This summer, two Sound + Vision Presents programs will explore the connections between music and film through a series of intimate concerts paired with rare screenings.
On June 19, renowned film preservationist Serge Bromberg will present Saved from the Flame: Amazing Slapstick Comedies, a collection of newly restored silent shorts with live piano accompaniment. This family program showcases rare films with comedy icons such as Laurel and Hardy and Buster Keaton, as well as a number of special surprises. Complimentary popcorn will be provided in celebration of Father’s Day.
The prestigious Alloy Orchestra returns to the Film Society of Lincoln Center to perform an original score with Marcel L’Herbier’s L’Inhumaine on June 21. Recently restored by Bromberg’s Lobster Films, this experimental sci-fi spectacle showcases opera singer Georgette Leblanc, Art Deco sets, sumptuous ballet choreography, and stunning sequences of tinting and toning, and makes its New York premiere with this one-night-only screening.
Tickets to both events go on sale Thursday, May 5.
Serge Bromberg’s Saved from the Flame: Amazing Slapstick Comedies
A world-famous film preservationist and entertainer, Serge Bromberg brings his traveling show Saved from the Flame to the Film Society of Lincoln Center with “Amazing Slapstick Comedies,” a program of rare shorts with live music that conjures the dazzling wonder and excitement of early cinema exhibition.
Bromberg and his company Lobster Films hold one of the most important private collections of films. Culling from the best surviving prints and negatives from around the world, Bromberg and collaborators use the latest digital technology to painstakingly restore each work and present them as if they were screening a century ago. This year’s program, for which Bromberg also accompanies on piano and provides fascinating commentary, presents amazing discoveries The Battle of the Century, the legendary Laurel and Hardy short previously thought lost, and Daydreams, the classic Buster Keaton short restored from materials found in the Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands, and the United States, and had survived only in mediocre copies until now! The program will also feature a “behind-the-scenes” look at the Lobster Films restoration process, which includes previously missing scenes from famous silent shorts by the Great Stone Face. With additional surprise movies up Bromberg’s sleeve, this very special event promises to be a blast from the past, yet one that is thoroughly modern and unforgettable.
Bromberg is an Officer of Arts and Letters, a member of the Board of Directors of the French Cinematheque, and the Chairman of the Board ECPAD (the French Army Film Unit), and has been the Artistic Director of the Annecy International Animated Film Festival for 15 years.
Tickets are $20 for the general public and $10 for Film Society members and kids.
Special thanks to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy; Cinémathèque Française; Národní Film Archive; Library of Congress; MoMA; Jon Mirsalis; Motion Picture Academy; Archives du Film du CNC; and Lobster Films (Paris).
The Battle of the Century
Clyde Bruckman, USA, 1927, 19m
This early Laurel and Hardy film in which the two scheme and fail to pocket insurance money features the duo before they officially took on their recognizable characters. Notorious for using over 3,000 cream pies in its climactic scene, The Battle of the Century survived for many years only in fragments until its complete reel was discovered in 2015.
Buster Keaton & Eddie Cline, USA, 1922, 18m
A young man leaves home to earn enough money to marry his hometown love, but when he sends letters to his sweetheart about his various odd jobs, she hilariously glorifies each one in her imagination. Restored from materials found in the Czech Republic, France, The Netherlands, and the United States, Daydreams survived only in mediocre copies until now!
Sunday, June 19, 4:00pm
L’Inhumaine with the Alloy Orchestra
Marcel L’Herbier, France, 1926, 125m
French intertitles with English subtitles
While initially a financial and critical disaster, Marcel L’Herbier’s science-fiction melodrama remains one of the most extravagant cinematic experiences of the 1920s and a singular invention from a miscellany of leading visual and musical stylists of the time. Starring opera diva Georgette Leblanc (who helped finance the film) as Claire Lescott, a famous singer courted by an eclectic assortment of men, including a bawdy American, a Russian mystic, a Hindu maharaja, and a young scientist (Jaque Catelain, L’Herbier’s close friend and protégé). In many ways, the spectacle of L’Inhumaine eclipses the narrative itself, instead hypnotizing audiences with one visual feast to the next. Feverish Cubist Art Deco sets abound, with costumes by the legendary fashion designer Paul Poiret and spellbinding dances performed by the Swedish Ballet. L’Herbier hired Darius Milhaud to score a mostly percussive composition that has been tragically lost. Meticulously restored by Lobster Films, with the participation from the L’Herbier estate and the National Center for Cinematography and the Moving Image, this phantasmagoric film from the French avant-garde will have its East Coast premiere with live, original accompaniment by the audacious Alloy Orchestra, making this a cinematic experience unlike any other!
Alloy Orchestra is a three-man musical ensemble—Terry Donahue, Ken Winokur, and Roger C. Miller—who write and perform live accompaniment to classic silent films. Working with an outrageous assemblage of peculiar objects, they thrash and grind soulful music from unlikely sources and have performed at prestigious film festivals and cultural centers around the world (including the Telluride Film Festival, the Louvre, and the National Gallery of Art). Utilizing their famous “rack of junk” and electronic synthesizers, an unusual combination of found percussion and state-of-the-art electronics gives the Orchestra the ability to create any sound imaginable.
Tickets are $30 for general public and $25 for students, seniors (62+), and Film Society members.
Special thanks to Marie-Ange L’Herbier and Mireille Beaulieu; Cultural Services of the French Embassy; Hermès, Paris; Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée (CNC); Société des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs de musique (SACEM); ARTE; Nadia Couvert, Alice Dusong, Vanessa Helou, Maxime Laiguillon, David Shepard, Jeffery Masino, Joshua Morrison, Kimberly Bastin, Nate Sutton, Starr Scesniak, Sam Mujica, and Taz Morgan.
Tuesday, June 21, 7:30pm