•    Earth, by director Alexander Dovzhenko, launches five-day Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema programme on 16 March
•    Jane Gardner and Hazel Morrison to perform new live score
•    Tickets on sale just in time for Christmas

Director Alexander Dovzhenko’s 1930 classic Earth – with a specially commissioned new live accompaniment by Hazel Morrison and Jane Gardner - will be the opening film of the 2016 Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema, it was announced today.

Earth – which is being presented in partnership with National Oleksander Dovzenko Centre and the State Film Agency of Ukraine - is widely regarded as a masterpiece of the silent era, and one of the most important films of Soviet cinema. It is frequently cited in ‘best film’ polls by critics and film-makers alike. 

Jane Gardner and Hazel Morrison are familiar faces at the festival, having previously performed together in 2012 for The Black Pirate (1926), in 2013 for The Goose Woman (1925), and in 2014 for Dragnet Girl (1933), which was followed by a Scottish tour. 

Jane Gardner said: “I’m delighted to be invited back to the festival, and to work on such a poetic and challenging film. The accompaniment to Earth will be a new score, devised and performed live by myself (on piano) and Hazel Morrison (percussion). Semi-improvised, the music will follow the film’s emotional, visual and structural poetry, as Dovzhenko explores themes such as love, death, violence and sex.
“The way the film has been edited lends itself really well to musical structures  -such as a montage showing the driving, repetitive movements of machinery, main character Vasyl dancing a Ukrainian ‘hopak’, and sections of dialogue amongst the villagers which follow a verse/chorus-like pattern. Hazel and I are very much looking forward to working on it together.”

Commissioned during Stalin’s regime as a propaganda piece about the new policy of collectivisation, Dovzhenko’s film proved controversial on its release - by which time the disastrous human cost to the peasant kulaks was horribly realised. But despite the film’s apparent account of the necessity of moving from a reliance on man to machines, the film is very much a lyrical hymn to nature and the way of life of Ukrainian peasant culture. The director’s failure to adequately tow the party line lost Dovzhenko his job at the Kiev Film Institute and fuelled a negative critical reaction which, he claimed, literally turned his hair gray overnight. Today the film stands as a visually stunning and heroic work.

Festival Director (Falkirk Community Trust) Alison Strauss said: “Dovzhenko’s Earth is a beautiful and subversive film. It deserves to be lifted from the dusty viewing lists of dutiful film students and presented with all the fanfare and musical eloquence afforded by HippFest’s Opening Night. The audience will have the chance to see the National Oleksander Dovzenko Centre’s magnificent 2K digital restoration of this masterwork, in the stunning Hippodrome auditorium, and with wonderful live accompaniment.  Believe me, you won’t want to miss this.”

Earth will screen at the Hippodrome, Bo’ness, on Wednesday 16 March 2016, at 7.30pm (doors open 6.45pm). Tickets cost £13/£10.50 and are available from today from the Hippodrome box office on 01324 506850.

The full programme for the 2016 festival will be announced in early February, with tickets on sale via www.hippfest.co.uk. Updates at www.facebook.com/silentfilmfestival and on Twitter at @HippFestScot

For interviews, hi-res images and press tickets please contact Festival Media Officer Andrew Eaton-Lewis on 07475 210703 or seafieldroad@gmail.com

Published on Thursday, 17th December 2015


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