Written and Photographed
By Jude Bautista
“Metropolis” by Fritz Lang was a silent film made in 1927, although not a box office hit, it became a monumental film in terms of technique. It may have spawned the sci-fi movie genre preceding Star Wars, Flash Gordon, Star Trek and so on. Footages were also used in QUEEN’s music video for ‘Radio Gaga’. “Metropolis” has since been required viewing for all film students around the world. Lang, himself became an in demand Hollywood director apart from making this film classic.
Rubber Inc composed of Malek Lopez and Noel De Brackinghe jammed with German Silent film musician Stephan Von Bothmer to provide the live soundtrack during last night’s screening of Metropolis at Shang Cineplex.
Herr Richard Kunezel, esteemed director of the Goethe-Institut Philippinen, said that the screening of the full version which opened the Silent film fest at Shang Cineplex has a special meaning for him. Audiences can watch silent films along with the best Pinoy bands for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza mall from August 24-27, 2012. Silent films from the Philippines (Diwa De Leon), Japan (Tropical Depression), Italy (Garlic-Francis Reyes), Spain (Sino Sikat and Ignacio Plaza) and for the first time this year U.S. (Radio Active Sago Project) are also included.
Kuenzel explained that the film was cut by 20 minutes to appease the movie going public in Berlin where it was first released. In 2008 the missing 20-minute footage was found in a small museum in Argentina. After a lot of negotiations, the footage was finally returned to its home in Germany. In November 2009 the full version was screened to thousands in the snow with the FriedrichstadtPalast was accompanied by the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra.
The Philippine premiere of the full version was originally scheduled for the 50th anniversary of Goethe-Institut Philippinen last year and UST’s 400th. But due to ‘technical’ problems the premiere was pushed tonight. This also happens to be the farewell project of Herr Kuenzel who is a much respected, and loved figure in the Phil. Cultural scene. The special screening is a spectacular way to end a fruitful career. The 6th International Silent film fest is the highlight of many events that he has successfully established. He is also particularly supportive of Phil independent cinema having funded countless projects and has published a book entitled “Kino Cine”.
The book detailing German filmmakers conducting technical workshops in the 70’s and 80’s have become a resource for the history of recent Phil. independent cinema. Some of the contributors include: Ditsi Carolino, Lav Diaz, Nick Deocampo, Harun Farocki, Ulrich Gregor, Nan Goldin, Christoph Janetzko, Mark Meily, Ingo Petzke, Rosa von Praunheim, Raymond Red, Roxlee, Werner Schroeter, Bobby Suarez, Kidlat Tahimik, John Torres, Maria Vedder and Michael Wulfes. One of the contributors, Raymond Red is part of this year’s fest with 2 of his films: “Eternity” and “Pelikula”. Accmpanying his films are the music of Cinemalaya Best Musical Score awardee, Diwa De Leon.”
Shang Rila Plaza EVP and Gen Mgr. Lala Fojas in her speech said, “Early this year, silent films got a boost when the multi awarded French Production, ‘The Artist’ won the Best Picture award, among many awrads at the 2012 Oscars. The prestigious award paved the way for the films successful commercial release in global cinema, wich inevitably trained the spotlight on the silent film genre as well. Unkown to many, we have been paying homage to this classic art form in this part of the world for the sixth year in a row through the International Silent Film Festival, which is the only festival of this type in Asia.” Just last June ‘The Artist’ opened the The Citi-Rustans French Film Festival also at Shang Cineplex.
The Film Development Council of the Phil. will also be hosting Stephan Von Bothmer in Davao for his live musical scoring of the film ‘Nosferatu’ on sunday Aug 26. He has signed a cooperation agreement with no less than FDCP Chairman Briccio Santos.
FDCP Head of the Cinema Evaluation and Coordination Dept. Wilma Isleta in her speech said, “During the next few days we will be feasting on gorgeous black and white and color tinted images from all over the world served with ingenious live sound and music by the very best of Filipino musical talents. We have the Goethe Institut, Instituto Cervantes, Phil Italian Association and the Japan Foundation to thank for founding this festival years ago and now we have the United States joining the fold. It is also with great honor that the Film Development Council of the Phil, lends its hands for the first time to this festival.”
Isleta was also able to cite the screening of the “Brides of Sulu” last year as the first Filipino film exhibited in the fest. She added, “ Hopefully through the current work of the recently established National Film Archive of the Phil. we will have another one next year. Until then thank you to the co organizers and sponsors of this fest including Shangrila Cineplex for being our generous host once again.”