Italian Comedy 2: ERNESTO VASER

After more than one year, the NSFF presents a program with live audience again on friday June 18th 2021 20:30 CEST in Pand P Eindhoven.
In this second part of our Italian Comedy series, we present ERNESTO VASER (1876-1934), one of the greatest and influential comedy stars of the Italian silent period. Enjoy seven of Vaser’s most distinguished films, coming from the Desmet collection from the Eye Filmmuseum.
With introductions and live musical accompaniments by Daan van den Hurk

Order your tickets here. There is limited seeting, so book soon.

Or join us via the livestream on our YouTube channel

The show will remain online for 7 days.




Al cinematografo guardate – ma non toccate (IT, Unknown, 1912) 6’

Buon anno! (IT, Unknown, 1909) 5’

Vendetta d’amico (IT, Unknown, 1911) 9’

Il moscone (IT, Unknown, 1911) 3’

Non è sempre facile rincasare (IT, Unknown, 1912) 12’

La moda vuole l’ala larga (IT, Unknown, 1912) 5’

Attenti alla vernice (IT, Ernesto Vaser, 1913) 7’


During the last edition of the Nederlands Silent Film Festival, we already presented a short history of the little-known but brilliant school of comedy created in Italy in the last years before the First World War.

The newly expanding Italian film industry looked enviously at the international success and sales of the French cinema – mainly achieved by comedies, starring instantly recognisable comic stars.

The Itala company’s strategy was simply and ruthlessly to buy France’s biggest comic star, André Deed*, and give him a new Italian name Cretinetti.

This was in 1909.  The Cretinetti films were a huge success.  Now every company scoured the theatres, music halls and circuses for its own new comic stars.

And in 1910 the Ambrosio Company stole from Pathé in Paris a young comic genius called Marcel Fabre. Fabre was to create his own brilliant comic character, Robinet, but his first work was as a director.  He instantly spotted the comic appearance and skills of an actor who had, for several years already had been playing all kinds of secondary roles for Ambrosio.

This was ERNESTO VASER, who is the star of our programme tonight.

He came from a theatrical family, who worked in the Piedmontese dialect theatre and had also made use of his funny face and figure in caff-concerti. 

Marcel Fabre spotted him, and between them they devised the character of FRICOT – overweight but agile, severely accident prone, enthusiastically but ineffectively lecherous, and with a richly expressive clown face.  He was an instant success. 

When he deserted Ambrosio for Itala films he changed his character name to FRINGUELLI.



All films belong to the Eye collection, and all Dutch title cards will be subtitled in English.

The livestream is free. Click the link and you have a front row seat. Anyone who wants to support us financially, there’s the possibility to do that via and it’s much appreciated.


* We are currently preparing a separate program on Deed.



Festival director NSFF visits silent film theaters that have disappeared

Festival director of the Nederlands Silent Film Festival, Daan van den Hurk, visited the center of Eindhoven, The Netherlands, in search of theaters that have disappeared. Small theaters where a hundred years ago silent films were shown. Is there anything left of them on these historical sites?

Short answer: no. Old buildings had to make way for new construction, street plans were changed and warm lively theaters replaced by modern shop fronts.

In the video below, Van den Hurk visits the spots where Cinema Parisien, the Rembrandt Theater and Chicago Theater must’ve stood. Naturally, he also drops by the ‘home’ of the NSFF, Pand P.

What does the Dutch lockdown mean for NSFF 2021?

Everyone is well aware by now that The Netherlands have been put into lockdown from December 15, 2020 until January 19, 2021. The closing of all theaters, in particular Pand P and Parktheater Eindhoven, has a direct influence on the Nederlands Silent Film Festival 2021.

We are very happy that we’ll still be able to stream our silent jewels from Pand P theater, albeit without an audience in the room (but all the more in front of a television set or computer at home!). Anyone who has already purchased a ticket for Slapstick Saturday will receive a message from Parktheater Eindhoven and a refund.

As we reported earlier, NSFF 2021 will happen no matter what. Our intention had already been to put our main focus on the livestream, but at this point the festival will happen 100% online. This also applies to both Slapstick Saturday showings on January 9th. The afternoon showing was going to be exclusively for people in the theater, but we’ve decided to stream both showings all over the world!

