Silent Film About Young Louis Armstrong to Screen in Oberlin, Ohio
Wynton Marsalis wrote the film’s score
Louis, a silent film about Louis Armstrong as a young boy, will be screened at the Apollo Theatre in Oberlin, Ohio, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. The free event, presented by the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Oberlin College’s Cinema Studies Department, is part of the theater’s grand reopening this month, following a three-year renovation. The multimedia production features a modern black and white silent film with live music performed by the Oberlin Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Dennis Reynolds.
Louis was written and directed by first-time filmmaker Dan Pritzker and shot by Oscar-winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond (Deliverance, The Deer Hunter and Close Encounters of the Third Kind). The film’s score, written by Wynton Marsalis, also incorporates pieces by 19th-century American composer, Louis Moreau Gottschalk.
The film stars Jackie Earle Haley, Shanti Lowry and Anthony Coleman. According to a press release, “The film pays homage to Louis Armstrong and the silent film era of Charlie Chaplin. Although not a literal biopic, the film is centered on Armstrong’s early years in the Storyville district of New Orleans when he received his first trumpet.”
The film premiered in 2010 with a five-performance domestic tour with Marsalis’ band. A slightly smaller ensemble reprised the project for two shows at the 2011 London Jazz Festival. A private screening followed by the encore public event on September 23 in Oberlin will be the third time this film has been brought to a theater with live music.
Running time for the R-rated film (for sexual content and nudity) is 70 minutes. Tickets are required, as seating is limited, and will be available at the Apollo Theatre Box Office beginning at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 23. There is a four-ticket limit per person. The show begins at 7:00 p.m.