Movies Beside the Museum: The Rhythm of the Tracks 2010

  • Country Various
  • Production Year 2010
  • Language Various
  • Duration 120 minutes

Beneath the stars, between the sculptures, cinema screens will be planted on the lawns of the Fitzwilliam Museum on Sunday 19th September to bring you a truly magical evening’s entertainment. Internationally renowned musicians Neil Brand (piano) and Gunter Buchwald (violin) will improvise a live jazz score to a rollercoaster range of silent gems, while contemporary filmmakers take us on journeys through Hanoi, Tokyo, and the imagination. The films and the setting will be battling it out to see which is more beautiful - come and join us for what promises to be a truly memorable night.

Join us at any point in the programme – the event is fully browsable, and you can stay as long (or as little time) as you like. Refreshments will be available.

Our silent screen will feature some amazing ‘phantom rides’ - films shot from the front of a moving train, a very popular format in the early days of cinema; the cheeky A Kiss In The Tunnel; some classic train robberies, great and small; and a smashing finale from recently-rediscovered The Wrecker. Across the garden on our second screen will roll experimental, classic and recent works which use all of cinema’s magic tricks to give you a feeling of locomotion. Look out for Patrick Bergeron’s mesmeric LoopLoop, sequencing footage from a train going to Hanoi recut into a multiple, moving panorama; Ed Holdsworth’s Arrive, twinkling with the lights of Tokyo trains at night; classic British docu-poem Night Mail; big American steam trains in Pacific 231; and Geoffrey Jones’ magnificent, Oscar-nominated Snow.

We look forward to welcoming you to beautiful films in a beautiful setting.

Our spectacular free open air events are always very popular; in the event that we reach capacity on site, patrons may be asked to wait briefly until space becomes available.

Part of the Arts Council funded ‘Transported: The Art of The Train’ Programme of Screenings and Special Events, and also The Screen Team project, a Cambridge Film Trust initiative which has been funded by Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity set up to help build a lasting cultural and sporting legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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Fitzwilliam Museum

08:00 pm Sunday 19th September 2010

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Festival Daily wrote

Silent cinema is perhaps one of the great misnomers: cinema has seldom been silent, even long before it learned to talk. Live music has always provided a jolt of energy and excitement, forging an emotional bond between image and audience. This is something that the country's leading silent film accompanist, pianist Neil Brand, has earned a justifiably lofty reputation for doing – valiantly keeping older classics feeling vital and alive.

Joined by violinist Guenter Buchwald, yesterday evening Brand provided a stirring score to a programme of silent shorts celebrating trains, THE RHYTHM OF THE TRACKS. The outdoor event was well attended, and showcased a fantastic array of early features, ranging from the Lumière brothers' seminal 1985 short, ARRIVAL OF A TRAIN AT LA CIOTAT, to the more advanced and narrative-driven likes of the 1928 thriller, THE WRECKER, and even entering out of space with Méliès imaginative THE IMPOSSIBLE VOYAGE.

Brand and Buchwald's music brought all of these to life, making the primitive 1900 short, A RAILWAY COLLISION, seem unbearably tense, whilst others (such as AUTUMN FIRE) were made tender and romantic. There was also an industrial age splendour to the urban, cityscape shorts – with American offerings like NEW BROOKYLN TO NEW YORK... accompanied appropriately enough by almost Gershwinian levels of energy.

The films stand up by themselves, of course: as a testament to man's pride and fascination with one great machine, as celebrated with the rapid development of another. But their power is amplified by the transformative addition of live music.
Robert Beames

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