Saturday, 12 April 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 126: Wed May 7

The Beast (Borowczyk, 1975): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.45pm

This is part of the Walerian Borowczyk season and also screens on May 27th. Details here.

Time Out review:
Once upon a time, in the 18th century, a beast lived in the woods of an aristocratic estate. And this beast, possessed of a giant phallus and an insatiable lust, set upon the beautiful young lady of the house. But the lady was of an even greater sexual appetite, and laid the beast to eternal rest. Two centuries later, the tale of the beast would return in the dreams of an American heiress contracted to carry the male descendant of the same crumbling aristocratic family... Borowczyk's all-out assault on social conventions and repressed desires, an outrageously ironic blend of French farce and surrealist poetry, can be seen as signposting both the peak of his sexual fables (Blanche, Immoral Tales) and his subsequent decline into ephemeral soft porn. Its shameless shuffling of equine couplings, pederastic priests and priapic black manservants earns it nul points for political correctness. But seen from its own amoral perspective, aided by Borowczyk's remarkable sense of framing and rhythm, La BĂȘte is that rare achievement, a truly erotic film. 

Here and above is a extract.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 125: Tue May 6

This re-release of Stanley Kubrick's anti-war classic is on an extended run from May 2nd to May 15th. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
'The 1957 film that established Stanley Kubrick's reputation, adapted by Kubrick, Calder Willingham, and Jim Thompson from Humphrey Cobb's novel about French soldiers being tried for cowardice during World War I. Corrosively antiwar in its treatment of the corruption and incompetence of military commanders, it's far from pacifist in spirit, and Kirk Douglas's strong and angry performance as the officer defending the unjustly charged soldiers perfectly contains this contradiction. The remaining cast is equally resourceful and interesting: Adolphe Menjou, George Macready, Wayne Morris, Ralph Meeker, and the creepy Timothy Carey, giving perhaps his best performance. Banned in France for 18 years, this masterpiece still packs a wallop, though nothing in it is as simple as it may first appear; audiences are still arguing about the final sequence, which has been characterized as everything from a sentimental cop-out to the ultimate cynical twist.' 

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 124: Mon May 5

Taxi! (Del Ruth, 1932): BFI Southbank, NFT, 8.15pm

This is part of the Hollywood Babylon: Early Talkies before the Censor of pre-Code films at the BFI. The pre-Code movies included in the blog are recommended by the London Film Festival programmer Clyde Jeavons. This also screens on May 11th. Details here.

BFI introduction: Roy Del Ruth’s film is rough, ready and very fast; much like the New York streets in which it’s set, and its young lead, James Cagney. Cagney, white hot after the success of The Public Enemy, plays a cabbie with a hair-trigger temper who’s caught in a turf war with a rival company, and who hooks up with Sue (Loretta Young), whose father was killed by the same rivals. Like many pre-Code films, this captures the diverse accents and ethnicities of US cities in a way that later films often lost, with Cagney himself speaking Yiddish in an early.

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 123: Sun May 4

Memo Mori (Richardson, 2009):
(Limited capacity - email to book a place)

This is part of the year-long 70x70 film season. London writer, filmmaker and 'psychogeographer' Iain Sinclair celebrates his 70th birthday year, with the showing of 70 films, handpicked for their association with his work and shown in venues all over London. Here is a full list of the excellent programme, which finishes in June.

Here is the introduction from Emily Richardson's website:
Memo Mori is a journey through Hackney tracing loss and disappearance. A canoe trip along the canal, the huts of the Manor Garden allotments in Hackney Wick, demolition, relocation, a magical bus tour through the Olympic park and a Hell’s Angel funeral mark a seismic shift in the topography of East London.

This film has been put together from fragments of footage shot over three years, 2006 – 2009 in Hackney, each section being an event or observation of something that has been or is about to be erased from the landscape. It has been woven together with a commentary by Iain Sinclair’s and readings from his book, Hackney, That Red Rose Empire.

The film begins with a canoe trip down the canal, taken with Stephen Gill into the ‘Olympic zone’, where we discovered a shipwreck and a pair of kingfishers before the security barriers came down to the water line. We arrive at the Manor Garden allotments where the huts, each unique, it’s own character, a manifestation of their owners personality perhaps, sadly about to be demolished to make way for what we do not really know – an Olympic park or car park or something.

We take a magical bus tour around the Olympic park in the Demolish, Dig and Design phase, which, as Iain says in the film, is all statistics and logistics, piles of mud and no photography. Then to a Hells Angels funeral, death on the motorway, martyred and immortalised on Hackney Rd with wreaths of flowers, Satan’s Slaves, RIP in black roses.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 122: Sat May 3

Yojimbo (Kurosawa, 1961): Barbican Cinema, 4pm

This is part of 'Strong, Silent Types' season at the Barbican. More details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Akira Kurosawa has any number of dramatic and cinematic cliches (both American and Japanese) to overcome—and does so brilliantly—in this action-packed, highly comic 1961 translation of Dashiell Hammett's Red Harvest to the samurai movie tradition. Toshiro Mifune is again incomparable as the masterless samurai who wanders into a small war between two rival gangs and proceeds to set things right by further stirring them up. In Japanese with subtitles.
Don Druker

Here (and above) is the Criterion trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 121: Fri May 2

Estate (Zimmerman, 2014):
The Russet, Hackney Downs Terrace, Amhurst Rd, E8

This is part of the year-long 70x70 film season. London writer, filmmaker and 'psychogeographer' Iain Sinclair celebrates his 70th birthday year, with the showing of 70 films, handpicked for their association with his work and shown in venues all over London. Here is a full list of the excellent programme, which finishes in June.

Andrea Luka Zimmerman, featured in the YouTube video above, says of 'Estate': "Featuring past and present residents of the Haggerston estate plus Ken Worpole and Jeremy Till with original songs by Olivia Chaney. Tracking the passing of Hackney’s Haggerston Estate and wider utopian principles of social housing, Estate offers an unruly celebration of extraordinary everyday humanity. As a 1930s block is bulldozed, a luxury apartment complex rises. Challenging tired stereotypes, Estate interweaves long-term observational footage with the residents’ own historical re-enactments and dramatised reveries."

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 120: Thu May 1

Goto, Island of Love (Borowczyk, 1971): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.20pm

This film, part of the Walerian Borowczyk season at the BFI, also screens on May 20. Details here.

Here is the BFI introduction: A petty thief works his way up the absurd hierarchy of Goto, an archipelago cut off from civilisation by a tumultuous earthquake. His dream is to possess Glossia, a stifled beauty trapped in a loveless marriage to a melancholic dictator. Originally banned in Communist Poland and Franco’s Spain, Goto, Island of Love features bizarre sights, poetic flashes of colour and the stunning deployment of Handel’s organ concertos.

Here (and above) is the opening.