Spotted a rather juicy looking event taking place here in Bristol in three weeks – a special screening of a classic silent movie complete with a never-been-publicly-played new score. The film’s Die Büchse Der Pandora (Pandora’s Box), featuring bobtastic Jazz Age icon Louise Brooks in a career-defining role as a free spirited and licentious woman in a pre-feminist world. At least, that’s what I think it’s about.
There’s all sorts of moralistic storytelling tropes, like the ‘bad’ woman wreaking havoc to all around her by refusing to conform to ‘conventional’ gender roles, amoral or immoral behaviour leading to downfall, the inevitable tragedy that leads on from unfettered pleasure-seeking, that sort of thing; but FFS, it’s Louise Brooks in her first big screen role! Unrepentant, unconventional, unbroken. A Clytemnestra or Medea or Antigone for early cinema. And that journey, from the blood myths and theatre of ancient Greece, through the Expressionism and ambiguities of Weimar Germany, to this movie (named as it is after the Greek Eve, with all the baggage which that carries, after all), is a potent, evocative one.
Back to the event. It’s being organised by Bristol Silents (which has support from the likes of the very nice Kevin Brownlow) and the Watershed (“Britain’s First Media Centre”, aka the Wankershit, contrasting nicely with the Analphoney across the harbour – cheers Andy 😀 ), and takes place at Colston Hall on Saturday 15th September. The new score is composed by Paul Lewis, and will be performed by minstrels from the Royal Ballet Sinfonia:
“The score is operatic and the melodies full-blooded,” he explained.
“In spite of this I am scoring it for a relatively small orchestra as I believe this gives greater intimacy and a closer connection with the individual characters.”
It’s a bit pricey though – £20. Tickets from the Colston Hall box office (0117 922 3686).
- Criterion Collection – a 2-DVD box set, featuring mucho extras, 4 scores and contextual interviews
- DVD Beaver – always-excellent resource on both technical quality of DVD editions and on the material itself