Monday, 20 August 2007

Shuffle @ Finsbury Town Hall

On Saturday I went to Finsbury Town Hall to see a very interesting, and unique performance by a group of musicians collaborating with Christian Marclay. It was a celebration to launch the publication of his new work, Shuffle.

Shuffle involved a large group of graphic designers sourcing and photographing images on written music from around the work, and culminated in Saturday's launch performance which used these notes in order to create a new and totally random piece of music. I use the word music in a loose way. Really the effect was a very peculiar, and loud, and enduring, cacophany of noise. When trumpet, double-bass, piano, trombone, theramin, flute and more conjoin in a gallimaufry of noise, the effect is quite striking. Especially to the ear drum. As the performance continued, and the musical cards were shuffled and swapped, my interest was drawn to the actual audience: Was this an experiment in viewing capacity and audience behaviour rather than music? One woman was doing her hair, another was playing with her mobile, but most of the remainder were - although slightly fidgety - attempting to look (or perhaps they really were) enthralled by the piece.

My non-artsy boyfriend (brought along under forbearance) was not so difficult to read: He found the experience quite hilarious for the first 5 minutes, and then utterly tedious for the remaining 55. And I have to admit that - spontaneously unique and exciting as it was - we all made our escape in the interval between the 1st and 2nd set. I do wonder how many people made it back out of the bar and into the theatre for the remaining hour...

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

TranSylvania @ The Renoir Cinema

TranSylvania, a film distributed by locally based Peccadillo Pictures Ltd, opens this Friday at the Renoir Cinema in the Brunswick Centre. I'm totally sold on the blurb and director's intro, below, so plan to be there at the ready with my bucket of popcorn and dancing shoes!

And I thought I'd include a couple of Brunswick pics (curtesy of the Brunswick Centre), just in case you've been on a desert island and haven't seen it since the grand facelift...

After her lover is deported to his home country of Romania, Zingarina flees France with her friend Marie in order to find him. During a surrealistic pagan festival devoted to Herod in a small Romanian town, Zingarina is finally reunited with the man she loves. However, nothing is as it seems amidst the confetti and revelry. In the madness, the noise, the music and the inebriation of the celebrations, she learns that she is alone in the world. With no bearings, no mooring, she cuts herself loose from all connections and propels herself headlong into the Transylvanian countryside, to the very edge of sanity and back, and meets a man on her journey who, also without borders nor house, decides to give Zingarina a home.

A Word from the Director – Tony Gatlif
Ever since I was a child, chance has often made me a spectator of events tied to exodus, political, economic and racial expropriation. I’ve seen families forced to leave their land and their countries in haste: the departure of the Pieds Noirs from Algeria, Algerian immigrants, Gypsies from Jaen in Andalucia or from Adriani in Transylvania after the progrom in their village.
During a recent trip to Transylvania I, once again, witnessed the pain of expropriation and exodus in the peaceful ancestral village of Rosia Montana. Western engineers and geologists had discovered a gold mine under the village and immediately a company, directed by foreign capital, despoiled the inhabitants of the village, buying the houses through preemption and leaving the occupants homeless.

In writing this script about a young Romanian musician who had emigrated to France, I was inspired by real events. The story was of Florin who, only through his talent as a violinist, was able to keep his family alive. Before long, however, Florin was torn away from the young Frenchwoman whom he loved in Paris and found himself expelled from the country.
The love story of the prodigious violinist Florin fused with the story of Rosia Montana and its cursed gold mine to inspire the script for my new film, TRANSYLVANIA.



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