50 Bedford Ave, between N. 12th and Lormier
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

Rooftop Films and The Devil Music Ensemble present RED HEROINE.

The Devil Music Ensemble will perform a LIVE score, accompanying the only surviving Chinese silent martial arts film, Hong Xia's 1929 film, Red Heroine.


On Sunday August 9th Rooftop Films is presenting the Devil Music Ensemble, who are performing their new original score live to the silent martial arts film Red Heroine (1929, directed by Wen Yimin), outside and on the lawn of the Automotive School in Brooklyn NY (50 Bedford Ave). The show begins at 8:30pm with a martial arts demo by a local martial arts group and is followed by the DME at 9pm.

This film is the only surviving extant Chinese silent “Kung Fu” film left from the silent era! Red Heroine is a prime example of the terrifically popular Chinese swordplay genre (wuxia pian), often based on published novels or serials, and an early cinema export, which was banned after the Cultural Revolution. The score that the DME has composed pulls from the traditions of Chinese classical and folk music, as well as soundtracks from classic Kung Fu cinema, and is the only modern score made expressly for this film! This is a very rare performance that showcases the combination of the ancient tradition of martial arts, early 20th century Asian film, and 21st century music. The DME premiered this score at the “Films at the Gate Kung Fu Film Festival” outdoors in Chinatown Boston in September of 2008. They followed this up with a tour of the entire U.S. performing at the Smithsonian Institute, the Pasadena Asia Museum, the Portland Museum of Art in OR, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Bowers Museum in CA. and many more exciting venues. In September of 2009 the DME will be travelling to europe for a 6 week tour with Red Heroine. They will be performing at the Europalia festival of Chinese art in Brussels Belgium, at the 2009 European Capital of Culture Festival in Linz Austria, the Netherlands Film Museum in Amsterdam, the Italian Cinema Museum in Torino Italy, the Danish Film Institute in Copenhagen Denmark, and many more venues.

The DME is three multi-instrumental musicians from Boston that have been making their name with live original score performances to classic silent film. Over 7 U.S. and 2 European tours, the DME have established themselves as one of the primary American groups in this field and are capable of tightly synced genre bending hypnotic musical performances that can make an audience forget that there is a live band directing the mood, emotion, and pace of the visual imagery they are immersed in.

Formed in Boston in 1999, the DME is comprised of Brendon Wood on electric guitar, lap steel, and synthesizer; Jonah Rapino on electric violin, lap steel, vibraphone, erhu (2 string Chinese violin) and synthesizer; and Tim Nylander on drums, and a variety of Chinese percussion instruments.

Brendon Wood, from Tiverton RI, has his Bachelors of Fine Arts in Music from the University of Mass. Jonah Rapino, from Toledo Ohio, received his Bachelors Fine Arts in classical music performance from Boston University. Tim Nylander, from Portsmouth NH, received his Bachelors in Fine Arts from Harvard University.

In its short history, the DME has been a rock trio, and Eastern European folk band, a country music review, a 40 piece modern orchestral ensemble, a house band for live theater, a speak easy era jazz band, and a multi-member ensemble performing live soundtracks to silent films. Members of DME have also begun to make their name doing soundtracks for modern film, which include Darkon (which screened at Rooftop Films in 2007), and the Day of The Cabbage, amongst others.

"Violinist Jonah Rapino, who also scores silent classics, has created an evocative score on par with any Hollywood fantasy."
--Eddie Cockrell (from a recent review of Darkon in Variety Magazine).

Rapino’s latest soundtrack project was for the Documentary Alice, about Alice Neel, one of the most famous American portrait painter’s of the 20th Century. Mark Holcomb of New York’s Time out says “…..the effect is spirited rather than incriminating and, bolstered by Jonah Rapino’s contemplative score, as piercingly detailed as one of Alice’s mesmerizing portraits.”

No single description of the DME performance experience can accurately depict this groups versatile and genre spanning capabilities. The DME, striving to explore different sonic territory with every new project they undertake, keeps audiences surprised and coming back to hear and see whatever they are doing next. To hear mp3’s or find out more about the DME go to www.devilmusic.org.

From barns to 2000 seat performing art centers, here are a few of the more memorable places that the DME has visited of late: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh Pa, The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston MA, the Danish Film Institute in Copenhagen Denmark, Caixa Forum in Barcelona Spain, The Block Museum in Chicago IL, the Coolidge Corner Cinema in Boston MA, The Starz Film Center in Denver CO, the Balboa Theater in San Francisco CA, the Cleveland Institute of Art in Cleveland OH, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Colonial Theater in Phoenixville PA, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art in OK City OK, and many many more.

RED HEROINE (Hong Xia) 1929 94 minutes English and Chinese Intertitles
Directed by Wen Yimin Studio: Youlian
Cinematographer: Yao Shiquan
Cast: Fan Xuepeng, Shu Gohui, Wang Juqing, Wen Yimin, Sao Guanyu
with Chinese and English subtitles. Silent, 94 min

Episode six of RED HEROINE (a.k.a. RED KNIGHT-ERRANT), the only surviving episode of the 13-part serial, is also one of the few complete and earliest extant silent martial arts films. Made at the height of the martial arts craze in 1920s Shanghai, this lively tale about the rise of a woman warrior features the genre’s then-characteristic blend of pulp and mystical derring-do. A rampaging army raids a village and kidnaps a maiden, causing the death of the young woman’s grandmother. At the general’s lair, the captive maiden faces imminent rape, but is lo and behold rescued by the mysterious Daoist hermit, White Monkey. Three years later, Yun Mei (“Yun Ko” in the English intertitles) reemerges as a full-fledged warrior, ready to deploy the magic powers learnt from White Monkey to avenge her grandmother’s death.

This “maiden of the clouds” (the literal meaning of “Yun Mei”) flies across the skies to rescue another innocent captured by the marauding soldiers. Appearing and disappearing in a puff of smoke, Yun Mei scurries up and down walls on a rope, runs and jumps, dodges here and attacks there. While sprinkled with anachronisms and prurient incongruities (for instance, the general’s lair is part-country villa, part-operatic stage and part-DeMille den of iniquity with bikini-clad women and bestial men), the film is never less than a robust telling of a young woman’s transformation from abject victim to resolute warrior. Her flight of empowerment noticeably leads her away from family and marriage towards a chaste omniscience in an otherworldly plane. The film’s director Wen Yimin plays the archetypal non-fighting scholar to whom Yun Mei plays matchmaker. According to Fan Xuepeng who stars as Yun Mei, her warrior garb was originally tinted, the better to be a vision in red.
—Cheng-Sim Lim of the UCLA film and television archive.

8:00PM: Doors open
8:30PM: Martial Arts Demonstration
9:00PM:Red Heroine, with a score performed live by The Devil Music Ensemble
11:30PM-1:00AM: After-party: Open Bar at Matchless (557 Manhattan Ave. @ Driggs) Courtesy of Radeberger Pilsner
Tickets: $9 at the door or online
Presented in partnership with: Cinereach, New York magazine, City Council Member David Yassky & Automotive High School

Official Website: http://www.rooftopfilms.com

Added by BKLYNfoot on July 7, 2009

Interested 2