7th Bird’s-Eye View Film Festival (March 8-17, 2011) and a chat with Laura Groves
Against the Silence
by Ehsan Khoshbakht

Laura Groves  London’s Bird’s-Eye View Film Festival, which opened on International Women's Day (March 8) and also coincided with the 100th anniversary of this day, is one of the most internationally acclaimed women’s film festivals. It is a collection of tastefully selected new films, short films, documentaries, classics, exhibitions, as well as live music performance. Their motto is “From Lois Weber to Lucy Walker,” thus acknowledging Weber (1881-1939), the first female director of feature films and Walker, the documentary maker whose work Countdown to Zero, on the nuclear arms race was recently screened.
  In its seventh edition, the festival introduced a new section called Bloody Women, which focused on women’s contribution to horror genre from gothic psychodrama to vampire chic. It included films such as Victor Sjoström’s The Wind and Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark. Hard as it is to believe, some of the most delightful moments of this section are provided by silent movies accompanied by live music, which were screened for young and old audiences in a packed theater.
  One of my most unforgettable movie experiences in the past few months was seeing John S. Robertson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920) as a part of Bloody Women screenings. Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was filmed at least nine times in the silent era alone and this adaptation owes its entry into the festival to screenwriter Ms. Clara Beranger (1886-1956), who acquired fame by working with director Cecil B. DeMille on 24 films. Later, she married DeMille’s older brother William, also a director. The fact that she was using the pseudonym of Charles S. Beranger may give a new meaning to the theme of duality in Dr. Jekyll. Her part in this wonderful interpretation is more than initially meets the eye...


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