You can now get tickets for this year's silent film concerts!

We are pleased to announce this year's two silent film concerts - with Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen as musical director and composer for LIMITE and Cleaning Women as composers for My Grandmother!

Publisert 28.11.2023 — TIFF

Every year Tromsø International Film Festival invites musicians to compose new music to films from the silent film era. This year both chosen movies are avant-gardist – but in completely different ways. LIMITE (1931) by Mário Peixoto is a serious drama about human fates, while My Grandmother (1929) by Kote Mikaberidze is a film filled with satire and absurdity about the Soviet bureaucracy.

A true avant-gardist masterpiece

Composer and guitarist Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen will be the musical director for the silent film concert LIMITE. With her seven albums, three solo-releases, two Spellemann awards and multiple nominations she had established herself as a recognized artist.

-We have chosen to work with Mollestad because she is such an amazing artist. She has a tremendous amount to offer musically. We chose this film partly because of her current musical exploration, including her show “Liquid borders”, says Festival Director at TIFF Lisa Hoen.

Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen. Photo: Julia Marie Naglestad

The Brazilian film LIMITE is a true avant-gardist masterpiece and shows silent films at its most experimental.

-When TIFF presented LIMITE by Peixoto, an artist and poet who was interested in limitations and boundaries throughout his artistic career, I was immediately curious. It would be a perfect road onward thematically, and the contrast between the film’s “base”: Three people stuck together on a small boat with nothing surrounding them but the ocean, is also a treasure trove for musical inspiration, Mollestad tells. 

Still from LIMITE

Mollestad’s first time composing to a silent film

Through the music Mollestad will explore the films limits.

-I have performed with silent films before, but I have never composed music to this format, so it will be a great artistic challenge. The music is in many ways subject to the pace of the film, at the same time you could completely flip the way the film is presented through musical elements, so it is an incredibly exciting interplay, Mollestad explains.

This silent film concert is this year’s Barents-project, and in dialogue with Mollestad, Tromsø International Film Festival has created a new ensemble that will re-actualize this classic silent film during the festival week.

-The band TIFF has curated will create a broad range in the sonic expression, which I believe is both inspiring and important, Mollestad says.

The new Barents-band includes four independent professional musicians: Aleksander Kostoploulos, a drummer from Bodø, Vladislav Demin, virtuose violinist from Petrozavadosk, Innokently Ivanon, star vibraphonist, and Ståle Storløkken, a keyboardist who is a Norwegian jazz-legend.

Cleaning Women returns to Tromsø International Film Festival

Cleaning Women will perform to the silent film My Grandmother. The group is a well know musical addition to the festival and has played at multiple events with both TIFF and the Silent Film Days over the years. With their instrument park made up of cleaning tools and an avant-garde post-punk sound the Cleaning Women creates an incredible live performance set to My Grandmother.

-You can almost say that Cleaning Women is a festival house-band. They’ve played at so many of our events. We love this group, and their music is truly unique, says Hoen.

Cleaning Women. Photo: Olli-Pekka Härmä.

My Grandmother can be described as a relentless satire, mixed with innovative film effects and mesmerizing surrealism. A poor Georgian bureaucrat loses his job. Not because he doesn't work, but because he lacks a grandmother. He sets heaven and earth in motion to correct this deficiency.

Because of the film’s critique of the bureaucracy and lacy bureaucrats the film did not fare well with the Soviet authorities. They claimed the film held no role models, and it was too negative and formalist for the regime. The film was banned for 40 years, and only in 1976 the film was allowed back on screen.

Still from My Grandmother.

Will be performed during the festival week in January

Both silent film concerts will be performed at Driv during the festival in January 2024 as a part of Tromsø International Film Festivals special screenings, but audiences can already secure their tickets online.

My Grandmother LIVE with Cleaning Women - 18. January, 22:00. Find your tickets here!

LIMITE LIVE with Barents band - 19. January, 21:30. Find your tickets here!

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Thank you!