Once again Bristol’s annual Slapstick Festival comes to Watershed.  This year funny women are leading the way: Colleen Moore, the original flapper girl, stately Pola Negri and Clara Bow (the “IT” Girl) scintillate on the screen, presented live by 21st century champions Lucy Porter, Shazia Mirza and Kevin Brownlow.

In addition, the festival pays special tribute to three friends who have recently left us, but who remain very much alive in their screen presences – Victoria Wood, Rik Mayall and Pierre Étaix, the 2012 Aardman Visual Comedy Award winner.  Étaix and his friend and early master Jacques Tati will both be seen in their classic comic masterworks. The festival shows that all is not pratfalls and hysteria: in “Silent Comedy Europe” the great classic directors, like Mauritz Stiller and Carl Dreyer, cast wry eyes on the daily misadventures of ordinary humanity.

As usual Slapstick also looks at classic television comedy and Slapstick silent comedy with an inspired unseen programme of silent comedy Accidentally Preserved! with Robin Ince and  the premiere screening of “lost” Dada-esque Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band footage with special guest Neil Innes.


Wed 18 Jan 2017

Notfilm (2015)

Watershed | 11.30am | Tickets: £8.00/£6.00
dir. Ross Lipman | US | 130mins


To open Bristol’s thirteenth Slapstick Festival and in anticipation of When Keaton Met Beckett and a screening of FILM (1965) on Friday Ross Lip-man’s Notfilm, is a documentary about the embattled collaboration between Nobel Prize-winning playwright Samuel Beckett and silent-era genius Buster Keaton as they filmed Beckett’s only onscreen work.

During the restoration of FILM (1965), essentially a labour of love, Lipman discovered its long-lost prologue under the sink of Barney Rosset (producer of FILM). He then reconstructed this scene in strict accordance with Beckett’s original notes. A fascinating insight into Buster’s last ‘silent’ film.


 ‘silent’ film.


Wed 18 Jan 2017

Pierre Étaix: Le Soupirant/The Suitor (1962)

Watershed | 3.00pm | Tickets: £8.00/£6.00

One of the best films of the great Pierre Étaix (1928-2016) – a homage to the great silent comics, yet all Étaix in the role of an innocent young man still in the bosom of his family, who now urge him to get out and find a wife. He embarks on the task with enthusiasm, but a hilarious lack of skill. A rare chance to see a Pierre Étaix classic on the big screen. Introduced by the Director Emeritus of Giornate Cinema Muto, David Robinson.



Wed 18 Jan 2017

Victoria Wood: Let’s Do It!

Celebrating the life and work of Victoria Wood

Watershed | 5.40pm | Tickets: £9.00/£6.50

Mourning the sudden passing of comedic giant and Slapstick Festival supporter, Victoria Wood, Andrew Kelly (Festival of Ideas) hosts a panel discussion looking at the extraordinary contribution that she made to comedy writing, performance and stand-up. Stand-up comedians Lucy Porter and Pippa Evans along with Comedy and Theatre Historian Louise Wingrove from Bristol University, make up the panel.