oliver Twist (PG) 27 May 2012, 12.00-14.00: Dickens’ extravagant vision of Victorian London is perfectly balanced by superb performances and Lean’s fierce grip on the sprawling narrative in this film from 1948. Guy Green and John Bryan lend an Expressionist look to Fagin’s hellish underworld and Alec Guinness, in his second major role, gives a finely judged theatrical – if controversial – depiction of Fagin himself. Further details here.
FILM AND TALK: Re-Imagining Dickens: Dickens in London 27 May 2012, 14.30: Based on Dickens’ journalistic essays, we present five new films by Chris Newby, which use animation, puppetry and contemporary footage to visualise the five original radio plays written by Michael Eaton with a Neil Brand score. Introduction by Michael Eaton. Further details here.
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