Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (feat. live score by Brian LeBarton!)

Multi-instrumentalist and electronic music whiz Brian LeBarton, who for years has been the close collaborative partner of Beck Hansen, returns to the Cinefamily to bring his unique aural vision to classic films from the silent era! For April’s visit, Brian scores a whirlwind tour of the 1920s “city symphony”, that poetic avant-garde genre focusing on the excitement and head-spinning newness of modern urban living. After a program of excerpts from rare and obscure examples of the form, the evening’s main attraction is the greatest city symphony of all: Walter Ruttman’s 1927 masterpiece Berlin: Symphony of a Great City, a vast, restless celebration of the Weimar Republic’s thriving epicenter. Unfolding in five acts, Berlin’s documentary depictions of work, transportation, relaxation, and nightlife teem with energy and photographic creativity. Ruttman’s graceful editing — which feels like it was accomplished with a glass of wine and a notebook, rather than a flatbed and a pair of scissors — reveals endless layers of wide-eyed passion for what was its decade’s most fascinating hubs of human activity. It’s as much as a love song as a symphony. For the live score to Berlin: Symphony of a Great City, Brian will be joined by Joey Waronker, a fellow Beck alum and member of Thom York’s “Atoms For Peace” band!