Part 18 of The Golem, from http://www.youtube.com/user/blackfrancisnet
In 2008 Black Francis, frontman for alternative rock band The Pixies, performed his score (with songs) for Paul Wegener’s Der Golem (1920) at the Castro Theatre as part of the San Francisco International Film Festival. He has now released the score as a deluxe boxed set, available for sale from his website, blackfrancis.net. The boxed set features two CDs of the score as performed live at the Castro, two CDs of the score recorded in the studio, a DVD of the film with the score, a book with Francis’ music and handwritten notes, plus photographs. The whole set is limited to 500 copies, numbered and autographed by the man himself, and one suspects that they won’t last long on the shelves.
But you needn’t miss out, because at the same time Francis has made the entire film with score available on his YouTube channel, divided up into 26 sections, plus a making of video. Not all may like to see silent films acompanied by songs, but it doesn’t happen every time, and this looks (from what the Bioscope has sampled so far) to be a strongly-felt response to the film’s imagery and its romantic yearnings. It certainly is interesting to contrast it with experimental rock guitarist Gary Lucas’ take on Der Golem, available in extract form on YouTube. I think I prefer the latter, because it is led by the imagery rather than having the images decorating songs, but it all goes to show that the silent film medium is alive and kicking in all sorts of directions.
It was actually the San Francisco International Film Festival, which typically brings at least one silent film amongst its offerings, that brought Black Francis and The Golem to the Castro Theatre. Not the San Francisco Silent Film Festival (which thus far has avoided marrying rock-and-roll with silent cinema in its presentations). The SFIFF’s next venture into these waters is a pairing of Stephen Merritt from Magnetic Fields and the 1916 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea this May. Meanwhile, SFSFF has announced it will show the restored Metropolis at its festival in July. Both events at the Castro.
Thanks for the correction – I’ve amended the post.