Saturday, December 27, 2014

Best Films of 2014

Some of my favorite films of the year as published (or to be published in early January) on Keyframe, Senses of Cinema, and MUBI Notebook.


فيلم‌هاي برگزيدۀ سال

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Swing in Darkness: Interviewing Ekkehard Wölk


This interview with silent film accompanist and jazz piano master Ekkehard Wölk was originally published on Film International. The Farsi version appeared on Film Monthly and the online publication, on Silent Era where it is has been accessible for the last 4 years.

Ekkehard Wölk is a German pianist, arranger, composer, and accompanist for silent films. His style consists of a personal interpretation of classical music from a jazz improviser's view. He has composed music scores for several German silent films, two of which, Secrets of a Soul (G.W. Pabst, 1926) and The Finances of the Grand Duke (F. W. Murnau, 1924), are currently available on DVD (released by Kino International).

Wölk was born on 14 June 1967 in Schleswig, Germany, and began his piano training at the age of seven in the classical tradition of Leschetitzky and his famous adepts Artur Schnabel and Edwin Fischer. After graduating from high school, in 1987, he studied historical and systematic musicology at the University of Hamburg and continued his scholarship at the Humboldt University in Berlin.

From 1988 Wölk studied classical piano at the conservatories in Hamburg and Lubeck, graduating in 1994 as a concert pianist and music pedagogue. Ekkehard wrote his first jazz compositions at the age of twenty-two, and at first, his primary jazz influence was Bill Evans, but he later also studied Bud Powell, McCoy Tyner, Thelonious Monk, Ahmad Jamal, Art Tatum, and specifically Fred Hersch who, many years later, became his master teacher in New York City.

In 1995, Wölk moved to Berlin and worked as a composer and bandleader, developing creative projects mostly in the jazz field. He has worked as a jazz and classical teacher, as an arranger, and as a flexible accompanist for many jazz singers, as well as in the classical and musical show genres. He has also worked in theatre as an accompanist, notably, for the Brecht Theatre Berliner Ensemble.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Shah's Order of the Crown for Charlie Chaplin

سلطاني در نيويورك

In December 1975, the Shah of Iran decorated Charlie Chaplin with a an Order of the Crown (Third Tadj medal) which was given to the retired comedian in his Swiss house.

Probably the Shah was unaware of the fact that the shrewd actor/director had already mocked him and his failure in seeing the changes in his country (as well as being a victim of his ignorance) in A King in New York, where the name of the dictator on the run is Shahdov.

If great art prophesies the things of future, then the sad ending of a dying, exiled Shah, waiting for  permission by the US government to be treated in a New York hospital (which was eventually rejected) clearly resembles the world of A King in New York.

The images are courtesy of Charlie Chaplin Archive in Bologna, Italy.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The London Jazz Festival Review

عكس از احسان خوش‌بخت
گزارش فستيوال جاز لندن: نغمه‌های نیم‌رنگ و تمام‌رنگ
احسان خوش‌بخت

«اين يكي رو براي تو مي‌زنم، رِكس!» اين صداي لويي آرمسترانگ بود كه در كاخ باكينگهام طنين انداخت. اين كه يك موزيسين جاز سياه‌پوست در دهه 1930 در كاخ چه مي‌كرد يك موضوع است و اين كه او چطور جمله بالا را خطاب به شاه جرج پنجم گفت كه حتي براي راه رفتن در پانصد متري‌اش بايد چند پروتكل را روخواني و رعايت مي‌كرديد، موضوعي ديگر. آرمسترانگ در آن روز تاريخي داشت آگاهانه شاه جرج پنجم را با نامي صدا مي‌كرد كه در نيواورلئان به سلطانِ جشن ماردي گِرا داده مي‌شد؛ خلاصه اين كه فرياد شعف لويي از سر احترام و تيزهوشي بود و اداي دين به كشوري كه هميشه با او مثل يك قهرمان و هنرمندي بزرگ رفتار كرد. كمي بيش از يك دهه قبل از اين ديدار، در 1919، اولين باري كه يك گروه جاز در مقابل سران يك مملكت موسيقي اجرا كرد و وادارشان كرد زير لباس‌هاي سنگين و مدال‌هايشان مخفيانه از شعف بِشكن بزنند در همين انگلستان بود. به خاطر داشته باشيد كه اين دهه‌ها قبل از اين است كه موزيسين‌هاي جاز در خواستگاه اصلي‌شان، آمريكا، به رسميت شناخته شوند. عشق مردم بريتانيا به جاز اين كشور را به نوعي خانۀ دوم اين موسيقي بدل كرده كه بهترين محل عرضه‌اش فستيوال جاز لندن در اواخر آبان‌ماه هر سال است.