Chaplin, Divas and Yakuzas in Silent Film Fest
Written and photographed
By Jude Bautista
The International Silent film festival this year for the first time will have a film by icon Charlie Chaplin in his work CITY OF LIGHTS. It will be accompanied by the RADIOACTIVE SAGO PROJECT, which is known for their quirky lyrics and booming horn section perfect for the slapstick film.
CITY OF LIGHTS is the entry of the U.S.A. in the 8th Edition of the International Silent Film Festival to be held at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall from August 28-31, 2014. This is the festival where Filipino musicians score silent films from different parts of the world live. This year will also feature a world-renowned pianist from France Hakim Bentchouala-Golobitch. The screenings are free and open to the public on a first come first served basis. Every year there are long queues so make sure to check listings and schedules.
USA-CITY OF LIGHTS starring Charlie Chaplin with RADIOACTIVE SAGO PROJECT (Aug 28), Germany-DER MÜDE TOD (Destiny) with MANILA COMPOSER’S LAB in cooperation with Dr. Pierre Oser (Aug 29), France-VERDUN: VISIONS D’HISTOIRE (Verdun:Versions of History) with pianist HAKIM BENTCHOULA-GOLOBITCH (Aug 29), Italy-MA L’AMOR MIO NON MUORE! (Love Everlasting) with Caliph8 & Soprano Fame Flores (Aug 30), Japan- CHUJI TABI NIKKI (A Diary of Chuji’s Travels) with KAAPIN (Aug 30), Spain- CURRO VARGAS with GLASS CHERRY BREAKERS (Aug 31), Philippines- ANG TIGMO SA AKING PAGPAULI (Riddles of my Homecoming) with KALAYO (Aug 31).
Francis De Veyra representing RADIOACTIVE SAGO PROJECT said, “Music composed was also by Charlie Chaplin himself which made it difficult to change the original music. So we plan to make it close to the original music with modern arrangements. Its gonna be fun and the music is an integral part of the film. Live scoring is a double treat for an audience.” Lead singer of the band Lourd De Veyra is a famous commentator/comedian in several shows from the TV5 network: SAPUL SA SINGKO, AKSYON on TV5, TAYUAN MO AT PANINDIGAN, WASAK on AksyonTV and LUPET.
ITALY- MA L’AMOR MIO NON MUORE! (Love everlasting)
Italian entry MA L’AMOR MIO NON MUORE! (Love everlasting) directed by Mario Caserini is one of the diva films, one of the most famous silent cinemas in Italy.Officer for the Promotion of Italian Language and Culture Prof. Emanuela Adesini explained, “Caserini specifically wrote this for a real Diva at that time one of the most famous actresses Lydia Borelli. She was a celebrated theater actress, having renown in Italy, France and all over the world at the time. She was the protagonist in SALOME by Oscar Wilde. She was the Diva par excellence a bridge between fantasy and modernism an interpreter of liberty culture as she was a fashionable person. The women copied her hairstyle the way she dressed at the time.”
Adesini also noted how Diva Lydia Borelli distinguished herself, “On her first attempt at movies, she knew how to use the camera and cinema to explore her own expressive art in an experimental way. She could not use her voice but she could use her movements how she dressed and she was also a dancer. The first part is a drama, a tragic love story. The second part is on a stage. This gives her the opportunity to dance and perform as a stage actress.”
For MA L’AMOR MIO NON MUORE! (Love everlasting) DJ Caliph8 collaborates with Fred Sandoval and Malek Lopez. The trio are also part of the group which also made the soundtrack for ON TH JOB directed by Erik Matti. OTJ was one of the selected films screened in the director’s night 2013 festival in Cannes, which had a 2 minute standing ovation.
Along with them is Soprano Fame Flores who can currently be seen as one of the many talented performers in Resort’s World Manila’s Bar 360. Flores is a multi awarded artist having won the ALIW awards for Best Crossover Classical Performer in 2013 and multiple nominee in the Best Classical performance category. After graduating in Voice in U.P College of Music she is currently taking up a second degree in Music in the same institution. As a stage actress she was Maria Clara in Gantimpala’s NOLI ME TANGERE, Gregoria De Jesus in Gerry Dapdap’s ANDRES BONIFACIO Musical. She is also an opera performer she was in Merry Wives of Windsor at U.P. College and Puccini’s Madame Butterfly in CCP.
Japan- CHUJI TABI NIKKI (A Diary of Chuji’s Travels) with KAAPIN
In 2012, one of the most well received films was from Japan entitled POOR MEN WHO ARE GREAT directed by Yasujiro Ozu. This year it’s a more action packed entry with CHUJI TABI NIKKI (A Diary of Chuji’s Travels) directed by Daisuke Ito. Japan Foundation Dir. Shuji Takatori, gave some background on the director, “Daisuke Ito was the leader of new style of Samurai films that featured sword fighting scenes. The movie was originally a trilogy where some parts were lost. By 1991 they were able to find enough footage to restore the current version which will be screened.” CHUJI TABI NIKKI was also well received at the Pordenone Silent film festival in Italy in 2001.
The film will be scored by a trend setting band KAAPIN which proudly hails from Cagayan De Oro. KAAPIN was chosen by Bandwagon Singapore for their “5 Regional Bands to Check Out in 2014” along with other bands from Malaysia, Thailand, and Cambodia. Members are Michael Nuesca (Vocal Orchestra, Glockens, Melodica) and Rotsanjani Mojica (Programming, Synths, Beats, Glitch, Noise). Their self-titled EP made it to the Top 20 Filipino EP’s of 2013.