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The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Robby Aceto: To say preparing a live improvised score for October presented some challenges would pretty much be a massive understatement. Here you have an incredibly complicated film by the brilliant director and film theoretician Sergei Eisenstein who incidentally, is credited with inventing the art of film montage and influencing such directors as Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and virtually every other filmmaker to come after him; his film is telling the story of one of the most significant and complicated series of events in world history, large events written very large, and anyone who has ever seen this film has seen it presented with a score by the legendary modernist composer Dmitri Shostakovitch. Okay, are we seeing any challenges here?!
I studied this film in college and have seen it many times over the years, so when the prospect of improvising a score for it at FLEFF was floated out to the group, I was initially very excited. But then I was also very daunted. I mean, how does one go about replacing (with an improvising trio!... and in a live setting!) a score by Shostakovitch? (rhetorical question). At first I spent a lot of time trying to track down the written score to see if any of its elements might lend themselves to interpretation by our group. I figured, if such an experiment was successful, it would be the first time Cloud Chamber Orchestra performed using any pre-conceived or written elements. But as soon as I began looking at the score on its own, simply as score and unattached to the film, my first thought was "Oh good grief, it's a total MONSTER!". I must admit I became more than a little paralyzed with fear and wanted to crawl into a hole. Then something interesting happened; I discovered that the score by Shostakovitch was written in 1966; it is known to us now as his tone poem "October". The film October was made in 1927. Anyone alive who has seen October has seen it synchronized with music that was written for it nearly forty years after it was released. I did some further digging and came to the realization that virtually no one knows exactly what kind of musical presentation accompanied the film during its first theatrical performances. There was a light at the end of the tunnel after all! It sort of ligitimized in my mind the notion of us improvising a score in a way that might be relevant today.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Blog posting written by Erica Moriarty, Documentary Studies ’16, FLEFF Intern, Houston, Texas
No color. No sound. No movie?
How about we add in a live orchestra… Sounding a little better?
And have the event at the home of silent films… You interested yet?
Did I mention the film is showing at one of the best festivals to hit this side of the Finger Lakes?
In the upcoming week, FLEFF is bringing back some of the Ithacan silent film culture of the 1920s with October. In the 1920s, the natural beauty of Ithaca inspired silent filmmakers to create works of art often in the form of the cliffhanger serial. Although October does not take place anywhere near Ithaca, the town’s history is easily seen in the form of the silent film.
The classic Russian film premiered in 1928 under the direction of Sergei Eisenstein and Grigori Aleksandrov. October celebrates with dramatization the 1917 October Russian Revolution. To add to the drama, the Cloud Chamber Orchestra will accompany the film with live music.
Perhaps, there will be no color, but there will definitely be sound and a movie you do not want to miss. So what do you say? Put on your Sunday best and join FLEFF Sunday, April 7th at Cinemapolis for October featuring the Cloud Chamber Orchestra.
Which other films are you interested in seeing this year?
Friday, February 15, 2013
In October 1917, the Bolsheviks rose up to receive total power in Russia from the government. Before this could happen, much had to be done. The monarchy had to be overthrown and creating a need for a new leading body. This was to be a big year for the people of Russia.
Eleven years later, Sergei Eisenstein partnered with Grigori Aleksandrov to create October:Ten Days That Shook the World. Shot in a documentary style, this silent film depicts Russia during this time of turmoil. With a story covering from February 1917 to November the same year, everything is seen about this revolution. Since the filming was only a short time from the actual events, there is a realism that is added. Buildings are the same as they were during the revolution and many of the people in the film were actual participants, including Red Guards, soldiers and sailors, in the uprisings.
Rotten Tomatoes gave October an 86 out of 100 based on critics reviews and an 80 out of 100 based on audience reviews. Critics on the site say that although it may seem hard to watch in today's world, it is still an impressive piece of work and well worth the watch.
This year at FLEFF, Eisenstien's October will be one of the two silent films played. Since it is a silent film, it will be accompanied by Ithaca's own Cloud Chamber Orchestra. Watching October should prove to be an interesting experience since you will be seeing movies the way they were originally created to be seen.
How do you think it will be?