Charlie Chaplin's "The Kid"

Commissioned and premiered in Jan 2010 by the NY Guitar Festival at Merkin Hall. Marc Ribot’s delicate and at times haunting solo guitar score contemporizes this classic Chaplin film to a story relevant to the economic and social conditions of today. 

"I did not use Charlie Chaplin’s score as a reference. I admire his score greatly, and his writing greatly, but I did not want to use that as a reference because my interest in this, as with everything else, comes from doing a particular reading. And my particular reading of this film is as a contemporary film. This is kind of striking to me. When I first saw the film as a kid — like 45 years ago — it seemed really old. It seemed ancient. It was kind of walled off in this ghetto of the past. So much so that the content of the film seemed funny even when the characters weren’t being intentionally funny. It seemed inherently funny for something to be that old. Whereas, when I watch it now, I don’t see old. I see a contemporary story about a single father in economically really hard conditions."

– Marc Ribot in an interview for Flavorpill 5/21/10 

**Note: This program can also include a short solo set before screening of the film.


NY Music Daily review at Symphony Space 4/30/15
WCPN's The Sound of Applause indepth interview previewing performanca at Cleveland Museum

Wall Street Journal review at UnSilent Cinema - Los Angeles 9/29/2016
"an exquisite longform piece that aligns beautifully with the film’s action and emotional subtext, moving deftly between pathos and comedy, as does Chaplin in his 1921 feature. The integrity of Mr. Ribot’s score, as well as his great skills as a guitarist, enriched the cinematic masterpiece."

Consequence of Sound Big Ears Festival 2014: Top 10 Performances Festival Review BY CARSON O'SHONEY | MARCH 31, 2014 TOP 10 PERFORMANCES #2: MARC RIBOT REAWAKENS CHAPLIN
If you were to walk into the Bijou Theatre at noon on Saturday, you wouldn’t have any cues to indicate whether the year was 2014 or 1920. In the early 20th Century, the Bijou was used as a movie house, and live scores of silent movies were a regular thing. Marc Ribot took us back to those days with his acoustic live scoring of Charlie Chaplin’s first full-length feature, The Kid. Performing on the side of the stage with no light to direct any attention towards himself, it was easy to forget Ribot was even there, especially since his score fit so well with the film. Ranging from melodic and emotional to frenzied and dissonant, Ribot’s guitar playing was made all the more impressive considering he flooded the entire hour-plus film with music. He was one of many performers who received a standing ovation from a packed house. 

Metropulse: Some Tardy Big Ears Notes By Jack Neely | April 1, 2014 "One of the most memorable experiences of the festival, I think, will be [Ribot's] accompaniment to Charlie Chaplin's 1921 silent, The Kid. He took a back seat to the movie itself, to allow the audience to respond more to that often belly-sprainingly hilarious 93-year-old story than to his playing. It was the biggest and most enthusiastic audience for a silent movie I've ever seen... it was one of those memories that will bubble up when I'm in a nursing home." 

Festival Review: Big Ears 2014, Day 2 By Bill Kopp | April 1, 2014 "The guitarist’s presence meshed so seamlessly with the film that it seemed almost not to exist on its own. His highly expressive guitar lines fit so perfectly with the onscreen images – alternately conveying, joy, menace, whimsy, pathos and the other sensations that encompass the human experience – that one could easily forget about them and simply enjoy the movie… the solo performance was a tour de force, one not likely to be bettered." 

12/14/15: Byrd Theatre - Richmond, VA
4/30/15: Symphony Space – NYC
12/17/14: Legion Arts – Cedar Rapids, IA
12/14/14: Cleveland Museum of Arts
10/9 & 10/12: Medelin, Colombia
6/13/14: Bonnaroo Music Festival
5/29/14: SFJazz – San Francisco, CA
3/29/14: Big Ears Festival – Knoxville, TN
1/11/13: Northwest Film Center – Portland, OR
9/9/11: Ellnore Guitar Festival at Krannert Center
7/9/11: Mass Moca
1/14/10: NY Guitar Fest at Merkin Hall (World Premiere)


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