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Phantom Carriage with Live Music at VanCity for Halloween


Phantom Carriage with Live Music
at VanCity for Halloween

;The Phantom Carriage at VIFF Vancity;
(October 27, 2014 – Vancouver, BC) The Phantom Carriage is one of those great films from the silent era that both entertain and illustrate how filmmakers built the business by devising new ways to tell their stories. Without computers or special effects departments, they created camera tricks and processing tricks to thrill their audiences. One such film is the 1921 feature-length fright film The Phantom Carriage by director Victor Sjostrom and it will play with a live music score in Vancouver this Friday and Saturday.

The plot is fairly basic. The last person to die on New Year`s Eve before the clock strikes 12 is doomed to take the reins of Death`s chariot and work tirelessly collecting fresh souls for the next year. The story, based on a novel by Nobel prize winner Selam Lagerlof, concerns an alcoholic, abusive ne’er do well (played by director Victor Sjostrom himself) who is shown the error of his ways, and the pure-hearted Salvation army sister who believes in his redemption.

Jamie Graham, writing for Total Film, said this about The Phantom Carriage: “Using superimposition and double-exposure to bring the rickety wagon and its wretched occupants to ghostly life, The Phantom Carriage balances visual poetry with emotional violence.”

The Phantom Carriage is a rich, dark, Dickensian morality tale and supernatural spectacle. The film is extraordinary on many levels, and cast a long shadow that influenced many films including Nosferatu, Dreyer`s Vampyr, Jean Cocteau`s Orphee, Kubrick`s The Shining, and, of course, Ingmar Bergman`s Wild Strawberries, which starred Sjostrom some three decades later. “The film of all films,” Bergman called it. He made a point of watching it at least once a year.

Both screenings on October 31 and November 1 will be accompanied by Vancouver band Funerary Call performing an original, newly commissioned score. Created by Vancouver musician Harlow Macfarlane in 1994, Funerary Call draws from a diverse palette of analog and digital hardware, found objects, field recordings and ritual implements to conjure an unsettling ancient atmosphere that aims to transcend the perceptive listener, spiritually and emotionally — beyond all boundaries and limitations.

Click here for more information about this film and others screening at VIFF VanCity Theatre.