The Petit- Avant-garde - Blade Runner 2049Saturday, March 09, 2019
|Merge, March 8 , 2019|
In December of last year I watched Renée Jeanne Falconetti’s silent 1928 film The Passion of Joan of Arc. In many ways it prepared me for Friday’s projection of Blade Runner 2049 at the Merge (an upstairs, underground joint at the foot of Clark and Powell).
I warn anybody who has gotten this far that this blog is going to be all over the place. On the other hand I can meander as this blog is my personal “magazine” which I badly edit (typos and all), art direct and photograph.
If there is anything that I learned in my stint as a magazine photographer which I began sometime in 1977/78 and retired when magazines and newspapers began to disappear, is that illustrations and photographs have to complement the copy of an essay or article. They cannot clash.
At the performance on Friday, (a sequel performance to the original Blade Runner of which I wrote about here) that began (a bit after 9pm and ended at 12:15 with a short interval, the musicians:
Stefan Smulovitz — laptop, viola, Kenaxis, various sound makers,
Chris Kelly — saxophone, electronics, Kenton Loewen — drums, percussion, Jeff Younger — guitar, electronics
Played uninterrupted in a strenuous but improvised sound background to a film in which the dialogue only appeared as subtitles.
To begin with my photographs of the projection, in a small way are an improvisation which I believe complement the music/sound I heard.
I never saw this sequel. I can claim that in the late 70s I took out all (about 38) the Philip K. Dick novels and short stories from the Burnaby Public Library and that I quit after reading The Man that Japed.
This sequel I saw in small bits from my seat in airplanes looking at images as others in front of me saw the film. I never heard the sound. Returning from our trip to Italy this week we were in a terrible Air Canada Boeing 737 max 8 that was so noisy that the ear buds did not work for me in attempting to listen to the dialogue of Blade Runner 2049.
What that means is that in the Merge performance on Friday I finally saw the film (but still without dialogue)!
Watching it was no different to me from the avant-garde (and still avant-garde) film that I cited in the beginning, The Passion of Joan of Arc. I had to depend on the expressions of the actors to understand what was going on in spite of the limited ability of the subtitles to enlighten me on the goings on.
It was only until I read this most interesting review in the NY Times of the film that I understood why the Ryan Gosling is given the name Joe almost at the end. For me find this out was a metamorphosis.
In Italy we went to some of the best galleries of art (as opposed to art galleries) in Florence, Siena and Venice. How can such art, a Bronzino, a Boticelli, a da Vinci or an Artemisia Gentileschi sit in my mind when I have arrived in Vancouver with its greenness, its mountains, its space, its air, its water (all wonderful) but with a potential pile of shoeboxes on top of other shoe boxes that our Vancouver Art Gallery may soon become?
My answer to that above question (while avoiding expressions like world-class and cutting edge) is Friday’s projection with improvised music of Blade Runner 2049. This performance would have created waves of appreciation in Italy where art and the complexity but value of art is better understood.
The performers and performance were first class. I can only wait in anticipation for the next one and only suggest to Stefan Smulovitz (who alas did not play his viola on Friday!) that the next film to be picked should be Nicolas Winding’s 2011 film Drive with Ryan Gosling. Is was that film (with sparse dialogue) that made me a fan of Gosling.
There is a definite reason to enjoy and appreciate "silent" films in this loud century.