Best known for his Hollywood scores including Sicario, Arrival, and forthcoming Blade Runner sequel – it was an entirely different project proposition which brought Jóhann Jóhannsson to Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall for MIF 2017.
The venue – a gem of contemporary architecture in Manchester’s city centre, was the perfect vehicle for not only containing, but contributing to, a performance that raises notions of civilisation, architecture and destiny.
Based on the acclaimed book by Olaf Stapledon, film, lighting and the impressive BBC Symphony Orchestra in the quest to find the final human species in civilisation.
As narrator, Tilda Swinton’s ethereal voice echoes around the cavernous venue, perfectly segueing with stark, empowering images of post-war Soviet Architecture that splinter the visual horizon.
It’s clear from the offset that a precise and emotive concept has been cultivated. A series of majestic long camera takes puncture the darkness. The camera soars, and these sculptures enter and depart focus with a dreamlike presence. At times Kubrician, the poise and majesty of the camera moves are reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
At seventy-five minutes, you would think that such a performance based extensible on an off-screen narrator and abstract images could feel like hard work. Nothing could be further from the truth, and time itself seem to evaporate.
A captivating and effecting performance.
For more on the Manchester International Festival and it’s remaining programme click here.