Thursday, June 16, 2011

Metropolis film concert with Cleaning Women

DE 1927, the 2010 reconstruction, 145 min, a 35 mm print from Transit Film screened with electronic subtitles in Finnish and English. Viewed in the Tent, Sodankylä, Midnight Sun Film Festival, 16 June 2011.

Live Cinema Concert with a new score by Cleaning Women with Nara Ali Omar (vibraphone, perc), Gudmund Rotevatn (organ, synth), and Ivan Afanasyev (sound effects).

I liked the new reconstruction of the almost complete Metropolis for the first time I saw it in Bologna last year, and this screening confirmed my opinion. Metropolis is an awful and fascinating film, jarringly corny, yet with immortal images whose power keeps growing with the years.

The original music experience as arranged by Frank Strobel and performed by a full symphony orchestra line-up is for me now so definitive that I keep hearing it although the music played is something completely different.

I have heard many powerful live cinema performances by Cleaning Women, but this time I was not able to focus on them. Metropolis has a sonata structure, a crescendo structure, and musical punctuation with the "Metropolis organs". That's what I was still hearing, but the audience response was enthusiastic to the Cleaning Women performance.

PS. I talked recently with a colleague who had visited the legendary skyscrapers of Abu Dhabi and then taken a tour in the vicinity, with some of the most abject slums he had ever seen. After a pause we uttered in chorus: "Metropolis".

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