BL!NDMAN Akenkaai 2, B-1000 Brussels +32 (0)2 201 59 47
 
 

line-up

eric sleichim > concept, composition, alto saxophone & electronics eric sleichim
alex fostier > electronic sound treatment sound editing & surround effects
philippe van leer > special sound effects
peter missotten > light & scenography
diederik de cock > recording special sound effects & live soundtechnique
veerle vaes > manipulations sound effects & production management

LA CHUTE DE LA MAISON USHER is a BL!NDMAN-production, commissioned by the Flanders International Filmfestival [25th edition] and Vooruit, in coproduction with deSingel and Ufa Fabrik-Berlin, with the help of the Royal Film Archive Brussels.

BL!NDMAN is supported by the Arts Administration of the Ministry of the Flemish Community and the Flemish Community Commission of the Brussels-Capital Region. BL!NDMAN [sax] play Selmer Paris Saxophones. BL!NDMAN [drums] is supported by Muremo, distributor of Bergerault Percusssion Instruments.

LA CHUTE DE LA MAISON USHER

silent film by Jean Epstein from 1928 with live accompaniment – Eric Sleichim solo & electronics

On the stifling images of Epsteins masterpiece, Eric Sleichim wrote a 3-D soundtrack for alto saxophone, generating electronic effects. Parallel with the freakish hallucinations of the main character Roderick, he moulds the sound of his saxophone until one barely recognises the instrument.
The intense dialogue between musician and image submerges the public thus completely in the eccentric world of Edgar Allan Poe.

the film

This ¬‘poetic horror film¬’ is one of the best examples of Epstein¬’s work. Based on different stories of Edgar Allan Poe it contains a compelling quality of atmosphere. In this film Jean Epstein gave a full range to his cinematic theories and rich avant-garde techniques. Using Poe¬’s stories as a starting point he created a highly stylised and personal work, ¬—a distinct cinematic achievement. This film is marked by the intelligent use of various film devices, a sensitive and precise editing, a strong and calculated rhythm of movement, and an imaginative poetry. Very few other film directors have had such a cultivated sense for the image and for what Epstein himself called the ¬‘photogenie du Mouvement¬’.

Roderick Usher, painting his wife¬’s portrait, finds that as the work progresses, life drains from the woman herself. When Madeline collapses and dies, Roderick sinks into an existence of torpor and monotony; yet paradoxically, his senses sharpen to a frustrating acuteness. One night, a sudden storm erupts with terrific force. Roderick watches and listens intently at the window … while lightning strikes the chateau and sets it afire, Madeline slowly arises from her grave and comes to him.

De film implies that art that substitutes and ignores life in an urge to be perfect, is blind, perverse and finally self-destructive.

the music

BL!NDMAN is once more showing its innovative side in the live accompaniment of a classic the silent film.

After accompaniments of the Japanese avant-garde film ¬‘Kurutta Ippeiji¬’ by Teinosuke Kinugasa and Buster Keatons comedy ¬‘Steamboat Bill Junior¬’, Eric Sleichim was guided by horror as central idea to close this triptych. On the stifling images of Epsteins masterpiece, Eric Sleichim wrote a 3-D soundtrack for alto saxophone, generating electronic effects. Parallel with the freakish hallucinations of the main character Roderick, he moulds the sound of his saxophone until one barely recognises the instrument.
The intense dialogue between musician and image submerges the public thus completely in the eccentric world of Edgar Allan Poe.

Premiere > 13 October 1998.

programme

35mm restored & coloured copy
director > jean epstein (1898 warschau -1953 paris)
assistant to the director > luis bu√Īuel
screenplay > jean epstein, adapted from storys by edgar allan poe: ¬‘the fall of the house of usher¬’, ¬‘the oval portrait¬’, ¬‘ligeia¬’, ¬‘silence¬’ en ¬‘the man of the crowd¬’

actors
roderick usher > jean debucourt
madeline usher > marguerite abel-gance
the guest > charles lamy
others > pierre hot, luc dartagnan, pierre kéfer

filmproduction
films jean epstein, paris, première 5 october 1928
intertitels > french
length > 1271 m, 70 min (16 images /sec)
archive > royal film archive brussels

restoration
restored and coloured by royal film archive of brussels with the collaboration of cineteca del comune di bologna from the original black & white negative (with french intertitels) of the cinématheque française and the positive black & white and coloured nitrate copy of the nederlands filmmuseum.


LA CHUTE DE LA MAISON USHER played among others on the following locations:

1999
ANTWERPEN / ANVERS - deSingel
TORHOUT - cc brouckère
1998
BERLIN (D) - ufa fabrik
GENT / GAND - vooruit / internationaal filmfestival
LEUVEN / LOUVAIN - stuc
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BL!NDMAN       contact info

Sainctelettesquare 18-19
B-1000 Brussels, Belgium
+32 2 201 59 47

contact:

general and artistic direction:
management:   M +32 485 30 98 01
technical coordination & sound engineer:   M +32 485 53 68 16
production manager:   M +32 498 54 96 81

BL!NDMAN is supported by the Arts Administration of the Ministry of the Flemish Community and the Flemish Community Commission of the Brussels-Capital Region. BL!NDMAN [sax] play Selmer Paris Saxophones. BL!NDMAN [drums] is supported by Muremo, distributor of Bergerault Percusssion Instruments.