Charles Chaplin, The Rink (1916)

Hard to believe, but it is a hundred years since the birth of one of the most beloved characters in the history of cinema: Charles Chaplin’s Tramp. Clad in an assortment of clothing, and topped with a bowler’s hat and cane, Chaplin’s mustachioed creation was an immediate hit, propelling him to superstar status around the globe. A worldwide pandemic of “Chaplinitis” was thus diagnosed as his fan base grew immensely.

On display at Helsinki Art Museum, Tennis Palace, until 17 July, Chaplin in Pictures showcases his brilliance as a mimic, comedian and choreographer. The exhibition offers visitors a glimpse behind the scenes during the shooting of his films, bringing together more than 200 photographs, as well as studio pictures and film clips.

Having begun his life in the slums of London, thanks to his legendary work comedy was transformed from cheap entertainment into an art form to rival Shakespeare. Not content merely tickling funny bones, many of his films carried a social message, as his everyman found himself in the midst of some of the most significant moments in history. Acting, directing, scripting and producing his films, Chaplin even composed the music for some of them on occasion.

Chaplin in Pictures
Until 17 July
Helsinki Art Museum Tennis Palace
Salomonkatu 15 Helsinki

The exhibition has the backing of the Chaplin Association, and is organised in conjunction with the Cineteca di Bologna – progetto Chaplin and MK2.

James O’Sullivan
Image: © From the Archives of the Roy Export Company Establishment, courtesy NBC Photographie, Paris.