Presented by the MAC and Belfast Film Festival. British group Bronnt Industries Kapital performs it's new live soundtrack to Oleksandr Dovzhenko's classic silent film Arsenal in 2018, to mark the 100 year anniversary of the uprising depicted in the film.
Set in 1918 during the closing stages of the Eastern Front of the First World War, Arsenal documents a Bolshevik uprising in Ukraine that was a pivotal moment in the Ukrainian War of Independence, and the country’s war with Soviet Russia.
Director Oleksandr Dovzhenko is often cited as one of the most important early Soviet filmmakers, alongside Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, and Vsevolod Pudovkin, as well as being a pioneer of Soviet montage theory.
The soundtrack was commissioned by the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre in Kyiv, Ukraine to accompany the recently restored print, and supported by the British Council. It features instrumentation ranging from strings, guitar, drums, to sounds produced using extended techniques including prepared piano, bowed metal sheets, and the use of matériel items such as large shell casings as bells. The tone of the soundtrack follows the changeable tone of the film - at points kinetic and chaotic, at others solemn and meditative; an attempt to convey the confusion and tragedy of civil war.
Bronnt Industries Kapital is based around British composer Guy Bartell, who works in the fields of film soundtrack, electronic music and sound art. He has recorded soundtracks for Tartan Films and the British Film Institute amongst others, including contemporary scores for the cult Swedish silent film Häxan and the Soviet propaganda film Turksib.
Arsenal is a powerful anti-war statement and has evoked comparisons with Picasso's Guernica for its compassionate, complex depiction of war, as well as with Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove and Full Metal Jacket in highlighting the absurdity of war.