Film Society to Screen Silent Film with Live Musical Accompaniment


By on Wed, August 28, 2013

Friday, Aug. 30, 8:00 p.m.
Community United Methodist Sanctuary
777 Miramontes St., Half Moon Bay (corner of Johnston Street)
Suggested donation: $8 adults, $3 for those 18 years and under

Feature:  VARIETY (1925, 72 minutes)

“A little-seen yet engaging tale of betrayal and jealousy, set within the seamy-by-default world of carnivals and circuses.” — Film

German director E.A. Dupont’s silent masterpiece features the lighting and camera work of cinematographer D.P. Karl Freund, lending the work an expressionist flair and a dark neo-realistic undertone. The basic plot is simple and perhaps a bit tawdry: A man abandons his wife and child to join the circus and to run away with a beautiful trapeze artist. His new girlfriend is tempted by another handsome circus performer. There’s lots of conflict under the big top! The film has superlative cinematography — and we’re adding music to make it extra exciting.

The music in question is provided by Montara's own Shauna Pickett-Gordon. This is the fifth time that the Film Society has hired Pickett-Gordon to write a score for one of its silent film night features and to play that score live, on her grand piano, during the screening. Why go this effort when canned music is much cheaper? Check out the short video of Pickett-Gordon at work during the February Coastside Silent Film Night to see just how great she can be.

Critics agreed that Variety was a great groundbreaking film when it was released in 1925 — and it’s a film that still delivers. “Flashbacks from a prison straight out of a Van Gogh painting … impressionistic lighting, lingering expressionist imagery, and giddily mobile camerawork are all pushed to unprecedented extremes,” says Time Out London.

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