22nd FESTIVAL INTERNACIONAL DE CINE DE LAS PALMAS DE GRAN CANARIA – 22 FICLPGC (April 14 to 23)
Jean Epstein’s masterpiece, which reaches its 100th anniversary this year, will open on April 14, starting at 9:00 p.m., the cycle of silent film screenings held for the third time in a row at Miller under the “Camera Obscura” label
Another hundred-year-old film, Safety Last!, will be screened on April 15 at the Santa Catalina Park Cultural Hall to the sound of Tana Santana, while the French short films Entr’acte and La souriante Madame Beudet will be shown on Wednesday 19 accompanied by the International Bach Fest
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Friday, March 24, 2023-. The 22nd edition of the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival will start on April 14, at 9 p.m., with the screening of Cœur fidèle (The Faithful Heart, France, 1923, 87 min.), a good example of French avant-garde cinema that this 2023 will gain special prominence in the “Camera Obscura” section. The love drama filmed by Jean Epstein will come to Miller Hall one hundred years after its premiere and will be accompanied by the live music of the extraordinary Argentine bandoneonist Santiago Cimadevilla who, together with the Camera Obscura Ensemble, will perform his own piece inspired by Astor Piazzolla and Dino Saluzzi’s legacy.
For the third consecutive year, “Camera Obscura” will invite you to travel through the history of cinema and music. As FICLPG director Luis Miranda recalls in the catalog text, “Although films were “silent” for their first three decades of development, they were very rarely without sound in public. From (almost) the beginning they were accompanied by music. Before anyone dared to suppose that cinema had any future as art, music was already alongside the images, though outside them.”
In this way, different artists and groups will once again accompany the program of the section, which this year will feature three other titles that are celebrating their first centenary or are about to do so, including Safety Last!. The comedy by Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor (USA, 1923, 80 min.) starring Harold Lloyd will be at the Festival along with the sound of composer, double bass player and electric bassist Tana Santana.
The music of the International Bach Festival Ensemble, an ally of the film festival since its inception, will close this cycle of screenings accompanying two other avant-garde French short films: the surrealist Entr’acte by René Clair (1924, 25 min.) and the impressionist La souriante Madame Beudet (The Smiling Madame Beudet) by female filmmaker Germaine Dulac (1923, 38 min.).
As in its last edition, “Camera Obscura” will start a busy schedule with the revival of one of the great masterpieces of the beginning of last century. Despite the lack of public support in the year of its premiere, Cœur fidèle has established itself as one of the must-see titles within French avant-garde cinema due to its innovative use of close-ups.
It was one of the first films shot in Marseille, a city in whose depths it delved to narrate the intricacies of a love triangle formed by an orphan named Marie (Gina Manés), a dock worker named Jean (Léon Mathot) and a thug nicknamed Petit Paul (Edmund Van Daële). It took Epstein one night to write the screenplay for what was his third film as well as his first solo dramatic-style one.
The print restored by the Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé Foundation will be screened on the evening of April 14 with original music composed for the occasion by Argentine bandoneonist Santiago Cimadevilla, who will be accompanied by the Camera Obscura Ensemble. The creation will be based on the music of composers and bandoneonists Astor Piazzolla and Dino Saluzzi.
Other events in the section
“Camera Obscura” will once again light up Miller’s screen just one day after the opening of the film festival with one of silent cinema’s great comedies: Safety Last!. Directed by Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor, the film produced one of the most memorable images in the history of the seventh art in which the protagonist, the iconic Harold Lloyd, can be seen hanging from the hands of a large skyscraper clock.
“This ‘hanging man’, in principle, is nothing more than a department store employee, subjected to an escalation of vicissitudes that put his physical integrity in serious danger, while exalting his positive response to what is expected of American dynamism: initiative, youthful vigor and courage -despite everything,” explains the text by Luis Miranda. The work was selected for preservation in 1994 in the National Film Registry of the Unites States’ Library of Congress.
Its revival will come to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with a musical proposal by composer, double bassist and electric bassist Tana Santana, based on the sound of the 1920s’ first jazz and Dixieland bands. A quintet formation has been chosen for this performance, completed by Roberto Nieva on alto saxophone, David Xirgu on drums, Xan Campos on piano and Jairo Cabrera on trumpet, flugelhorn, flute and clarinet.
Camera Obscura’s last session within the 22nd FICLPGC will take place on Wednesday, April 19. The day will once again revolve around French avant-garde cinema through two renowned titles: the surrealist short film Entr’acte by René Clair and the impressionist medium-length film La souriante Madame Beudet by Germaine Dulac. The first of these Dadaist and surrealist celluloids was released in December 1924 at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, where it was screened during the intermission of the ballet Relâche written by Francis Picabia with music by Erik Satie.
The Frenchman’s composition will once again sound live in the capital of Gran Canaria thanks to the IBF Ensemble, a project bound to “Camera Obscura” since its inception in 2021 and which, under Humberto Armas’ conducting, will perform the work during the viewing of the print restored by the Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé Foundation.
The Gran-Canarian group will also accompany the screening of La souriante Madame Beudet, filmed by Germaine Dulac, who is considered a pioneering female director of avant-garde cinema. On this occasion, it will be a piece with piano music by Debussy, works by Ravel, Gounod, Dora Pejačević and Armas’ own compositions that will sound while playing the celluloid that tells the story of an intelligent woman trapped in a loveless marriage and portrayed by actress Germaine Dermoz. A groundbreaking and daring perspective for the time that has led the film, which also celebrates its first century, to be considered one of the first truly feminist films.
After opening the last edition of the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival with the screening of Nosferatu, the silent film with live music section revived the iconic vampire again last September at the Ourense Film Festival (OUFF) with the screening of Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s blockbuster. Humberto Armas, musical director of the activity, and pianist Noemí Salomón, both from the IBC Ensemble, were in charge of coordinating the Ensemble OU Camera Obscura, formed for the occasion with members of the Real Filarmónica de Galicia and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia.
Cœur fidèle / The Faithful Heart, by Jean Epstein (France, 1923, 87 min.)
Safety Last!, BY Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor (USA, 1923, 80 min.)
Entr’acte, by René Clair (France, 1924, 25 min.)
La souriante Madame Beudet / The Smiling Madame Beudet, by Germaine Dulac (France, 1923, 38 min.)
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