Friday, September 11, 2009

...and a wonderful week in Detroit ends with an unexpected event: Alloy Orchestra and Dziga Vertov

Went to the Detroit Film Theater, or DFT, which is part of the Art Institute, meaning the actual main museum in Detroit and not a school called "The Art Institute". Tonight they had a new 35 mm print of Dziga Vertov's movie "Man with a movie camera", and it was accompanied by the actual Alloy Orchestra. Had no idea that this would be going on when I decided to come, it was just serendipity. Wonderful performance, first time I had seen it all the way through. The reason for that is that when I rented "Man with a movie camera" a while ago I got a copy with a really, really, bad score. The movie is silent and doesn't have dialogue, so the accompaniment is really important. So of course whoever did that copy added this really cheesy semi-psychedelic guitar music to it, ruining the whole thing. Suffice it to say that with the Alloy Orchestra in attendance things were different.

Thank you Detroit!

Anyways, "Man with a movie camera" was interesting on top of its general theme because it included a series of shots of people doing sports that covered the same territory that Leni Riefenstahl shot in "Olympia", but with a different take. In fact, it looked like Riefenstahl had ripped off some of the montage techniques of slow motion film of the athletes interspersed with normal speed crowd reactions that Vertov used. Of course not too much Fascist heroic portrayals here, but I think that the sight of someone half naked doing track and field sports is semi-heroic anyways, without any Fascism being implied.

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