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VIFF Live is Reviving the Silent Era 

The beloved cinema’s experimental wing presents King Vidor’s The Crowd with a live score by the Chris Gestrin Organ Trio.

by Maggie McPhee

VIFF Live describes itself as “live performances that push the boundaries of traditional film programming, intersecting cinema culture with music, comedy, podcasting, and performance in unique, cinema-infused live shows.” This spring, they’re showcasing three films from the silent era accompanied by in-person instrumentation — just like the good ol’ days. The Chris Gestrin Organ Trio will kick things off, performing an improvised jazz score to King Vidor’s 1928 masterpiece The Crowd. 


One of the last and greatest silent films of all time, The Crowd gathered the technical innovations of its predecessors into a climatic high while inventing methods — such as hidden cameras and inexperienced actors — that inspired a new generation of filmmakers. A fable of the average man caught in the grinder of modern society and salvaged by true love, the power of Vidor’s pathos is on par with his pioneering achievements.

In anticipation of the event, Christ Gestrin has put together a playlist to set the mood. “It’s a collection of music from around 1928, including the song featured on the ‘78 at the end,” the multiple Juno-winning musician tells RANGE. “And some music by myself, or featuring myself, as well as some other piano, organ, big band, and instrumental music that’s inspiring to me” 

Chris Gestrin