Monday, 14 December 2020

Capital Celluloid intermission

Entertainment venues in the capital will be closed from Wednesday December 16 for the forseeable future owing to the latest coronavirus restrictions and thus we will be closing down Capital Celluloid for now. Keep safe and look forward to bringing you the best of the repertory London film scene when it’s wise to do so.

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Capital Celluloid 2020 — Day 134: Fri Dec 18

Entertainment venues will be closed from Wednesday so this screening will be cancelled.

A Christmas Story (Clark, 1983): Prince Charles Cinema, 1.30pm

This 35mm screening is of a quirky, popular holiday hit from the director behind Black Christmas and the excellent Murder By Decree. All in all, highly recommended.

Chicago Reader review:
As a follow-up to his excoriated Porky's and Porky's II, director Bob Clark teamed with nostalgic humorist Jean Shepherd for this squeaky clean and often quite funny 1983 yuletide comedy, adapted from Shepherd's novel In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash. The bespectacled young hero (Peter Billingsley) lives with his parents and younger brother in northeast Indiana and craves a BB gun for Christmas; the old man (Darren McGavin in one of his best roles) wins a newspaper contest and insists on displaying his prize—a table lamp shaped like a woman's leg in fishnet stockings. Shepherd provides the voice-over of the grown hero narrating, and his prominence on the sound track forces Clark to focus on visual humor, resulting in some wild Our Gang-style slapstick.
JR Jones

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Capital Celluloid 2020 — Day 133: Thu Dec 17

Entertainment venues are closed from Wednesday so this screening will be cancelled.

Carol (Haynes, 2015): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.15pm

This beautifully crafted film is well worth catching in this 35mm presentation.

Chicago Reader review:
Todd Haynes's Far From Heaven (2002) slayed critics with its provocative presentation of modern racial and sexual issues through the lens of a high-Hollywood 50s melodrama. Haynes returns to that formula with this adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's 1952 novel The Price of Salt, which deals with a lesbian affair. Cate Blanchett is the title character, a New York wife and mother struggling to escape from her straight marriage, and her mix of bravado and vulnerability has seldom been used to greater effect; Kyle Chandler is moving as her anguished husband, who refuses to accept the truth about her sexuality and leverages custody of her daughter against her. Unfortunately their fine work is weighed down by Rooney Mara's inert performance as Carol's young lover, a countergirl at Bloomingdale's who suggests a doll with the battery removed. As a love story this left me unsatisfied, though I enjoyed the lush period trappings (from costumer Sandy Powell and production designer Judy Becker) and the flattering sense of how enlightened I am compared to people in the 1950s.
JR Jones

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Capital Celluloid 2020 — Day 132: Wed Dec 16

Entertainment venues will be closed from Wednesday so this screening will be cancelled.

Dance, Girl, Dance (Arzner, 1940): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6pm

This 35mm presentation (part of the Big Screen Classics season) is also being shown on December 21st. Full details here.

BFI Southbank introduction:
Focusing on the professional and romantic rivalry between two very different dancers – a cynical chorus girl working in a burlesque joint (Lucille Ball) and an idealistic aspiring ballerina (Maureen O’Hara) – this classic comedy-drama is at the same time a proto-feminist landmark in directly addressing the issue of the male gaze. Fine performances ensure that the film is far more than a simplistic statement.

Here (and above) is an extract.

Monday, 7 December 2020

Capital Celluloid 2020 — Day 131: Tue Dec 15

 35 Shots of Rum (Denis, 2008): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.50pm

This 35mm presentation, which is also being screened on December 8th and 20th (details here), is part of the Big Screen Classics season at BFI Southbank (all the films can be found here).

Chicago Reader review: A handsome black widower (Alex Descas) and his lovely college-age daughter (Mati Diop) inhabit a self-contained world of tranquil domesticity and affection in a gray suburban high-rise outside of Paris. A goodhearted but insecure woman down the hall (Nicole DoguĂ©) lives in the abject hope of winning the widower's heart, and a sweetly melancholic young man upstairs (GrĂ©goire Colin) harbors similar feelings for the young woman. It's a given that the father-daughter bubble must eventually burst, but the smart writer-director Claire Denis (Beau Travail) has other, subtler things on her mind than Electra-complex melodrama. This 2008 feature is beautiful but very quietly so, and definitely not for the ADHD set. Cliff Doerksen

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 5 December 2020

Capital Celluloid 2020 — Day 130: Mon Dec 14

Rancho Notorious (Lang, 1952): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.45pm

This 35mm presentation, which also screens on December 9th, is part of the Marlene Dietrich season at BFI Southbank (full details here).

Chicago Reader review: A perversely stylized western by Fritz Lang (1952), his last and best. The combination of unrestrained Technicolor and painted backdrops removes any sense of reality from the proceedings, which are set in a safe haven for gunslingers (operated by Marlene Dietrich. Arthur Kennedy arrives, looking for the man who killed his fiancee, as an insistently repeated theme song pounds out a quintessential Lang chorus of “hate, murder, and revenge.”  Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2020 — Day 129: Sun Dec 13

The Magnificent Ambersons (Welles, 1942): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 3pm

This 35mm presentation (part of the Big Screen Classics season) is also being shown on December 18th and 22nd. Full details here.

Personally, this is my favourite film by Welles and my appreciation and understanding of its richness has been aided in no small part by two great books, This Is Orson Welles by Orson Welles and Peter Bogdanovich, which contains a condensed version of the original script, and the BFI Film Classics monograph The Magnificent Ambersons by VF Perkins. The website Frequently Asked Questions About Orson Welles is well worth a look if you want to find out more about this film and the legends that have grown up around it.

Chicago Reader review:
Orson Welles's second completed feature (1942) and arguably his greatest film (partisans of Citizen Kane notwithstanding). By far his most personal creation, this lovingly crafted, hauntingly nostalgic portrait of a midwestern town losing its Victorian innocence to the machine age contains some of Welles's most beautiful and formidable imagery, not to mention his narration, a glorious expression of the pain of memory. A masterpiece in every way (but ignore the awkward ending the studio tacked on without Welles's approval).