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Friday, July 9, 2010

Group gives silence a new soundtrack

Staff writer

What a wonderful time to be screening French film director Rene Clair's "Paris Qui Dort" in Tokyo. With the cutely named Tokyo Sky Tree having now reached the uncute height of 398 meters, and with it still being unclear exactly what will become of the quaint Tokyo Tower (332.5 meters) that it replaces as the region's main television broadcasting tower, it is surely worth taking a look at one of the films that permanently etched the Eiffel Tower into the popular consciousness, and thereby turned it into one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world.

Clair's film is a surreal tale of the Eiffel Tower's caretaker, who descends from his elevated workplace once day to find that all of Paris is at a standstill — that, literally, everyone is frozen in their tracks.

The film was made in 1925 and is silent, but when it is shown at Vacant, in Tokyo's Harajuku district, on July 16, it will be accompanied with a performance by Cinemaxa, a Paris-based group of musicians that specialize in improvised accompaniment to silent films.

Cinemaxa have performed all over the world — most recently in Venezuela. On their first visit to Tokyo they will be represented by core member Antipop, who will also be performing at the Tokyo Electronic Music Festival later this month, as well as Japan-based musicians Mamoru Hoshi and Elliott Hasiuk. "Paris Qui Dort," which lasts 36 minutes, will be the main attraction of their July 16 show, but it will also include Noel Renard's "Balancoires" (1928) and film pioneer Melies' "Le Chaudron Infernal."

Cinemaxa will perform at Vacant in Harajuku, Tokyo, on July 16. For more information, visit www.n0idea.com

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