The Miami University film studies program screened “Safety Last,” a silent slapstick comedy, for National Silent Movie Day on Sept. 29 at 7 p.m.
The event, which was held on the arts quad behind the Shriver Center, was hosted by Miami professors Andy Rice, Kerry Hegarty and Annie Dell’Aria.
Andy Rice, assistant professor of film studies and media and communication studies at Miami, said their goal was to make people more aware of silent films.
“We want to bring awareness about the history of silent films because we teach this in our classes,” Rice said. “It is very interesting, and you learn a lot about contemporary media culture from watching these kinds of things, especially if you’ve never seen one before. We thought doing it in a public place, where students could come and go, would be fun.”
Piper Nicely, a first-year journalism major, said she had a free night, so she decided to come see this screening and really enjoyed it.
“I was kind of skeptical about silent films [because I thought they] would be kind of boring, but it was actually really fun and engaging,” Nicely said. “My dad was super into film and film studies in college. I’ve always been watching art films, but this is my first look at silent films and I really liked it.”
Nicely said she is interested in watching more silent films after watching “Safety Last”.
“I actually want to check out more silent films,” Nicely said. “I was thinking about looking up some of the top ones because [the screening] was fun, and I didn’t know it would be that fun.”
Ryan Rosu, a sophomore English film and philosophy major, enjoyed the film and the experience.
“I really liked it, and that’s the second time I’ve seen it,” Rosu said. “I liked it a lot more when you actually project it, rather than just watching it on a TV screen.”
Rosu said he has a deep appreciation for silent films and silent comedy.
“I think silent comedy is great because it’s kind of timeless,” Rosu said. “Physical humor doesn’t age because it's just them being goofy.”
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Chi Nguyen, a junior art history major, enjoyed the screening mostly because of its outdoor projection.
“I really liked it, especially when it’s outside and you have a huge projector,” Nguyen said. “This is the second long silent film I've ever watched. The first one was a Chinese one, so this is definitely different.”
Nguyen said she liked the interactions in the film and came to celebrate National Silent Movie Day.
“I really liked all the physical artwork and interaction,” Nguyen said. “[National Silent Movie Day] is a day to celebrate, and I want to try out that style of projection more.”
Rice said he wants people to dig into the more complex films out there after watching “Safety Last”.
“I hope they will want to watch the harder, weirder [films] after this,” Rice said. “‘Safety Last’ is fun and pretty straightforward, but I think there’s a lot of other kinds of films that actually speak to a desire students have. They want to be challenged, and they want to learn new things. They want to explore new ways of thinking about the world that they didn’t get when they were in high school or at home.”