The Music Box of Sofia International Film Festival - Classical art allures and engages

Two musical cinema masterpieces by the major British director Tony Palmer are included in the special "Music Box" programme of the 21-th Sofia Film Fest. Palmer's filmography includes over 100 titles – from his early works about The Beatles, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Leonard Cohen and Frank Zappa, to his well-known portrayals of Britten, Walton, Stravinsky, and Maria Callas. Tony Palmer is one of the leading film directors of musical documentaries and historical feature films. He is a winner of more than forty international awards, among them 12 gold medals from New York Film & TV Festival, multiple BAFTA & Emmy nominations and awards. He is the only two-time winner of the prestigious State Award of Italy – Prix Italia. In 2010, Tony Palmer was honoured with the Sofia Award for lifetime achievement in the art of world cinema. 

TONY PALMER's visit in Bulgaria is accomplished with kind support from UNITED BULGARIAN BANK.

The festival audience will have two chances to see a unique combination between music and cinema in March. "Take some of the most well-known solo performers of the 1970s – Elton John, Tina Turner, Bee Gees, Peter Gabriel, Bryan Ferry, Rod Stewart, David Essex, Leo Sayer, Hellen Reddy and Frankie Valli. Offer them to sing cover versions of some of The Beatles' most popular songs. Add documentary sequences from World War II, telling the story of this epic clash. And you will get "The Beatles and World War II". Sounds amazing, right?"

In the distant 1976, 20-th Century Fox invited Susan Winslow to direct the "All This And World War II" documentary, which uses not only Beatles sequences, but parts from the company's films from the 1940's , as well as documentary material from World War II. Although film was presented outside the competition programme of Cannes, it was a total failure – both in the eyes of critics, and according to its few viewers. The distribution company pulled it off theaters after its second week, and its very existence was in question, because most of its copies were destroyed. And not only for this reason, it became so hard to find that "All This and World War II" achieved cult status. 

As Tony Palmer himself shares: "Although the original film from 1976 was (almost) completely destroyed, thanks to indifference and stupidity of its original distributor, I instinctively felt that the main idea, visual material and – of course – the music was too good to vanish forever!" Thus a modernized version of the idea, called "The Beatles and World War II" (2016) will be presented to the audience in Sofia personally from the man who is in love with Fab Four's music, and who takes the realization of this project as his personal mission. In this film, Tony Palmer presents "some of the original recordings of Beatles cover versions, with addition of many new, never before seen sequences, as well as completely different music." He points that the film contains bits from news bulletins with Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, Joe Kennedy, and Adolf Hitler, and stresses on recent events and themes like the war in Syria, and the refugee crisis. Palmer remains true to his style – the eternal striving for provocation! 


"Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire" is a film-ode and a reverence to the memory of the unique poet, writer, and a musician, who concluded his earthly journey in the end of 2016. The film presents important details from the great bard's 1972 tour – shot, preserved, and reproduced by Tony Palmer, in spite of his notorious rift with the film producers. The film introduces the audience backstage, where Leonard Cohen just doesn’t notice the cameras. Tony Palmer had not only full access to all areas, but the freedom to interpret the material as he wished… The film work presents 17 of Cohen's greatest hits, performed at a time when the bard was in top form, and unveils the hardships and mayhem, which pursue every tour. And in spite of the imperfections of the audio and video equipment of the time, according to Palmer the most important thing has been preserved –spirit of the time…


"Rolling Stones: Ole, Ole, Ole – A Trip across Latin America" by Paul Dugdale is a documentary, shadowing the band's tour to ten cities of Latin America in 2016. The work combines spectacular live renditions with the intimate view inside Rolling Stones' world, not skipping to accentuate on the historical show in Havana, where it turns out that the legendary veterans are the first rock band to make a public appearance before an audience of one million and two hundred thousand people! The film is a tale for the revolutionary power of rock'n'roll, and follows the band's tour, the local culture, and the unique connection between the people of Latin America and The Rolling Stones. The fans will see Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood and their hypnotic performance of hits, turned into undeniable classics - „(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, „It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll”, „Wild Horses”, „Honky Tonk Women”, „Sympathy For The Devil”, „Paint It Black”, „Miss You”...

„It’s only Rock ‘n Roll but WE like it”! 
If you miss these films – you will surely regret it!