By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Monday, June 15th the SILENT|LOUD film screening/concert series returns to Midrash Centro Cultural in Leblon to present the 1937 Polish film “Der Dibuk” (“The Dybbuk”) with the Brazilian experimental rock band In-sone providing live improvisational musical accompaniment during the screening.
Based on the early 20th century S. Ansky play of the same name, “Der Dibuk” is a black and white film in Yiddish with English subtitles. Ansky wrote the play between 1912 and 1917, inspired by Jewish folklore and travels through small towns in Eastern Europe prior to the outbreak of the first World War. Although, Ansky died before the first production of the play, it went on to become one of the most produced pieces of Jewish theater.
Director Michal Waszynsky turned the play into a film, shooting it on location in Poland in 1937 on the eve of World War II, a war that decimated the country.
“Michal Waszynsky’s masterpiece tells the story of the spirit (dybbuk) that possesses a young bride on the eve of her wedding,” Alex Minkin of Ticún Brasil, the SILENT|LOUD event organizer, told The Rio Times. “The film is praised for both rich ethnographic tapestry and exquisite musical and dance scenes. The finest Jewish artists of the time contributed to the film that played for Yiddish-speaking audiences of three million in Poland. Only three thousand survived the Holocaust. ‘Der Dibuk’ is a beautiful time capsule of Yiddish civilization, a coded message into the future from the (almost) disappeared world of Eastern European Jewry that often referred to as Atlantis today.”
This will be the first film in the SILENT|LOUD series to feature sound and dialogue. The series was inspired by the early 1990’s “Loud Music with Silent Films” series held in Manhattan’s Knitting Factory and SILENT|LOUD organizers held the first Brazilian edition at Audio Rebel in Botafogo, on December 13th 2013. They last presented the 1928 silent film, “Fall of the House of Usher”, with the band Sobre a Maquina and saxophonist Alexander Zhemchuzhnikov at Midrash Centro Cultural in Leblon in June of last year during the World Cup.
When asked about the choice of the instrumental rock trio In-sone to provide musical accompaniment during the screening of “Der Dibuk,” Minkin, said; “The band has very cinematic sound and is up to the challenge to improvise with the film’s existing soundtrack. Der Dibuk, directed by Michal Waszynsky in 1937 is an early black and white sound film with strong silent film aesthetics. It combines mystical folklore of the Yiddish theater with some of the German Expressionist imagery that we explored with Der Golem last year.”
Minkin discovered In-sone through a friend who encouraged Minkin while his was in Rio de Janeiro studying Umbanda to attend one of the group’s live performances held at Audio Rebel in Botafogo.
” ‘They are abstract and radical,’ he told me,” said Minkin, adding, “Indeed, In-sone’s improvisational music was a trance like experience for both the audience and the artists, at times having vibes of Umbanda spirit possession ceremonies. As Philip Glass observed, ‘in the state of trance, as in the musical creation, the witness is withdrawn’.”
In-sone was formed in Rio de Janeiro in 2010 with Flávio Abbes on guitar, Gilberto Fortes on six-string bass and Leo Monteiro on drums. Together they mix the sounds of rock, minimalist, tribal, electroacoustic and electronic music. The trio released its debut self-titled album in 2014 and is currently working on a follow-up album, which with be released by Quintavant later this year.
When asked about the upcoming performance, In-sone drummer Leo Monteiro told The Rio Times; “I think being asked to be part of SILENT|LOUD series is great. It’s very good for the public to see and feel the musicians improvising and interacting with the scenes from the movies.”
Monterio originally became a drummer thanks in part to the influence of his sister, a singer and a member of the avant-grade band Tao & Qual. In addition to In-sone , Monterio is a member of Orquestra Imperial and has worked with artists including Gal Costa, Caetano Veloso, Glberto Gil, Arto Lindsay, Seu Jorge, Lenine, Cibelle, Bebel Gilberto, Damo Suzuki, Jane Birkin, Chelpa Ferro, and Jean-Claude Vannier, among others.
Speaking about the show on Monday, Monterio concluded, “This edition will be the first time the event will use a movie that is not muted. It will be a big day for the public and for In-sone. It will be challenging! I hope SILENT|LOUD continues for a long time!”