Come celebrate the summer with “First Light,” a richly curated selection of classics of the international silent cinema, many featuring live musical accompaniment by students of Jean-François Zygel's piano improvisation class at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris. Too few are aware that the silent cinema was a period of almost incomparable artistic creativity; the lack of sound, rather than a hindrance, was actually a kind of inspiration for the era’s finest filmmakers, who found ingenious ways to expand the visual expressiveness of their works. Not surprisingly, the great silent filmmakers—from Méliès to Griffith, from Eisenstein to Buster Keaton—continue to influence and inform contemporary artists across the disciplines.
African-American Cinema: "Body and Soul" (1925, Oscar Micheaux)
A new preacher comes to town, and while he fires up the congregation, suspicions soon arise as to his true intentions. Even great film buffs rarely know that African Americans were creating their own films from the earliest days of the silent era. Paul Robeson stars as twins in this thriller dealing with crime, religion and racial advancement.
With live piano accompaniment by Harry Allouche from the improvisation class of Jean-François Zygel at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris. Followed by a conversation with Professor Richard Peña, Director Emeritus, New York Film Festival.