Rather unusual, rather trapped on the border between dream and reality, silent film has for several years found affirmation at the PSSST! Silent Film Festival organised by the Trešnjevka Cultural Centre.
PSSST! is a unique film festival presenting the art of silent film in a new, exciting and entertaining way. This Festival is a rare gem on the cultural scene which lacks initiatives offering artists the opportunity to try out their skills in this specific (and demanding!) artistic form.
The event confirms its status as a festival in the classic sense of the word through its competition programme in which contemporary “silent” titles are screened to an audience. The best film in the competition is awarded the Brcko Grand Prize, the official award of PSSST! named after the main character of Croatia’s first feature film Brcko in Zagreb made back in 1917.
But how many real silent films are made today, someone may rightfully ask? Certainly very few are made (although we can’t say none), and so we could ask the question – what is the point of the competition, what is the point of the Brcko Grand Prize? But the concept of this festival should be understood as a media experiment, created in the spirit of heterogeneity and the visual wealth of silent film. Authors can send films to PSSST! which they think could function and communicate even after we remove the original sound, and our festival is responsible for providing high-quality sound support, live music which will accompany the silent projection. Our expert improvisers cover a range of different genres and their hybrids – from rock via classical to jazz and electronic music, providing the audience with an interesting synaesthetic experience. This of course creates a film completely different from the original from which we removed the soundtrack, which is precisely why PSSST! is so exciting.
Apart from the competition programme, the Festival screens a rich selection of film classics from the golden era of silent film – masterpieces of Russian, Danish, Japanese and Swedish cinematography were already presented and this year we are dealing with the relation of psychoanalysis and silent film.
Silent film, with an expressive musical accompaniment, will lull you into a state of reverie. Its hypnotic power is not destroyed by the rude reality of the spoken word and so it becomes clear that dreams and silent films have much in common – they both deal with simple, direct emotions and action, such as love, hate, conflict or escape. This dimension of silent film emphasises its undying charm.
If you wish to open the door to a different world of unusual poetics again this year, come to PSSST! where the art of silent film lives on.
With the awards ceremony on Saturday, November 5, 2022, the sixteenth consecutive PSSST! silent film festival ended. The festival was held for three days at the Trešnjevka Cultural Center.
The judging panel of the competition program, consisting of Karla Lončar, Božidar Trkulja and Ante Zlatko Stolica, awarded the Veliki Brcko award to the film SOK / JUICE, Mona Keil (2022), Germany, 5′, with the following explanation:
With the unanimous decision of the jury, this year’s Veliki Brcko goes to the film “Juice” by the young German director Mona Keil. Skillfully using the stop-motion animation technique, the author has created an original and well-rounded world, a unique ecosystem that bombards our senses. In it we find grotesque creatures resembling tongues and parasitic arachnids – organs and creatures that most often live in the hidden space. However, the director exposes them in this film and places them in an extremely strange context, so creating the experience of “entering” the zone of the forbidden, terrifying and perverse. The overall impression was enhanced by the performance of the band “Sunrise Session”, giving voice to silent “tongues”, as well as to their silent but dramatic dialectic with symbiotic intruders, which further evoked the cinematic exchange of saliva, sap and juice.
The audience award was won by the film PETLJA / LOOP, Pablo Polledri (2021), Spain/Argentina, 8′.
Eighteen short films were shown in the competition program. All screenings were accompanied live by top musical improvisers – Vitomir Ivanjek on the piano and the band “Sunrise Session”. The competition program contained various styles, genres and film techniques from 11 countries: Russia, Croatia, Egypt, Spain, Germany, Argentina, Bulgaria, Belgium, Great Britain, Slovenia and Morocco. The submitted films were this year, once again stylistically very heterogeneous – from silent burlesques to classic feature films to avant-garde film experiments and innovative animation procedures.
The main prize of PSSST! is dedicated to the character and work of the first Croatian silent film hero from the film Brcko in Zagreb.
Until next year PSSST! says farewell to all visitors and film buffs and announces some more activities in the near future!