Bonn. The movies are played on a giant screen with the historical building of the University of Bonn as a backdrop. No languages skills are needed; visitors can just enjoy the music and vintage silent films.
All the seats in the courtyard have been filled and the last orders have been place at the drinks pavilion. At first one casts a glance up to the open sky, and then the trailer of the Bonn Silent Film Days flitters across the giant screen. Live music is a key element of the film festival, which attracts people of all ages. Already a fixture in Bonn for 33 years, it will run from August 10th until August 20th this summer.
In the film program, listed next to the film titles are also portraits of the musicians. Günter A. Buchwald, a director, pianist, violinist and composer from Freiburg is a name found often in the program. He has accompanied more than 2,900 film concerts for more than 2,600 different silent films since 1978. His impression of the event has stayed the same since the very first time, “It’s open air but even so it’s a closed room with a huge screen. We sit in the middle of the audience; but under the shelter of the arcade to protect our instruments.”
Buchwald has praise for the Bonn audiences and says the organizers try to obtain the best possible copy of the films. And the efforts of organizers have been rewarded; more than 24,000 visitors came to the Bonn Silent Film Days in 2016. Even in bad weather, people have came in rain jackets to watch the films, “one of the nicest compliments for this festival” says Frank Bockius (drummer).
For those who want to experience a silent film with live music in the outdoor courtyard of the University of Bonn, here are some upcoming dates:
Thursday, August 17 at 9 pm: Romance of a fruit merchant; China 1922, Günter A. Buchwald & Frank Bockius - Elisso; Georgia 1928, Günter A. Buchwald & Frank Bockius
Friday, August 18 at 9 pm: How to behave in Tokyo, Japan 1926; Günter A. Buchwald - 10:30 pm Branding Broadway; USA 1918, Günter A. Buchwald and Stephen Horne
Saturday, August 19 at 9 pm: Buster Keaton in trouble (Neighbors, The Scarecrow, The Goat); USA 1920/1921, Frank Bockius and Stephen Horne; Sins of Love, Czech Republic, 1929, Günter A.
Buchwald For further information and the complete program, please check the website.