Sunday, 26 May 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 155: Tue Jun 4

Echoes of Silence (Goldman, 1966): Barbican Cinema, 7pm

This film is part of the Bebop: New York season at the Barbican. Full details here.

Film Comment review (full article here):
Jean-Luc Godard once famously quipped something to the effect that “the history of the movies is the story of boys looking at girls.” That could be the motto for a small but rich sub-genre of films: near-plotless accounts of young male romantics ambling through picturesque cities, fixating on one beautiful stranger after the next, yet opening up to none of them, consoling themselves with their own private epiphanies while remaining essentially alone. The prototype perhaps is Bresson’s Paris-set Four Nights of a Dreamer, with José Luis Guerín’s beguiling In the City of Sylvia its closest modern-day successor—but the father of them all was Peter Emanuel Goldman’s Echoes of Silence, a micro-budget slice of New American Cinema shot on ragged black-and-white 16mm between 1962 and 1965. Set in the streets, bars, and cheap apartment buildings of New York, and starring a handful of the director’s friends and whatever passersby the camera happened to catch, it's filmed with the resources of a guerrilla documentarian and shot with the eye of a poet.

Max Nelson

Here (and above) is an extract.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 154: Mon Jun 3

Vendredi Soir (Denis, 2002): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.45pm

This 35mm presentation, also screening on June 12th, is part of the Claire Denis season at BFI Southbank. Full details here.

Time Out review:
Nightfall in wintry Paris. Laure (Lemercier), aged thirty-plus, has spent Friday packing up her flat, a prelude to moving in with her boyfriend. Her plan is to drive over to her friends' place for dinner, but streets gridlocked by a transport strike halt her progress. Moments after a radio announcer suggests motorists should offer help to stranded pedestrians, Laure is sharing her vehicle with taciturn Jean (Lindon), and the evening develops from there. Desire in Denis' films has often been a disruptive factor, yet this sensual divertissement offers its fairly ordinary female protagonist a guilt-free liberation, possibly temporary, from the confines of a steady relationship. It's not a matter of transgressive, predatory or premeditated sexuality, however. Rather, it's Lemercier realising she can allow herself a moment of sexual self-expression when circumstances unexpectedly permit. A facilitator rather than a seducer, Lindon lends the movie an inclusive erotic charge very different from that found in standard male-oriented fantasy narratives. This is wonderfully alert film-making, vividly alive to the constant by-play between inner longings and everyday surroundings. Trust me, you'll be stirred in all the right places. (Based on the novel by Emmanuèle Bernheim).
Trevor Johnston

Here (and above) is an extract.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 153: Sun Jun 2

Never Say Never Again (Kerschner, 1983): Regent Street Cinema, 2.30pm

The Regent Street Cinema have a James Bond on Sundays season this year and this one passes muster as it’s a very rare chance to see a film which was praised on release by critics Ian Christie (in the Daily Express) and Philip Strick in the Monthly Film Bulletin and was a welcome return for Sean Connery, 12 years after Diamonds Are Forever when he said “Never again” (hence the title). It’s also by the best Bond director to look through a lens. The bonus is that actress Valerie Leon appears for a Q&A after the film.

Time Out review:
For all of us whose adolescence was entwined around a vision of a coral beach and Ursula Andress emerging from the foam in a white bikini, it's very comforting to return to the ambience; as the admirable Q has it, 'I hope this is a return to more gratuitous sex and violence, Commander Bond'. The plot is a Thunderball retread - the underwater hijacking of nuclear weapons, the holding of the world to ransom; routine stuff if your name is 'Bond...James Bond'. As usual, a hefty slice of the pleasure in watching late Bondage comes from the villains, in this case Bergman's chief angst-master Max von Sydow as the man with the fluffy white cat, Klaus Maria Brandauer proving that a man may smile and smile and be a villain, and Barbara Carrera, she of the pneumatic balcony. The action's good, the photography excellent, the sets decent; but the real clincher is the fact that Bond is once more played by a man with the right stuff. Civilisation is safe in the hands of he who has never tasted quiche, and who, on the evidence here, at least, can perform a very passable tango.
Chris Peachment

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 152: Sat Jun 1

Animal Kingdom (Michôd, 2010): Picturehouse Central, 7pm

This winner of the Sundance Festival Prize of 2010 is being screened from a 35mm print as part of the Sundance Film Festival 2019 in London season this year. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
In the opening shot of this tense Australian noir, a comfy domestic scene turns lurid and tragic in the blink of an eye, which is a pretty good encapsulation of the entire movie. An orphaned teenager (James Frecheville) comes to Melbourne to live with his tough grandmother (Jacki Weaver) and his three uncles, all petty criminals of one sort or another. When one of their pals is killed by police, the oldest uncle (Ben Mendelsohn) insists that they retaliate, and the newcomer is pulled, against his will, into the family’s code of silence. Writer-director David Michod creates a densely textured moral universe that makes good on his metaphoric title—and in this case, the animals are perfectly willing to eat their young.
JR Jones

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 151: Fri May 31

The Blue Angel (Von Sternberg, 1930): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 2.30, 6.20 & 8.45pm

This masterpiece of Weimar Cinema is on an extended run at BFI Southbank. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
The first film collaboration between Josef von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich (1930), this reeks with decay and sexuality. Emil Jannings plays the professor who tries to stop his students from visiting nightclub singer Lola-Lola (Dietrich) and ends up succumbing to her plump charms. In many ways the film is about the constancy of emotion as well as the destructive tricks it plays. Jannings's repressed little prig, whose first sexual encounter results in his total destruction, is redeemed from contempt by Sternberg's respect for his masochistic passion.
Don Druker

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 150: Thu May 30

Wake in Fright (Kotcheff, 1971): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.15pm

Chicago Reader review:
Ted Kotcheff (First BloodThe Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz) directed this forgotten Australian masterpiece (1971) about an arrogant Sydney schoolteacher (Garry Bond) who's slowly driven mad after a prolonged stay in the Yabba, a desolate mining town in the middle of the Australian outback. After gambling away every dollar he has, Bond succumbs to the aggressive hospitality of the locals, and they condition him to their brutish lifestyle, which seems to consist mostly of constant drinking, random fistfights, anarchic destruction of other people's property, and kangaroo hunting. A Conradian parable of a man succumbing to the wild, the film is remarkable for its raw, pointed depiction of human behavior. Push a man too far, Kotcheff suggests, and you'll find the beast concealed behind the mask of propriety.
Drew Hunt

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 149: Wed May 29

Doubt (Stanley, 2008): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.20pm

This 35mm screening is part of the Philip Seymour Hoffman season. You can find all the details of the season here.

Chicago Reader review:
John Patrick Shanley adapted his own Pulitzer-winning play for this compelling drama about an archconservative nun (Meryl Streep) and a progressive priest (Philip Seymour Hoffman) clashing in a working-class Bronx parish in 1964. Principal of the parish school, the nun suspects the priest of molesting a 12-year-old boy—the school's first black student. Lacking any evidence and hamstrung by the church's male-dominated chain of command, she embarks on a vendetta that leads her to the edge of a moral abyss. Shanley skillfully opens up the play's action on-screen while preserving its ambiguity about the characters' motives. Streep and Hoffman are pitch-perfect, and Amy Adams is also superb as a young nun caught up in the conflict. 
Albert Williams

Here (and above) is the trailer.