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Last night I popped along to the Genesis Cinema on Mile End Road (very near Stepney Green tube station, and close to where I work) to see two much-loved films that use sound in an interesting way. Basically Ally, the event programmer, must have sat down and thought to himself “let’s make a film night for Jo” – it turned out to be a free double-bill, with bonus film music, and was fantastic!

Scanner (Robin Rimbaud) played some lovely atmospheric soundtracks before the first film and in the interval. After I raved about it on Twitter, then contacted him to rave a bit more he tweeted back that he’ll be uploading the setlist to his website soon so I’ll be able to find out exactly what the lovely tunes were.

Edit: later that same day… here’s the Scalarama Mix 1 just uploaded by Scanner 😀


The first film was Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio which is dreamy and evocative both in terms of sound and visuals – I saw it when it opened and loved it then and smiled all the way through it again last night. Just lovely. Also even funnier the second time around, and the Genesis crowd certainly enjoyed it.

The first time I saw it I don’t think I’d realised the Broadcast / Julian House / Ghost Box connection – I’m a big fan of the Belbury Parish ‘magazine’ blog which highlights the work of the Ghost Box label. I managed to miss that they had an involvement in the film. Here’s a review not of the film but of Broadcast’s original sound track, from The Quietus – I think my favourite line is “So what we’re listening to here is non-diegetic sound designed as diegetic sound that the film’s audience can only experience non-diegetically” and I will have to go away and work out exactly what that means 😉

After Berberian it was Brian de Palma’s Blow Out which I have seen before, but not for ages, so it was almost like watching for the first time. Another film that zooms in on little things to do with sound, and full of gorgeous shots of bits of machinery and cool gadgets. I’d managed to completely forget the most brilliant bit of the film, which I won’t spoil in case you’ve not seen it, but involves a rather inventive method of synchronisation. Brilliant. Well OK, the trailer below does rather give it away.

This event was part of the Scalarama Film Festival which is running across the UK in September. It was a sort of pre-event really as Scalarama doesn’t start fully until tonight / tomorrow morning. They’ve got all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff going on there. I saw Ikarie XB-1 (aka Voyage to the End of the Universe) at the press launch a few weeks ago, heaven.