The starting time has changed a little: the afternoon showing of Slapstick Saturday has moved from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM (local time!). The starting time of the evening showing remains the same: 8:30 PM (local time).

This means that everyone gets the chance to see something rather unique: the same films twice, accompanied live by the same improvising musicians, but both times with a completely different soundtrack!

Opening night NSFF 2021: A special collaboration with Bristol Slapstick Festival

In a unique collaboration with Bristol Slapstick Festival and Eye Filmmuseum, the Nederlands Silent Film Festival presents ITALIAN COMEDY 101. On Thursday, January 7, 2021, this will be the spectacular opening night of NSFF 2021. Curated by film historian David Robinson – who has been watching more than a hundred Italian comedies – this is a night you don’t want to miss (via our livestream).

The Italian film industry saw great potential for comedy at the beginning of the twentieth century. Comedians were recruited from everywhere and nowhere, out of circuses and off the streets, to perform in silent comedies.

We will present to you a selection of films from before World War I with leading roles for Cretinetti, Polidor and Kri Kri, among others. They will be introduced by David Robinson and musically accompanied live by Daan van den Hurk (piano).

The Dutch city films of Willy Mullens

Each screening during NSFF 2021 will be opened by a city film by Willy Mullens (1880-1952), one of the most prolific Dutch film pioneers in history. Initially, he operated a travel cinema together with his brother Bernard. They gained fame with their film THE MÉSAVENTURE OF A FRENCH GENTLEMAN WITH NO PANTALON ON THE BEACH OF ZANDVOORT, in which they interweaved fiction and reality.

In 1911 they closed the travel cinema and each went their separate ways. A few years later, Willy founded the film production company Haghe Film, which grew into one of the largest Dutch producers of commissioned, corporate and advertising films, and still exists.

He also travelled around the globe to record the Dutch East Indies, for example, commissioned by the Bataafsche Petroleum Maatschappij, and he made a lot of films for the Royal Family, which gave him his nickname ‘filmmaker of the nation’.

Prior to each screening during NSFF 2021, we will visit a different Dutch city that has been immortalized by Mullens.

THE LOST WORLD headlines the Friday of NSFF 2021!

The Nederlands Silent Film Festival will unlock the doors and set the dinosaurs free on Friday evening, January 8, 2021. In THE LOST WORLD (1925), a loose adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel, Professor Challenger (Wallace Beery) and his crew travel to South America. Once there, they encounter a long forgotten world.

Decades before JURASSIC PARK (1993), lifelike dinosaurs walked the silver screen, brought to life by special effects wizard Willis H. O’Brien. The film was released just before the announcement of the sound film and in 1929 the producer decided – in his infinite wisdom – to destroy all copies of THE LOST WORLD – anticipating on a remake with sound, called KING KONG (1933). Luckily, a few copies survived.

The copy that will be shown during NSFF 2021 is the fully restored version, almost entirely in its original form, and will be introduced by Serge Bromberg, film restorer and director of Lobster Films.

Daan van den Hurk (piano) and Frank van der Star (drums) will musically accompany the film live.

The weekend of NSFF 2021: Slapstick Saturday, The Brilliant Biograph and The Marriage Circle!

From the very first (and sharpest) film images of all time to the biggest pie-throwing-spectacle ever recorded on film, the weekend of the Nederlands Silent Film Festival is full of sweet cinematographic whipped cream.

As you probably know by now, our guests of honor during Slapstick Saturday are Laurel & Hardy. You’ll see THE LUCKY DOG (1921), the first film they made together – before anyone could predict they’d become an iconic duo. And you’ll see Stan Laurel on his own in DETAINED (1924), including a “new” scene that was discovered in 2017 in the Fries Film Archief.

On Sunday afternoon, we will travel through Europe of 120 years ago. THE BRILLIANT BIOGRAPH is a compilation film, curated by Eye and the British Film Institute (BFI), with images from between 1897 and 1902. These images have been digitally restored and are razor sharp.

