Sunday, 27 February 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 61: Wednesday Mar 2, 2011

Eureka (Roeg, 1982) plus Q&A with director: BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6pm

It is widely acknowledged that cinephiles in Paris and New York are spoilt for choice but I started compiling Capital Celluloid to highlight what was on offer on London's repertory cinema scene and this week is an excellent example of what can be found in the capital. 

A brilliant all-nighter at the Electric on Saturday; a live performance plus screening of Diva at ENO on Monday and a rare showing of Eraserhead on Tuesday is followed by this, which anyone interested in the films of Nicholas Roeg will be very excited about.

I had a sneak preview of this night back in the early 1980s when I saw Roeg talk about this film at Derby Lonsdale College two years after it was supposed to have been released. The movie was so mired in legal arguments then that the director could not even talk about why it did not see the light of day for so long.

Eureka was made after Roeg had completed a series of films which made him the most exciting directing talent working in Britain. Performance, Walkabout, Don't Look Now, The Man Who Fell To Earth and Bad Timing . . .

For anyone interested in what happened to the director don't miss Sight & Sound editor Nick James's article in the March edition of the magazine.

Eureka itself tells the story of a gold prospector (Gene Hackman) whose life starts to unravel once he has everything. Plenty of delights here, especially for Roeg fans. And you get Joe Pesci and Mickey Rourke too.

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid - Day 60: Tuesday Mar 1, 2011

Eraserhead (Lynch 1976): Bethnal Green Workingmen's Club, 44 Pollard Row, E2 6NB, 7.45pm

The wonderful people at Close-Up have put together a superb David Lynch season and they cannot be faulted in their selection of the director's oeuvre. Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire are to follow and you can find all the details of the season here.

Eraserhead begins the season and takes me back to an era before video, DVD and social media when print and word-of-mouth were the main forms of communication where a film was concerned. Lynch's debut was a must-see back in the late 1970s and it was fitting that the movie had its premiere at a midnight screening at the Cinema Village in New York as the midnight-movie circuit was responsible for popularising this indefinable work.

Eraserhead is a seminal work in the history of independent film and is as much a must-see now for anyone interested in what film can achieve as it was when first released. Here is an extract, highlighting Lynch's innovative use of sound.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 59: Monday Feb 28, 2011

Diva (Beineix, 1981): English National Opera, London Coliseum, 6.30pm

I can still remember the first time I saw the trailer for this superb French film. Here it is. Hailed as the birth of the new New Wave of French cinema, this was a sensation when released in the early 1980s. What makes tonight so special is that Future Cinema, the people behind Secret Cinema, are staging this at the English National Opera.

Sorpano Elizabeth Llewellyn will deliver a live performance before the movie is shown with the organisers promising to bring a touch of Paris to St Martin's Lane. I have a ticket and cannot wait. There are a few left and you can get them via the Future Cinema Facebook page here.

Here are the details of how to book.

Capital Celluloid - Day 58: Sunday Feb 27, 2011

Man's Favourite Sport (Hawks, 1964): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 5.40pm

This has no real right to succeed but Hawks' generosity to his characters and plucky playing from Paula Prentiss and Rock Hudson in the Hepburn-Grant roles of this reworking of the classic screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby make it worthwhile for more than just Hawks aficionados. I caught up with it again recently and was surprised how much I was enjoying it by the time the bonkers conclusion rolls around.

Here is the trailer.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 57: Saturday Feb 26, 2011

Eclectic Electric All-Nighter: Electric Cinema, Portobello Road 11pm

Now this is film programming at its best. To celebrate the cinema's 100th anniversary the Electric is showing Peeping Tom; The Trip; Scorpio Rising and THX1138 interspersed with episodes of Batman & Robin, the 1949 vintage. The films are a selection of movies from the Electric Cinema Club's 1970s programmes and guest curated by Peter Howden. There's a bar and breakfast included in the price of £22.50. A bargain.

Here are the details.

Capital Celluloid - Day 56: Friday Feb 25, 2011

Battle Royale (Fukasaku, 2000): Curzon Soho, 12pm

The midnight movies team at the Curzon have come up with a winner to celebrate their third birthday by screening this controversial Japanese movie from a decade ago. The Curzon have been at the forefront of the renaissance in midnight movie screenings in the capital and the school disco (starting at 10pm) they are putting on followed by this cult film looks a perfect way to start the weekend. More details of the evening can be found here.

Battle Royale is Quentin Tarantino's favourite movie since he started directing in 1992.

Here is the trailer for Battle Royale.

