A blog about Hudson, New York

Silence Is Golden

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Linda Mussmann, the co-artistic director with Claudia Bruce of Time & Space Limited,  has certainly received her share of brickbats, including from this blog, largely (from me at least) because of her inflammatory opposition to historic preservation. But credit should be given when it is due, as it certainly is when it comes to TSL’s recent film programming. When I first saw the list of silent film masterworks that TSL will be showing for free every Friday eve through August 1 at the The Pocket Park (330 Warren Street),  my heart leapt. Man With A Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov’s purely cinematic, non-narrative dazzler, which was shown last night ), George Pabst’s Pandora Box, with Louise Brooks,  The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (which looks like much of life to me nowadays), and perhaps my fave, Buster Keaton’s The General — are so infrequently shown in public these days that it’s hard to think of a greater public service than to do so, so long as they look good. Which, from the evidence of last night’s showing, they do: perfect prints, sharply projected,  all accompanied by a modern percussive musical ensemble that sounded terrific – a bonus that one might find only late one lucky Sunday night on Turner Classic Movies. (One caveat: It is simply verboten to have any kind of spoken-word accompaniment to any silent film, but particularly one like Man With a Camera, which specifically says in the opening titles that it is a work completely free from the influence of theater or literature; Bruce’s Gertrude Stein-like poetry, which she recited throughout the film, was at best, an annoying distraction, at worst a slap in the face to the artist’s intentions. Let’s just cross our fingers that she doesn’t do the same with narrative films like Pandora Box or The General.)

A look at TSL’s scheduled indoor programming also should bring a round of applause (and audience members): Eric Rohmer A Summer Tale (not to be confused with Rohmer’s Summer, from ten years earlier, and also a fave) and the new Polish film, Lydia, one of the years most acclaimed arrivals that seemed to take forever to get to these parts, are two glorious highlights. This is the Linda that I at least can truly relate to; just imagine if you’re a kid and your mom or dad brings you to The General (which he or she should) and you see Buster Keaton’s beautiful face for the first time —  a public service that only a cultural institituon like hers can provide with such panache.  — Scott Baldinger

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