About this project
- “The music in itself has the grandeur of a concert.” “This exceptional event, which is more than a mere novelty, engulfs the senses and sets the imagination soaring.” —San Francisco Chronicle
There is nothing like watching a silent movie with a score performed by a 20-musician orchestra. We are Gamelan Sekar Jaya—performing the music and dance of Bali—and Club Foot Orchestra—creating original jazz scores for silent film—and we are raising money to resurrect this exceptional event at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival on July 20, 2013.
- “A seductive blend of serious documentary, lyrical effusion and unbridled prurience (yes, those native girls are topless), the film takes us back to a time when movies looked out at the world, rather than trying to create artificial environments.”—New York Times
Legong: Dance of the Virgins, shot on the island of Bali, Indonesia, in 1933, should be on your Radar of Amazing Films for many reasons. First, it was shot in two-color Technicolor; you may think of the Wizard of Oz and Snow White as the first color films, but predating them were several films shot with a beta version—two-color Technicolor, which has a beautiful aesthetic in its own right. Legong was the last movie released with this stock. Second, it’s shot in Bali with an all-locals cast, and features valuable documentary footage of rituals, festivals, markets, and everyday life. Think about it: while in the U.S. we’re used to seeing old-time American life in the movies, it’s rare to have a vista into the 1930s anywhere else, let alone a sweeping vista shot by Ben Hur cinematographer W. Howard Greene. In all, it’s a combination of authentic ethnography and Hollywood storytelling, showing life as it existed in Bali in 1930, with a sad romantic tale of unrequited love.
- “…makes for a lovely listening experience even with the image turned off.” –New York Times
- “The live score … is a potent blend of tuneful Western-style romanticism and the pulsating overtones of gamelan. The collaborative score stands on its own as an audacious dialogue between cultures. Timed with utmost precision to the screen images, the music makes "Legong: Dance of the Virgins" a rare event.” —SF Chronicle
The score is gorgeous – a magical blend of Balinese and Western ensembles, which is hard to achieve. The score was created by composers I Made Subandi and Richard Marriott in 1999, when the film had been recently restored by UCLA. I Made Subandi is one of Bali's most talented musicians and sought-after composers. Club Foot composer Richard Marriott is known for his modern jazz scores for silent films such as Metropolis and Sherlock Jr. Together, they weaved together traditional Balinese music (pieces that would accompany the dances and rituals shown in the film), new Balinese composition, and Western melodies evocative of Debussy and Dvorak.
- “The other occasion for "Legong's" busting loose from the vaults of the UCLA film archive is the debut of an orgasmically good new score ... that brings the Clubfoot Orchestra together performing live during each screening with Gamelan Sekar Jaya. It's an oil-and-water combo made tropically miscible as the film clouds over with one tearful ceremony after the next.” –SF Examiner
Why now, why Kickstarter, why we need you: It’s been eight years! We all truly love this production and want it to be seen and heard by as many people as can fit into the theatre. Live music is an absurdly wonderful thing—but we’ve only been able to perform this about ten times. Sure, you could buy the DVD and watch the film in your living room, but seeing it on a big screen with live music and an audience turns a movie into something magical. And right now, we happen to have I Made Subandi here in the Bay Area—which is why the SF Silent Film Festival asked us to perform July 20. Unfortunately, it takes much more effort and money to produce an event like this than the Festival can afford to pay. Because we learned about the event too late to plug into the grant cycle, we are turning to Kickstarter. All donations go toward producing the event. Note that Gamelan Sekar Jaya is a non-profit organization and our musicians are unpaid volunteers. Our goal amount will just have us BREAKING EVEN. If we raised a bit more, we could afford food for the performers and flowers for our hair (gotta have flowers); a little more, and we could strengthen both organizations to enable more events like this in the future. It was one hell of a project when it was released in 1936—the first ticket sales were $5—about $85 today. It’s still a lot cheaper in today’s dollars to buy tickets to our event—plus kick some in with Kickstarter!
Risks and challenges
Our risk is totally financial. We have committed to perform at the film festival even though we don't yet have the funds that will cover all our expenses. That is why we need your help.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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