Capital Celluloid - Day 55: Thursday Feb 24, 2011

Aelita: Queen of Mars (Protazonov, 1924), Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm

A rare chance to see a ground-breaking silent Soviet sci-fi film with a live score from the band Minima, who have provided soundtracks for Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari and The Lodger. I haven't seen this but my colleague Silent London has when it was shown at the BFI last year and you can read more about the film at via this link here.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 54: Wednesday Feb 23, 2011

Etoile: The Duke Mitchell Film Club, King's Cross Social Club, 2 Britannia St, WC1X 9JE, 7pm

Darren Aronofsky's impressive Black Swan has an abundance of film references. Many mention The Red Shoes but for me Repulsion, along with other Roman Polanski movies such as The Tenant and Rosemary's Baby, were more influential.

Tonight the Duke Mitchell are screening Etoile, a widely forgotten early Jennifer Connelly film from 1988. Have a look at this article by film critic Ambrose Heron and tell me you are not intrigued. The Duke Mitchell team are guaranteed to put on a superbly planned show and the centrepiece tonight promises to be quite an eye-opener.

Here are the details.

Here is a clip from the movie.

Capital Celluloid - Day 53: Tuesday February 22, 2011

Bonnie and Clyde: The Gallery Chapel, 21 Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green, E2 9PL, 7pm

There are now a plethora of film clubs in London and another joins the list tonight when electricfleapit.com launch their free monthly screenings at the Gallery Chapel in Bethnal Green. The evening starts with a film quiz at 7pm and, as part of the Love On The Run theme, continues at 8pm with a screening of the ground-breaking Hollywood movie Bonnie and Clyde

Here is the original 1967 trailer.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 52: Monday February 21, 2011

Rope (Hitchcock, 1948): The Society Film Club, Sanctum Soho Hotel, 7pm

Tonight's pick is an offering from the Society Film Club who are screening Rope and giving away a copy of the Gorse Trilogy as part of a night devoted to the novelist Patrick Hamilton. Nigel Jones, Hamilton's biographer, will be giving a short introduction.

£5.00 for members £7.50 non-members - and that includes a Black Spring Press copy of the book.
Here is the Facebook page for more details on the evening.

Here is the disturbing opening.

Capital Celluloid - Day 51: Sunday February 20, 2011

Hatari! BFI Southbank, 3.20pm NFT 2

Here's one of my favourite film reviews:

"Marked by the relaxed pace and tone of Hawks' later work, Hatari! could easily be seen as Only Angels Have Wings transferred from the Andes to the African bush. There's little plot but plenty of typically Hawksian situations as it follows the travails of a group of safari hunters (preservationists, not killers) working a game reserve. All the usual themes emerge as gently and naturally as bubbles from champagne: the need for professionalism and self-respect; the importance of the group and integration; attraction between men and women seen as conflict; and (echoing Monkey Business and Bringing Up Baby) asides on humans as animals. Light, sunny, and effortlessly switching between action and comedy, it also fascinates through its superb footage of the actual capture of the wildlife, in which the danger and the excitement of the chase are beautifully, precisely evoked. All in all, one of those rare films that genuinely constitutes a 'late masterpiece'."

It's from Geoff Andrew, curator of the Howard Hawks season at BFI Southbank. Can't wait to be in NFT 2. Here's the opening.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 50: Saturday February 19, 2011

Daughters of Darkness: Rio Cinema, 11.30pm

The Rio's brilliant late-night series continues and cigaretteburnscinema.com have unearthed a real gem. This is a great chance to see this superb rarely seen vampire film on the big screen - it's cult horror movie-making at its very finest and not to be missed. Here is the excellent Geoffrey Macnab's recent article in the Independent and here is an extract or two. Buy your tickets now.

Capital Celluloid - Day 49: Friday Feb 18, 2011

The Cabinet of Cailgari & Curse of the Undead: 6.40pm Gothique Film Society, 25 Red Lion Sq, WC1


The Gothique Film Society is the oldest film club in London and you can find out all the details here. This looks an intriguing double-bill to say the least with The Cabinet of Cailgari not the original but a 1962 version which apparently bears very little relation to the silent classic. The script was written by Robert Bloch, also responsible for Psycho and stars the lovely Glynis Johns and Dan O'Herlihy. Here is an extract.

Curse of the Undead is a vampire western filmed in 1959. Curse of the Undead, according to the wikipedia entry, started as a gag idea by husband-and-wife team Edward and Mildred Dein called Eat Me Gently, described by Edward as "a Western horror story about a fag vampire running around the desert eating little boys". Universal-International producer Joseph Gershenson heard about the idea from his wife and quickly phoned Edward Dein: "Hey, smartass. The good stuff you don't give us. I want to make this picture." Here is the trailer.

