Northeastern to host, score long-lost film about Chicago

Friday, March 20, 2015

Chicago was a different place in 1931.

And the city fascinated German novelist, poet and filmmaker Heinrich Hauser so much that in the summer of 1931, he shot a 70-minute black-and-white documentary titled “Chicago: A World City Stretches Its Wings.”

The historic silent film that provides a glimpse of old Chicago will be shown at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 3, in Northeastern Illinois University’s Recital Hall, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. The film will feature a new music soundtrack created and performed live by the NEIU Jazz Combo and directed by Mayo Tiana with contributions from faculty members Jeff Kowalkowski and Kathy Cowan as well as students.

“The images are of Depression-era Chicago and is divided into thematic sections,” Department of Music Concert Coordinator Stephen Zivin said. “I suppose it is a sort of documentary, but it is a documentary that feels more like an artistic statement or meditation on the city.”

The film was long lost, but it was rediscovered in the 1990s when it was found in a West German archive. Wilfried Reichart and Dr. Hans-Ulrich Werner of West German Radio in Cologne restored the film and came to Chicago in 1998 to create a soundtrack and other media, including working with Lou Mallozzi at Chicago’s Experimental Sound Studio.

Werner, who is a professor of audio production and sound design at the University of Applied Sciences in Offenburg, Germany, will lead a discussion following the film showing.

The event is free and open to the public, and complimentary parking will be available in Lot F.