Can a movie grant you the same sensory experience as a live-action theater performance?

Can a THX sound system compare to listening to an orchestra as it accompanies your viewing of a movie? 

The "movie" we are referring to is not so much a night out at the cinema; it’s a mixing of mediums.

The film “Louis” is a silent film that chronicles the journey a young Louis Armstrong follows as he searches and finds his coronet, as a child in the streets of New Orleans. Though its performers silently act the film, it speaks volumes.  Thanks mainly, to its incredible acting, but also to the live orchestra, which accompanied the movie at each of its showings in the 5-city tour.  Blast had the pleasure of speaking with one of the actresses in the film, Shanti Lowry.

BLAST: LOUIS is an experience unlike anything I’ve ever heard of before.  How do you feel audiences will receive the film?

SHANTI LOWRY: The film seems to have gotten really warm reviews.  People who didn’t know what to expect say they really loved the presentation and the story.  As far as it being a silent film, audiences have said that the story and the acting is done in such a way that you don’t even notice that there isn’t a dialogue.  You can actually hear what the characters are saying through the story.

BLAST: You play a character named Grace in the film.  Can you tell us a little about her?

SL: My character Grace is a continuation on my character in the accompanying film “Bolden!,” which is going to be released in 2011.  She is a seamstress who, out of necessity, finds herself working in a bordello as a prostitute, trying to support her infant daughter.  Her paths cross with Louis, and her life is impacted greatly by him and his music.

BLAST: You say “Louis” is an accompanying piece to “Bolden!” Explain.

SL: Yes, “Louis” is a more light-hearted story about the young Louis Armstrong, and “Bolden!” is a more dramatic piece about the life of Charles "Buddy" Bolden, who played an extraordinary influence on Louis Armstrong.

BLAST: You are an accomplished dancer.  Do you think your background in that art form helped your performance in this film,  since you had to portray Grace’s emotions without using dialogue?

SL: I didn’t really feel like I needed to overact the part of Grace just because I didn’t have the luxury of speaking in the film. I didn’t think I needed to interpret her emotion onscreen by flailing and gyrating for the scene. Grace is so intense. You really feel her character presence in both films.

“Louis” premiered in five cities for its opening tour: Chicago, Detroit, Washington D.C., New York, and Philadelphia.  It will begin a West Coast tour and a European tour early next year.  For those of us who live in the Northeast, “Bolden!” will be released in select theaters in 2011. 

Shanti Lowry can also be seen in new episodes of “The Game” on BET.

About The Author

Mark Cerbo is a Blast correspondent

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