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Live orchestra to accompany silent films



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Seating in the IU Cinema. Three new films have been added for this week. Buy Photos

The Alloy Orchestra will be providing live accompaniment to two silent films this weekend at the IU Cinema, according to a press release. The two screenings will form the cinema’s Sound of Silents series.

The three-person orchestra will accompany the film “Varieté” at 7 p.m. Saturday and the collection of short films “Not Just for Kids” at 3 p.m. Saturday as part of the CINEkids International Children’s Film Series.

“Varieté,” released in 1925, focuses on a trapeze artist who runs a sideshow of erotic sensations with his family. “Not Just for Kids” includes short films “The Red Spectre,” “Artheme Swallows his Clarinet,” “The Pet,” “Clay or the Origin of the Species” and “The Playhouse.” The films, chosen by the orchestra, span from 1907 to 1964.

Orchestra members Terry Donahue, Ken Winokur and Roger C. Miller came together in 1991 to start their silent film accompaniment project, according to their website. They use found percussion, including a “rack of junk,” and electronic synthesizers to create any sounds necessary for the films.

The late film critic Roger Ebert called the orchestra the best in the world at accompanying silent films, according to the release. They have performed at the Telluride Film Festival, the Louvre, Lincoln Center and the National Gallery of Art, and they have revived masterpieces and little-known silent films alike.

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