Day 8 of the Miami International Film Festival was probably one of the most reverent days as far as centerpiece events at the festival. It involved a tribute to Fernando Trueba, a Spanish director who burst onto the world cinema stage with an Oscar-winning film that debuted at MIFF in 1994, Belle Epoque. Above, you will find the original video tribute by local artists Buzzeye and Gabo that opened the night at the Olympia Theater without an announcement.

I shall not go into details of last night right now, as I am saving them for a piece scheduled to appear in “Cultist,” the art and culture blog of “Miami New Times,” on Monday. Suffice it to say that the video above was not the only surprise of the night.

Trueba’s new film, the Artist and the Model, had its US debut that night. It has already picked up distribution by the Cohen Media Group, who was represented at the screening by the distributor’s founder. The more I reflect on the film, the more I like it, as it stands as a beautiful testament to art, its process and how it transcends the mortal beings who create it.

For now, more film. In this week’s “Miami New Times” more reviews appeared in print, including one by this writer. Here’s a link to the capsule reviews, some films will have their final screenings this weekend, as the festival draws to a close (jump through the “New Times” logo for reviews on Venus and Serena, Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury, Pietà, the Crash Reel and Vinyl Days):

Miami New Times logo

Today, on the agenda are the following two films (I also hope to catch up on some home-viewing):

6:45 PM: BEIJING FLICKERS (YOU-ZHONG)

9:45 PM: AFTER LUCIA (DESPUÉS DE LUCIA)

I am also playing mentor to one of the film festival’s “future cinema critics,” Justin James. He reviewed Beijing Flickers, among others in this blog post. As for After Lucia, the Herald’s critic warned me that I’d be having problems with him if I don’t like it. He can thank himself for raising my expectations. We shall see. The trailer looks powerful:

Hans Morgenstern

(Copyright 2013 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

Pulido performing in Deep-Surface. Image courtesy of the artist.Gabriel Pulido, aka Gabó, will once again bring his unique ambient music stylings to a silent film at the Miami Beach Cinematheque. Last year, Pulido produced an experimental score of electronic noise for the silent surrealist film classics by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí, Un Chien Andalou (1929) and L’Age D’or (1930) at the cinema (Gabriel Pulido brings soundtrack craft to the early films of Luis Buñuel). But now his visual will come from a decidedly different, though no less pioneering cinema artist: Buster Keaton.

The slapstick comedy of Keaton offers very different imagery from the surrealist works of Buñuel. However,  Pulido states via email from his new home in New York, this does not mean either artist does not cross over into territories of humor. Keaton, Buster (Navigator, The)_01“Even as The Buñuel films I did music for had a comic edge, Buster Keaton has his unique universe,” writes Pulido. “Musically I am trying to cross the original (played in theaters back then) music’s melodic and harmonic language with kitsch seventies and eighties raw synthetic sounds. Those old Casiotone rhythmic machine sounds might also show up!! It’s going to be fun.”

Pulido has put in some impressive work— once again— in studying the film he will score, Keaton’s 1924 sea-faring adventure the Navigator. “I’ve been watching the film several times, spotting the important moments and moods, analyzing the existing music, and writing some ideas on different synth sounds for different registers (bass parts, mid-range, etc). I am also creating motifs to the main characters. I basically create frameworks and sound palettes with which I can play live.”

Pulido will appear for one night only at the Miami Beach CinemathequeThursday, Dec. 6to offer his distinct musical stylings to a screening of the Navigator at 8 p.m.

(Copyright 2012 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

With the arrival of daylight saving time this Saturday, here comes a special all-night out on Miami Beach: Sleepless Night Miami Beach. Every once-in-a-while Miami Beach is not about the club scene and partying at night. On Saturday night, as the populace “falls back” an hour, South Beach will host as many as 150 cultural events during the annual 13-hour night with an event that has only happened bi-annually since 2007. It follows in a tradition that first began in Paris as Nuit Blanche.

You want to see everything that will go down, maps, details and all? Go to the event’s homepage, to download this year’s 29-page program guide. The wonderful thing about keeping up with this blog is the inside scoop that seems to fall my way. Gabó hinted at what he had planned in my interview with him (Gabriel Pulido brings soundtrack craft to the early films of Luis Buñuel). Now he has revealed what movie will form the basis of his collaboration with visual artist Buzzeye. Check out  the clip below, which demonstrates the sort of visuals that will be “wall-casted” on the Frank Gehry-designed New World Symphony wall as part of the night, at 1 a.m. (the hour just before the time shift, so be aware):

The music and re-mixing of dialogue is Gabo’s handiwork, while the film was “deconstructed” and “colorized” by Buzzeye. I’m sure I need not mention the Italian classic’s title to readers of this blog.

I also received a phone call from Carl Ferrari, who will perform his hybrid jazz-Flamenco style with dancer Ana Miranda, at the start of the evening, at 6 p.m., on the second floor of the Miami Beach Public Library, another nice piece of architecture in itself. I wrote about him here: Happy re-birth day to Miami-based musician Carl Ferrari.

