Thursday, 23 November 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 342: Mon Dec 11

Santa Claus (Cardona, 1959): Institute of Light, Helmsley Place, London Fields, E8, 7pm



Here is the Cigarette Burns introduction to a special fundraising night:
Cigarette Burns Cinema celebrates and utlises archives and archive materials. Archives come in a variety of forms, from the large institutional ones to smaller volunteer run ones and all serve a vital purpose. When the 19th September 2017 earthquake hit Mexico, Tepoztlan was among the many cities and towns that were devastated. Located in Tepoztlan is the Permanencia Voluntaria Archivo Cinematográfico, a small independent archive, that hosts a wide range of equally small independent Mexican cinema, from paper, photo, posters, audio, tapes in 16 and 35 mm, and video. They are now working to rebuild and repair the damage that the earthquake left behind. Without Santos to save them from the evils of the Vinegar Syndrome Vampires, Cigarette Burns thought it was time to step up and give back to the archives. 
 
So we will be screening René Cardona's insane Christmas fairy tale - Santa Claus aka Santa vs the Devil. Famously takien apart by the folks at Mystery Science Theatre 3000, and nestled comfortably in the infamous IMDb Bottom 100, this interpretation is packed full of the magical and weird, from Santa's child labour force, to his arch enemy Satan whispering in children's ears, from gigantic terrifying dancing dolls, to Merlin the Magician, 1959's Santa Claus is by no means a titan of Mexican cinema, but rather a magical foray into the odder corners of cinema. 

All proceeds will be donated to the Permanencia Voluntaria Archivo Cinematográfico to help secure their collection remains for us to enjoy and discover it.


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 341: Sun Dec 10

Dead Again (Branagh, 1991): Regent Street Cinema, 7pm


This 35mm presentation is the latest Badlands Collective screening.

Chicago Redaer review:
Kenneth Branagh (Henry V) directs and plays two roles in a show-offy American thriller scripted by Scott Frank that is loads of fun even if it's ultimately strangled by its excesses. A Los Angeles private eye (Branagh) sets out to learn the identity of a beautiful amnesiac (Emma Thompson) who suffers from nightmares; he's aided by an antique dealer (Derek Jacobi) with a flair for hypnosis. With his help the woman produces tales set in LA in the 40s about a European composer and his wife (Branagh and Thompson again), shot in black and white. As the twists come thick and fast and the plot gets progressively more and more baroque, Branagh shows himself to be at least as intelligent as Brian De Palma in delivering over-the-top stylistic filigree and every bit as willing to take his own two-dimensional postmodernism too seriously; with Andy Garcia, Hanna Schygulla, and an enjoyable turn by an uncredited Robin Williams (1991).
Jonathan Rosenbaum


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 340: Sat Dec 9

F For Fake (Welles, 1975): ICA Cinema, 8.30pm


This 35mm screening is part of a superb "Light Show' season devoted to screening from prints over at the weekend of December 8th to 10th at the ICA. More details here.

ICA introduction:
Please walk into the light – the ICA, MUBI and Little White Lies are proud to present a weekender of movie masterworks screened on glistening 35mm celluloid. The films we have selected are all outliers in some aspect or another, and they are all the product of genius directors looking to capitalise on the possibilities of this young medium. They ask not what cinema can do for them, but what they can do for cinema. And even though each title offers a deeply personal insight into the inquiring, philosophical, playful and subversive minds of their maker, they also speak about cinema itself. What does it mean to make a movie? To create a world? To build a person?  The line-up includes Jacques Tati’s dance through the Paris of his dreams in Playtime (1967), a devilish treatise on truth in Orson Welles's F For Fake (1973), an eccentric, soul-searching confessional in Agnés Varda's The Beaches of Agnés (2008), a limo ride through the history of cinema with Leos Carax's Holy Motors (2012) and a kaleidoscopic feminist dirty bomb in Vera Chytilova’s Daisies (1966).

