(September 2013) Blush!

Read Pamela Hutchinson’s extremely generous review of our book Birds of Paradise: Costume as Cinematic Spectacle on Silent London:

http://silentlondon.co.uk/2014/09/08/birds-of-paradise-costume-as-cinematic-spectacle-review/

More about the book:

http://www.fashioninfilm.com/item/birds-of-paradise-costume-as-cinematic-spectacle/

(September 2014) Liquid Sky II – really?

Calling to all the aliens within! So, apparently, Slava Tsukerman is now working on a sequel to the brilliant Liquid Sky (1982) we featured in our very first festival in 2006. And the supremely talented Anne Carlisle is to reprise her role of Margaret (although presumably, her male counterpart Jimmy, also played by Carlisle, is still dead?). Can this be true? Read the story here http://www.theawl.com/2014/02/the-liquid-sky-sequel-is-coming. Also check the film’s screening in the upcoming sci-fi season at the BFI in London.

(June 2014) FREE DOWNLOAD: Marcel L’Herbier Dossier

This dossier, edited by Caroline Evans and Marketa Uhlirova, is the first English-language publication on the French film director Marcel L’Herbier, to whom we devoted last year’s festival season.

This downloadable online publication brings together archival visual material, newly translated quotations and newly commissioned articles by Mireille Beaulieu, Tag Gronberg, Joan Tumblety and Nick Rees-Roberts.

The dossier will be updated with more articles later this year, so watch this space!

Access the dossier here.

(June 2014) Read a recent review of Birds of Paradise: Costume as Cinematic Spectacle

Published at Bright Lights Film Journal

Here…

The book is edited by Marketa Uhlirova and published by Koenig Books, London, 2013. Find out more and buy the book from here: http://www.fashioninfilm.com/publications. Now available from the University of the Arts shop and a healthy % of the proceeds goes towards the next festival! Buying from the UAL shop is a great way to directly support the festival…

(February 2014) No More Stuff?

Screening of Alexander Mackendrick’s 1951 classic Man in the White Suit, followed by a panel discussion examining the notion of ‘No More Stuff’. Panelists include Barry Curtis (Royal College of Art), James Wallman (author of Stuffocation), Cyndi Rhoades (Worn Again), Claire Pajaczkowska (Royal College of Art) and Rebecca Earley (Chelsea College).

Thursday 13th February, 6.00 – 8.30pm. Central Saint Martins, LVMH Lecture Theatre, E003. All welcome but booking is essential: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/free-public-screening-and-panel-discussion-of-man-in-the-white-suit-tickets-6767195865?aff=eorg

Organised with Adam Thorpe (Socially Responsive Research Group, CSM). The event is part of the Green Week at CSM.

(May 2013) Stephen Horne takes silent film accompaniment up a notch

This year the brilliant Stephen Horne accompanies two of the silent films in the Marcel L’Herbier season, Le Vertige and L’Inhumaine. We have asked him how he does it. Interview by Sara Cozzarin

How do you approach your silent film accompaniments? 

 My approach varies from event to event, according to a number of variables. Some of these can be quite prosaic – for example, how busy I am or how much I’m getting paid! But principally my approach is dictated by the film itself. Silent films, just like today’s films, benefit from music which is broadly sympathetic to their tone and genre. This usually means music that is not overtly ‘outside the box’. But there are exceptions -for example, L’Inhumaine is a very strange, abstract film, so my music will hopefully reflect this.

Even if a score was originally composed for a particular film, I don’t usually refer to it. One thing I think most people don’t realise is just what a huge amount of time is required to learn to play an original score – and, just as importantly, synchronise it with the film. If a score survives at all, it will frequently be incomplete or not match the surviving prints of the films. I’m not against recreating original scores at all – indeed, I think they are fascinating. But that’s just not my specialism.

Whether you completely improvise or not, you clearly still must have the ability to respond quickly to the image in front of you. Is this particularly challenging? Are there any secrets of the trade?

I started accompanying silents at the National Film Theatre over twenty years ago, and at that time pianists were not given advance screenings of the films that they were booked to accompany. This meant that, for about the first ten years or so, I accompanied every film ‘cold’. This is less of an issue for silent film musicians starting now, with DVDs and the internet, but it formed the way I approached the job. Obviously, to do the job adequately in those circumstances meant having to be able to both improvise and react quickly – turn on a musical sixpence, so to speak. I now frequently seem able to anticipate how a film is going to progress, in a way that feels almost telepathic. But I don’t think this is unique to me – I think it’s a characteristic of my generation of silent film accompanist! Although I have now produced several fully composed film scores, my training was as an improvising accompanist and that’s still essentially how I approach the job.

