An Italian Straw Hat

An Italian Straw Hat

Date: 6th March 2014
Time: 8pm
Venue: Stack Theatre, MTU Cork School of Music

Cork French Film Festival presents René Clair’s silent comedy masterpiece 'An Italian Straw Hat' with live piano score by Neil Brand.

René Clair’s delectable satire on middle-class pretension is one of the great landmarks of French silent cinema. Albert Préjean stars as a hapless bridegroom whose journey to his own wedding is interrupted when his horse chews up a woman’s hat. She demands a replacement, which is easier said than done, and the groom is soon tangled up in a series of comic misunderstandings. An Italian Straw Hat is more than farce though, it uses the absurd premise as a route into a sly attack on bourgeois narrow-mindedness. With few inter-titles and plenty of visual humour, An Italian Straw Hat is a classic of silent cinema so expertly timed and so elegantly directed that farce becomes ballet.

Neil Brand accompanies the film with a live piano score for a truly unmissable evening. Neil has been accompanying silent films for nearly 30 years, regularly in London at the Barbican and National Film Theatre, and at film festivals around the world.

Training originally as an actor, he has made his name as a writer/performer/composer, scoring BFI releases for silent cinema such as The Ring by Alfred Hitchcock, avant-garde cinema and Russian pre-Soviet cinema. He composed an orchestral score for Hitchcock’s newly restored Blackmail (1929) as well as a jazz score for the 1927 Anna Mae Wong movie Piccadilly which premiered live in 2003 at the Lincoln Centre, New York and the Barbican concert hall in 2004. He is the presenter of BBC’s acclaimed series, The Sound of Cinema.

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