Published 15/05/2024 | 13:40

The Finnish band Cleaning Women gives a concert in Kumu with the Georgian film My Grandmother

Still from the film My Grandmother (Chemi bebia, 1929, 61 min)

A cinema concert in the auditorium of the Kumu Art Museum on 24 May will combine a classic silent film with a contemporary musical experience: the film My Grandmother by Kote Mikaberidze will be shown, with the Finnish experimental music collective Cleaning Women providing the avant-garde soundtrack.

The grotesquely witty silent film My Grandmother (Chemi bebia, 1929, 61 min) by the legendary Georgian actor and animator Kote Mikaberidze (1896–1973) has traces of French avant-garde cinema, with its use of a stopped camera, elements of puppetry and animation, as well as the expressionistic design and camera angles of the period. Due to its anti-Soviet plot and innovative use of form, the film was banned for decades.

The Helsinki-based experimental group Cleaning Women has previously screened My Grandmother at the Telluride Film Festival in America, the Tromsø International Film Festival in Norway and the Midnight Sun Film Festival in Finland. My Grandmother has also been accompanied by a wide variety of musical ensembles from all over the world, from the Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra to the Beth Custer Ensemble at MoMA in New York.

“Even though the film was made nearly a hundred years ago, its theme – the widespread proliferation of bureaucracy – is timeless and still relevant. The original music played live by Cleaning Women offers the audience a multi-layered experience, combining the bureaucracy addressed in the film with an elegant soundtrack,” said Hele-Mai Madisson, Project Manager of the Kumu Auditorium.

The Helsinki-based experimental group Cleaning Women, composed of CW04 (Tero Vänttinen), CW03 (Timo Kinnunen) and CW01 (Risto Puurunen), are known for their home-made instruments, consisting of household objects and recycled materials, offering a separate spectacle with their witty multimedia show. Although the collective’s starting point is avant-garde and experimental, the end result is a combination of cinematic science fiction and sparkling trash-can disco, offering a unique experience both musically and visually.

Cleaning Women has given over 600 concerts in its more than 25 years of existence, and has performed at several international film and music festivals around the world. Among other things, they have created original soundtracks for classic silent films (Aelita: Queen of Mars, 1929, directed by Yakov Protazanov; Enthusiasm, 1930 and The Eleventh Year, 1928, directed by Dziga Vertov; Battleship Potemkin, 1925, directed by Sergei Eisenstein; Metropolis, 1927, directed by Fritz Lang; and Georges Méliès’s science fiction film Voyage to the Moon, 1902), and wrote and performed an original score for the director Alice Rohrwacher’s 2022 contemporary short film Le pupille (The Pupils), nominated for an Academy Award in 2023.

The Cleaning Women previously performed at the Kumu Auditorium in 2013, when they presented two original soundtracks for cinema: Aelita: Queen of Mars (1924) and an American short film session with Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy and Charlie Chaplin.

Cleaning Women’s cinema concert My Grandmother is being produced by the Kumu Auditorium.

Additional information about Cleaning Women: http://www.cleaningwomen.com/

The film was restored by the Georgian National Film Center.

Supported by the Finnish Institute and TelepART