Review: The Delian Mode and The Man with a Movie Camera
I watched two great movies tonight courtesy of Mahmovies! at thejamjar. The theme was movie soundtracks and it truly was a delightful night of sights and sounds for me. They also served some delicious cupcakes, which is always a bonus.
The Delian Mode is about the amazing Delia Derbyshire, the pioneer of electronic music. She worked in BBC's Radiophonic Workshop in the 1960/70s and created the theme song for 'Doctor Who' and I mean she physically created every sound it comprised (if you are too young to remember the original Dr Who series and the music, listen to it here). This was a time before computers, synthesizers and when British people talked differently (a British friend joked that this is was what a repressed British person sounds like), but I digress...
All the sounds were created physically, manually recorded on tape and then cut and spliced together to make the final amazing track. She carried on doing music for drama and documentary programmes for the BBC - and her mathematician approach to her music and meticulous attention to detail really did give her a distinctive style.
Delia's work was analogue electronic music at its finest and to me she is the goddess of electronic music.
Read more about Delia and listen to some of her work on http://www.delia-derbyshire.org.
The Man with a Movie Camera is a beautiful, beautiful silent movie by Russian director Dziga Vertov's made in 1929. It documents a day-in-the-life of a city from dawn till dusk set to an amazing soundtrack made in 2003 by British electronica group The Cinematic Orchestra.
This movie has it all, street life, frantic work pace, traffic, children, coal miners, workers, birth, death, beauty, ugly, rich, poor, sports, nature and it included a range of techniques that were considered experimental at the time like double exposure, stop motion animation, split screens, fast motion, slow motion. It also reminded me of the famous 10 Golden Rules of Lomography, like take your camera everywhere you go, get close to your subjects as much as possible, be fast, don't think and just shoot.
Most importantly, the movie shows that things haven't changed much since it was made. We still wake up in the mornings, go to work, the privileged ones have a better life, and the ones that aren't still struggle. Women still try hard to look and feel pretty, children still like to laugh and play. We all seek happiness and good things in life.
This movie was ahead of its time when it was made and is still relevant to watch today. I really enjoyed all the moments in the movie, even though due to censorship laws at public screenings meant two scenes that contained some nudity had to be blocked off, imaginatively! Let's just say it involved placing a cupcake in front of the projector. Having said that, the two 'offending' scenes aren't erotic and last a few seconds, Mahmoud was better off eating the cupcake. I digress again... So yes, it's an amazing movie and one for the DVD library.
(I'm sharing one of my favourite scenes from the movie. Shhh... it includes the aforementioned blocked scene as well.)