23 May 2007

brand upon the brain!

probably the most unique movie experience i've ever had. if you haven't heard about it, guy maddin made a silent film on 8mm, writing it and shooting it in a ridiculously compressed amount of time.

but most people these days would never go to a theatre to see a silent film, so they decided to do something special: they took the show on the road, and made it LIVE. we showed up to a packed house at the music box (by far the best theatre in the city), and here was the line-up: an 11-piece orchestra, a trio of foley artists doing all the sound and sound effects live, an (alleged) castrato, and crispin fucking glover narrating the whole thing.

the movie itself is pretty weird. a middle-aged man named guy maddin comes back home in a boat to see his dying mother and fulfill her last wish: that he paint their old light house with a couple of coats so she can see it shiny before she dies. in doing so, he has flashbacks to his childhood there, which include getting involved with some teen detectives, an invention called the aerophone, and his father dying and being re-animated.

so the movie is weird and fine and a little bit what you might expect from maddin, but the whole live aspect of the performance was what made it amazing. to see sound effects being created in front of you is almost magical: the curtain is drawn and you can see how they use an old rattling film projector to do the sound of a lighthouse light moving; or how they bite into celery to simulate someone getting feasted on.

this was once-in-a-lifetime, for sure, so i'm glad i caught it.


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