2010 | Birds of Paradise

The 3rd Fashion in Film Festival in London

1 - 12 December 2010

London | New York | Bristol | Copenhagen | Glasgow

The 3rd Fashion in Film Festival is proud to present Birds of Paradise, an intoxicating exploration of costume as a form of cinematic spectacle throughout European and American cinema.

There will be exclusive screenings of rare and unseen films, plus two special commissions as part of the season: an installation for Somerset House by the award-winning Jason Bruges Studio and a London-wide Kinoscope Parlour, an installation of six peephole machines designed by Mark Garside after Thomas A. Edison’s kinetoscopes.

From the exquisitely opulent films of the silent era, to the sybaritic, lavishly stylised underground films of the 1940s -1970s, costume has, for a long time, played a significant role in cinema as a vital medium for showcasing such basic properties of film as movement, change, light and colour. The festival programme explores episodes in film history which most distinctly foreground costume, adornment and styling as vehicles of sensuous pleasure and enchantment.

Experimental films by Kenneth Anger, Jack Smith, Ron Rice, José Rodriguez-Soltero, Steven Arnold and James Bidgood constitute one such episode. Their decadent, highly stylised visions full of lyrical fascination with jewellery, textures, layers, glittering fabrics and make-up unlock the splendour and excess of earlier periods of popular cinema, especially ‘spectacle’ and Orientalist films of the 1920s; early dance, trick and féerie films of the 1890s and 1900s; and Hollywood exotica of the 1940s.

The festival boasts many rare UK screenings including Nino Oxilia’s Rapsodia Satanica (1915/1917), Jack Smith’s Normal Love (1964), José Rodriguez-Soltero’s Lupe (1966), Michael Curtiz’s Red Heels (1925), Albert Capellani’s The Red Lantern (1919) and Germaine Dulac’s La Princesse Mandane (1928).

Programme Curator Marketa Uhlirova
Associate Curator and Kinescope Parlour Co-curator Inga Fraser
Tate Programme curated by Marketa Uhlirova, Ronald Gregg, Stuart Comer

Birds of Paradise: Costume as a Cinematic Spectacle is also the title of a forthcoming illustrated book edited by Marketa Uhlirova and published by Wallflower Press in Spring 2011. Contributors include Catherine Hindson, Jody Sperling, Giovanni Lista, José Teunissen, Sumiko Higashi, Lucy Fischer, Karl Toepfer, Esther Leslie, Juan Antonio Suarez, Ronald Gregg and Ryan Powell.

Festival takes place at following venues: BFI Southbank, Tate Modern, Barbican, The Horse Hospital.
“Fashion in Film Festival’s third edition ‘Rare Birds of Paradise’ is showing so many great and rare films this December and there just isn’t enough time to fit them all in!” – Pam Hogg

click below to go to Birds of Paradise: Costume as Cinematic Spectacle BOOK:






Themes and Events

Kinoscope Parlour

The Kinoscope Parlour is a London-wide installation of six peephole machines at twelve different locations during the 3rd Fashion in Film Festival. Designed by Mark Garside, the Kinoscope is a contemporary re-imagining of the kinetoscope invented by Thomas A. Edison and W.K.L. Dickson in the early 1890s. The Kinoscope Parlour featured costume and dance fims by early cinema pioneers Georges Méliès, the Lumière brothers, Thomas Edison, Gaston Velle, Segundo de Chomón, J.H. Paul, Ferdinand Zecca and Alice Guy-Blaché.

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Special Projects

Part of The 3rd Fashion in Film Festival, the Kinoscope Parlour is our London-wide installation of six peephole machines at twelve different locations launching in the run-up to the festival.

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BFI Southbank

BFI Southbank presents some of the most visually compelling films made in America and Europe during the entire silent film period, highlighting the marvellous and the fantastic with such rarely screened gems as Albert Capellani’s The Red Lantern (1919), Jean Durand’s l’île d’amour (1927), Alexandre Volkoff’s Secrets of the East (1928), the recent restoration of Joë Francis’s La Revue des Revues (1927) including colour sequences and Cecil B. DeMille’s Male and Female (1919). All silent films in the programme will be accompanied by live music.

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The Barbican programme explores the hypnotising allure of film costume, as worn by the diva, the showgirl and the dancing fairies and spectres of the silent era. Highlights include the screenings of Nino Oxilia’s Italian masterpiece Rapsodica Satanica (1915/1917) featuring one of Italy’s original film divas Lyda Borelli, Germaine Dulac’s Orientalist film La Princesse Mandane (1928) and Michael Curtiz’s Red Heels (1925). All of these magnificent European silent films are rarely screened in the UK.

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Tate Modern

The Tate strand pairs early film treasures with experimental films of the American Underground to reveal the opulence, artifice and excess in both. Sumptuous masterpieces by Segundo de Chomón, Gaston Velle and Ferdinand Zecca join riotous explosions in colour, costume and camp by legendary experimental filmmakers Kenneth Anger, Jack Smith, Ron Rice, José Rodriguez-Soltero, Steven Arnold and performer Mario Montez. Co-curated by Marketa Uhlirova, Ronald Gregg and Stuart Comer.

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The Horse Hospital

The Horse Hospital showcases the link between underground film and its direct and indirect inspirations from mainstream Hollywood cinema.

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