Confession: I don’t cry all that often, but I weep — welling up, sniffling, tears streaming down my face weep — at a well-cut film score. We don’t often give orchestration much of a nod in filmmaking; certainly no one outside the industry particularly cared who won the Oscar for it last year. (It was Black Panther, by the way.) A new film series at the Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC), however, is hoping to change that.
Caramoor at the Burns: Movies Musicians Love kicks off Tuesday, September 10 and presents feature films personally selected by artists from the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts. Every month will spotlight a new film chosen by a different artist for its artistic and musical merits.
JBFC Programming Director Brian Ackerman says, “We tend to think that film is essentially visual, but often music is the beating heart, the invisible place where the emotional life of a film happens.”
“What movies do musicians love because of their music, and why?” he continues. “We’re thrilled to partner with fellow Westchester institution, Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts. They have asked their extraordinary performers to curate films to showcase here, and we couldn’t be happier with their selections.”
Caramoor’s Executive Producer and Vice President of Artistic Programming, Kathy Schuman, was likewise impressed with the center’s resident artists. “All the musicians I reached out to for this project were immediately enthusiastic and had no trouble coming up with several favorites.” She adds, “Some of them are serious film geeks! It’s turned out to be a wonderfully eclectic selection.”
The film series kicks off on September 10 with 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. screenings of Black Orpheus, a 1959 Brazillian retelling of the classic myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, selected by violist John Largess of the Miró Quartet.
“There is no story more rooted in the power of music than that of Orpheus and his lost love, Eurydice,” Largess says. “Black Orpheus is a piece of cinema art that is as gorgeous and energetic as it is electrifying and visceral.”
Further films include screenings of O Brother, Where Art Though? on October 1, selected by Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Sarah Jarosz; Alexander Nevsky on November 5, selected by Grammy-winning Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov; and The Triplets of Belleville on December 3, as selected by Tony Award-winning director Ted Sperling.
“I remember vividly seeing The Triplets of Belleville in the movie theater, soon after it was released in the U.S. I was struck with how little dialogue there was, and how much of the story was told through music,” Sperling says. “And what fun music it is!”
The series is expected to continue past December and into 2020, with future film selections and dates to be announced periodically. For tickets and selection details, visit the Jacob Burns Film Center’s Movies Musicians Love event series page.