The Mouth – Bournemouth – Poole – Christchurch

Kokoro to bring classic silent Hitchcock thriller to life

As part of the opening weekend of this year’s Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s dedicated new music ensemble Kokoro will be performing in a live screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1929 thriller, Blackmail, on Sunday 15 October at Pavilion Dance, Bournemouth. This screening is also the closing event of the first annual Short Sounds Film Festival celebrating the sound of cinema as the world’s first film festival dedicated entirely to the crafts of sound and music. Led by Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor Mark Forkgen, the versatile ensemble will comprise nine musicians made up of BSO and freelance players and they will perform the commissioned score by British composer Jonathan Lloyd to accompany this masterpiece from the master of suspense.

The film was recently restored by specialists at the British Film Institute (BFI) as part of a project to restore nine of Hitchcock’s early silent movies, the biggest venture of its kind undertaken by the BFI. Hitchcock’s first ten silent films, of which nine survive, are little known compared to his later works yet are among the greatest achievements of British silent cinema. The importance of these nine films is shown by their addition to the UK’s section of the UNESCO Memory of the World register, an archive of cultural treasures that includes the Domesday book.

Blackmail is based on the play by Charles Bennett and tells the story of a woman who kills a man in self-defence but then falls victim to a blackmailer and starred Polish actress Anny Ondra and John Longden in the leading roles. The mixture of location filming and line-up of believable working-class characters combined to make Blackmaila success, not only as a thriller but as a vivid portrayal of London life. The film featured Hitchcock’s first true ‘set-piece’, a gripping chase through the British Museum and up onto its domed roof, made possible by blending location shooting with special effects. Blackmail is also notable for being the first full-length British ‘talkie’, initially starting as a silent film but was then re-shot as a version with an almost complete soundtrack, making Hitchcock the first British director to embrace the addition of sound to cinema. The silent version which will be screened at Kokoro’s performance is rarely seen, but for many film critics and historians, it remains the superior work and highlights Hitchcock’s mastery of storytelling through images alone. When combined with Jonathan Lloyd’s vibrant score, the power of music as an additional narrative element makes Hitchcock’s compelling imagery even more effective and highlights the importance of musical accompaniment in the silent film era.

As the BSO’s new music ensemble, Kokoro is committed to performing 20th and 21st Century music, regularly commissioning composers and premiering new works. Many of Kokoro’s performances have engaged theatre, film and other media, for example their recent collaboration with Arts University Bournemouth for an ambitious production of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods and their performance of the world premiere of Jim Aitchison’s new score inspired by Sir Anthony Caro’s ‘Sea Music’ sculpture.

Festival spokesperson Roxy Robinson said, “We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, which this year culminates in a live score of the cult classic Alfred Hitchcock film, Blackmail. This is the second time Arts by the Sea has hosted the live score, which was a highlight of the festival in 2013. This time the event is co-presented with the White Lantern Film Festival, a newly launched festival focusing on celebrating the film score, at Pavilion Dance. As a closing event to the film festival’s packed schedule, this live score will be a critical reminder of the power of film music. An experience not to be missed.”

Now in its seventh year, the Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival will return this October for another exciting week-long celebration of performing and visual arts. With an eclectic mix of intriguing, spectacular and (sometimes) down-right curious arts experiences ranging from intimate theatre shows through to illuminated installations, live music and large scale outdoor spectaculars, many of which are free to the public, this year’s event looks set to excite all ages.


Event: Live Screening of ‘Blackmail’ with Kokoro

Venue: Pavilion Dance, Westover Road, Bournemouth BH1 2BU

Date: Sunday 15 October 2017

Time: 8pm

Ticket Prices: £14 Adults; £12 Concessions

To Buy Tickets: Please visit, BH Live Ticketsor call the Pavilion Dance Box Office on 01202 203630

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