The cine club might be in Stocolom, Berlim, New York or even São Paulo. It also could be in Toronto, and there it was exhibited the movie Nosferatu (1922), by the German expressionist moviemaker Murnau, with a very special soundtrack.
I had already watched Nosferatu one time, last year, on its original kind: a silent film. About that occasion, at CCBB (a cultural institute in São Paulo), I could hear only the chairs’ noises and the people breath around me. Quite a year later, in Toronto, I was walking around downtown when I saw a poster that I couldn’t ignore.
The sign claimed that Nosferatu was “the best film version” for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Nothing new. But there was a detail, a great surprise: Kid A album, by Radiohead, would be played as a chilling soundtrack. The experience was called Kid Dracula.
I chose one of the dates and then I went to the address indicated on the sign. It was a two-story house with a straight front, in red-browned bricks, and a small red neon sign where it could be read “Cineforum”. Besides I arrived too early, the door was opened. I got in, then. On the second room – actually, a kitchen – I saw a man on his sixties eating a great pasta. A young guy was near him, and a dog came on my way. I gave a step back, but then the guy told me that I shouldn’t need to be afraid about the dog. It wagged the tail.
I said that I had come to Nosferatu presentation but as it was too early I’d come back later. The man stopped eating, asked me if I were Swiss and showed me the small exhibition room, just in case I’d preferred to wait there. I answered that I was Brazilian and that I’d come back later. And also that I was excited to watch Nosferatu set to Radiohead’s soundtrack.
I came back to Cineforum just in time. There was only another person in the exhibition room. The film started with “Everything in its right place”, the very first Kid A song. Later on two more guys arrived.
The film mixed very well to Kid A atmosphere, played in its original sequence, track after track. There are no synchronicities – just the sound’s feeling combining with the images. Skeptics, including me myself, insist on arguing that these things are coincidence. There was time enough to play part of another Radiohead album, Ok Computer, up to the film end. Once the movie had finished, the man who was eating pasta earlier asked us how we had liked it.
His name is Reg Hartt. Since 1992 he has been using a room at his own home as a cinema to show B-films and experimental exhibitions such as Kid Dracula, for moviegoers and curious. I asked him how he got the awesome idea to mix Nosferatu and Kid A, but Hartt didn’t describe any details. “I just came up with the idea”, he said.
I imagine that one day, maybe while he was calmly having dinner, someone had played Kid A to him. And in his cinephile memories there were no more room but Murnau’s Count Dracula walking up the stairs.
Perhaps after he had tested the film to Kid A music he added Ok Computer. And then he did as he always does: he created the Kid Dracula’s signs, photocopied them, put the ads on his bike basket and then rode the bike to fix the posters around the town.