Film + Live Score
The Kid with Shahzad Ismaily and Meshes of the Afternoon
As part of Ballroom Marfa’s third annual New Year’s film program, we hosted a film screening with a live score by multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily at the Crowley Theater in Marfa, Texas. Ismaily chos to score Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid (1921), followed by Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid’s short experimental film, Meshes of the Afternoon (1943).
The Kid was Charlie Chaplin’s first feature, and, as the opening title says: “A picture with a smile-and perhaps, a tear.” The Kid follows Chaplin, who discovers an abandoned baby and begrudgingly adopts it. The kid becomes Chaplin’s sidekick and partner-in-crime, with Chaplin teaching him streetwise survival skills.
Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) — which Thomas Schatz calls the best known experimental film of the decade — is a short film directed by Maya Deren with her-then-husband cinematographer, Alexander Hammid. The film’s narrative is dreamlike and circular, creating an acute sense of restlessness and alienation. From MoMA Highlights: “The central figure in Meshes of the Afternoon, played by Deren, is attuned to her unconscious mind and caught in a web of dream events that spill over into reality. Symbolic objects, such as a key and a knife, recur throughout the film; events are open-ended and interrupted. Deren explained that she wanted ‘to put on film the feeling which a human being experiences about an incident, rather than to record the incident accurately.’”
The screening was free and open to the public.
Shahzad Ismaily, who is based in New York, has composed music for dance, theatre and the concert stage, as well as film, including the score for the critically acclaimed movie Frozen River, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. He performs with Marc Ribot, Bonnie Prince Billy, Laurie Anderson, Secret Chiefs 3, among others.