LIVE LIVE CINEMA DEMENTIA 13
09/10/2013 - 13/10/2013
The ultimate 4D movie experience
WORLD PREMIERE – Dementia 13
Black and white cult classic Dementia 13 (1963) from legendary director Francis Ford Coppola is gothic horror stylishly crafted on a shoestring budget. Punctuated with spine tingling axe murders, Dementia 13 is Coppola’s first “legitimate” directorial feature; a stylish psychological thriller, cult camp classic and slasher film.
“He (Roger Corman the Producer) wanted it to be homicidal, sort of a copy of Psycho, You know, gothic and psychological with some kind of terrible knife killing scene thrown in.”– Francis Ford Coppola
When the cold and calculating femme fatale Louise Haloran covers up the death of her wealthy husband, she manages to conceal the body and travels to his family castle in Ireland to ensure she is not cut out of Lady Haloran’s will. But all doesn’t go to plan as family secrets are revealed and a mysterious axe murderer picks the family off one by one.
A cinematic breath of fresh air, a theatrical reimagining, Live Live Cinema, created and composed by Leon Radojkovic and directed by Oliver Driver, is a heady fusion of theatre, film, music and live performance.
“Totally engaging and entertaining”– The National Business Review
Taking its cue from those old silent movies that had live music played from a dusty organ, Live Live Cinema takes things to a whole new level, adding not only a new sound track played by a live band but also throwing in some actors and a Foley artist to recreate all the audio including dialogue for the film live on stage during the screening.
Live Live Cinema comes to a theatre near you this October with two movies given the Live Live Cinema treatment. The world premiere of a little seen black and white thriller by Francis Ford Coppola Dementia 13 and the highly anticipated return of the acclaimed 1960s horror Carnival of Souls.
Seven musicians, four actors and one brave Foley artist bring the film to life with a new live soundtrack using a combination of mechanical and digital sound design. Together they recreate every musical note, line of dialogue, horrified scream, and mysterious footstep live on stage, while the film looms large behind them.
With each intake of breath, or note played they emphasise meanings, enhance moods and change the atmosphere at the drop of a hat as they manipulate the audience through a rollercoaster of emotion, from light hearted giggles to absolute fear.
“We clutched each other and screamed like teenagers…Exhilarating” -NZ Herald
A stellar cast of New Zealand actors, Cameron Rhodes, Fern Sutherland, Bronwyn Bradley and Charlie McDermott as well as musicians from Leon’s band Dr Colossus and Foley artist Gareth Van Niekerk bring both these cinematic gems of gothic horror, including the world premiere of Dementia 13 to Auckland before heading to London to perform at the prestigious Barbican.
Live Live Cinema launched with Carnival of Souls at the Auckland Arts Festival in 2011, touring nationally and internationally since, playing at the Sydney Festival, Perth Festival, Albany Festival, Taranaki Festival, Nelson Festival and Frankfurt Book Fair receiving critical and audience acclaim.
“The hit of the festival”–Radio New Zealand
“The soundtrack, effects and live dialogue is impeccable.” – The West Australian
See Francis Ford Coppola’s little known cult classic Dementia 13 and Herk Harvey’s terrifyingly camp noir, Carnival of Souls come to life at Live Live Cinema with new live soundtracks in what promises to be a unique and vibrant ‘live live’ cinematic experience. It’s immersive, musical and theatrical and a double feature not to be missed.
Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre
Wednesday 9 October, 6.30pm
Thursday 10 October, 7.30pm
Friday 11 and Saturday 12 October, 8.30pm
Sunday 13 October 2013, 3pm
(See also: Live Live Cinema: Carnival of Souls – return season)
Gareth Van Niekerk – Sound Designer & Foley Artist
Bringing Classic Cinema to Life
Review by James Wenley 13th Oct 2013
Dementia 13 is a 1963 thriller and old-school slasher flick where an axe-wielding madman stalks the grounds of a Scottish castle. Though a clear Psycho-lite, in this early Francis Ford Coppola picture it is possible to discern his latent potential, in amongst the hokey psychological posturing and a reveal telegraphed from miles away.
Carnival of Souls is a dreamy 1962 B-movie horror in which a female organist moves town after a car accident where she is followed by a creepy man with dark shadows under his eyes. The film-making is beautiful, the storyline and performances are bizarre if oddly gripping, and the ending sublime. [More]
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Forgotten film classic comes to life
Review by Paul Simei-Barton 11th Oct 2013
Live cinema offers a fascinating deconstruction of the film-maker’s art. The usually seamless synthesis of sound and image is disrupted as the film score is performed live, dialogue is spoken into microphones and sound effects are created before your eyes by a foley artist.
The live performances create an ironic distancing, but what is surprising is that even as the elements of film are dissected and laid out like items on an operating table, the illusion reasserts itself and the audience is swept away by the power of the story.
