Tuesday, December 5, 2023 at 7:30pm
Silent Scarface

361 Stagg Street, Suite 407, Brooklyn

Introduced by Benoît Carpentier of Cinémathèque16

Scarface (silent version), Howard Hawks, 1932/1940s?, 16mm, 57 mins

Six years ago, Cinémathèque16 was established in France by a group of distributors, archivists, and researchers. Its mission has been to preserve, study, and exhibit 16mm film prints, expanding our understanding of the 100-year-old gauge, its history and its legacy. Since the group’s beginnings, Cinémathèque16 has collected around 2,000 reels, comprising what it calls “an entire cross-section of the history of the Seventh Art.” These include features and short films, documentaries and newsreels, advertisements, trailers, and Scopitones, as well as a number of curios whose exact provenance has yet to be determined.

This evening at Light Industry, archivist Benoît Carpentier, a founding member of Cinémathèque16, will present one of the oddest and most mysterious gems of their collection, a singular version of Howard Hawks’s Scarface. This over-seventy-year-old print was acquired from the collection of the Cinémathèque Catholique de Gironde, which was active from the 1920s to the 1950s. It is the only extant example of a previously unknown, silent version of the canonical pre-Code gangster film. Not merely Hawks’s original film without a soundtrack, this Scarface has been thoroughly re-edited, with French intertitles and a new introduction added. The transformation of the film is seamless and atavistic, playing like an artifact from some alternative timeline in which Hollywood’s conversion to synchronized sound never happened.

“The temptation to imagine that it was a silent version designed to be sent to establishments not yet equipped with sound projectors was great,” Carpentier says, “but the reality, we discovered, was quite different.” Before the screening, Carpentier will present a full account of Cinémathèque16’s findings about the hidden story behind this cinematic anomaly.

Tickets - Pay what you can ($10 suggested donation), available at door.

Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm. No entry 10 minutes after start of show.