Chicago Reader review:
'Orson Welles's underrated 1973 essay film—made from discarded documentary footage by Francois Reichenbach and new material from Welles—forms a kind of dialectic with Welles's never-completed It's All True. The main subjects are art forger Elmyr de Hory, Clifford Irving, Howard Hughes, Pablo Picasso, Welles himself, and the practice and meaning of deception. Despite some speculation that this film was Welles's indirect reply to Pauline Kael's bogus contention that he didn't write a word of Citizen Kane, his sly commentary—seconded by some of the trickiest editing anywhere—implies that authorship is a pretty dubious notion anyway, a function of the even more dubious art market and its team of “experts.” Alternately superficial and profound, the film also enlists the services of Oja Kodar, Welles's principal collaborator after the late 60s, as actor, erotic spectacle, and cowriter, and briefer appearances by many other Welles cohorts. Michel Legrand supplies the wonderful score.'
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here is the most impressive part of the film, Welles' paean to Chartres Cathedral.

Here are Welles's words: 'Now this has been standing here for centuries. The premier work of man perhaps in the whole western world and it’s without a signature: Chartres. A celebration to God’s glory and to the dignity of man. All that’s left most artists seem to feel these days, is man. Naked, poor, forked, radish. There aren’t any celebrations. Ours, the scientists keep telling us, is a universe, which is disposable. You know it might be just this one anonymous glory of all things, this rich stone forest, this epic chant, this gaiety, this grand choiring shout of affirmation, which we choose when all our cities are dust, to stand intact, to mark where we have been, to testify to what we had it in us, to accomplish. Our works in stone, in paint, in print are spared, some of them for a few decades, or a millennium or two, but everything must finally fall in war or wear away into the ultimate and universal ash. The triumphs and the frauds, the treasures and the fakes. A fact of life. We’re going to die. “Be of good heart,” cry the dead artists out of the living past. Our songs will all be silenced – but what of it? Go on singing. Maybe a man’s name doesn’t matter all that much. (Church bells peal…)'

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 339: Fri Dec 8

Playtime (Tati, 1967): ICA Cinema, 8.30pm


This 35mm screening is part of a superb "Light Show' season devoted to screening from prints over at the weekend of December 8th to 10th at the ICA. More details here.

ICA introduction:
Please walk into the light – the ICA, MUBI and Little White Lies are proud to present a weekender of movie masterworks screened on glistening 35mm celluloid. The films we have selected are all outliers in some aspect or another, and they are all the product of genius directors looking to capitalise on the possibilities of this young medium. They ask not what cinema can do for them, but what they can do for cinema. And even though each title offers a deeply personal insight into the inquiring, philosophical, playful and subversive minds of their maker, they also speak about cinema itself. What does it mean to make a movie? To create a world? To build a person?  The line-up includes Jacques Tati’s dance through the Paris of his dreams in Playtime (1967), a devilish treatise on truth in Orson Welles's F For Fake (1973), an eccentric, soul-searching confessional in Agnés Varda's The Beaches of Agnés (2008), a limo ride through the history of cinema with Leos Carax's Holy Motors (2012) and a kaleidoscopic feminist dirty bomb in Vera Chytilova’s Daisies (1966).

Chicago Reader review:
My favorite movie, this 1967 French comedy by actor-director Jacques Tati has the most intricately designed mise en scene in all of cinema. The restored 65-millimeter version, with four-track DTS sound, expands the possibilities of becoming lost in Tati's vast frames and creatively finding one's way again. His studio-constructed vision of Paris begins in daytime with nightmarishly regimented straight lines and right angles and proceeds to night with accidental yet celebratory curves of people instinctively coming together. It peaks in an extraordinary sequence, set in a gradually disintegrating restaurant, that comprises almost half the film: once various musicians start to perform, the viewer's gaze inevitably follows the customers in a kind of improvised dance, collecting and juxtaposing simultaneous comic events and details. In this landscape everyone is a tourist, but Tati suggests that once we can find one another, we all belong.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 338: Thu Dec 7

The Apartment (Wilder, 1960): Prince Charles Cinema, 1.10pm


This 35mm screening is part of the 'Christmas at the PCC season'. Full details here.

