[Endcreditsfilm] Silent Film and Mike Cooper Live

End Credits Film Club admin at endcredits.org.au
Tue Apr 26 03:40:33 CEST 2011

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Legong - Dance of the Virgins (1935) feat: Mike Cooper (UK)

Sat 30 April ? 20:00 - 23:00
240 Scott St, Via McCoombe St
Cairns, Queensland, Australia


Legendary UK musician and sound artist Mike Cooper performs a live soundtrack for the classic 1935 silent film, Legong: Dance of the Virgins.

In the 1930s, Bali became the place to be. Extolled as a paradise on Earth with beautiful (mostly topless) natives and an exotic culture, the small island was soon swarming with the rich and famous. 

When the Marquis Henri de la Falaise de la Coudray, arrived in Bali with a Technicolor crew in 1933, there had already been a slew of "documentaries" that reaped box office success in the United States.

This film is particularly important for capturing the splendour of the costumes, dances and decorations of the temples in Technicolor before they became spoiled by commercialisation. Viewed from this perspective, it's a fascinating piece of anthropology. 

The limitations of two-strip Technicolor (which includes red and green only, and cannot reproduce blue well) aren't readily apparent due to the lush green jungles and the golds and reds of the costumes.

The actors are all locals essentially playing themselves for the most part. This was one of the last silent feature films to be released commercially (as well as one of the last two-strip Technicolor features). 

The inter-titles themselves are gorgeous works of art, created by noted Mexican artist Miguel Covarrubias, with their stylized and striking ornamentation.

Slashed apart by censors around the world, LEGONG quickly disappeared and was forgotten.

With its impressive sensitivity to Balinese customs (the dance and religious rituals they filmed have become extremely important for their ethnographic value alone) and an eye for the natural beauty of the island, this is an enduring masterpiece of tropical splendour. 

Rome based UK legend Mike Cooper performs a live soundtrack composed for lap steel guitar, processed field recordings (from Bali, Thailand and Sarawak), thumb pianos and small gongs.

LEGONG is a feast for the eyes and the imagination.

Legong: Dance of the Virgins with Mike Cooper, screens on Saturday 30th April, from 8.00pm, at Arthouse, 240 Scott St 9via McCoombe St). Tix $12 / 10 : at the door. Doors open 7.00pm.

Brett Hitchens

End Credits Film Club
admin at endcredits.org.au


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