Sonya, The Girl Without Fear, sent out an invitation to go watch a Charlie Chaplin film tonight at the Cinematheque. The girl has good nerd taste; I have much to learn from her awesomeness. I had never seen an entire Chaplin film before tonight, nor had I been to the Cinematheque. This blog seems to be turning into a documentation of my encounters with (what I find to be) new and interesting aspects of arts, history and culture. I'm happy to add my experience of seeing The Circus to this blog.
Though The Circus is mainly a comedy, I also found it touching. One of the main characters, "A Circus Rider", is the stepdaughter of the Circus Proprietor who manages his show with a hard and heavy hand. The Proprietor is eager to have his audience laugh, though the same cannot be said in regards to his employees. The arrival of Chaplin's character "A Tramp" manages to cheer the beautiful yet slightly tragic figure of the Circus Rider . The interactions between the main characters in the film manage to convey more sentiments to the audience than the laughable qualities of mere slapstick.
The film begins with Chaplin singing and the film is silent, apart from an accompanying music score also composed by the legendary film star. As I sat in the flickering darkness of the theater with my popcorn, I thought of how this film couldn't possibly be fully appreciated in any other environment. I contemplated the possible number of spectators who had also applauded and laughed at the adventures of the lovable Tramp over this last century. To see a Chaplin film at the cinema, one is not only a spectator, but also manages to feel engaged in the plot alongside the film's characters. There were no 3D special effects, explosions or nudity (though you do get to see Chaplin's calves), but seeing The Circus for the first time was certainly a memorable experience. It's no wonder the films have remained popular through several generations.
Also, on April 14th, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra will perform the music of the film Modern Times, where Chaplin's timeless character The Tramp made his last appearance.