With a smile and a tear
Six hilarious, wacky and melancholy silent films from the great universal genius Charlie Chaplin. As was usual in those days, these films had neither music nor soundtrack. That’s why NBE asked four composers – Reza Namavar, Micha Hamel, Oene van Geel and Julian Schneemann – to write new music that seamlessly accompanies and supports the films, an authentic and contemporary interpretation of important film history heritage and an ode to Chaplin’s artistry.
Artistic director Bart Schneemann:
“I’ve dreamed of doing a project with Charlie Chaplin films for a long time. Of course there are more greats in the film world, like that crazy Buster Keaton, but in my opinion Chaplin is the universal genius. With him it’s never just about the humour. There is always something behind it. He’s the Johan Cruiff of silent film. We deliberately didn’t go for classics such as The Great Dictator or Modern Times. We show the lesser-known Chaplin from before 1918. They are really very funny and moving films that few people will know. “
The NBE worked together with Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi, curator silent film at Amsterdam’s Eye Filmmuseum and the Cineteca di Bologna, who restored the films. The result is unbelievable. The four composers were chosen for their distinctive qualities. They think eclectically, each in their own original way. Oene van Geel has roots in jazz, Reza Namavar in both Bach and the revolutionary avant-garde. Micha Hamel is perhaps the real film composer of the four. Julian Schneemann has developed his own unique style and is inspired by music from all over the world. In addition to the slapstick and fun, the program also has a serious layer, as is also always the case with Chaplin. As contrast to the newly composed soundtracks, we play Philip Glass’ most contemplative work, written for the film Mishima, a Life in Four Chapters.