Crazy all over again


Crazy Cinématographe, the Luxembourg-based project organised by the University of Trier which seeks to demonstrates the power of early cinema by recreating the travelling fairground film shows of the early years of the twentieth century, is returning for its third year. Crazy Cinématographe will be setting up its tent once more on the Schueberfouer, Luxembourg‘s fairground, from 21 August to 9 September 2009. There will also be a free workshop, ‘The Art of Programming Early Cinema’, for film archivists, programmers, curators, media scholars, teachers and journalists on 4-5 September, with contributions from Eric de Kuyper, Mariann Lewinsky Straeuli, Vanessa Toulmin, and the curators of the Crazy Cinématographe shows, Claude Bertemes and Nicole Dahlen.

This is some blurb from the project flyer:

More than 20.000 fairground visitors attended the Crazy Cinématographe shows in 2007 and 2008 – a success beyond expectations. Among thrill rides and food stalls they spotted a strangely different attraction, they were lured by barkers into the cinema tent and discovered a spectacular time ride with early films. Densely packed in the Crazy Cinématographe tent, people howled with laughter until tears rolled down their cheeks, shouted disrespectful comments, clapped, held their breath, and shrieked with pleasure and horror. Crazy Cinématographe showed striking evidence that the early “Cinema of Attractions” is still an attractive formula for 21th century showmanship and that it is possible to garner popular audiences of the digital age for 35mm screenings of early films from the Belle Epoque period.

All in all 25 European film archives participated to the project by contributing their early cinema treasures to programmes as “Magical Mystery Tour”, “The Cabinet of the Bizarre”, and the legendary late night programme called “The Sex Lives of our Grandparents”. For film scholars and cinematheque programmers, Crazy Cinématographe will not only be a hilarious and crazy trip, but also a striking professional experience. Don’t miss it.

Those not in the vicinity of Luxembourg who don’t want to let the organisers down by perforce missing the screenings may be comforted by the knowledge that a DVD exists of films from the original Crazy Cinématographe show, available from the excellent Edition Filmmuseum. Rumour has it that financial pressures may mean that this is the last Crazy Cinématographe, a great shame for what has been a spirited coming together of academia and entertainment (two words that – let’s face it – seldom occur in the same sentence).

Contact details for more information on Crazy Cinématographe are here.

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