Here is a very cool intro to what was going on in the early days of silent cinema, especially for those who have become curious about the early days of movies after learning about Georges Méliès in Scorsese's Hugo.
In other news, UCLA is hosting a jaw-dropping showcase of ultra-rare films by the incomparable film experimenter Dziga Vertov. While best known for Man with a Movie Camera (1929), his other work is perhaps even more incredible, especially his Kino-Pravda newsreels, in which he displays an eye for composition and montage that is more modern and unique than even some of the most experimental filmmakers we have today.
Vertov screening info here.
If you were not aware, he was also a huge influence on Jean-Luc Godard, who formed "The Dziga Vertov Group" with Jean-Pierre Gorin in 1968, during his most political period of filmmaking.
The only negative about the show — and it is a huge one — is that unless you live there, the UCLA Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum is nigh impossible to get to. With some screenings brilliantly scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the height of Friday night rush hour, these great works may go unseen. If you live there, please take advantage of this treasure trove of the rarest work by one of the greatest Soviet montage artists of all time. For the rest of us, we just have to be in Westwood already earlier in the day, or else allow two hours if you live on the east side or Valley. Or petition the theater to adopt a more sensible 8:30 p.m. screening time; they would start to attract bigger crowds. All L.A. theaters should consider doing this, even the Egyptian, which should know very well the traffic and parking bottleneck it sits square in the middle of!