India 2012

Gerhard Gruber - Silent Movie in India 2012

on YouTube

The program:

"Cafe Elektric" Marlene Dietrich, Willi Forst, Gustav Ucicky

"Moon of Israel" (Die Sklavenkönigin) Michael Kertesz (Michael Curtiz)

"Sodom und Gomorrha" Michael Kertesz

"A throw of dice" - Indian Silent Movie


Mahindra United World College

Film and Television Institute Of India (FTII)

National Film Archive of India (NFAI)

Poona Music Society

National Centre for the performing arts (NCPA) Mumbai

Many thanks to:

Frau Viktoria Wagner vom Kulturforum Delhi, Frau Binaifer Malegam und ihrem Mann Jehangir Batiwala (Poona Music Society)

Herrn Prashant Pathrabe (Direktor des NFAI), Prof. Indranil Bhattacharya (FTII), Frau Farrahnaz Irani (NCPA Management International Music)

Herrn Ernst Kieninger (Filmarchiv Austria) für die Bereitstellung der Filme

Organisatoren Binaifer Malegam und Jehangir Batiwala

Organisator Prashant Pathrabe (Direktor des NFAI)

Organisator Prof. Indranil Bhattacharya (FTII)

Mitglieder des FTII - members of the FTII

Gespräch nach der Aufführung - answering questions after the performance

our driver - unser Fahrer Kamal (Delhi - Agra - Jaipur)

India Gate

Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Studio


Mazda Hall Pune

National center for the performing arts (NCPA)

junge Besucherin im NCPA - young girl wanting to learn improvisation

The pianist and his cinematic muse

By: Hardik Vaidya Date: 2012-02-26 Place: Mumbai

Head to the NCPA for the screening of the classic silent film Cafe Elektric. Accompanying the screening, will be the music of Gerhard Gruber, a leading silent film pianist

In case you've watched The Artist and want to indulge more in the films of yore, when talkies were still a novelty and cinema completely silent, then head to the NCPA for the screening of Cafe Elektric on Wednesday. Made in 1928, this silent Austrian classic by Gustav Ucicky is among the top rated acts of popular actress Marlene Dietrich.

However, this isn't just any other screening. If it were, then we'd have suggested that you watch a DVD. The screening will be accompanied by a performance by Gerhard Gruber, regarded as one of the world's leading silent film pianists. Gruber will compose and play music while he watches the film with the audience.

Possibly the most unique characteristic of Gruber is that no two performances of his are ever the same. He believes in spot improvisation in his work every time he performs, since according to him that is the best way of a direct and continuous dialogue between the screen, the music and the audience. As Ilse Aichinger, the grand dame of Austrian literature had once succinctly put, "Those who listen to Gruber play the piano can once again trust their own breath." Gruber's modesty is also considered to be one of his greatest assets. According to many, his music is neither an exaggeration of the film, nor the "digestible-making" of an "old-fashionable" artefact. His music, far from being a simplification of existing work, is a partnership that never becomes boring. Having worked as a pianist for screenings of over 450 different silent films across the globe, he admits that spreading the joy of silent movies accompanied with his piano pieces isn't easy. Coming to the defence of silent films, he says, "There is nothing missing in silent films, it is just a different kind of movie. The pictures are more beautiful and more interesting, because the focus is more on gestures and on expression." Gruber says, "Cafe Elektric is a favourite. I have a special love for it, and I also composed the music for the movie's DVD." Set in a cafe in Vienna, the film tells the story of Erni Göttlinger (Marlene Dietrich), the daughter of a rich construction entrepreneur (Fritz Alberti), who gets attracted to a pickpocket, Herr Fredl (Willi Forst). Meanwhile, another important character in the film, a young engineer named Herr Max St ger (Igo Sym), who assists G ttlinger, finds himself unable to focus on work whenever a young lady (Anny Coty) is around. If you are a cinema and music buff then you wouldn't want to miss this event.

At: 7 pm, February 29, NCPA, Nariman Point

About Gerhard Gruber

Gerhard Gruber is an Austrian composer and piano player. As accompanist for silent movies he has become the leading authority in Austria since 1988.

He has performed for about 450 different films (Washington-Los Angeles/ USA 2011, Delhi-Pune-Goa/ India 2011, Tokyo 2006/ 2007/ 2008, Hobart/ Australia 2007-09, Rotorua/ New Zealand 2008, Padova, Motovun Film Festival 2007, Cineconcerts Bordeaux 2005, Filmfestival Pisek/CZ 2009/11, Filmfestival Uherske Hradiste 2009/11, Viennale 1999-2004, Munich, Hamburg, Diagonale).

Since 1983 Gerhard Gruber is working and performing as a composer and musician for theatre.

Awards: 2006: "Nestroypreis", 2008: "Landeskulturpreis Upper Austria"

As a basic principle he appreciates improvisation for his work, which he regards as best way of a direct and always new dialogue between the events on the screen, the music and the audience.

So no performance resembles the others. Gerhard Gruber likes it to be enticed by the films again and again and to pass on these feelings to the audience.

Cit.: ´For me the feeling of being amidst the events of a film story has been undescribable exciting from the first moment and is unchanged until today. This guarantees the liveliness and vibrancy of each performance.

It is always the unity of film, music and audience. And thus each presentation is able to be a special experience.`

Über Gerhard Gruber

Gerhard Grubers spezieller Zugang zur Stummfilmbegleitung ist die Improvisation, die er als direkten und immer neuen Dialog mit dem Geschehen auf der Leinwand ansieht. So ist keine Aufführung eines Filmes gleich, er liebt es, sich immer wieder neu von den Filmen verführen zu lassen und diese Verführung an das Publikum weiterzugeben. Zitat: "Das Gefühl, mitten im Geschehen des Filmes dabei zu sein, war ab der ersten Aufführung unbeschreiblich und ist bis heute unverändert geblieben. Das ist auch ein Garant für die Lebendigkeit der Stummfilmabende. Es ist nie der Film allein, es ist immer die Dreiheit Film - Musik - Publikum, und deshalb ist jeder Abend auch ein eigenes Erlebnis."