FMF Raiders of the Lost Ark — Live in Concert

Film Music Festival in Krakow

Raiders of the Lost Ark — live in concert

TAURON Arena Kraków

29 May 2016; 7 p.m.

A dynamic story, a spectacle of improbable and impossible events, dramatic plot twists and dark secrets will be part of the Film Music Festival in Krakow this year. A simultaneous performance of the complete musical score with a screening of one of the highest-grossing films of the 1980s – Raiders of the Lost Ark, directed by Steven Spielberg will take place on Sunday evening on 29th of May 2016 in TAURON Arena Krakow.

According to the film scholars, New Adventure Cinema is one of the most prominent trends in American cinematography. Jerzy Płażewski, who coined the term, wrote in his book Historia Filmu (The History of Film): “New Adventure took cinemas in the entire world by storm, created a new type of moviegoer and even endangered the very existence of other genres with the fact that seemingly a deluge of those films was being produced at that time.” The films described by Płażewski were characterised by their swift-paced plot, an abundance of adventures beyond the bounds of possibility, quick pacing and plot twists, dark secrets and surprising coincidences, deadly traps and heroes often getting stuck in dead-end situations. Added to that were a bit of humour and self-deprecation, a dash of exoticism and breathtaking scope.

Raiders of the Lost Ark – directed by Steven Spielberg from a story by George Lucas – won five Academy Awards (for Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Sound, Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Effects Editing), starring Harrison Ford, is the flagship of New Adventure Cinema genre. The production of the movie took eight years – it all started in 1973, when Lucas wrote the script for The Adventures of Indiana Smith, a movie he wanted to make in order to compete with the popular James Bond stories. As the time passed, the story evolved – the protagonist’s name had to go, as Spielberg thought it was too common. (The first name was left alone, as Lucas named his protagonist after his favourite dog). Also the hero’s image had to change – from handsome lover, Jones turned into a scientist and an adventurer. However, Lucas did not agree with another one of Spielberg’s changes, who wanted to make Indiana Jones an alcoholic. As Płażewski summed it up, the creators brought to life a character “who was an embodiment of great intelligence combined with superb physical fitness, who prevented the enemies of humanity from obtaining a mythical artefact, and at the same time spoke ironically about himself”. The film premiered in June 1981, with a production cost about 20 million dollars, but the film earned almost 20 times more. In its first year, Raiders of the Lost Ark was called the most profitable movie in the world. Even today it is still in top 20 grossing movies ever created.

The original score for the hit movie was composed by one of the greatest film music composers in the history of cinema – the great John Williams, recipient of five Academy Awards (in 1972 for The Fiddler on the Roof directed by Norman Jewison, in 1978 for Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope directed by George Lucas, in 1976 for Jaws, in 1983 for E.T. and in 1994 for the Schindler’s List – all three directed by Steven Spielberg) and 50 nominations (including this year’s nomination for Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens directed by J.J. Abrams). “The Raiders March” composed by Williams, a pompous and energetic piece still remains one of the most recognisable motifs in the history of symphonic music composed for cinema. The original soundtrack recording, including 9 tracks emanating exoticism was released in 1981 by Columbia Records. Originally it was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra.

The anniversary screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark in TAURON Arena Krakow, organised on the 35th anniversary of the first Indiana Jones movie premiere, will be accompanied by live music performed by Sinfonietta Cracovia. It will be a great challenge for the members of the orchestra, who grew up listening to Williams’ motifs, but at the same time it will be an ineffable pleasure and a great adventure as well. “I remember when I watched this movie for the very first time in 1983, and I was very excited”, said Alina Dorożyńska, a cellist in the ensemble. “I think that we all are going to feel the same emotions and experience the same fun while performing the Indiana Jones soundtrack live for the audience, especially since we are once again going to work with renowned conductor, Ludwig Wicki, which is a great honour and a pleasure.”

The Swiss trombonist and conductor, master performer of film music, cooperating with legends like Howard Shore and Randy Newman accepted the invitation for the Film Music Festival for the seventh time. During the last year’s edition of the Festival he conducted the live performance of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek with live music composed by Michael Giacchino, in 2014 he conducted the performance of live soundtrack for Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, Tom Tykwer’s Perfume in 2012 with the soundtrack by the director himself, Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek. In 2008-2010 he conducted the performances of Howard Shore’s music for the Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy by Peter Jackson.

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Weronika Plata