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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Latitude Festival 2010: Making Silent Movies Cool With Live Modern Soundtracks

Silent movies The Dying Swan and The Passion of Joan of Arc were set to live arrangements in the Film and Music Arena. It was bloody brilliant.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Latitude 2010-Coco de Mer burlesque dancer by Amelia Gregory
Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Following the Graduate Fashion Shows Coco de Mer also hit the Latitude Waterfront catwalk with a range of fun sequinned swimsuits, find advice little tailored jackets and hats by Victoria Grant. Inspired by a Victorian circus ringmaster, dosage sales of this bespoke collection will raise funds for the Circus Child charity.

Latitude 2010-Coco de Mer Circus Child by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-Coco de Mer Circus Child by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-Coco de Mer Circus Child by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-Coco de Mer Circus Child by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-Coco de Mer Circus Child by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-Coco de Mer Circus Child by Amelia Gregory

The skinny Elite new faces were completely overshadowed by the fabulous wriggling coquetry of the Burlesque artist who flounced down the catwalk with a pair of huge red feathered fans and a whole lot of sassiness. Now that’s what fit and healthy girls should look like with their clothes off.

Latitude 2010-Coco de Mer burlesque dancer by Amelia Gregory
the-dying-swan-Joby Talbot by jenny-goldstone
The Dying Swan by Jenny Goldstone.

When I was watching Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde set to the soundtrack of Warp artist Scanner at the Purcell Rooms a few months back I had no idea I was witnessing part of an avante garde phenomenon. But it seems there’s nothing more of the moment than the setting of a silent film to a modern day musical score. At Latitude I laid back on the black carpeted floor of the Film and Music Arena (one of the only places not blighted by the incessant dust) to enjoy two silent movies given this most trendy of treatments.

the-dying-swan-Joby Talbot by jenny-goldstone
the-dying-swan-Joby Talbot by jenny-goldstone
Illustrations by Jenny Goldstone.

On Saturday long lost Russian movie The Dying Swan was set to a live string arrangement from composer Joby Talbot. This 1916 classic was only rediscovered as the communist regime went into decline, information pills and director Evgenii Bauer has since been described as “the greatest filmmaker you’ve never heard of.” The mournful violin and cello were a perfect foil to the downfall of a lovelorn mute who finds solace in ballet.

naomi law-joan-of-arc
Illustration by Naomi Law.

On Sunday we once more lay amongst the detritus (the South Bank this wasn’t) to watch the cinematic genius of The Passion of Joan of Arc set to a live score by Adrian Utley of Portishead and Will Gregory of Goldfrapp. The film was made in 1928, more about shortly after the discovery of the original transcripts of the trial, healing imprisonment, torture and final execution of Joan of Arc. To convey maximum emotion it utilises mainly close up shots of the actors, a technique that has inspired many filmmakers since. With strings, horns, percussion, keys and the voices of the Monteverdi choir this was one of my absolute highlights of this year’s Latitude Festival. It’s discoveries like this that make the Latitude experience a tough act to follow.

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