On September 15th 2007, at Bristol's Colston Hall, The World Premiere of a new score by Paul Lewis for 'Pandora's Box' took place. This event was in celebration of Watershed's 25th Anniversary and was presented by Watershed and Bristol Silents.
Paul Lewis conducted the Royal Ballet Sinfonia orchestra whilst we sat and watched this 1928 silent film. What an experience. There was a short introduction by Mark Cosgrove, head of programmes for Watershed. Chris Daniels from Bristol Silents then spoke briefly before Paul McGann, as guest speaker, took to the stage.
Paul spoke about Louise Brooks for a few moments - about how she was a dancer who'd been selected after over 2000 german girls had been seen and that she wasn't an actress but turned out to be a natural on screen. He talked about the controversy that surrounded the film when it was released due to the explicit nature of some of the scenes. The film was panned by the critics, due to the severe editing it had undertaken, and was then lost due to the advent of 'talkies', along with many other films of that year. We then watched the film, accompanied by the live orchestra.
I'll be honest, I'd gone to this event to see what it was about Louise Brooks that Paul is so fascinated by ~ watching her on screen gave me my answer, even before I'd spoken to him about her! She is a truly mesmerising actress with such a natural ability as a performer that I was immersed in this film from the outset, not what I had been expecting.
The Guardian published an article by Paul about Louise Brooks which is worth a read, you can find it here.
I spoke to Paul at length during the interval and afterwards about Louise and her career and he talked about her with such passion and enthusiasm. He said that he was envious of me seeing her on screen for the first time and I understand what he meant. The privilege was all mine though. To attend such a unique event, see Pandora's Box for the first time accompanied by a live orchestra, to see Louise Brooks for the first time and to have someone as knowledgeable as Paul to discuss her with afterwards ~ a truly remarkable evening.