Seventh Heaven

Vincent Peirani accordion
Federico Casagrande guitars
Émile Parisien saxophone
Stéphane Edouard percussion
Jocelyn Mienniel flute

One of the most celebrated romances of the late silent era, Seventh Heaven, made in 1927 by the American director Frank Borzage, is set in Paris, in Montmartre. To compose the music for this film concert, the accordionist Vincent Peirani immersed himself in the atmosphere of pre-First World War Paris. The result is a superb ode to love.

To bring out all the lyricism of this masterpiece of silent cinema, Vincent Peirani explores with his accordion the most amazing, virtuosic paths, and he is joined by three exceptionally talented musicians: Federico Casagrande (guitars), Émile Parisien (soprano sax) and Stéphane Edouard (percussion). Showing wonderful energy and brilliant in its interaction with the pictures, the quartet brings out the grandiose style of this gem of a film.

The first Academy Awards ceremony, honouring the best films of 1927 and 1928, was held in 1929. Seventh Heaven won Frank Borzage the Oscar for Best Director. Often compared for its expressionist visual style to F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise (also 1927), it is Borzage’s most famous film. Bringing together, for the first time on the silver screen, Janet Gaynor (Diane) and Charles Farrell (Chico), one of the great romantic teams in movie history, Borzage transcends the melodrama and intermingles romance with history. Tinged with a magical realism and a celestial atmosphere, Seventh Heaven is one of the most beautiful cinematographic expressions of the miracle of love.

The scene is set in Paris in 1914. Chico, a city sewer worker who dreams of being promoted to sweeping streets, meets Diane, a young woman who is ill treated by a bullying sister. Later he saves her from being arrested by claiming that she is his wife. He takes her home to his garret “near the stars”, on the seventh floor (hence the title of the film). Their bliss is shattered when Chico is called up to fight in the First World War…