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Simultaneous screening of Titanic with audio description

Eleven Oscars, over two billion USD revenues and ranked second on the list of box office hits in the cinema history – it is the balance of gains of James Cameron’s “Titanic” to the music by the American composer James Horner. On the 20th anniversary of the premiere of this famous superproduction, ”Titanic Live” in concert will be heard at the TAURON Arena Krakow at the finale of the jubilee round of the Film Music Festival in Krakow.

Simultaneous screening of Titanic with audio description
Photo KBF

The work on the cinematic reconstruction of the greatest shipwreck in the 20th century started in autumn 1996. The shooting of the script by the Canadian director James Cameron was carried out in three steps: first the footage of the real Titanic wreck, then contemporary scenes (the story by hundred- year-old survivor Rose), and finally in the third step – including the building of a huge pool containing 680 hectolitres of water and a replica of the ship in a 1:1 ratio, the scenery of the story. The budget of the film reached two hundred million USD (around fifty million more than the cost of construction of the transatlantic in 1911). The final version Cameron showed at the pre-release screening lasted more than three hours. Despite producers’ objections (20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Lighstorm Entertainment film studios), the director did not shorten the footage by a single minute. In July 1997 ”Titanic” came out in full, and from the very beginning turned out to be one of the most profitable Hollywood movies ever. Currently its revenues are estimated at more than two billion USD, so it is ranked second box-office hit among world cinema film productions (after ”Avatar” by the same director). In 1998,”Titanic” received eleven Oscars (only ”Ben Hur” by William Wyler had earlier achieved similar success, and later ”The Lord of the Rings. The Return of the King” by Peter Jackson). “Titanic” Oscars included those for the best film, director, original scores and the song.

Cameron initially intended to employ Enya to compose the music for his superpoduction. When she turned down the offer, he decided to cooperate with James Horner, with whom he had earlier a dispute about their different views on the sound-track to the movie ”Aliens”. The American composer acceded to the director’s request and created the sound-track breathing the original, somewhat oneiric air of Enya’s music. The scores (orchestrated by Don Davis) are very large – only a few scenes in the three-hour-long movie are in silence. Horner enriched his late-romantic symphonic music by adding synthesizers and a folk note, with instruments typical of Celtic peoples, such as the Uileann Pipes, the harmonica and the accordion. He divided the scores into three leading motifs: the title theme of Titanic (a orchestral chorale with the imitation of bells), the theme of the Southampton harbour (with an air of optimism, accompanied by the choir), the theme of the leading heroine (a melancholic soprano vocalise), and the theme of love between Rose deWitt Bukater and Jack Dawson (the instrumental version of the song ”My Heart Will Go On”, sung by Céline Dion during the closing credits). According to Anna G. Piotrowska, those motifs ”ensure the continuity of action, blurring the time gap between contemporary spectators and the movie characters. It is partly due to the music that the emotions you experience while watching the film and those which accompanied the passengers of the legendary Titanic can have a common denominator”.

In April 2015, Cameron’s multi-Oscar winning film’s simultaneous version was shown for the first time. The live music show was presented for the first time at the famous Royal Albert Hall in London, with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra (including synthesizers, as planned by the composer, and Celtic instruments), Tiffin Boys Choir, and the legendary film music conductor Ludwig Wicki. The creators of the film – James Cameron and James Horner – participated in the premiere screening. ”I’m experiencing something I have never experienced before. Hearing the music so kind upfront and dominating like that, you really realise how it drives the emotions of the movie. I really felt those big surges of powerful emotions, whether it was the elation, the love story, the dread, the fear. A great experience!” – enthused Cameron after the premiere. ”I’m just overwhelmed by the reaction tonight. It’s just stunning” – added the composer.

James Horner died in a plane crash about two months after the premiere of ”Titanic Live in Concert” at the Royal Albert Hall. The concert planned for the finale of the 10th round of the Film Music Festival is the organisers’ tribute to the composer who passed away prematurely. ”He was one of the most popular film music composers; wrote the scores for over a hundred films and won two Oscars. He wanted to visit Poland and was expected to be a guest star at the Film Music Festival but his death thwarted those plans. We symbolically go back to that dream, presenting the music that brought him the greatest fame”, says Robert Piaskowski, the Artistic Director of the Festival. On 21 May 2017, at the Krakow Arena, James Horner’s ”Titanic” will resound for the first time in its symphonic version, without using computer-generated sounds. Sinfonietta Cracovia and the Boys’ Choir of the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra will perform under the baton of irreplaceable Ludwig Wicki, for the first time in the history of the Film Music Festival; Edyta Górniak will be the star of the night, singing the famous Céline Dion’s hit.

We also recommend the simultaneous show of ”Titanic” with live music to the audience using audio description (a technique consisting of adding an additional narration track between dialogues, which persons with visual impairment can hear via headphones), that has been made available thanks to our cooperation with the 7th Sense Foundation for five years already. Last year, audio description was used by fifty members of the audience during the film show of ”Indiana Jones. Raiders of the Lost Ark” with live music. The Film Music Festival in Krakow, for the fifth time has offered the participation in the event and the reception of the concert to the visually impaired and the blind via the audio description technique. After ”Matrix”, ”Gladiator”,” Star Trek” and ”Bogowie” (Gods), and the last year’s show of “Indiana Jones. Raiders of the Lost Ark”, now it’s time for ”Titanic”.

Tags: music, festival

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