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The Thief of Bagdad 1

Beyond Music - Concert

Silent film concert: The Thief from Baghdad (Norway / Syria)

Together with Cinemateket, we have the pleasure of inviting you to a silent film concert with newly composed music by Kjetil Schjander Luhr and Saleh Mahfoud.

The Thief from Baghdad is a spectacular silent film adventure from 1924, which draws inspiration from several of the stories in One Thousand and One Nights. The film is an interesting insight into early Hollywood's fascination with the "exotic". It revels in classic clichés, borrowed or stolen from Arab culture. Unusual for American film, and well worth noting, is the positive portrayal of Islam. Douglas Fairbanks's atheistic thief undergoes a moral awakening that sets the adventure in motion. In 1996, the film was included in the Library of Congress' collection of historically, culturally and aesthetically significant films.

Cinemateket's long-standing silent film musician Kjetil Schjander Luhr.

Kjetil Schjander Luhr has long wanted to create music for The Thief from Baghdad, but he had a desire to approach the film with a wider cultural perspective than Hollywood could offer in the 1920s. The idea of ​​a silent film concert that could become a real mashup of classic Hollywood clichés on the one hand, and authentic Arabic music and its own clichés on the other.

The Thief of Bagdad SALEH MAHFOUD
Multi-instrumentalist and composer Saleh Mahfoud.

Luhr realized that he knew far too little about Arab musical tradition, and contacted Saleh Mahfoud, who since he came to Norway from Syria in 2015 has been a significant figure in the work to promote Arab culture and music on the Norwegian music scene, with a wide range of projects and ensembles, such as Majãz, Oslo Oriental Orchestra and Solfrid Molland Ensemble.

Together, Luhr and Mahfoud have created a new and humorous musical ensemble for this classic silent film, which can delight and entertain a new audience, 99 years after it first premiered.

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