Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Phantom of the Opera

This charming man was starring in the film i saw this evening. A horror film from 1925, directed by Rupert Julian; The Phantom of the Opera.

Normally i don't watch films older than 15 years - yes, u can throw stones at me because of this -, but this one was shown in the Palace of Arts, whats more, Thierry Escaich supplied the background music during the show: live organ improvisation.

Well, the word 'background' music is not really apt in this case, as the music was as gripping as the film itself. Or even more. The advantage of listening to concert while watching a film is that it is guaranteed that u concentrate on the show. U r forced to it if u like. Sometimes i get distracted by my thoughts if I listen to a gig, especially if it's a solo improvisation, but if the story is on the screen, ur attention is always occupied. At the same time this is the drawback as well: I really like using my imagination, letting the music evoke feelings and thoughts in me, figuring out what the musician is trying to tell me. In this show the message was in front of my eyes.

Nonetheless, Escaich perfectly caught every moment and used effects to raise tension, his music created a special atmosphere, completely matching every action in the film. In other words, Escaich resonated with the film. It was very interesting to observe him with one eye how he synchronises his play with the film.

The film was an interesting experience as well. Firstly, because i've seen the musical version of The Phantom a few years ago, which i enjoyed very much. However, it was a completely different experience, even the story was quite different. This film, being a horror film of that time, lacks almost every scent of romance, whereas in the musical version - according to my memories - the Phantom manages to raise sympathy in Christine towards him.

Anyhow, a 1925 horror film in 2007 makes the audience laugh sometimes. I mean the effects and scenes that are meant to scare the viewer. The threshold of sensation certainly rose in the last couple of decades because unlike a horror film is supposed to be today, it never made me frightened, not even excited. I was watching it as a work of art, as it was. A co-production of arts.

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