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Anna Vavilkina (Flügel), Constanze Lobodzinski (Flöte)
Kristen Anderson Wagner

Exit Smiling

Once in a lifetime, everybody wants to play a leading role. This goes for Violet in particular. She is the girl for everything in a travelling theatre company and is constantly pushed around. Until she is allowed to embody the leading role of the seductive vamp herself, she has to play a villain with a glued-on beard and is responsible for all kinds of disaster. The punchlines in Exit Smiling are spot on, the timing of the gags is phenomenal, the ensemble is wonderful. Everything runs like a clockwork. Exit Smiling is the only silent film by comedian, singer and actress Beatrice Lillie. For the New York critic Brooks Atkinson, Lillie was simply “the funniest woman in the world”.

Exit Smiling is accompanied by Anna Vavilkina (piano) and Constanze Lobodzinski (flute). The Russian organist and pianist Anna Vavilkina has participated in international competitions for organ improvisation in Germany and Austria and has won an award at the International Organ Competition in Minsk. She regularly accompanies silent films on the cinema organ at the cinema Babylon (Berlin).

The film is introduced (in English) by American film historian Kristen A. Wagner, a professor at Solano College in Fairfield, California and author of the groundbreaking book Comic Venus. Women and Comedy in American Silent Film (Detroit: Wayne State University Press 2018), which explores for the first time the significant role of female comedy stars in 1920s Hollywood film.