I have no idea how this double-bill will play but come on it's got to be better than Paul!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 48: Thursday Feb 17, 2011

Fahrenheit 451 (Truffaut, 1966), BFI Southbank, 2.30pm

This film is an oddity that has grown in stature over the years. When the movie was released no one really expected a sci-fi movie from Francois Truffaut and most were both puzzled and disappointed but its depiction of an authoritarian state that has outlawed books looks amazing (partly thanks to Nic Roeg's superb cinematography).

There are other numerous pleasures along the way, including Julie Christie (think Deborah Kerr in The Life and Death of Colone Blimp or the central character in Luis Bunuel's That Obscure Object of Desire) playing both the hero's wife and his lover and the innovative opening credits. There is also the music which, and I don't say this lightly, contains some of Bernard Herrmann's finest work. The film may lose its way towards the end but the denoument aside this is a work very much worthy of investigation.

It is on again in March as part of the Roeg season if you can't make this early screening. Details here.

Here is an extract and here is an interview with Truffaut on Hithchock (just for the hell of it).

Capital Celluloid - Day 47: Wednesday Feb 16, 2011

Showgirls: Deptford Film Club, Birds Nest Pub, Deptford Church Street, London SE8 4RZ, 7.30pm

Tonight BFI Southbank screen Land of the Pharaohs (Howard Hawks, 1955), which tops Martin Scorsese's guilty pleasure list. Showgirls is pretty much near the top of mine. Le Cool website (a daily guide to what's cool in London) have this screening as their selection for tonight - and quite right too. A lot of people hate this film and it's often nominated for film turkey awards but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Director Paul Verhoeven is incapable of making a boring movie and this picture with Elizabeth Berkley as a wild-eyed ingénue who takes the Las Vegas exotic-dance scene by storm has energy to spare. It is also a somewhat subversive movie as Jonathan Rosenbaum points out in his Chicago Reader review.

Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid - Day 46: Tuesday Feb 15, 2011

Paisa (Rossellini 1946): Bethnal Green Workingmen's Club, 44 Pollard Row, E2 6NB, 7.45pm

The very fine closeupfilmcentre.com continue their Roberto Rossellini war trilogy with this excellent, episodic account of the allies' fight to liberate Italy during World War II. The final episode is one of the finest examples of Rossellini's neo-realist work and the film is, in critic Geoff Andrew's opinion, an even finer work than the masterpiece Rome, Open City which closeup showed last week.

Here is an extract.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 45: Monday Feb 14, 2011

Say Anything: The Drop, 75 Stoke Newington High Street, 8pm

Breakfast At Tiffany's, To Have And Have Not, Brief Encounter, Casablanca and Jules et Jim are on around town on Valentines' Day but if you want something unpedictable and a different sort of evening then head for The Drop in Stoke Newington for a free screening of the 80s romantic comedy Say Anything.

The Monday Night At The Drop's Facebook page promises romantic music and prizes to get you in the mood plus the film, which was Cameron Crowe's directorial debut, has a very good reputation (see Jonathan Rosenbaum's review here) and seems guaranteed to hit the right spot.

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid - Day 44: Sunday Feb 13, 2011

La Notte: Barbican Centre, 1.30pm

The Barbican are running a Directorspective on Michelangelo Antonioni consisting of films which have inspired theatre director Ivo van Hove’s Antonioni Project at the arts centre. This 1961 film is a treatise on bourgeois alienation centred on 24 hours in the deteriorating middle-class marriage of Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau. 

As such it's crammed with archetypal Antonioni tropes, parts of which left me frustrated and parts of which had me gazing at the screen in wonder. If you imagine you would enjoy this and haven't seen this early work by the Italian maestro then I can heartily recommend it. Here is the trailer.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 43: Saturday Feb 12, 2011

The Thing From Another World: BFI Southbank, 8.45pm, NFT 2

Let's get the boring bit out of the way first. This is credited to Christian Nyby but as Geoff Andrew points out in his essential Film Handbook this movie is "clearly the work of the master [Howard Hawks]."

Hawks is ostensibly the producer but the fast-paced, overlapping dialogue; the imperilled, isolated group; the sexual tensions and mise-en-scene are all characteristic of the great director.

It's genuinely scary in parts and has a theme, rationality versus emotion, which is quintessentially Hawksian and which ensures the picture lives long in the memory.

A rare treat to see this on the big screen too. Here is the trailer.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 42: Friday Feb 11, 2011

The Big Sky: BFI Southbank, 8.30pm NFT2

Another marvellous Western from Howard Hawks, ostensibly about Kirk Douglas and Dewey Martin on a pioneering trading expedition up the Missouri river but more about the relationship between the two men and their entanglement with an Indian woman they capture as hostage. Wonderful entertainment and one of Hawks's most underrated movies for sure.

Here is a clip.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 41: Thursday Feb 10, 2011

Crispin Hellion Glover: Talk & Screening, Phoneix Cinema, 8pm

Now this looks intriguing. Actor Crispin Glover presents his Big Slide Show plus a screening of the second part of the "It" trilogy, titled 'It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine!'

