Thursday, September 1, 2011

Der letzte Mann

The first time that I saw The Last Laugh was in college for an intro to film studies class. The professor had us watch it as an example of 1920s-era German Expressionism (the conventional film studies wisdom being that this was the last film in that vein). Watching the film even then, at my most jaded mid-90s self, I was moved to several teary moments.

Fast-forward roughly a decade later, and there I was watching The Last Laugh again ... and I was even more teary more often than last time. This time, my friends in the Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra were performing a score that they had written for it at Webster University. Maybe it's just that I had turned into an old romantic fool by then, but I think that a lot of it had to do with how beautifully and seamlessly my friends' music evoked the mood of the film and complemented it.

Fast-forward to now, and it's my honor to be a part of this ensemble. It's also an honor to have a small part in a free R&P MPO screening of The Last Laugh this coming Labor Day evening at El Leñador.

What can I tell you about The Last Laugh without any spoilers? Well, how about this: To me lately, The Last Laugh is about the pride and identity one brings to her or his station in life, and how quickly that station can change, and how psychically devastating that can be. I know, I know ... heavy stuff for the last night of a Labor Day weekend. But then again, maybe given what day it is, it's especially appropriate.

F.W. Murnau's The Last Laugh

Musical score written and performed by
The Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra
Monday, September 5th
11 PM Movie Time
El Leñador
3124 Cherokee St. STL MO

21+, free admission (but donations welcome and appreciated)

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