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THE PHANTOM CARRIAGE w/ Music by The Empyreans

December 30, 2023 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

$10 – $20.

The Phantom Carriage (1921) turns 103 years old on New Years Day! Transport through time at this very special screening with a live ambient musical score performed by THE EMPYREANS! Doors, 7:30pm, Film begins at 8pm.This will be our last silent film with live soundtrack until the series resumes again in March 2024. Don’t miss it!

In 1921, director Victor Sjöström premiered The Phantom Carriage one of the most important works in Swedish cinema, a film that heavily impacted Ingmar Bergman’s decision to enter the world of filmmaking. Charlie Chaplin repeatedly called it the best film ever made and Stanley Kubrick used pivital scenes as inspiration for his horror masterpiece: The Shining. Based on the novel Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness! by Selma Lagerlöf (the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature) this silent film tells a dark and atmospheric ghost story reminiscent of the Dicken’s classic: A Christmas Carol. Experience this silent masterpiece on the bif screen in our sanctuary with a live ambient soundtrack of exploratory soundscapes.

About the Live Soundtrack:
The Empyreans are an improvisational ambient collective featuring rotating musicians. The concept was created by multi instrumentalist/composer Craig Douglas (Neonach). The intention is to gather like minded enthusiasts of spacious and minimal ambient music for a one time collective performance in sound and time. All performances are entirely spontaneous, meditative and in the moment. They are meant to be a gift, tossed into the universe for one-time-only experience. The Empyreans have previous performed live soundtracks at Epsilon Spires for Fantastic Planet, Svankmajer’s Alice, Prometheus’ Garden, and Sophie’s Place.

About the Film:
The last person to die on New Year’s Eve before the clock strikes twelve is doomed to take the reins of Death’s chariot and work tirelessly collecting fresh souls for the next year. So says the legend that drives The Phantom Carriage (Körkarlen), directed by the father of Swedish cinema, Victor Sjöström. The story concerns an alcoholic, abusive ne’er-do-well (played by Sjöström himself) who is shown the error of his ways by supernatural forces, and the pure-of-heart Salvation Army sister who believes in his redemption, but whose blind faith has repercussions. This extraordinary silent classic is a complex and deeply moving morality tale showcasing highly innovative approaches toward cinematography.

The ethereal special effects used in The Phantom Carriage were groundbreaking at the time, using multiple layers of double-exposed images to allow ghosts to appear in front of and behind other elements in the frame. These effects were all achieved in-camera during an era when film had to be hand-cranked at a precise speed during each take to render convincing movement. Ingmar Bergman has said he watched The Phantom Carriage once a year from the age of 15, and he cast Sjöström in the leading role of Wild Strawberries, widely considered to be one of his best films


December 30, 2023
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
$10 – $20.
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Creative Zone
Southern Vermont Zone (Bennington and Windham Counties)


Epsilon Spires
190 Main St.
Brattleboro, VT 05301 United States
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