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Cinema Paradiso:  Chaplin’s Modern Times (1936)

Sat­urday, 23rd Sept 2023 — Cinema Para­diso:  Chaplin’s Mod­ern Times:

3.30pm for a 3.45pm start, con­clud­ing at 5.40pm.  RSVP:  con­tact Brett by Sunday, 17 Septem­ber 2023

Mod­ern Times (1936) — As the role of AI is debated in soci­ety today, a screen­ing of Chaplin’s last per­form­ance of the Little Tramp char­ac­ter, strug­gling to sur­vive in a mod­ern, indus­tri­al­ised world.

Accord­ing to Wiki­pe­dia, Chap­lin com­menced work on the film after a con­ver­sa­tion with Mahatma Gandhi about mod­ern tech­no­logy.  He did not under­stand why Gandhi gen­er­ally opposed it, though he gran­ted that “machinery with only con­sid­er­a­tion of profit” had put people out of work and ruined lives.

Part-talk­ie, the film is a satir­ic­al, hil­ari­ous and romantic com­edy (Chaplin’s romance theme was later giv­en lyr­ics and became the song Smile, first recor­ded by Nat King Cole).  It is the first film to fea­ture Chaplin’s voice in The Non­sense Song.

The film uses silence and phys­ic­al jokes (Chap­lin per­formed all of his own stunts) to depict the dehu­man­ising effects of indus­tri­al­isa­tion and auto­ma­tion, explor­ing themes of human­ity versus machine, the power­less­ness of the poor, and the con­nec­tions between unem­ploy­ment, poverty and crime.