A live hardcore punk band accompanies a 1920’s silent film, in an underground cinema in the middle of Chinatown.
That’s what I experienced this evening – and I mean experienced, not watched. This was a one-time event for the Images Festival (Toronto’s annual spring celebration of experimental and independent moving image culture – the largest festival of its kind in North America). The audience was as much a part of the event, as the band and the film operators were.
As West of Zanzibar – the 1928 silent film starring Lon Chaney- played on the big screen at the Toronto Underground Cinema, five members of Toronto’s hardcore punk band Fucked Up accompanied what was happening on the screen.
It was definitely an interesting experiment, although I’m not sure it always worked. Hardcore punk isn’t a type of music that has many nuances, and the lack of soft moments was noticeable. That being said, there was one lovely moment where the band softly imitated bugs as they scurried across the screen. It must be a challenge for a band to accompany a silent film. And I enjoyed the event, if only because it was an experience I probably won’t ever have again.
The Images Festival closed this evening, but there are still many installations around Toronto that you can see. Take a look at their website for more info.