1919, 59 min, USA, Dir: Maurice Tourneur

Composer Darrell Thorne (Lew Cody) meets Marcene Elliot (Pauline Starke) in a Canadian forest and is so lovestruck that he titles his next symphony after her. He hopes that she will accompany him to New York, but the young woman’s aunt (Mary Alden) sends them on diverging paths. This poignant silent drama from pioneering French-born filmmaker Maurice Tourneur was unseen for nearly a century until its recent restoration.

1916, Cohen Film, 167 min, USA, Dir: D.W. Griffith

Subtitled “Love’s Struggle Throughout the Ages,” this landmark of silent film weaves together four separate plotlines dealing with the corrosive effects of the titular vice across history: a contemporary melodrama about a young couple’s struggles with poverty and crime, a Renaissance-era tale of persecuted French Huguenots, and recountings of the crucifixion of Jesus and the fall of ancient Babylon. The follow-up to D. W. Griffith’s controversial THE BIRTH OF A NATION was both technically innovative and visually lavish - the budget-busting Babylonian sets will still make you gasp. Some of the era’s biggest names have featured roles here (including Lillian Gish, Constance Talmadge and Mae Marsh), with numerous future stars among the cast of thousands. Though its ambitions have been echoed in recent years by such films as CRASH and BABEL, this remarkable epic remains a one-of-a-kind viewing experience.

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