Sunday, September 03, 2023

Film concert Chemi bebia / My Grandmother – with Cleaning Women (Telluride 2023)

Cleaning Women on Colorado Avenue, Telluride, 3 Sep 2023. Photo: Hanna Happo.

Kote Mikaberidze: ჩემი ბებია / Моя бабушка / Chemi bebia / My Grandmother (GE-SU 1929). 

Made possible by a donation from the Sunrise Foundation for Education & the Arts.
Galaxy, Telluride Film Festival (TFF), 3 Sep 2023.
Introduced by Alice Rohrwacher.

Mara Fortes (TFF 2023): " In Georgian director Kote Mikaberidze’s hilarious no-holds-barred satire, a hopelessly lazy paper-pusher tries to get his job back to avoid the wrath of his wife by looking for a “grandmother”—an influential bureaucrat who can provide a recommendation letter. For the worker, the quest turns into a labyrinthine excursion through the thickest red tape; the audience is thrust into a gloriously entertaining, frenetic 60 minutes, crammed with wildly imaginative visuals, camera tricks, special effects and stop-motion animation. Banned for nearly 50 years, MY GRANDMOTHER remains one of the most delightfully irreverent and peculiar comedies of the silent era. "

" The exuberant Finnish musical ensemble Cleaning Women, whose work includes scores for the films AELITA, METROPOLIS and Alice Rohrwacher’s Oscar-nominated short LE PUPILLE, bring their self-made, instruments—crafted from mangled household items and repurposed trash—to the U.S. for the first time. " –MF (Soviet Union, 1929, 61 m) In person: Cleaning Women

AA: I have previously blogged about our Film concert Chemi bebia / My Grandmother with Cleaning Women at Orion, Helsinki, 3 Feb 2017.

The Telluride film concert was the premiere of the Finnish band Cleaning Women in America.

The show was introduced by Alice Rohrwacher who told that she directed her first two films without a score or soundtrack. She loves music but did not know yet how to introduce it into a film without repeating what is already there. Film music, she said, needs to have a role, a part in the film. 

Then in 2014 she visited the Midnight Sun Film Festival in Lapland, Finland, a festival that reminds her of Telluride, both places difficult to reach. It was the last year when Peter von Bagh was present. In one his last Sodankylä morning discussions he hosted Rohrwacher.

Rohrwacher visited a silent film concert with the Cleaning Women playing to Charles Chaplin shorts, and after she festival she stayed in touch with the band whose music was "ironic, sweet, hard and punk". The communication led to Cleaning Women creating the music for Le pupille, Rohrwacher's Oscar-nominated short, screened in Telluride last year.

Most of all, according to Rohrwacher, what the music of the Cleaning Women brings to a film is character.

In Telluride, Cleaning Women performed with brio, contributing an irresistible drive to the screening.

The audience welcomed Cleaning Women with wild enthusiasm worthy of a cult rock band. They cheered, clapped and whistled. At the end there was standing ovation and a long line for photo opportunities.

"6.00 in the morning in Sodankylä. Alice Rohrwacher sings her own song near the river. And suddenly I realize that I've never heard anything so beautiful. Because she is a truly friend of beauty. Watch Le meraviglie (THE WONDERS)." Photo: Boris Nelepo. From Boris Nelepo's Facebook page, 15 June 2014, by permission.

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