Charlie Chaplin on both sides of film camera

Charlie Chaplin in films and photographs from family archives is the subject of the first exhibition of its kind in the world. It is displayed at the Moscow Multimedia Art Museum between the 30 of November and 17 of February.
The great 20th century actor shows both familiar and unfamiliar facets of his personality to the visitors. Gray-haired Chaplin is surrounded by children and performs his famous comical stunts. Chaplin in the shape of an abstract caricature – this is how he was seen by famous French avant-garde artist Fernand Leger. A character from an uncompleted animated cartoon Charlie the Cubist in the shape of a wooden figure made of hinged panels. A film made by Chaplin himself about his studio’s backstage life which was never shown after it was made. There are also a lot of other exhibits that show a very versatile picture of this genius of 20th century film-making, which has never been achieved yet within one project. This was the aim of the curator of the exhibition Sam Stourdze from Switzerland. Charlie Chaplin’s familiar screen character has not always been a sad, lonely little tramp whom most people imagine when thinking about Chaplin. In 1914 Chaplin appeared on the screen as a barefaced swindler and lady-killer showing a clear interest in his neighbour’s wife and his friends’ money. This character loved dirty tricks and missed no chance of furtively giving people a kick. Chaplin’s character started changing only in the film The Kid made in 1921. Whatever part Chaplin performed – of a fireman, priest, soldier or factory worker – the audience recognized him by his famous walk and indispensable accessories, such as huge boots, a bowler-hat and a walking-stick. At the Moscow exhibition this classic image of Chaplin can be traced in photographs and fragments of films, such as City Lights, The Gold Rush and The Great Dictator. What is especially interesting is looking at Chaplin’s photos on the shooting area in the process of making those films.When Chaplin made his films he always had a clear-cut plan of making the audience weep at some moment, laugh at another, be terrified but then cheer up. Mind that the audience goes through all this range of emotions watching a silent film. Charlie Chaplin used to say that silence was a blessing available to everyone. He said that few people knew how to enjoy it because it was not for sale. Wealthy people buy noise, he said. This idea is very much applicable today. At least, the new film The Artist made in the style of a silent film was recently awarded several Oscars. Source: Voice of Russia

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