5pm Sunday 17 March 2019, Pavilion
Running Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Director: Frank Borzage
Genre: Western, Drama, Silent, Live Music
‘SONIC SILENTS’ – Two short, silent, westerns from the very early days of Hollywood, accompanied by live American country music on fiddle, banjo, guitar, dobro and percussion.
In an absorbing and poignant glimpse of a bygone time, two 100-year-old short films are brought to life through live performance of an original score. A trio of exemplary old-time country and bluegrass musicians performs provides their exciting live accompaniment based on original composition and arrangements of traditional material. The films evoke a world of hobos, travelling men, cowboys, and adventurous women, and the moral and practical dilemmas to which their precarious lives lead them.
Frank Borzage, though little known, is one of the most distinctive of the early Hollywood directors, and one of the first to win an Oscar for Best Director. He began his career as an actor, and his films, which he began directing in 1915, draw the audience into a lushly romantic world, by turns lively, humourous, and melancholy.
Borzage’s directorial debut, The Pitch o Chance, and The Pilgrim are presented with musical accompaniment, along with short sets of music and story which set the scene for the films. The show, which lasts about 120 minutes, (including a short interval) and is wonderfully immersive as well as revealing of some of the creative forces that shaped the film-making industry.
The new live score is composed Kate Lissauer, who also leads the trio of master musicians accompanying these extraordinary films on a variety of stringed instruments and percussion.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Providing a musical accompaniment to the three films, luminary of American old-time country music Kate Lissauer, champion fiddler and band-leader of Buffalo Gals bluegrass band, is joined by multi-talented Leon Hunt, widely regarded as the best 5-string banjo player in the country today and Jason Titley, not only one of the UK’s finest Bluegrass guitarists but renowned for his improvisational and percussive skills. Together they provide a live performance of Kate’s score forthe films, combining original composition and arrangements of traditional material.
Sonic Silents has appeared at Bath Film Festival, and for Arts Alive and Live & Local Rural Touring Schemes.