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SFIFF '11: Tindersticks Accompany Claire Denis Films Live On Stage

by Sean Gillane
May 7, 2011 3:41 AM
1 Comment
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Tuesday night at the San Francisco International Film Festival, the Castro Theatre hosted one of the more inspired events of the festival. Every year, the San Francisco Film Society puts on an event pairing a musical act with a silent film. The past few years have seen Stephen Merritt (The Magnetic Fields) providing live music for the 1916 version of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” Dengue Fever accompanying the stop-motion feature-length film “The Lost World,” and Black Francis (The Pixies) lending his songs to “The Golem.” This time around, the festival decided to change the rules slightly and invited Tindersticks to play along with the films of director Claire Denis. The shift here is that Denis’ films aren’t silent, and the original scores were created by Tindersticks in the first place.

San Francisco Film Society Deputy Director Steven Jenkins explained to the crowd that the event came together in part by him approaching the band after a show at the Great American Music Hall back in March of 2009. Along with the essential assistance of programmer Sean Uyehara, SFIFF was able to lock down a date with Tindersticks on their tour promoting the recently released collection of Claire Denis scores. The collection contains music spread across five discs from “White Material,” “35 Rhums,” “L’Intrus,” Vendredi Soir,” “Trouble Every Day,” and “Nenette et Boni.” To accommodate the live music, special audio mixes of the matching film segments were created with only the dialogue and sound design remaining so that the live score could slip in snugly.

One of only two dates on the tour in the United States, the event was a well-appreciated rarity for the San Francisco crowd. Frontman Stuart Staples was accompanied by seven other musicians on stage, filling the room with melodica, trumpet, synths, upright bass, guitar, and Staples’ haunting voice. The set included songs from all six collaborations between Denis and Tindersticks, neatly bookended with pieces from the first teaming of the director and the band, “Nenette et Boni.” Below you can take a look at the set list from the performance and check out a Tindersticks-scored clip from “35 Rhums.”

1 Ma Soeur - Nenette et Boni
2 La Passerelle - Nenette et Boni
3 Les Gateaux - Nenette et Boni
4 Opening - 35 Rhums
5 Train Montage 1 - 35 Rhums
6 Friday Night - Vendredi Soir
7 Opening - White Material
8 Bus Vision 1 - White Material
9 Children's Theme - White Material
10 Yellow Dog - White Material
11 Trouble Every Day - Trouble Every Day
12 Killing Theme - Trouble Every Day
13 Maid Theme - Trouble Every Day
14 Train Montage 2 - 35 Rhums
15 René’s Death - 35 Rhums
16 Pusan Snow - L'Intrus
17 Horse Dream - L'Intrus
18 The Black Mountain - L'Intrus
19 The Otherside of the World - Vendredi Soir
20 Attack on the Pharmacy - White Material
21 Closing - White Material
22 Tiny Tears - Nenette et Boni
23 Rumba- Nenette et Boni

"Claire Denis Film Scores 1996-2009" is now available from Constellation Records. Tindersticks will perform their Claire Denis scores at three more film festivals across Europe through mid-June.

Photo Credits: Stuart Staples and Tindersticks Shots by Pamela Gentile, Courtesy of San Francisco Film Society

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1 Comment

  • Rufus | May 7, 2011 10:25 AMReply

    Amazing show! I especially enjoyed the pieces they played from 'White Ribbon'. This was my favorite of the music events I've attended followed by Lambchop's score for 'Sunrise' and Tom Verlaine's score for the Man Ray shorts.

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