Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Back to the future as we ring in 2013
with 'Metropolis' and 'Woman in the Moon'

Its the annual pre-holiday lull, the time when I take a few weeks away from the keyboard. But I'm already excited about a double-barrelled dose of silent sci-fi to welcome in 2013:

• On Sunday, Dec. 30, we're screening 'Metropolis' (1927), the eye-popping futuristic fantasy from German director Fritz Lang. It's one of the all-time great silent films, and if you haven't seen it in a theater with live music, you haven't seen it. Plus, it's a terrific film for live music and I have some good material from prior screening to work with. It's at 4:30 p.m. at the Wilton Town Hall Theater in Wilton, N.H.l for more info, visit www.wiltontownhalltheatre.com. Free admission!

• Then, on Monday, Dec. 31, we ring in the New Year with 'Woman in the Moon' (1929), an amazing feature film that depicts nothing less than man's first voyage to the lunar surface! Also directed by Fritz Lang, it's a remarkable picture that should be much more widely known, but tends to be overshadowed by 'Metropolis,' its slightly older brother. It's at 7 p.m. at Red River Theaters in Concord, N.H. For more info, visit www.redrivertheatres.org. Admission is $10 per person.

It's the first time I've tackled 'Woman in the Moon,' and I'm already preparing some material for the score. I'll be writing more about it in the weeks to come, but I wanted to at least update things so some info was up here.

Because few people are familiar with 'Woman in the Moon,' let me repost this wonderfully concise description from a DVD selling site:
" 'Woman in the Moon' is:

(a) The first feature-length film to portray space-exploration in a serious manner, paying close attention to the science involved in launching a vessel from the surface of the earth to the valleys of the moon.

(b) A tri-polar potboiler of a picture that manages to combine espionage tale, serial melodrama, and comic-book sci-fi into a storyline that is by turns delirious, hushed, and deranged.

(c) A movie so rife with narrative contradiction and visual ingenuity that it could only be the work of one filmmaker: Fritz Lang.

In this, Lang’s final silent epic, the legendary filmmaker spins a tale involving a wicked cartel of spies who co-opt an experimental mission to the moon in the hope of plundering the satellite’s vast (and highly theoretical) stores of gold. When the crew, helmed by Willy Fritsch and Gerda Maurus, finally reach their impossible destination, they find themselves stranded in a lunar labyrinth without walls — where emotions run scattershot, and the new goal becomes survival.

A modern Daedalus tale which uncannily foretold Germany’s wartime push into rocket-science, 'Woman in the Moon' is as much a warning-sign against human hubris as it is a hopeful depiction of mankind’s potential.

Ready to see it now? Then join us on New Year's Eve. And in the meantime, happy holiday season to all!

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