In the darkness of the early movie theatres, filled with the smoke of tobacco, whispers and anticipating eyes; even though the primitive cameras weren’t able to record any sound at all, a range of possibilities opened its doors to offer sound to the moving images. Music was always the first option. Recorded in wax records or played by a more-or-less competent pianist; music was the perfect ally for the silent movies of the time. A good teacher of mine already said: “silent films are not really silent”. A day at the gallery is a good example: a fine silent film sprinkled by the best music of one of the biggest musicians, Neil Percival Young.
In the Canadian artist’s latest project, a writer searches for graphic material to illustrate his new book about American music. Once he finds just the right illustrations for his book, images of great silent films parade together with the chords of Young and the Crazy Horse’s last record: Americana.
Neil Young was born in Toronto in 1945 and moved to California in the 60s at the height of his music career. But Young has also proven his worth in other artistic fields such as film. A Day at the Gallery is Young’s first medium-length film under the pseudonym Bernard Shakey, which he has previously used to direct Journey through the Past (1974), Human Highway (1982) and Greendale (2003), amongst others. For the production of 40 minute long film A day at the gallery, Young teamed up with urban artist Shepard Fairey, author of the caricatures of André the Giant and the widely reproduced portrait of Barack Obama with the ‘Hope’ caption.
This movie is a homage to American music and the dawn of film making. A delight for the followers of the ‘Grandfather of Grunge’ and for those nostalgic of old film projectors. Step in and enjoy!
A Day at the Gallery is one of the films selected for the Official Section of the 5th Edition of Valencia’s International Medium-length Film Festival ‘La Cabina’.