A screening of Svengali (1931) on 16mm film with a short introduction by Filmmaker Joel Schlemowitz
Date: Tuesday, April 14th
Location: Morbid Anatomy Museum, 424 Third Avenue, 11215 Brooklyn
The 1931 adaptation of George Du Maurier's Trilby is perhaps most notable for the gleefully sinister John Barrymore in his role as the Jewish mesmerist and malevolent maestro. Set in the painters' studios of bohemian Paris is the tale of a tin-eared damsel who is transformed into prima donna by a strange Eastern European musician and hypnotist, making her the captive of his sinister psychic control.
The film is a charming, gothic curio -- with distorted expressionist sets -- a sombre charcoal gray visual palette -- glistening black and white images emblematic of the golden age of silver nitrate -- the haunting special effect of the hypnotist's glowing eyes -- and a fantastical tracking shot moving through Svengali's window and across the Paris rooftops in a moment of pure cine-magic. Filmmaker and drollerist Joel Schlemowitz will introduce the movie with a short talk on Svengali and the sexual anxieties of the anti-semite.
Expect Trilby-themed cocktails: “The Little Billee,” “The Taffy,” and “The Laird.” The event will also include pre- and post-screening music by way of 78 records on the Victrola, featuring bel canto arias and Yiddish comic songs.
Svengali will be presented on 16mm film -- that’s REAL film, people! Film!!
Joel Schlemowitz is an experimental filmmaker based in Brooklyn who works in 16mm film, shadowplay, and stereographic media. His recently completed first feature film 78rpm, an experimental documentary about the gramophone, will begin screening this year. His short works have been shown at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, New York Film Festival, and Tribeca Film Festival and have received awards from the Chicago Underground Film Festival, The Dallas Video Festival, and elsewhere. Shows of installation artworks include Anthology Film Archives, and Microscope Gallery. He teaches experimental filmmaking at The New School. www.joelschlemowitz.com