birds of paradise

male and female : cecil b demille 1919

BIRDS of Paradise is the 3rd Fashion in Film Festival, which started yesterday and is on until 12th December. Screening rare and unseen films from the 1920s through to the 1970s (often with live piano accompaniment) it aims to provide “an intoxicating exploration of costume as a form of cinematic spectacle throughout European and American cinema.”

Learning about the previous festivals too late, I’m excited about having the opportunity to go to some of the events this time round. And what a theme. Clips of footage to be exhibited show mesmerising scenes of opulent costumes flitting across the screen, frequently enhanced by painted-in accents of colour. The inclusion of live music will surely only heighten the experience, drawing you in to a world of sumptuous glamour.

I am slightly disappointed that the festival is on for such a limited time as it means an inevitable clash in programming of must-see events. Adding to this that many of these are occurring on Friday and Saturday nights – ‘great’ planning on behalf of the organisers considering it’s currently the party season – means that I have resigned myself to the fact that I will be missing some of the good bits.

However, seeking the best in purely magnificent visuals means that one film I won’t be missing is La Revue des Revues, being screened at the BFI Southbank. Not only will it be a non-stop whirl of 1920s dancing, including routines from Folies-Bergere and Moulin Rouge, but it also promises “an audacious and colourful parade” of sets and costumes. According to the blurb “pure spectatorial pleasure” awaits…

male and female : cecil b demille 1919

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