Sunday, March 2, 2008

Movietelling on the Internet: a query

Goooaaalll!!! (part 1) by Mathew Timmons and Stan Apps is something like Movietelling Flarf. At first I was disappointed by what seemed to be a tone of sarcasm, delivered as commercials segue into a soccer match (channel surfing). I was bracing myself for a line-up of punchlines. The humor is certainly there, but the repetition and re-working of lines, the constant reapplication of 'products' being misrepresented, finally gets to me. I'm sucked in. It's also the first instance I've seen of multiple speakers providing the narrative and character voices, which is further complicated by something I read about Stan Apps contribution being played as a recording while Mathew Timmons performed live at their performance at Betalevel for Da Benshi Code in Los Angeles. (Though I think this had more to do with Stan Apps being out of town). 

Since there isn't much ambient sound on the recording, I'm guessing they made this performance privately, primarily intending, I assume, to post it online. Currently, there are no youTube listings for "Movietelling." For "Neo-Benshi," there are two excerpts of David Larsen's  performance "Paris of Troy." For "Benshi," there are some postings in Spanish which I don't believe have any relevance here, as well as one old news broadcast explaining the function of 'katsubenshi," and the performances of Stan Apps and Mathew Timmons

That's it. I find this surprising considering how many folks I know of who've performed in this medium, and how many times a video recorder was present. 

There are a variety of Movietelling performances I've heard or read about that I would very much like to see, but may never have the chance unless someone were to post them online. 

Walter Lew's shadoWord productions, who I continue to perform with, is planning an online release, of one kind or another, this summer. At the very least, I know it will involve the digital publication of many of our scripts, as well as vidcaps and photographs from the performances. 

(EDIT): As I was making the links for this post, I stumbled upon Da Benshi Code's website, where one can find no less than 8 video recordings of live Movietelling.


Anathemata said...

Hi Jeremy - glad you like Goooaaaallll!!! and I guess you found part 2 through Da Benshi website - It was an odd performance because we knew Stan was going to be out of town - so we improvised the dialog a couple times then recorded Stan - and when I performed my part live, I improvised from the script - it seems most Benshi I've seen is heavily scripted - we were interested in preserving as much of the live aspect as we could - even though Stan wasn't going to be present for the performance - he is as always 'live' though.

Jeremy James Thompson said...

Thank you for filling in some of the details. I'm especially glad to hear about your improvising from the script. The Gavrilov Translators, the Soviet practitioners of Movietelling, sometimes involved the improvisation (and on the spot translation & interpretation) of foreign films, as the industry was attempting to turn them out at an increasingly rapid rate. Even into the 80's, some of the more famous translators were still narrating on popular American films (such as the first Die Hard), because even though they were available with subtitles, many Russians still preferred the voices and stylistic renderings of those particular translators. I hope to someday find a copy of one of those late translated films.

Do you and Stan have any intention of putting together more Movietelling works, or performing Goooaaaallll!!! again? I'm part of a performance group called shadoWord productions, and we focus our efforts on cinepoetics such as Movietelling, and other mediums involving the performance of live text(s) and visuals. If you're interested in continuing to work in this genre, in one way or another, please keep in touch, as we're always interested in new and innovative acts.


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