Sunday, April 06, 2008

Coming: Three Film Festivals of Note

Three well-known U.S. regional international film festivals are opening this month. They open the 23rd or 24th. These festivals are unique because each is offering the screening of a classic highly-honored silent movie with live accompaniment.

One accompaniment group is The Alloy Orchestra, a three-man musical ensemble, writing and performing live accompaniment to classic silent films. Working with an outrageous assemblage of peculiar objects, they thrash and grind soulful music from unlikely sources.

The other accompaniment will be provided by Black Francis, a.k.a., Frank Black, who was born Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV in Boston. He has composed scores for other German silent classics. He also performs and tours with his Pixies.

Ebertfest (Urbana-Champaign, IL)

25th - The Alloy Orchestra will accompany the silent movie UNDERWORLD (USA), Austrian Josef von Sternberg's 1927 silent classic that won an Oscar for writer Ben Hecht (story). Then Sunday, they play for the silent classic PHANTOM OF THE OPERA at RiverRun's closing in North Carolina.

Roger Ebert said of this group, "They are the best in the world in accompanying silent films."

RiverRun (Winston-Salem, NC)

27th - Festival Closing Night: The Silent Movie Classic PHANTOM OF THE OPERA with The Alloy Orchestra, Sunday, 9:00 p.m. EDT. This 1925 movie directed by Rupert Julian, stars Lon Chaney. If they have the original print or an excellent copy thereof, it will contain the first two-color scene in a motion picture, that of the Masque Ball.

San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)

25th - Special events include a special screening of the silent German Expressionist classic, THE GOLEM (Der Golem: wie er in die Welt kam, (Germany 1930, 82 min), Pauls Wegener, Carl Boese. Live musical accompaniment by Black Francis.

Other notable festivals opening this month: Hot Docs (Toronto), and Tribeca (NYC). For extensive information about these five festivals click the link on the sidebar of this blog for my Film Festivals Page, or the title of this blog post. Also there, you will find direct links to the official Web sites, the musical groups mentioned here, plus miscellaneous info links. I also include little tidbits about musical and film history, now and then.

Next up in May - Cannes (14-25 May). They are just now getting it together. Some hints: Sean Penn, Indiana Jones, Cate Blanchett and MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS. Follow it on my Festivals Page.

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