LFF #1 -- Trimpin: the Sound of Invention

A noisy documentary kicks off our film festival coverage

Trimpin: the Sound of Invention
dir: Peter Esmonde

Trimpin (no surname) is a German inventor and composer who lives in Seattle and builds musical instruments out of junk. As the production notes to this documentary about his life and work helpfully point out, the junk includes the following:

whistles
duck calls
toy guitars
toy violins
gramophones
hairbands
Tupperware
toy monkeys
wooden shoes
dip-tip chickens
bunsen burners
beer glasses
typewriters
office lamps
juice dispensers
cathode ray tubes
electrical fan blades
slide projectors
vacuum cleaner
pottery wheels
aircraft cable
turkey basters
steel chains
saw blades
a 10,000-volt neon transformer

So far, so quirky. "Childlike" outsiders who display artistic genius are a topic beloved of American documentarists -- if you like that sort of thing, Realms of the Unreal (2004), about the artist Henry Darger, and The Devil and Daniel Johnston (2005), about the eponymous singer-songwriter, are good examples. At first it seems as if Trimpin falls neatly into this mould, but the film turns out to be a more serious exploration of how human beings perceive sound, particularly in a world where music can be generated -- even composed -- by machines.

Two highlights: seeing the very earnest members of San Francisco's Kronos Quartet try to keep a straight face when Trimpin gives them a selection of toy violins to play, and a brief introduction to one of the 20th century's more unusual composers, Conlon Nancarrow, who mainly wrote music for the player piano.

And so we're off. Coming up soon: Michael Haneke pokes around in the dark corners of rural Germany.

Daniel Trilling is the Editor of New Humanist magazine. He was formerly an Assistant Editor at the New Statesman.

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Casting the Brexit movie that is definitely real and will totally happen

Details are yet unclear as to whether The Bad Boys of Brexit will be gracing our screens, or just Farage's vivid imagination.

Hollywood is planning to take on the farcical antics of Nigel Farage et al during the UK referendum, according to rumours (some suspect planted by a starstruck Brexiteer). 

Details are yet unclear as to whether The Bad Boys of Brexit will be gracing our big or small screens, a DVD, or just Farage's vivid imagination, but either way here are our picks for casting the Hollywood adaptation.

Nigel Farage: Jim Carrey

The 2018 return of Alan Partridge as "the voice of hard Brexit" makes Steve Coogan the obvious choice. Yet Carrey's portrayal of the laughable yet pure evil Count Olaf in A Series of Unfortunate Events makes him a serious contender for this role. 

Boris Johnson: Gerard Depardieu

Stick a blonde wig on him and the French acting royalty is almost the spitting image of our own European aristocrat. He has also evidently already mastered the look of pure shock necessary for the final scene of the movie - in which the Leave campaign is victorious.

Arron Banks: Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais not only resembles Ukip donor Arron Banks, but has a signature shifty face perfect for the scene where the other Brexiteers ask him what is the actual plan. 

Gerry Gunster: Anthony Lapaglia

The Bad Boys of Brexit will reportedly be told from the perspective of the US strategist turned Brexit referendum expert Gerry Gunster. Thanks to recurring roles in both the comedy stalwart Frasier, and the US crime drama Without a Trace, Anthony Lapaglia is versatile enough to do funny as well as serious, a perfect mix for a story that lurches from tragedy to farce. Also, they have the same cunning eyes.

Douglas Carswell: Mark Gatiss

The resemblance is uncanny.

David Cameron: Andrew Scott

Andrew Scott is widely known for his portrayal of Moriarty in Sherlock, where he indulges in elaborate, but nationally destructive strategy games. The actor also excels in a look of misplaced confidence that David Cameron wore all the way up to the referendum. Not to mention, his forehead is just as shiny. He'll have to drink a lot of Bollinger to gain that Cameron-esque puppy fat though. 

Kate Hoey: Judi Dench

Although this casting would ruin the image of the much beloved national treasure that is Judi Dench, if anyone can pull off being the face of Labour Leave, the incredible actress can.