Hubcap City: Drive-In Potemkin

Experimentalists give Sergei Eisenstein an overdub

When Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein completed his 1925 silent film Battleship Potemkin, he wanted a new score for the film to be composed every 10-20 years to maintain the film's relevance.

Eighty-plus years later, Hubcap City has composed an original score that the band will play live in the parking lot of Opal Gallery in Little Five Points while the film is projected onto the gallery's front window.

It's all about taking a stand, according to the band's wry frontman, Bill Taft. "Doing this in a parking lot is an inversion of power," he says. "We are taking away the power of cars and making it a place for pedestrians. It goes with the film's theme of revolution and fighting back."

Eisenstein was one of the first directors to use montage editing. By carefully piecing multiple frames together he created a strong sense of emotion and tension in the film's narrative. The collision of shots was used to manipulate the audiences' emotions.

Likewise, Hubcap City's music is a collision of sounds, and incorporates montage by using a variety of instruments thrown together. The reverberation creates a raw, emotional sound. Like montage film editing, the random sounds produce a larger picture. Some instruments that will be used during the performance include a cornet, a saw, a starter pistol and a shruti box to set the tone for the film.

"We're really going to play around with Eisenstein's montage ideas, especially montage with conflict," Taft says. "We went for universal anti-oppression themes: the sounds of an Irish hanging ballad and some of the early American sounds of slave spirituals, along with someone banging on your door."

Apparently, Eisenstein's Russian revolution translated all the way to Hubcap City. "The movie is bigger than one region," Taft says. "We can keep the fight going. This is about a revolution!"

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