You are known for using multiple instruments. Which ones, and why? Just how do you make the transitions seamless?

I’ve only been a so-called ‘multi-instrumental’ accompanist for the last few years. For a very long time I only accompanied films on piano. But then one day I started to incorporate the flute, which I had stopped playing after University, and a couple of years later the accordion. Almost immediately it became my ‘USP’ – which can be a bit of a trap, because people expect it of me now! But although I think the piano is still on balance the best instrument for a solo accompaniment, people do seem to like to hear a change of sound world, even if it’s only for a short while. And recently I purchased a Theremin which I hope to use for L’ Inhumaine. I’m not making any promises, though – at the moment the noise I make with it is more akin to a feral fox than the ethereal effect I’m hoping to achieve eventually!

Darius Milhaud’s original score for L’Inhumaine is notoriously lost. I am interested in how you are going to be approaching this film. Were there any sequences that you found particularly inspiring or challenging?

Milhaud’s score for L’Inhumaine was apparently an integral part of Herbier’s conception, so it would be fascinating to experience how it worked with the film. But it doesn’t survive, so for me it’s an academic point. One could put together a medley score out of the music that Milhaud was composing during this period, which would be a perfectly valid approach. But for me the most important thing is for the music to be authentic to the spirit of the film and sometimes this can best be achieved by using techniques that wouldn’t have been available at the time that it was made. For example, I think that L’Inhumaine was trying to create an otherworldly mood and it’s possible that music which might have been considered otherworldly at the time would not have that effect any more. I want to make the film work for the audience that is watching it, by creating something that will have an effect on them equivalent to the one the film is striving for. In general, I like to wrap my own musical bubble around a film. One that is essentially timeless – in the sense of not feeling either overtly then or now.

(May 2013) Watch the 4th Fashion in Film Festival trailer!

 

(May 2013) Design critic Alice Rawsthorn shares her festival picks

“Thanks to Marcel L’Herbier’s collaborations with artists and designers like Fernand Léger, Robert Mallet-Stevens, Paul Poiret and Sonia Delaunay, the Fashion in Film Festival is unmissable not only for film and fashion buffs, but for anyone who loves art, architecture or design.”

My picks:

L’Inhumaine

“A fabulously chic exposé of social decadence, “L’Inhumaine” features some of L’Herbier’s most sybaritic Art Deco sets designed by the artist Fernand Léger and the architect Robert Mallet-Stevens with sumptuous costumes by Paul Poiret.”

Le Vertige

“Another triumph of production design for L’Herbier, Le Vertige is visually sensational with costumes by Sonia Delaunay, and sets by her husband Robert, plus Robert Mallet-Stevens and Pierre Chareau.”

Your Guide to the Fashions of the Future

“One of the best things about the Fashion in Film Festival is that it gives us the chance to see works for the first time, like La Mode rêvée, the short film made by L’Herbier to promote French fashion at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.”

See the full programme HERE.

Click HERE for Alice Rawsthorn’s article on us in the International Herald Tribune (6 May 2013).

Alice Rawsthorn is the design critic of the International Herald Tribune, the global edition of the New York Times. Her weekly Design column – published every Monday – is syndicated to other media worldwide. Alice is a trustee of Arts Council England, the Michael Clark Company and the Whitechapel Gallery, as well as chair of trustees at the Chisenhale Gallery in London. Her latest book “Hello World: Where Design Meets Life” explores the impact of design on our lives.

(February 2013) Highlights of If Looks Could Kill were on show in Copenhagen

Highlights of the Fashion in Film Festival’s 2008 season If Looks Could Kill were recently on show in Copenhagen. Read more about it here… Take a look at the original 2008 season here. Look at the festival catalogue here.

Marcel L’Herbier: Fabricating Dreams (10-19 May 2013)

This first UK retrospective of Marcel L’Herbier has now ended but we are hoping to take it to New York in 2015. To celebrate this truly remarkable filmmaker who had a huge influence on Alain Resnais (Last Year in Marienbad), we are preparing an online dossier with articles, archival photographs and more (coming soon!). The first edition will be out this April/May. Watch this space.