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The Restoration of Silent Films, The Reunion of the Late Master Nora and His Living Disciples

23 August 2023

11:15 - 12:00 hrs (GMT+7)

In 1970, Khun Upatham Narakorn (aka Phumdeva), the legendary great master of Nora, was invited to perform the Nora dance live on Channel 11 Hat Yai, Songkhla. A film recording of that event was kept at the Institute of Southern Thai Studies for years. In 2022, the National Film Archives repaired the original film and converted it from analog to digital for distribution to the public. But there was one big problem: the movie had no sound. There was only a beautiful dance, floating on the screen in silence. Therefore, the idea came about to make a modern Nora song to serve as the soundtrack for the original film. In this sound restoration work, I received cooperation from senior disciples of Khun Upatham Narakorn, all of whom participated in the creation of sound arts to honor their beloved teacher. Senior artists and young artists worked together to use silent films as a model to analyze the details of the dance. Together they interpreted poems and songs that were supposed to accompany the special performance. They then recorded live performances and live movies. This mission achieves more than just restoring lost art of the past. It creates a special sense of homage and a meeting between the deceased Master, who appeared beautifully on screen, and his living disciples in front of the screen. The harmonious sound of film music and poems proves that the disciples deliberately used their best knowledge to bring their teacher Khun Upatham Narakorn back into the present world once again.

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