Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Preview: Silent Movie with Live Score!

Has the run of world cinema classics the past week whet your appetite for more? Then have I got something for you. As Corleone said, it's an offer you can't refuse. You see, last year my favorite screening from the Paramount Summer Series was of the silent Best Picture classic Wings with an original live score. The movie was incredible, and the live score was amazing. It was an electric night, and one that will stay with me the rest of my days. Well guess what, friends? Lightning is about to strike twice.

This year, The Paramount presents a rarity, a true world cinema classic from Mexico. The film is El Tren Fantasma ("Ghost Train"), directed by Gabriel GarcĂ­a Moreno and released in 1927. It's an action-packed thriller about a railroad engineer who investigates a robbery spree by bandits. The movie is full of action, creative camera movements, fight scenes, and stunts (all performed by the actors themselves).

Why is it rare, you ask? In 1982, tragedy struck when a fire at the Mexican film archive burned all of its contents to the ground. It was a devastating blow to a country's rich cinematic history, and it has been estimated that between 5,000 to 6,500 feature films and shorts were lost. Very few of Mexico's old classic remain in existence, so El Tren Fantasma is a rare example of the country's film culture. The feature now stands as one of the best surviving silent Mexican films.

As if the idea of viewing a rare classic isn't enough, that's just the beginning of why the evening will be truly special. A live score is to presented along with the film by Michael Ramos and Charanga Cakewalk. Ramos, a native Texan, is a multi-talented musician who began his career working with artists such as John Mellencamp, the BoDeans and the Rembrandts. Charanga Cakewalk is his personal project that he started in 2002, and is acclaimed for its style. A mix of jazz and urban grooves, it remains as accessible and savory as your favorite tortilla-wrapped treat.

Films doesnt need sound to convey emotion, and music doesn't need visuals to resonate, but when the two meet it can be a perfect storm of art and creativity. During a summer when rain has been few and far between, this electrifying event promises to bring the thunder.

I don't know about you, but events like this are the reason I love the summer series. I love to see new visions and drink up the culture like a parched man at an oasis. The combination of a rare national treasure and a live score is something I simply can not miss. To paraphrase the most interesting man in the world: I may not always enjoy silent film (or Mexican cinema), but when I do, I prefer them like this... at The Paramount Theatre. Stay thirsty, my friends.

Showtime for the film:

El Tren Fantasma
Saturday, Aug 13th

Final Notes about the screening:

$2 discount for Austin Film Society members at the box office for all "World Cinema Classics" films!

VIP Tickets available - Includes post show meet & greet with Michael Ramos, an original limited edition show poster, and an advance copy of Charanga Cakewalk's forthcoming album for the first 25 people! Your VIP ticket benefits Cine Las Americas.

"Hassle-free downtown parking available for $6 at the One American Center for all summer films! Since you’re also supporting the theatre when you buy parking, they're giving you a free small soda each time you park there for a film. Buy online with your film tix and print out your confirmation e-mail or buy directly from the garage attendant (cash only). Attendant will have your soda ticket as well."

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