Throughout the night, the Miami Beach Cinematheque will actually project outside its venue, on to the surrounding buildings from all seven of its giant windows. The looping film project, Sonámbula by Dinorah de Jesús Rodriguez, will start projecting at 9 p.m. As the MBC calendar event space describes: the images are culled from “classic vintage film imagery that addresses the topic of sleeplessness or insomnia and the magical phenomenon of sleepwalking. Snippets from such classics as The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari will mingle with recurring images of giant eyes that blink with the electrifying movement created by hand-scratching on the imagery and the mechanical whirring of several 16mm projectors.” A few months back, the MBC’s director, Dana Keith, and I had chatted about how cool it would be to have the famous 24-hour film the Clock play inside the venue, but that was not going to happen (the night is 13 hours, after all, not 24).

Of course, that’s just a taste of the scores of events (and I am sure there will be plenty of unofficial ones) happening that night. All events are FREE and start at 6 p.m. and end at 6 a.m. with a free breakfast on the beach for those who can survive the 13-hour night.

Hans Morgenstern

(Copyright 2011 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

Beached Miami just published another post I wrote for them. It is focused on what Miami Beach-based composer Gabriel Pulido plans to bring as musical accompaniment to the silent surrealist film classics by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí, Un Chien Andalou (1929) and L’Age D’or (1930). The on-going Great Directors series at the Miami Beach Cinematheque continues with a tribute to the preeminent surrealist filmmaker Buñuel, throughout the month of September.

You can read details about how Pulido plans to pull off his ambient augmentation of the existing soundtracks of Un Chien and L’Age by clicking through the logo below:

Though it is a one-night only event, for which Pulido has created a limited run of 50 CDs to be available for purchase at the event, the electronic music composer has experience with re-envisioning film soundtracks. His “re-mixing” of another iconic film, Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless was a collaboration with another local artist, this time of the visual realm, simply known as Buzzeye. “We’ve worked with Breathless three times, including at the French Alliance and a special event at New World Symphony,” Pulido told me when we met for drinks at a local coffee house.

The sonic and visual artists filtered the iconic French New Wave film with colorful, trippy, computer-generated visuals and supplemental sounds, including popular tunes as well as electro-synthesized music, turning it into a sort of abstract art installation. You can watch a sample of the work below:

Pulido actually called the work he did with Breathless “less experimental” than what he plans to do with the Buñuel films, at least from the sonic side, as the visuals of Buñuel will in no way be altered at tomorrow’s screening. “With Godard I mixed in other songs … and left some of the direct soundtrack, including dialogue,” he said.

In the near future, during Miami Beach’s next Sleepless Night arts festival, he plans to do a similar work with Buzzeye. “We’ll be doing a new filmmaker. One of the big ones,” he teased. He said the film will be screened on the outdoor wall of the New World Symphony, off Lincoln Road and Washington Avenue, during the festival that starts Nov. 5, a Saturday night, and continues into Sunday morning.

Pulido actually has his hands in many projects, including his own solo work as Gabó. He completed his solo debut in 2007, entitled Somewhere Between the Beach and the Sea. In early 2010, he released an EP entitled “After the Moonlight” and has a new single with Latin music vocalist Natascha Bessez, which you can stream below:

Then there is Deep-Surface. On the website for the project it is described as a “A concert/multimedia performance in homage to the Sea [featuring] music, dance, video-sculptures and projections.” It debuted during the Miami Beach Sleepless art festival in 2009. Local dancer and choreographer Sandra Portal-Andreu is part of the group, as is an eclectic mix of musicians including Abi Loutou (cello), Ebonee Thomas (flute), Ali Kringel (voice) and Rafael Solano (percussion). It has even been performed by the artists in France. They made some video clips of their Miami Beach performances, and this must be my favorite:

When asked who are his touchstones when it comes to electronic music, Pulido, who has a degree in Music Synthesis from the Berklee College of Music in Boston and a diploma in film scoring from the “Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris Alfred Cortot,” notes some of the true pioneers of electronic music as influences, including the so-called “Father of Electronic Music” Edgar Varèse and Steve Reich, whose pioneering work with tapes holds particular interest. He also cites Eric Satie as the pioneer of ambient music, though he also has a place in his heart for Brian Eno and popular artists like Air.

Pulido will appear for only one night (tomorrow) offering his distinct ambient stylings to back-to-back screenings of Un Chien Andalou and L’Age D’or at 8 p.m. The MBC has vintage Buñuel memorabilia on display for the month of September, which will also offer one-night-only screenings of 1961′s Viridiana on Sept. 8, at 8 p.m. and 1962′s the Exterminating Angel on Sept. 22, at 8 p.m. (Read more).

Hans Morgenstern

(Copyright 2011 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)
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