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Hysteria, Hypnosis, and Hallucination: Silent Cinema Shorts

Dreamland Faces will be accompanying five silent short films at Northop on October 18, 2022. This program was curated by Maggie Hennefeld and features Molly Raben on Northrop’s historic pipe organ.

Purchase tickets online.

About the films

In the early 20th century, filmmakers were frequently compared to hypnotists, enticing hysterical movie audiences with wild collective hallucinations! In these rarely seen films curated by UMN’s Maggie Hennefeld, a woman is hypnotized by a Svengali, a jealous lover practices tele-hypnosis to defeat his rival, an overworked housemaid has sleeping sickness, a female coach drive can’t believe her eyes, an obsessive inventor gives us a sneak preview of Zoom, and cinematography offers a miraculous cure to hysterical amnesia.

  1. At the Hypnotist's (Chez le magnétiseur), Alice Guy-Blaché, Gaumont, France, 1897
  2. *Hypnotizing the Hypnotist, Laurence Trimble, Vitagraph, US, 1911
  3. *Rosalie Has Sleeping Sickness (Rosalie a la maladie du sommeil), Pathé, France, 1911
  4. *Cunégonde the Coachwoman (Cunégonde femme cochère), Lux, France, 1913
  5. *Love and Science (Amour et science), M.J. Roche, Éclair, France, 1912
  6. The Mystery of the Rocks of Kador (Le mystère des roches de Kador), Léonce Perret, France, 1912

*Included in Cinema's First Nasty Women (Kino Lorber, 2022)

About the Performers

With clanks, creaks, thuds and dings, Ryan Billig has been adding off-rhythm percussive accompaniment to silent films with Dreamland Faces since the early 2000s. His influences include Noise, Javanese gamelan, West African drumming, Americana, Charismatic Christian Prayer Groups, Neo-pagan Ritual Community Theater, Rock and Roll, Jazz, and Balkan Brass. He began drumming at a young age and currently performs with Brass Messengers, Better Mistakes, and Brass Solidarity.

Karen Majewicz is a composer and accordionist specializing in original scores for silent films. She particularly enjoys scoring silent films created by women or featuring women-centered stories. She is also interested in playing new music, modern classical works, and atonal art songs on accordion. Karen holds an ethnomusicology degree from the University of Washington and has studied music composition at the University of Minnesota.

Andy McCormick is a composer and multi-instrumentalist. He writes music for movies, theater, with lyricists, and for friends. Andy enjoys collaborating and is usually willing to experiment. He is a proud musical saw player, ardent supporter of new music, and willing to sing dissonant intervals.

Molly Raben is an organist and experimental musician. With her foot in a corner of the cosmos, her practice is founded upon many years on the organ bench at churches. She collaborates with various local musicians and looks to the wind and the sky for her biggest inspiration.

Christa Rübsam Schneider is a cellist and violinist who has been performing since 2003 in the Twin Cities and globally with various musical groups ranging in style from new music to jazz to cinematic chamber. Her father, Wolfgang Rübsam, is a notable organist and formed her ear and love for early music. She has been involved in several theater productions including the upcoming production, RARE: Stories of Dis-Ease, by Kevin Kling. She has also co-composed, arranged, and performed live original scores for a number of silent films shown at venues such as the Trylon Microcinema, the Heights Theater, and Movies in the Park. Christa regularly plays with Dreamland Faces, is jazz trio leader of Ensemble Pro Arte and teaches private lessons to budding musicians.

About the venue

Northrop is a performing arts center on the University of Minnesota's East Bank campus. The auditorium offers world-class dance and music performances, speakers, films, artist workshops and more.

Northrop is also home to the Aeolian-Skinner Opus 892 pipe organ built in the 1930s. This incredible instrument was restored in 2018 with the help of The Friends of the Northrop Organ committee.

We are excited and grateful to be able to compose for this pipe organ and perform new music on it.