Sunday, June 10, 2007

Brand on the Brain!

Last night we went to the Egyptian for a screening of Guy Maddin's new film "Brand on the Brain!". Billed as a "live cinematic spectacular", I can only attest that it was a truly inspiring theatrical experience - A black and white silent film accompanied by a live 11 piece orchestra, live foley artists, a Castrato, and a live "celebrity" narrator.

Previous showings in other cities featured celbrity narrators as diverse as Isabella Rossellini, Lou Reed, Eli Wallach, Crispin Glover, and John Ashbury.

Before the screening, we spoke with a lady who had walked out of the 7:30 screening. She was complaining that the narrator was just awful. Way too campy. (Her narrator was the guy who wrote Lemony Snicket) Lucky for us, our celebrity narrator was none other than bass legend and compadre Mike Watt.

Watt's narration was tasteful, sensitive, and sincere. If you're familiar with Mike, you know he has a distinct voice - a bassy rumble with a sailor twang. It was perfect for the film, and I can see how an incredibly campy performance could have ruined the experience.

The film itself is spectacular; an incredibly unique, surreal, expressionist fever-dream autobiography that warrants repeat viewings.

"Brand on the Brain!" has been extended through Monday night. Udo Kier narrates tonight at 7:30, Barbara Steele narrates tomorrow night. Starting next week, the film will continue to run, but with a pre-recorded soundtrack featuring narration by Isabella Rossellini. Tickets are available here.
- H


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