ACM’s Sound of Silent Film Festival at Chopin Theatre | Classical preview
Local Chicago composers and members of the Palomar Ensemble set music to gems from Osamu Tezuka, Martin Scorsese and Manoel de Oliveira.
YouTube may be a productivity killer in cubicles, but for Access Contemporary Music founder Seth Boustead, hours trolling the site qualifies as legitimate research.
Now in its fifth year, ACM’s Sound of Silent Film Festival sets original, live soundtracks to largely underseen silent films by legends (in the past, Guy Maddin and animators the Brothers Quay and Michaël Dudok de Wit). This year, Chicago jazzer Brian O’Hern re-envisions the score to Martin Scorsese’s Vietnam allegory, “The Big Shave,” in which a man slices his face into bloody oblivion.
Also included on the bill, showing with a Gus Van Sant short, is “Rencontre Unique” by centenarian director Manoel de Oliveira (supposedly the oldest living active filmmaker). Japanese anime fans need to see Osamu Tezuka’s “Mermaid,” a beautifully simple line-drawing 1968 cartoon from the Astro Boy creator that carries a score by Chicago composer Amy Wurtz we are itching to hear. The boy and the mermaid in the film both play musical instruments, so Wurtz penned diegetic works for those moments, as well as shifting tonalities and scales for the themes of the short.
Francesco Milioto conducts a chamber quintet of Palomar Ensemble members. Act quickly, as the festival tends to sell out.