Time Out review:
'Re-teaming actor Jack Lemmon, scriptwriter Iz Diamond and director Billy Wilder a year after ‘Some Like It Hot’, this multi-Oscar winning comedy is sharper in tone, tracing the compromises of a New York insurance drone who pimps out his brownstone apartment for his married bosses’ illicit affairs. The quintessential New York movie – with exquisite design by Alexandre Trauner and shimmering black-and-white photography – it presented something of a breakthrough in its portrayal of the war of the sexes, with a sour and cynical view of the self-deception, loneliness and cruelty involved in ‘romantic’ liaisons. Directed by Wilder with attention to detail and emotional reticence that belie its inherent darkness and melodramatic core, it’s lifted considerably by the performances: the psychosomatic ticks and tropes of nebbish Lemmon balanced by the pathos of Shirley MacLaine’s put-upon ‘lift girl’.'
Wally Hammond

Monday, 20 November 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 337: Wed Dec 6

Pavement Butterfly (Eichberg, 1929): Cinema Museum, 7.30pm


 
Cinema Museum introduction:

The film Pavement Butterfly (1929), is a German English co-production directed by Richard Eichberg in Germany, and stars Anna May Wong. Tonight's presentation will be screened using a 35mm BFI print, and will be accompanied by guest pianist Stephen Horne. In this, her second silent film with Eichberg, Wong plays Princess Butterfly, an exotic Parisian fan dancer whose “death leap through a circle of naked swords” act goes tragically wrong. Blamed for the impalement of a fellow performer, she runs away and takes shelter with a handsome but starving painter who she brings luck.


Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 336: Tue Dec 5

In A Lonely Place (Ray, 1950): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.40pm 


Nicholas Ray’s beguiling blend of murder mystery and unusually adult love story is one of the finest American movies of the early 50s. The lonely place is Hollywood: scriptwriter Dix (Bogart) is prime suspect in the murder of a young woman, until neighbour Laurel (Grahame) provides him with a false alibi. But as the pair embark on a romance, his volatile temper – exacerbated equally by the studio and the cops – makes her wonder whether he might have been guilty... Brilliantly adapted from Dorothy B Hughes’ novel, Ray’s tough but tender film is spot-on in its insightful characterisation of Tinseltown and of the troubled lovers. Marvellously cast, Bogart and Grahame bring an aching poignancy to their painful predicament.
Geoff Andrew, BFI Programmer-at-large


This 35mm re-release begins an extended run at BFI Southbank on Novemebr 27th (full details here). Geoff Andrew will provide an introduction at the November 28th screening.
Time Out review:
The place is Hollywood, lonely for scriptwriter Dixon Steele (Humphrey Bogart), who is suspected of murdering a young woman, until girl-next-door Laurel Gray (Gloria Grahame) supplies him with a false alibi. But is he the killer? Under pressure of police interrogation, their tentative relationship threatens to crack - and Dix's sudden, violent temper becomes increasingly evident. Nicholas Ray's classic thriller remains as fresh and resonant as the day it was released. Nothing is as it seems: the noir atmosphere of deathly paranoia frames one of the screen's most adult and touching love affairs; Bogart's tough-guy insolence is probed to expose a vulnerable, almost psychotic insecurity; while Grahame abandons femme fatale conventions to reveal a character of enormous, subtle complexity. As ever, Ray composes with symbolic precision, confounds audience expectations, and deploys the heightened lyricism of melodrama to produce an achingly poetic meditation on pain, distrust and loss of faith, not to mention an admirably unglamorous portrait of Tinseltown. Never were despair and solitude so romantically alluring.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.