One A.M. (1916)

Slapstick is considered to be more of a thing of the past, too ridiculous, full of cheap antics, and continuous stupidity. But I digress.

While I agree that it is a form of humor that thrives in the character’s stupidity, what lies beneath it is a creative juice that overflows with reinvention through and through with only limited resources or props. And this is what makes Charlie Chaplin a genius. His use of dumb things and acts are backed up with clever and creative intent. Imagine doing a routine of making yourself look funny for more than 20 minutes, that’s hard isn’t it?

Last night I was able to watch One A.M. in the opening of 8th International Silent Film Festival held in Manila. Directed, co-written, and starred by Chaplin himself, majority of the film’s screen time gave me a few small bursts of laughter, but most of the time quiet. It’s not exactly my type of humor but at its core is a movie with good script, directorial skills, and a great silent physical actor.

Depicted as a one man show, except for a brief appearance of the taxi driver, the film runs a 24 minute timeline based entirely on Chaplin’s series of troubles upon arriving home drunk. Most of the time we see him interact with inanimate objects and perform incredible stunts (especially that stairs scene!). And while the film has the usual pathos evident in slapstick films, it is a good film to watch but I believe Chaplin have other much better (more funny) films.

Rating: 6/10

The film was shown together with Chaplin’s other classic, “The Pawnshop“, in the 8th International Film Festival Manila held in Shang Cineplex. Each film were accompanied by a live performance from Radioactive Sago Project. Catch the other film screenings from August 28-31. Admission is free.

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