The ABC of Asta Nielsen

Find out more about Asta Nielsen in this evening devoted to the indelible Danish star of silent cinema. First, season curator Pamela Hutchinson will present an illustrated lecture on Nielsen’s life and incredible career. She will then be joined by a panel of experts, Erica Carter, Professor of German and Film at King’s College London, So Mayer, writer, organiser and co-founder of Raising Films and Bryony Dixon, BFI curator of silent film, to examine Nielsen’s performance, stardom and significance in depth.

Pamela Hutchinson is a freelance writer, critic, film historian and curator based on the south coast of England. She writes for Sight and Sound, Criterion, Indicator, the Guardian and Empire and regularly appears on BBC radio. Her publications include the BFI Film Classic on Pandora’s Box and 30-Second Cinema, as well as essays in several edited collections. She indulges her passion for silent cinema at

Erica Carter is Professor of German and Film at King’s College, London and co-founder of the UK German Screen Studies Network. Her publications include the co-edited BFI German Cinema Book (BFI 2019) and Béla Balázs. Early Film Theory (Berghahn 2010).

So Mayer is the author of a number of books on film, most recently A Nazi Word for a Nazi Thing (2020), a short essay on how queer cinema fights fascism. Their other books include Political Animals: The New Feminist Cinema (2015) and The Cinema of Sally Potter: A Politics of Love (2009). Mothers of Invention: Film, Media and Caregiving Labor, which they co-edited with Corinn Columpar, is due out this April from Wayne State University Press. So is a co-founder of Raising Films, a campaign and community for parents and carers in the screen industries, and a member of queer feminist film curation collective Club Des Femmes, editing CDF’s Culture Club webzine.

Bryony Dixon is a curator with responsibility for the BFI National Archive’s extensive silent film collection. She has researched and written on many aspects of early and silent film, as well as programming for a variety of specialist film festivals and events worldwide. Her book 100 Silent Films, in the BFI Screen Guides series, was published in 2011 and she contributes regularly to Sight and Sound’s Primal Screen column. She is lead curator in the BFI National Archive’s series of annual silent film restorations with commissioned live music. She has just completed the BFI’s project to digitise all surviving British Victorian films and will release an accompanying book, The Story of Victorian Film in 2022.

The ABC of Asta Nielsen
Thu 3 Feb 18:20
The Abyss (Afgrunden) + The ABC of Love (Das Liebes ABC)
Thu 3 Feb 20:30 (+ intro by season curator Pamela Hutchinson); Fri 11 Feb 18:20
Zapata’s Gang (Zapatas Bande) + The Eskimo Baby (Das Eskimobaby)
Fri 4 Feb 18:00; Sat 12 Feb 18:00
The Black Dream (Den sorte Drøm)
Fri 4 Feb 20:40; Sat 12 Feb 15:40
Dora Brandes
Sat 5 Feb 15:20; Thu 17 Feb 18:00 (+ intro)
The Queen of the Stock Exchange (Die Börsenkönigin) + The Guinea Pig (Das Versuchskaninchen)
Sat 5 Feb 18:00; Thu 17 Feb 20:40
Towards the Light (Mod Lyset) + Asta Nielsen
Wed 23 Feb 18:10; Sun 27 Feb 15:50

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Programme notes and credits compiled by the BFI Documentation Unit
Notes may be edited or abridged
Questions/comments? Contact the Programme Notes team by email