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  • City Lights
  • City Lights
  • City Lights
  • City Lights
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Eye on Sound: City Lights

Comedy and Tarkovsky: it may seem an unusual combination. The filmmaker-mystic with an ear for humanity’s lonely voice, however, turned out to be a great fan of Charlie Chaplin’s tragicomedies (‘classic and complete in himself’). In City Lights, ‘the Tramp’ navigates between emotion and slapstick with superior ease. Live piano accompaniment by Martin de Ruiter. 

‘Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but comedy in long-shot’, Charles Chaplin famously said. In City Lights, his endearing little tramp appears to be stumbling through life helplessly. He falls in love with a blind flower girl, barely escapes with his life after having agreed to a boxing match, moving between emotion and slapstick with superior ease.

City Lights was one of the favourite films of Andrei Tarkovsky, to whom Eye is devoting an exhibition. It may come as a surprise, but the earnest Russian filmmaker was a big fan.

weird logic

‘And is Chaplin – comedy? No: he is Chaplin, pure and simple; a unique phenomenon, never to be repeated (...)’, Tarkovsky wrote in his volume of essays Sculpting in Time. ‘In the most absurd situation Chaplin is completely natural, and that is why he is funny. His hero seems not to notice the world in which he lives, nor its weird logic. Chaplin is such a classic, so complete in himself, that he might have died three hundred years ago.’

The film you are looking for was shown in EYE in a past programme.
Sorry we can’t help you out. But as a lover of classics, genre and arthouse film we invite you to have a look at what is on view now.
Program a-z