Imagine you are in a museum looking at a Picasso and suddenly some kid Tags it with spray paint all over.
Well it is exactly what a group of musicians did this Thursday, under the direction of composer Sarah Pagé, to Masaki Kobayashi’s visually striking Kwaidan (1964), originally scored by legendary Toru Takemitsu.
Takemitsu’s soundtrack, ranked # 16 in Rolling Stone Magazine list of Greatest Horror Soundtracks, gave the John Cage treatment of theories and paradigm-shifting sounds to Kobayashi’s collection of ghost stories from Japanese folklore, distorting traditional instruments and other ingenious devices, carefully balancing sound and silence.
In Music for Movies (1994), the composer explained, about the overall effect he tried to achieve: “It’s like sneaking up behind someone to scare them… first, you have to be silent… Even a single sound can be film music…
Apparently Ms. Pagé never saw that documentary and it seemed suitable to spread everything like cheap wallpaper, wall to wall over the sound mix so the majority of the audience, discovering Kwaidan for the first time, didn’t get a horror story on the screen but under it, in the shadow.
After 40 minutes of this messing around where the musical ensemble threw everything they got without really caring about the movie, I left the Cinema to stop suffering this aural attack since it was going nowhere anyway.
To the nice lady in charge of these Cine-Concerts, please, stop messing around with such great movies and get your act together for the next edition of FNC. Cine-Concerts can be fun…