Buffalo’s film aficionados can experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to locally view a classic film alongside a musical performance by a groundbreaking musician. Steven Severin, best known as the bassist and co-founder of influential 1980s band Siouxsie and the Banshees, will perform a new score he created for Jean Cocteau’s surrealist film Blood of a Poet in conjunction with a film showing. The show has toured throughout the UK and North America, and will now be presented once in Buffalo. The show will be hosted by Buffalo-produced television program Offbeat Cinema and Hallwall’s Contemporary Art Center on Saturday, August 27th at 7 p.m. at Market Arcade Film & Arts Center. The program’s distinctive combination of music and film promises to be an unforgettable experience according to Offbeat Cinema creator James Gillan. As he explains, “This will be an opportunity for people to [not only] see an incredibly influential performer, but also see him perform a [unique score for] a movie that already stands alone as a hallmark of cinema.”
James Gillan says that Offbeat Cinema was interested in hosting Severin’s “Blood of a Poet” performance after they gained knowledge of Severin’s Severin’s interpretive soundtracks to silent films. As Gillan explains, “Severin is a very influential part of the 80’s music scene, which makes him relevant in this respect alone. However, his [new film projects] are a great standalone project. They add a new relevancy to the great work he does as an artist.” Severin has created numerous soundtracks for avant-garde films, which includes all three films of Jean Cocteau’s The Orphic Trilogy. Gillan explains that of all the films Severin has worked with, these three films depict a particularly timeless theme that lent itself well to his musical objectives. The trilogy explores the tension a poet or artist feels between pursuing their artistic desires and impending danger or death. As Gillan describes, “[Think of] how many artists we hear about that give up their life in the pursuit of life, dying tragically, young and penniless. This [universal] theme is incredibly prevalent in this film.”
Offbeat Cinema believes that this one-of-a-kind production emphasizes the mission of Offbeat Cinema while providing an excellent educational film experience. According to Gillan, Offbeat Cinema was eager to offer this amazing production live in Buffalo. “[Offbeat Cinema] immediately noticed the great critical acclaim Severin received for this project. These movies are pretty interpretive to begin with, and we saw that [Severin’s vision] was incredible.” Gillan explains that the film’s interpretive approach to the plight of the artist emphasizes Offbeat Cinema‘s dedication to showing obscure films that might be difficult to view elsewhere. “We’ve been on the air for over 15 years and we present films that are [not widely viewed]… when we first heard about Severin’s project, it seemed natural to bring it to Buffalo.”
Offbeat Cinema expected positive acclaim for the brilliant performance, but was surprised, yet pleased at the immediate buzz about the show. Gillan enthusiastically states, “as soon as we announced the show, even before a date was set, we received numerous positive e-mails about the event.”
“Think about this,” notes Gillan, “it is pretty interesting that people [from the area] are heavily discussing, and planning to come see an art film like this.” He believes this reception shows the great intellect of this community. “The fact that people are interested and supporting this is a credit to the area.” Hopefully, word of mouth will positively impact the Buffalo performance and allow this show one of the best live reenactments of Severin’s soundtrack yet.
Filmgoers can also look forward to the opening band, Moss of Ancients. A local group who combines visuals and sounds, Moss of Ancients are a talented group who will emphasize Buffalo’s great artistic offerings and will provide a great gateway to Severin’s performance.
Tickets cost $15 in advance and $20 at the door, and can be purchased beforehand at Poster Art, Tarrapin Station, and on the Offbeat Cinema website, which is www.offbeatcinema.com.