Did You Know? Hysteria, Hypnosis, and Hallucination

October 12, 2022
Hypnotizing the Hypnotist

Did You Know?

You’ll be mesmerized by these six rarely-seen silent films set to live, original music by Dreamland Faces—a must-see for film buffs, music lovers, and the historically-curious. In anticipation of the upcoming event, explore these fun facts surrounding the program, curated by UMN’s Maggie Hennefeld.

Maggie Hennefield

Silent Films + Ski-U-Mah

Curated by Associate Professor of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota, Maggie Hennefield, the Hysteria, Hypnosis, and Hallucination program draws from an upcoming four-disc DVD/Blu-ray set, Cinema’s First Nasty Women, showcasing more than fourteen hours of silent films.

Karen Majewicz & Andy McCormick

Photo by Jayme Halbritter. Courtesy of the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Composing Costars

Twin Cities based Karen Majewicz and Andy McCormick perform and write music together as Dreamland Faces. Their repertoire includes instrumental pieces and modern classical music, all of which are original!

Hypnotist's watch on a chain

Hypnotizing the Audience

In the early 20th century, filmmakers were frequently compared to hypnotists, enticing hysterical movie audiences with wild collective hallucinations.

Female Film Pioneers

In these early days of cinema, there were more women working in every level of silent film production (as directors, producers, writers, editors, etc.) than there are even today. Prolific film pioneer Alice Guy directed the short At the Hypnotist's (Chez le magnétiseur)—found in the Hysteria, Hypnosis, and Hallucination collection—in 1897!

Close up of a film reel with loose film in a mass

The Lost Treasures of Early Film

With many early film reels being made from nitrate, some of the classics have been lost forever through decomposition. Unfortunately, an estimated 80 percent of original silent films have been destroyed.

Black and white still of a woman at a desk with a gramophone and another woman in maid's uniform standing behind.

In the News

These silent film discoveries are making headlines including The New York Times, Rewriting Women Back Into Film History, and Star Tribune, University of Minnesota professor uncovers silent film's forgotten, feminist stars.