Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 169: Wed Jun 27

Little Vera (Pichul, 1988): Regent Street Cinema, 7.30pm

This 35mm screening is part of the Kino Klassika 'Youth on the March: the rise of the Soviet New Wave' season, tracing the clash of generations from the thaw to Perestroika, and curated by renowned film critic and journalist Konstantin Shavlovsky. Unlike the classic films of the French New Wave, these films are still unknown outside Russia. Most will be shown for the first time, certainly for the first time in their original formats. Full details of the season can be found by clicking here.

Time Out review:
The film that shocked the Soviets with its depiction of your average Russian family as a squalid, sottish, violent bunch of amoral no-hopers. Filtered through Western eyes, the sex scenes seem mild, the foul language blunted by subtitles, and the rebellious stance tame. But the film's message is still subtly affecting. The circumscribed sadness of life in a dull industrial town; the inability of the generations to understand each other; the hard eyed look at love as an explosive and divisive, not redemptive force; these themes are mercilessly delineated. There's also a welcome anarchic humour at work: when stolid Sergei bemoans Vera's lack of purpose, she writhes on top of him purring: 'You and I share the same goal. Communism'. You can feel the shock waves from here. The film's chief revelation is Natalya Negoda's searing performance as Vera, a feisty, mean-minded hellcat who injects chaos into every life that touches hers. The booze fuelled tale is wildly melodramatic, but the performances, pitilessly shot in gritty, realistic settings, are excellent.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 168: Tue Jun 26

When A Woman Ascends the Stairs (Naruse, 1960): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm

This 35mm screening is part of the Cinematic Jukebox season at the Prince Charles. You can see the full details of the season here.

Chicago Reader review:
A 1960 film by Mikio Naruse, perhaps the greatest Japanese director as yet unknown to American audiences. Where most directors begin with an anonymous style, Naruse started out as a strong individualist (Wife! Be Like a Rose!) and gradually pared his work down to the sublime blankness of his late films, of which this is one. It's a melodrama of extreme emotional violence—about a woman (Hideko Takamine) who runs a bar in Tokyo's Ginza district and the seemingly endless series of betrayals that befall her—but Naruse treats it with such evenness that it becomes microscopically subtle: its deepest pain is conveyed by lack of expression on the actor's face. With Masayuki Mori (Ugetsu) and Tatsuya Nakadai (Kagemusha).

Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 167: Mon Jun 25

All This Panic (Gage, 2016): Lexi Cinema, 6.30pm

Lexi Cinema introduction to this 'London Film School season' screening:
Welcome to your neighbourhood film school, a new series of hosted screenings exploring film history and introducing current debates in cinema culture.  Fill in the gaps in your film knowledge and join the conversation.  London has one of the most exciting and diverse cinema scenes in the world, and we welcome the writers, critics, curators and cultural commentators of the capital to NW10.
This film is introduced by Observer film critic Simran Hans. Here is her Observer feature on the movie.

Times review:
This intimate, revelatory documentary about the lives of seven teenage girls in Brooklyn, New York, was shot over three years by Jenny Gage and her cinematographer husband, Tom Betterton. First seen aged 15, the girls seem obsessed with the superficial, but as their confidence with the constant camera grows, they reveal lives of complexity, agony, courage and silly joy. Sometimes their parents seem to be the children; sometimes their friends are their enemies, and it all plays out, fuelled by dope and drink, in jam-packed, cramped apartments in Clinton Hill or on the open spaces of the beach at what looks like Coney Island. The hand-held camera and natural light gives a woozy, dreamlike feeling to scenes, and the teenagers’ faces and costumes are their stories. In particular, the worlds of Lena, who is neglected as much as she is parented, and two sisters Ginger and Dusty, make the most compelling material. By the time the girls are 18, heading for college or compromise, you feel deeply involved, tender with worry about their futures.
Kate Muir

Here (and above) is the trailer

Friday, 15 June 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 166: Sun Jun 24

