For the first time in nearly a decade, the 57th SF International Film Festival is presenting not one, but two live programs of contemporary musicians accompanying classic silent films. On April 29, Thao Nguyen and her band The Get Down Stay Down will perform to a selection of classic and inventive silent shorts, including Charlie Chaplin's The Pawnshop, Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapich's The Life and Death of 9413: A Hollywood Extra, and classic newsreels. And on May 6, Stephin Merritt returns to the festival to premiere an original score for Tod Browning's 1927 circus crime thriller The Unknown.
While you're waiting to buy your tickets, whet your appetite with this very special video from 2006 of a live music and film program in its entirety. At SFIFF49, avant-pop band Deerhoof presented an original score for Harry Smith's experimental film Heaven and Earth Magic. Now the entire program is available to watch. According to Deerhoof's John Dieterich's note on the video, the band never performed this again, and it was guitarist Chris Cohen's second to last show in the band. If you like what you see, you're in luck: more of Smith's animation will feature in Thao Nguyen's program at this year's SFIFF!