Monday, May 11, 2009

 

The Oyster Princess, Brighton Dome 6/5

I'm a huge fan of live soundtracks to silent or old films, and there's usually one on the menu in the Brighton Festival. Last year there was Henry V, previously Asian Dub Foundation played along to La Haine, and this year saw German director Ernst Lubitsch’s 1919 silent The Oyster Princess with a soundtrack from Belgian combo Flat Earth Society.

Unfortunately the words “Belgian” “jazz” and “silent film” don't necessarily draw in a crowd, and sadly the Dome was only half-full for this treat of an evening.

The first half was disappointing, a 20s film about a femme fatale 'exotic' Chinese dancer in the dance halls of Piccadilly with plenty of smouldering glances and lively dance sequences. unfortunately it was cut up tediously repetitively as if by an over-enthusiastic VJ, and the improvised soundtrack bore no relation to the film's movement or spirit.

However The Oyster Princess was a different matter. A genuinely funny film with a ludicrous storyline of a spoiled rich girl who wants to marry a prince, this time the soundtrack perfectly complemented the film's action, adding to its comic potential. Disappointing that events like this don't have a wider appeal as it was a thoroughly entertaining evening with plenty to smile about.

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