The silent film concert Metropolis 2011 was first performed at Tromsø
International Film Festival (TIFF) in January 2011.
BACKGROUND FOR THE PROJECT:
Tromsø International Film Festival has been running projects called Barents‐TIFF and
Barents‐Tour for two years. The concept is to make artistic collaborations between
musicians in the Barents region (northern Scandinavia and north‐west Russia) by
making new music for old classic movies. Nasra, a musician from Tromsø, who after
participating on last years silent movie project initiated by TIFF, wanted to make music
for Metropolis, and so presented the idea. We also decided that the project should
somehow involve one more northern country, and landed on Finland being the third
collaborating country. After some months Martha, the Director of TIFF called with news
about funding for the project. And so, we all put an effort in finding musicians who we
could invite to collaborate in the project. METROPOLIS is a love story, a dystopia and a
critic or comment towards the 20th eras evolving achievements in the technological
We summoned upon Cleaning Women (Finland) 1, Ivan Afanasyev (Russia) 2, Gudmund
Østgård (Norway) 3 & Nasra (Norway) 4
BRINGING THE PROJECT TO LIFE
We met for the first time on January 13th 2011 at the preproduction studio in Tromsø.
We had all seen copies of the movies, but no music was set before we met and talked
through our ideas, and set off working on the material 24‐hours in 8 days.
The conditions for a good result were laid; we had a good studio, all technical demands
were taken care off, and we were provided with brilliant working space by TIFF 2011
with a good showing of the movie as we went along composing, playing, recording and
watching the movie in loop. The performance took place on Friday 21.st January, at
22.00. The show was sold out, the audience were most satisfied, even The Daily
Telegraph highlighted the event as the most extraordinary Metropolis ever shown, and
the most outstanding performance at TIFF 2011.
WHAT MAKES THIS METROPOLIS SILENT MOVIE DIFFERENT
This Metropolis is different in the way the involved musicians have decided to approach
the movie. The original score for Metropolis is a complete score with orchestral music –
something we find to be underestimating what could be done. Of course, given the
traditions of the 20th century, this is what was expected. This Metropolis, on the other
hand aimed to give the films futuristic scenes, characters, stories and feelings a new
sound. We aimed to give sound to the electric bulbs bursting, the water flowing and
expressing the strong choreographed scenes with our live industrial sound. All played is
live, which makes the movie even more authentic and present for the audience for the
whole period of 2,5 hour it lasts. This all summonses up with the recent discovers of
some of the movies materials that were though lost for 80 years, and which found and gathered to complete the movie as it is when we perform. A compilation, that
gives METROPOLIS a new narrative story and even more interesting ending scenes. We
also ended up dressing in 20th Century clothes, a twist that gives the whole show a good
and historical presentation.
The project received funding from The Norwegian Barents Secretariat, and Tromsa
1 Cleaning Women, FINLAND– a trio famous for their alternative instruments,
consisting of laundry equipments, which have been transformed into bass guitars,
celestas and drum sets. They live and work in Helsinki.
Jari Laakkonen, FINLAND project
technician, and also a part of Cleaning Women.
2 Ivan Afanasyev, RUSSIA – uses simple sounds such as cassettes, diktaphones and toys,
processing these to form his sound and musical universe. Ivan lives and works in
Petrozavodsk and has been collaborating on a handful of noice concerts as well as
improvised live music.
3 Gudmund Østgård, NORWAY – has produced music for Television, radio and theatre.
He is now on a soloproject – AUTOBAND, and has been part of various improvisation
concellations as well as electronic and rock music. Lives and works in Tromsø.
4 Nasra, NORWAY – has a background from traditional African percussion, classic and
contemporary music. She improvises and sculpts sound, playing vibraphones, marimbas
and processed percussion instruments. She is also a front figure in Nasra & Gaute based
This Project is supported by Nordic Culture Point.