The Warriors (Hill, 1979): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm

This 35mm screening is part of the Cinematic Jukebox season at the Prince Charles. You can see the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Walter Hill's existential action piece (1979), rendered in a complete stylistic abstraction that will mean tough going for literal-minded audiences. The straightforward, straight-line plot—a street gang must cross the length of New York City, pursued by police and rival fraternities—is given the convoluted quality of a fever dream by Hill's quirky, claustrophobic direction. Not quite the clean, elegant creation that his earlier films were, 
The Warriors admits to failures of conception (occasional) and dialogue (frequent), but there is much of value in Hill's visual elaboration of the material. With Michael Beck, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, and Thomas Waites.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 165: Sat Jun 23

Let's Scare Jessica To Death (Hancock, 1971): Everyman Screen on the Green, 11.30pm

This 35mm screening is part of a superb three-week late-night season at the Everyman Screen on the Green in Islington.

Introduction to Screen on the Green/Zabludowicz Collection season:
From camp to cult to classic, this series screenings feature rarely seen films and avant-garde shorts inspired by and of influence on artists Ericka Beckman and Marianna Simnett. Currently on view at the Zabludowicz Collection, their work ventures from video games and fairy tales to shudder-inducing surgery, resulting in an eclectic mix for these Late Nights. More details here.

Tonight's presentation also includes live music by Lucinda Chua and Marianna Simnett and a reading of 'All the Things in the House that Could, Kill You' by Charlie Fox.

Here is an extract from Tom Fellows' review at the website:
That Let's Scare Jessica to Death should be overlooked as one of the finest horror pictures of the 1970s is apt. Lacking the guttural, attention grabbing scares of contemporaries Night of the Living Dead and Last House on the Left, the film is a more somber, subdued affair. Its autumnal light casts dark shadows and the rural farmhouse location becomes secondary to the inner landscape of a mentally unstable mind. Also Let's Scare Jessica to Death refuses the sensationalism usually associated with movie madness (no cannibal doctors or men dressed as their mothers here) and instead retreats inward, sharing whispered thoughts and ghostly warnings. Like its central protagonist, it is a movie that shyly refuses to draw attention to itself, but underneath lays insanity, sadness and startling beauty. A masterpiece.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 164: Fri Jun 22

The Big Knife (Aldrich, 1955): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.10pm

This 35mm screening, which is part of the Ida Lupino season (full details here), is also being shown on Wednesday June 28th. You can find the full details by clicking on the link here.

Chicago Reader review:
A dynamite portrait of a man on the verge of total psychological and moral collapse, Robert Aldrich's 1955 indictment of Hollywood stars Jack Palance, Ida Lupino, and Rod Steiger. Adapted from a series of plays by Clifford Odets, Aldrich's film focuses on the ways in which a man's freedom is systematically denied him by the forces that control his world, whether that world is the arts, business, or politics. Palance is superb as the Hollywood star who now has to be blackmailed to continue starring in the dreadful films produced by Rod Steiger (in a magnificent portrayal of Harry Cohn, Louis B. Mayer, and Jack Warner rolled into one). Electric, exciting, and ultimately very depressing.

Don Druker

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 163: Thu Jun 21

Alice in the Cities (Wenders, 1974): Prince Charles Cinema, 3.45pm

This 35mm screening is part of the Wim Wenders season at the Prince Charles Cinema (details here). The film also screens on June 17th. Click here for all the information.

Chicago Reader review:
Wim Wenders's roughly styled but sensitive 1974 film about fading cultural identities. Long-faced Rüdiger Vogler, a Wenders favorite, is a German photojournalist in search of the Real America. While in New York, he reluctantly accepts responsibility for Alice, a nine-year-old German girl abandoned by her mother. Together they return to Europe in search of the girl's grandmother, remembered, dimly, as living in a small village. Which one, they don't know. Without a place to stop, the characters continue to move—restlessly, desperately, the end point always out of sight.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is an extract.