Call me Russ L

Films from the days when the world was black & white and people walked quickly

Posted in Films, Music by Russ L on 13 March, 2009

Despite not really being the most avid follower of films, I really enjoyed a selection of shorts presented by 7 Inch Cinema at Supersonic 2007. Up until now, though, I hadn’t ever managed to get to any of their other events (unless you count the Capsule gig that was part of Flatpack ‘07).

Flatpack, I say? Flatpack is 7 Inch’s sort-of annual (there wasn’t one last year) film festival, which always includes a bunch of events that are a touch more interesting than your basic “sit in a picture house and watch a picture”. Affairs began this year with a very interesting gig from The Destroyers, and y’all know I love me some Destroyers.

Curzonara (for ‘twas its name) told the story of one Waller Jeffs, cinematic impresario (1861-1941). He, it seems, more or less brought cinema to Birmingham by organising film-showings in the old Curzon Hall between 1901 and 1912, often to crowds over 3,000 strong. We got the chance to see some of the films he showed back then, with the sonic accompaniment alternating between The Destroyers playing specially composed themes and narrations from Paul Murphy (who has a lovely voice for this sort of thing) about Jeffs’ life and the filmic tastes of the time.

We got several levels, then: the slightly sad tale of a creative man with a big vision, which just didn’t end up tallying with the way things turned out; some important social history (a poignant moment certainly came as we watched a film showing throngs of youths finishing work at the Kynoch armaments factory and Paul Murphy pointed out that within a few years the Great War will have wiped most of them out); some fun films (Georges Melies’ “Trip To The Moon” is apparently the first ever sci-fi film and charmingly features a bunch of wizards taking a trip to the moon) and some wonderful music, just as one might expect from The Destroyers (I’m still singing “We’re on the moon/on the mooooon/we’re on the moon/on the mooooooooooon”).

People really did know how to mill around in the old-timey films, didn’t they? So much energy expended falling over each other and dithering about in a small area.

Wonderful, wonderful stuff, anyway. The evening turned sharply afterwards and we were at Selly Oak A&E till about one in the morning when Louise’s knee decided to explode again, but never mind.

The Flatpack Festival continues until Sunday the 15th with plenty more for you to have a look at. I nearly missed it because of how cack their calendar page is (sorry to go on about that but it really is a pain in the arse to browse) and I’m probably not going to be able to make it, but I’d recommend the lovely Bella Emerson doing some more live soundtrack larks at Floodgate Kino (never heard of the venue before myself, but there’s a map) tonight. You can’t get better than a bit o’

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  1. […] Birmingham on the installation trail; Owen Lee painted walls and took photos at Floodgate Kino; Russl got annoyed with the calendar, but enjoyed Curzonora; Nixon Leung was knocked out by David […]


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