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.



The Adventures of Prince Achmed

Our first special event of 2020 would have taken place on the 21st of March in Pand P, Eindhoven. On this night, the silent silhouette/shadow/animation film THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED would have been shown and musically accompanied LIVE. However, due to the corona virus, we’ve decided to cancel the event – and move it to a later date.

After five years of intense manual labor, German filmmaker Lotte Reiniger finished the beautiful animation film THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED. She’d cut out figures, towers, animals and entire landscapes, photographed them, one frame at a time (also called the ‘stop motion technique’).

Her team involved other avant-garde artists who’d later become famous themselves: Walter Ruttmann would make the documentary-silent film BERLIN: SYMPHONY OF A GREAT CITY (1927), Berthold Bartosch would push the boundaries of animation further with THE IDEA (1932), which starred a naked woman as the main character, and Carl Koch remained very active within the movie industry until 1954, as director, cameraman, writer and producer.

THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED is not the oldest animated film ever that has survived (that honor goes to GERTIE THE DINOSAUR from 1914), it is however the oldest surviving feature length animation. The film is based on the folk tales of One Thousand and One Nights, so we’re witnessing flying horses, extremely long snakes, people transforming into animals and vice versa, and of course Aladdin with his magic lamp.

We would have shown the film on Saturday, March 21, 2020, but unfortunately we’ve had to cancel the event, due to the corona virus. We will move the film to a later, yet to be determined date. Check this page or sign up for our newsletter (which is both in Dutch and English) for new information.


GER, 1926
65 minutes
Director: Lotte Reiniger

March 24, 2019: SEVEN YEARS BAD LUCK

Sunday 24th of march, at 19:30, the NSFF presents a special event: SEVEN YEARS BAD LUCK. This evening, in Pand P Eindhoven, two silent comedies will be screened, with live musical accompaniment by the NSFF Trio: Daan van den Hurk (piano), Bart Soeters (bass) en Frank van der Star (drums). A redo of the popular Slapstick Saturday, but on Sunday, for everyone who can’t wait until January 2020!


Buster Keaton in THE HIGH SIGN (1921)

A comic of a weird secret society which will turn your theatre into a merry lodge of mirth

Feature Film: SEVEN YEARS BAD LUCK (1921) with Max Linder

David Robinson on Max Linder and SEVEN YEARS BAD LUCK:
‘Max Linder was the cinema’s first international comedy star, and a prodigious inventor of gags and routines that have continued to enrich every comedian’s repertoire. Yet his reputation was eclipsed by the horror of his death in an apparent double suicide with his young wife. As a result of the taint of mystery and scandal, he was practically eliminated from film history for four decades, until his daughter Maud – who as a baby was in her parents’ suicide room – set out to reclaim his name and to rediscover his films. It is Maud Linder (who died in 2017 at the age of 93) we have to thank for the reclamation of the film we shall see today. He called this film Seven Years Bad Luck. Max’s personal bad luck lasted longer, but our happy rediscovery of him may now make some posthumous recompense.’

January 5, 2019: RICHARD WAGNER (1913)

Preview of NSFF 2019 during the concert series ZOLDERKAMERTJESKLASSIEK

5 January 2019, 7:30 PM

Carl Froehlich, 72′

With original music by Guiseppe Becce

Performed by Daan van den Hurk (piano) and Maaike Peters (cello)

Guiseppe Becce as Richard Wagner

Director Carl Froehlich made this ‘biopic’ in honour of the 30th bereavement of Wagner. The life and work of Wagner are shown, somewhat dramatized as it should be in a movie. In this literally colourful film, we see Wagners journeys, his banishment to Switserland, his encouters with Franz Liszt and Giacomo Meyerbeer and all his major operaworks, which are shot in a fairylike manner.  

Like all films before 1930, this film is accompanied by live music. The talented film composer Guiseppe Becce (also the interpreter of Wagner) was assigned to make the music for this film. The original music of Wagner was originally meant to accompany the opera’s in the film. However, the filmmakers suffered a setback after finding out that the rights on Wagners music weren’t expired and Wagners heirs asked a gigantic amount of money for the music. But Becce found a solution. He composed and arranged music in Wagner’s opera style to accompany the film, he imitated the original melodies in such a way that they were still recognizable. Daan van den Hurk found a photocopy of Becce’s score, including the Wagner-imitations, in the archive of the EYE Film museum. The film will be accompanied by this original music, adapted to a version for piano and cello.

 The portrayal of Wagner is in line with how he was looked at in 1913. Wagners heirs, in particular his wife Cosima, and the daughter of composer Franz Liszt did everything to hold up Wagners reputation as high as possible. Therefore, the filmmakers are not to blame for the historically inaccuracies, they probably didn’t know any better. However, the broad lines of the film are historically accurate. Above all, the film is an ode to beautiful music, and for us, 100 years later, an ode to the beautiful music of Guiseppe Becce.