“That stuff is crap, what we do” Bill Murray dead dreams in the middle of “New worlds: the cradle of civilization. ”The on-screen live audience – an odd sight after a year and a half of social distancing and no live performances – laughs. Murray sums it up: “Is it too late to get moussaka?” Then he smiles knowingly and nods. “Trust me when I say the worst is over,” he says.
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“Junk” may not be the right word, but “New Worlds: The Cradle of Civilization” is definitely a unique viewing experience. Directed (or shot and recorded by?) Andrew J. Muscato, the film is partly classical music performance, partly literature reading, the television special filmed in the Athenaeum was certainly unconventional fare for the audience on the Croisette, who are used to the demanding art-house filmmaking that normally adorns the canvases of the palace. “New Worlds” is a demanding artistic performance for the cultural elite, replete with readings by Ernest Hemingway and James Fenimore Cooper in connection with Schubert performances. Thanks to Murray as a charismatic host, it is also looser and looser than a Philharmonic concert. The experience of seeing the premiere was bizarre in many ways. It seems like the kind of variety on TV that you’d casually run in the background while chopping vegetables in the isolation of your own home. But in Cannes the theatergoers saw it together in the presence of Murray, Jan Vogler, and the musicians themselves, unsure of whether to clap in real time between performances.
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Still, the event, which ended with a boisterous live performance by Murray and the musicians present, was a welcome reintroduction to the thrill of live music and the concert after a year off. With major concert tours and Broadway shows on hold for the time being, “New Worlds” is an indisputable reminder of the irreplaceable magic of live music – and a plea not to forget it. [B]