Sunday, 23 April 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 125: Sat May 6

A Canterbury Tale (Powell & Pressburger, 1943): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 3.30pm


This 35mm screening of one of the most extraordinary films ever made in Britain is part of the 'Girls Like Us' season at BFI Southbank. You can find the full details of the season here. This film is also being shown on May 13th. Details here.

Critic and novelist Xan Brooks has written a beautiful piece on Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's film for the Guardian which you can read here.

Chicago Reader review:
Very nearly plotless, this 1944 film by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger represents one of the few times the narrative cinema has approached the lyrical ideal. Crossing wartime Britain, a group of travelers—including an American GI, a young woman from London, and an English officer—linger in a small farming village, ostensibly to solve a peculiar mystery (someone is putting glue in the local girls' hair), but really because of the spell (quite literal, in P and P's mystical vision) cast upon them by the countryside. Over the hill lies Canterbury Cathedral, and as parallels begin to emerge with Chaucer's pilgrims, the characters find themselves being drawn to it, for a soft-pedaled climax that represents the fulfillment of their individual quests. Strange and wonderful.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) ... an extract ... and all you could wish for from a film.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 124: Fri May 5

Killer's Kiss (Kubrick, 1955): Close-Up Cinema, 7.30pm


This 35mm screening is part of a Stanley Kubrick season at Close-Up Cinema. You can find all the details of the season here.

Time Out film review:
Written, edited, shot, produced and directed by Kubrick for a mere $75,000, his second feature is a moody but rather over-arty B thriller whose prime pleasures lie in the high contrast b/w camerawork (Kubrick had been a top photographer for Look). The story is nothing original - a down-at-heel boxer (Smith) falls for a night-club dancer (Kane) after saving her from being raped by her boss (Silvera), who consequently determines to put an end to their romance - but Kubrick makes the most of flashback and dream sequences, and a surreal climactic fight in a warehouse full of mannequins. The dialogue was post-synched, making for a certain stiltedness in the performances, but at least the brief running-time ensures that the film's more pretentious moments tend to flash past, rather than linger as in Kubrick's later work. (Incidentally, the film - and a fictionalised account of its making - became the subject of Strangers Kiss in 1983).
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 123: Thu May 4

Satan's Brew (Fassbinder, 1976): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.40pm


The excellent Rainer Werner Fassbinder season continues at the BFI Southbank with this 35mm screening. Full details of the season can be found here. This film is also being screened on May 9th and you can find all the details here.

Time Out review:
The scurrilous movie that marked a turnaround in Fassbinder's film-making practice, following the disbandment of his 'stock company' of actors as a theatre troupe. The familiar faces are still around, this time distorted by pebble glasses, pustules or gross make-up, but there's a new sense of liberation from theatrical stylisation gusting through the proceedings. The plot is a benignly black celebration of the art of literary theft: Kurt Raab plays a clapped-out writer who regains his stride when he begins 'accidentally' reproducing the complete works of Stefan George. He is surrounded by freaks, perverts and grotesques, and so hardly anyone notices. It's no accident that this frolicsome tale reverses Fassbinder's standard 'victim' formula: it transpires that the tyrannical Raab is secretly a masochist, and one who actively enjoys being victimised. Bouncy.

Tony Rayns

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 122: Wed May 3

The Tarnished Angels (Sirk, 1957): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.15pm


This film, part of the Big Screen Classics season at BFI Southbank (inspired by Rainer Werner Fassbinder's favourite films list) will be introduced by BFI programmer-at-large Geoff Andrew. This fabulous movie can also be seen on May 1st, 19th and 22nd. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Douglas Sirk took a vacation from Ross Hunter and Technicolor for this 1958 production, though he retained Rock Hudson, who turns in an astonishingly good performance as a journalist fascinated by the sordid lives of a trio of professional stunt fliers (Robert Stack, Dorothy Malone, and Jack Carson). Based on a minor novel by William Faulkner (Pylon), the film betters the book in every way, from the quality of characterization to the development of the dark, searing imagery. Made in black-and-white CinemaScope, the film doesn't survive on TV; it should be seen in a theater or not at all. Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 121: Tue May 2

Fear of Fear (Fassbinder, 1975): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6pm


The excellent Rainer Werner Fassbinder season continues at the BFI Southbank with this 35mm  screening. Full details of the season can be found here. This film is also being screened on May 7th and you can find all the details here. Tonight's presentation is introduced by Dr Mattias Frey of the University of Kent.

BFI introduction:Overwhelmed by anxiety, a middle-class wife and mother (Carstensen) tries alcohol, Valium and listening to Leonard Cohen, but nothing seems to help – least of all the interfering in-laws who accuse her of not being ‘normal’. With echoes of Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives, this disturbing account of one woman’s struggle to conform deserves to be much better known.

Here (and above) is an extract.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 120: Mon May 1

Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven (Fassbinder, 1975): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 5.45pm


The excellent Rainer Werner Fassbinder season continues at the BFI Southbank with this screening. Full details of the season can be found here. This film is also being screened on May 6th and you can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Superior 1975 Fassbinder film, with the wonderful Brigitte Mira (Ali: Fear Eats the Soul) as a hausfrau whose husband goes insane, killing his boss's son and throwing himself into the jaws of the assembly line. She becomes a symbol to the left wing and a freak to the right. No other director understands the strength of mediocre minds as does Fassbinder; when his films don't slip into derision, they can be ineffably moving, as this one is. The ending is impossible, but it is perfect (which may be why it's impossible).
Dave Kehr


Here (and above) is the opening.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 119: Sun Apr 30

Eight Hours Don't Make a Day (Fassbinder, 1972): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 12.30pm


The excellent Rainer Werner Fassbinder season continues at the BFI Southbank with this screening. Full details of the season can be found here.

BFI Southbank introduction:
Thanks to a new restoration premiered at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, Fassbinder’s controversial five-part TV series can be seen again at last. Aimed at a mass audience, this entertaining soap opera of working-class life revolves around an extended family of three generations who struggle to balance the demands of the workplace with the pressures of family life. Based on extensive research among factory workers and trade unionists, it was deliberately more optimistic than Fassbinder’s cinema features, encouraging social solidarity. The abrupt cancellation of the highly successful series (three more episodes had been planned) was, in Fassbinder’s view, politically motivated.

Here (and above) is the trailer.