Berwick Film and Arts Festival: The Keystone Cut Ups

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I decided to leave Scotland on Wednesday to go and visit the country of Proud Edward’s Army. The reason? The Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival.

This was the sixth year of a festival which started in 2005. Every year they have a theme around which its pieces are based. Previous years’ themes have included “Film on Film” and “Inner States”. This year they’ve chosen “Stagings”: exploring the idea of “screen as a stage itself”.

The opening gala film this year was Keystone Cut Ups: a piece which combined film with live music/performance to produce a very creative and imaginative piece.

The perfomance felt like a mix between going to the theatre, watching a film, and attending a gig. As clips from movies of the silent era were edited together around themes like hats, the moon or things that revolve, the two performers would play a piece of music relating to said theme.

Having had no idea what to expect at the start, I was a little taken aback by this unusual format. However, as I got to grips with the ‘rhythm’ and concept behind what the two artists on stage were doing, it became very easy to relax into what was quite a surreal and dreamlike experience.

Like my favourite pieces of Art, it fuelled my imagination as I got lost in both the images and often fantastical music on stage. When it ended, I felt like I had been rudely awakened from one of those cool, euphoric dreams we sometimes have: disappointed to be woken up so soon.

The Berwick Film Festival runs from 15th to 19th September. The programme is a mix of conventional films (such as The Illusionist) as well as pieces like Keystone Cut Ups which combine Live Performance with Film. If you’re free this weekend, and able to, I’d recommend checking it out. The full programme is available here.

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