We conclude NSFF 2021 on Sunday evening with the comedy THE MARRIAGE CIRCLE (1924) by the famous German director Ernst Lubitsch. After making forty films in Europe, he left and went to Hollywood in 1923, where he made one masterpiece after another. In the film, we follow Mizzi, a woman who seems to have invented the art of flirting.

Passe partouts for NSFF 2021: How do they work?

Watch the entire festival NSFF 2021 via our special livestream with just one ticket! That’s not quite the full story, given that there are five different passe partouts to choose from on our ticket page.

Passe Partout Livestream Basic
The Passe Partout Livestream Basic gives you (digital) access to the entire festival, which means all films and all lectures. You don’t have to miss anything with Basic. It’s only € 15 to join us live. Different rates apply for physically attending the films in the theater (Pand P and Parktheater Eindhoven).

Passe Partout Livestream Sponsor
The Passe Partout Livestream Sponsor makes you, as the name implies, a sponsor. Any (financial) support for the festival is very much appreciated. With the € 25 for Sponsor you not only support this edition, but also the one after that. Apart from our appreciation, you will receive an honorable mention on our website.

Passe Partout Livestream Silent Sponsor
If you prefer not to be mentioned on our website, you can choose the Passe Partout Livestream Silent Sponsor. You’ll be just as much appreciated!

Passe Partout Livestream Sponsor Plus
For € 50 you give us an even bigger smile on our faces. If you plan to watch the films with the whole family or if you’re convinced, as we are, that it’s important that the Nederlands Silent Film Festival stays in business (and who knows, might even expand), then you have the option to buy the Passe Partout Livestream Sponsor Plus. In addition to our eternal appreciation, you will receive a very honorable mention on our website.

Passe Partout Livestream Silent Sponsor Plus
The Passe Partout Livestream Sponsor Plus also has a ‘silent’ alternative, should you wish to remain anonymous.

After purchase you will receive the link to our livestream, which will open on Thursday January 7, 2021 at 7:00 PM local time (one hour before the program starts). All programs, on all days of the festival, can be watched via this link.

The aforementioned ticket prices do not include service costs.

Slapstick Saturday at NSFF 2021: Laurel and/or Hardy!

There will be not one, but two Slapstick Saturdays this year. One in the afternoon (3:00 PM, local time) and one in the evening (8:30 PM). The same films will be shown at both times, but given all the restrictive measures – with probably an audience of thirty people at maximum in the theater – we’ve scheduled two screenings on Saturday, January 9, 2021.

Slapstick Saturday can be enjoyed via our special livestream (however, only the evening showing!), which is included in our passe partout. However, if you wish to experience the magic live, you can now order tickets at Parktheater Eindhoven. The site of the theater lists all security measures, regarding masks and cancellations as well.

The subtitle of Slapstick Saturday is ‘Laurel and/or Hardy’. This is not for naught. Because, in addition to the very first film by Laurel & Hardy (THE LUCKY DOG, 1921), also DUCK SOUP (1927), THE FINISHING TOUCH (1928) and BATTLE OF THE CENTURY (1927) will be shown. And we’ll see Stan Laurel, by himself, in DETAINED (1924). The scene in which Laurel’s neck is extended to unreal proportions was long considered lost. Until 2017, when the scene was found in the Fries Film Archief!

Both Slapstick Saturdays are presented by festival director Daan van den Hurk. The films are musically accompanied live by the NSFF Trio (Van den Hurk, Soeters, Van der Star).


This is the official poster of NSFF 2021

The program of the Nederlands Silent Film Festival 2021 has yet to be announced, but the official poster does give away a few hints already. We see Stan Laurel in typical prison garb – which immediately raises the question: where is Oliver Hardy? – and the head of an extinct animal species. Which silent films are hiding behind these images? A little bit of patience is still needed. Soon we will reveal the complete program, and we’ll do this step by step, but don’t let us keep you from speculating!

In the previous years, our posters could be found in strategic places, however this year everything’s different. Distributing the poster is harder en less effective. In addition, you’ll be able to enjoy NSFF 2021 via a special livestream, which means a lot more people in other countries will be watching. That is why we are making the poster available, right here, on the website, for anyone to download. Enlarge the thumbnail, set your printer to A4 paper format and put it up to your window for everyone to see!