Let's Party Like It's 1928!
At NZIFF we’ve never lost sight of the powerful heritage of the early masters of the first great 20th century art form: films without speech. Since the re-opening of the Civic in 2000 our closing-weekend collaboration with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra has brought many marvellous classics to life, reuniting film with that element of live performance that was integral in the day: music.
We’ve always believed in presenting these classics in a spirit of appreciation for the ways in which they might still touch us. That can be a complicated when presenting brilliant filmmaking drenched in discredited or antiquated values (hello, Birth of a Nation) or performance styles, but it certainly isn’t a challenge this year. We wind back to 1928, the year before the sound revolution, when the artistry of what we now erroneously call the ‘silent’ era was at its peak. Exhibit one: The Crowd, a superbly mounted urban drama that expresses an ominous, humane critique of the American Dream on the eve of the Depression. And to finish: The Cameraman, the last of the great Buster Keaton comedies.
Composer Timothy Brock is a longtime associate of our Live Cinema presentations, and the leading composer, conductor and arranger of early cinema scores in the world today. Marc Taddei will conduct his news scores for The Cameraman and the classic short Cops.
Wellington composer Johannes Contag is not exactly the new kid on the block, but his score for The Crowd represents a huge new undertaking. Jo first came to our attention when his group Cloudboy worked with the New Zealand Film Archive to present an accompanied series of early New Zealand documentary and newsreel subjects. It was a very special show, and we’ve been itching to work with Jo ever since.
With NZIFF support he obtained a grant from Creative New Zealand to cover some of the key costs in composing and presenting a score for a dozen players in Auckland and Wellington. And, rather importantly, the New Zealand Film Archive located a rare print of the film. If you have the slightest curiosity about great 20s cinema, you’ll want to see and hear The Crowd.
The Crowd will be performed in Auckland on Sunday 28 July 2pm at SkyCity Theatre and in Wellington on Sunday 11 August 4pm at the Paramount.
Announced earlier this month, Italian prog-rock legends Goblin will play live to Dario Argento’s horror film Suspiria, in Auckland at The Civic on Friday 19 July for one screening only at 9.15pm.
Tickets for this special event are $45 (adults) and $40 (concession) plus booking fee. Tickets for all other Festival screenings will go on sale from Friday 28 June.