Preview: Offbeat Festival

A new three-day festival for London, which aims to celebrate the connections between classic and contemporary jazz and cinema

The Offbeat Jazz and Cinema Festival is a new film and music festival, taking place in London between 24-26 May. Produced by Offbeat in association with London’s Ciné Lumiere and France's Le Bureau Export, the festival will feature live music soundtrack commissions, preview screenings and Q&As and panel discussions as part of a series of events taking place at the Ciné Lumiere in South Kensington.

This year’s festival will focus in particular on the links between jazz and cinema in France, both past and present. The festival will include the UK premiere screening of Django (pictured right), a new French biopic of the guitarist directed by Etienne Comar and set in Paris during World War II, which will take place on Thursday 24 May at 6.30pm. The premiere will be followed by a Q&A with jazz writers Kevin Le Gendre and Selwyn Harris and others to be announced.

A showing of the rarely seen American silent movie Broken Blossoms (1919), directed by the pioneering director WD Griffith, will be accompanied by a live soundtrack performed by the young contemporary French pianist-composer Armel Dupas and a screening of À Bout De Souffle (Breathless) (pictured below left), the 1960 movie that was emblematic of the nouvelle vague, will be preceded by a performance by another young French pianist, Gauthier Toux (whose new album, The Colours You See, will be released in May on the Naim label). Toux will re-interpret a selection of themes from Martial Solal’s score for the movie.

At 7.00pm on Friday 25 May at the Bibliotheque, in advance of the publication of The History Of European Jazz edited by Francesco Martinelli, its publisher, the author and BBC broadcaster Alyn Shipton, will host a discussion with expert panel guests (to be announced). The discussion will focus on the connections between jazz and cinema in France and reflect on some of the issues raised by the events at the festival. There will also be a Ciné Kids presentation of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988), preceded by a short musical presentation introducing the movie’s key jazz themes.

For more information and ticket bookings please go to the Offbeat Festival website or call the Ciné Lumiere box office on 020 7871 3515.

Bruce Lindsay

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