The method also breathes new life into neglected cult classics and the choice of Dementia 13 is a smart move. The 1963 horror flick has the kind of curiosity value that could fuel a bevy of film studies doctorates. [More]
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Slightly creaky cinematic oddity becomes a unique, thrilling and worthwhile entertainment
Review by Stephen Austin 10th Oct 2013
Full disclosure first of all: I am a cinema purist. To the point of snobbery. If you talk or text during a movie, I will ask you to stop. Continue to do so and I will probably cut you. I’m no fan of comedians who think they are funny by riffing on films with snide remarks during a screening or consider themselves better than something of questionable quality made before they were born. Put simply, I treat movies with the respect they deserve. Call me old fashioned.
And it is quite the old fashioned aesthetic and respect that informs Leon Radojkovic’s re-scoring of Francis Coppola’s first feature from 1963, Dementia 13. This is a performance to appeal to those of us who recall both cinema and radio in its heyday of presentation in the twentieth century.
Radojikivic is known around Auckland as a musician of considerable talent and knowledge, who isn’t afraid of being playful with his source while still honouring its core – his band, Dr Colossus, covers many film scores in unusual ways, most notably Danny Elfman covers using various weird and unexpected instruments. He has excellent presence in his musicianship and finds a wonderful depth in all of his composition. His original re-scoring of Herk Harvey’s cult classic Carnival of Souls at the Auckland Arts Festival a couple of years ago got audiences quite excited with its clever jump-scares and sophisticated, playful attitude.
This time around Leon and his small band treat Coppola’s original film with the same sort of vibrant, driving, bass-heavy amplified soundscapes to similar effect.
To cult movie fans, Dementia 13 is known as a rather clumsy early film from a now widely regarded Hollywood heavyweight. It is full of melodramatic, half-baked performances and a slightly flat oddball script. This new score helps improve things immensely by dispensing with the thin reedy and brassy orchestration of the original and giving us screaming violins, deep wild guitars and a touch of the Celtic, on which the tensions of this dark nasty wee thriller are played out.
The similarities between the scoring of this and Souls is pretty clear and illustrates this composer’s soft spot for the theatrical moments at the core of these 1960s American gothics. The strange, juxtaposed visuals lend themselves so well to the propulsive, explosive punctuation thatRadojkovic seems to enjoy playing with so much.
This production, however, is not only about the film and the music. Director Oliver Driver neatly blends the theatrical into it all by placing actors at microphones to re-voice the roles and a Foley artist in a booth at side of stage to re-imagine the soundtrack of the environments and movements within the film.
Gareth van Niekerk has his work cut out for him in that tiny red curtained studio upstage left, as he busily creates each and every nuanced near-undetected sound to an exacting degree. So much so that when something doesn’t quite work, we notice: especially the rather poor ‘click’ of a gun when it is supposed to be firing live rounds, or the difference of slippered feet on carpet that sound like patent leather shoes on wood. A small quibble, but this could have added just the tiniest extra ounce of verisimilitude to keep us fully engrossed.
The four actors at microphones – Fern Sutherland, Cameron Rhodes, Charlie McDermott, Bronwyn Bradley – all acquit themselves well and lift the characters away from the slightly wooden, starchy delivery that is so lamentable when watching the film as originally performed. There is the odd wobbly accent, but that can be more attributed to the number of characters each has to keep distinct than with anything to do with the actual delivery. There’s a nice neat but subtle touch having McDermott play both of the rather similar leading men who end up in an axe fight against each other at the end.
Unlike Carnival of Souls though (which is being reprised here at the Herald, Friday 11 and Saturday 12, 6.30pm), there is no real attempt at any sort of framing device for the theatricality; the actors and musicians just gather, get ready and do their thing once the film starts rolling. There is one moment mid film where the actors strongly react to the on-screen action, but that seems to be a comment on the lack of direction the plot is taking rather than pulling further levels of meaning out of the film or surroundings.
I’m not sure what could be added, but I would have liked to have been a little more drawn into the inner lives of the actors playing with and relating to the action up on screen. That complaint may be more to do with the current space than any of the actual direction though, as The Herald Theatre’s steeply raked seating means sightlines train our eyes towards the film rather than down to them very much.
And that’s my other main problem with this production: the space. The production of Carnival of Souls in the old Mercury Theatre was bequeathed an excellent charming history by its surroundings that contributed to the specialness of the event. Here, it doesn’t detract, but I would certainly have liked to have felt a bit more of that terrific retro mustiness that these kinds of films were viewed in during their heyday.
The lighting is all functional to helping the band see what they’re playing, the actors and Foley artist in light to keep them a focus for us if we want to watch them, with enough evocative bleeding of reds and blues to keep a bit of mood and not detract or spill onto the screen. The blinder lights during the more nerve-jangling moments could be dispensed with completely though, as the startling musical accompaniment really does carry on-screen events much better on its own.
However, for all of my little film-snobby purist niggles, I really do appreciate the hard work that has clearly gone in here from Radjokivic and his pals. This is a nice fresh coat of paint for a slightly creaky cinematic oddity that becomes a unique, thrilling and worthwhile evening’s entertainment.
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