One of the zingy joys of watching a 90-year-old silent flick alongside an audience is the musical accompaniment. That can be a vinyl record playing alongside the projector or an organist seated near the screen or a live singer warbling tunes of the long-ago era.
The upshot? You can often anticipate where the music will pick up speed (the final police/robber chase) or the moment the notes'll soar with emotion (when the romantic misunderstanding is finally cleared up).
But seeing these cinematic treats with a contemporary score, one that zigs around some new aural byways, is a harder-to-find thing. Unless, of course, you make for FIGat7th on Thursday, Sept. 29 and Friday, Sept. 30 for two evenings of silent movies and musicians providing some electronic-lovely goodness for each.
Night one of UnSilent Cinema? Look for "The Kid" and "Out West" on the big screen, with composers Marc Ribot and Alvin Youngblood Hart lending the tuneage. Night two? Daedelus, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Jimmy Tamborello, and Callie take on "Easy Street," "Early Abstractions," "Cops" (with Buster Keaton), and Chaplin's "One A.M.," respectively.
Chaplin's Speakeasy Happy Hour starts the evenings off at 5:30, while DJ vibes will flow before the 8 o'clock showtime (and, yep, the nearby restaurants are available for food purchases).
Picnics are a-okay for this free happening, if that's the way you want to go. Blankets "will be provided," so hurrah and so on.
But will you know where the movie is going, according to the music at hand? Seeing a venerable classic with updated flows and sounds can give it new life, an unexpected vivaciousness, and an experience that keeps the viewer guessing just a bit more.
Arts Brookfield, the presenter of the night, is inviting audiences to revisit these well-known works with a fresh ear, and, perhaps, a fresh eye and mind, too.