I have to own up to not knowing what to expect but this comes highly recommended by colleagues at the Guardian and having looked at some of Glover's work on YouTube, I am certain it will be like nothing else on offer in London tonight and as such well worth investigating. Apparently, Glover has said he has previously stayed until 4am to finish off his Q&A's! Here is Guardian film editor Catherine Shoard's interview with the actor/drirector.

The feeling is that the Q&A with Glover should be highly entertaining, even if the screenings are not to everyone's taste.

Check this out. And this. Or even this.

Footnote: his father is Bruce Glover, famous for playing the villain Mr Wint in Diamonds Are Forever.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 40: Wednesday Feb 9, 2011

Two In The Wave: BFI Southbank, NFT2 6.15pm

A quiet night on the London repertory scene but this new documentary on the love-hate relationship between New Wave directors Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard is an interesting one for cinephiles, especially so as this screening includes a Q&A with the Emmanuel Laurent who made the film. Here's Dave Calhoun's Time Out review and here is a preview.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 39: Tuesday Feb 8, 2011

Rome, Open City: Bethnal Green Workingmen's Club, 44 Pollard Row, E2 6NB, 7.45pm

I haven't seen this since my post-graduate days at Derby Lonsdale College in the mid-1980s but found it a real eye-opener at the time and wouldn't disagree with this ecstatic review in Chicago Reader. Director Roberto Rossellini was a pioneer and this film, which won the Grand Prix at Cannes, brough the attention of the world to the development of the hugely influential neorealism era in Italian cinema.

This is another free screening courtesy of closeupfilmcentre.com and well worth the trip if you can make it. Here is an extract.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 38: Monday Feb 7, 2011

Withnail & I: The Drop, 75 Stoke Newington High Street, 8pm

The Monday Movie screenings at The Drop are run by those good folks who run the Duke Mitchell film club and as such you can guarantee this will be an excellent evening's entertainment. The film itself needs little introduction, the fondness for it among movie fans having grown considerably over the years since its release in 1986. Here is a reminder.

The Drop's Facebook page promises a superb and unseen short which reunites the two stars of Withnail & I almost 20 years on and prizes for those who can hold their petrol fuel like Withnail as well as a soundtrack taken from music from the era. The bonus is that entrance is free.

For those of a sci-fi bent you can catch the 1979 space adventure Star Crash at the Mucky Pup pub near the Angel. The bonus is a screening of the silent version of The Lost World, which is due to begin at 6.30pm. Another free screening, this time courtesy of Cigarette Burns cinema.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 37: Sunday Feb 6, 2011

Any Given Sunday: Jetlag Bar & Restaurant, Cleveland St W1, 7pm

This may not actually be the best film in town tonight but personally I love this movie and the atmosphere will be great as it is being screened at a Super Bowl party at a bar in the West End. This is archetypal Oliver Stone but the histrionics and the over-the-top action are fully justified in this case. Wonderful performances from Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, James Woods and Dennis Quaid as fictional American football team Miami Sharks lurch from crisis to disaster. Loads of fun, it's free and is being screened in the bar's cinema lounge. Just look at this great work here from Pacino.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 36: Saturday Feb 5, 2011

Red River: BFI Southbank, 8.30pm NFT3

The Howard Hawks season continues with a film described by Time Out's Geoff Andrew in an excellent review here as the "finest western of the 1940s." Later the pleasures of this great movie would be lovingly captured by director Peter Bogdanovich in The Last Picture Show and you can see that wonderful scene here via YouTube.

Here's Hawks himself talking about Red River. I will be attending the screening on Sunday at the BFI at 6.10pm and I have a very different type of film lined up for the blog tomorrow. Watch this space.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 35: Friday Feb 4, 2011

The Room: Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm

Move aside The Sound of Music and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The Room is the modern-day Plan 9 From Outer Space and a movie so awful that it now has a cult following. Indeed, it now attracts an audience so keen to participate and watch again that it gets a regular monthly screening at the Prince Charles Cinema. You can read more about it here and watch a slice - if you dare - here.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 34: Thursday Feb 3, 2011

Jules et Jim: BFI Southbank, 8.45pm NFT1

Francois Truffaut's best-known movie screens as part of the French director's BFI Southbank season. An excellent example of New Wave movie-making, Jules et Jim is actually a much more melancholic movie than many probably imagine from its reputation. This is perhaps the most famous scene. 

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 33: Wednesday Feb 2, 2011

David Lynch's On The Air: The Pictures at Bardens Cafe 36 Stoke Newington High Street, 7.30pm

When I was researching the article I wrote for the Guardian on film clubs I came across a number of people putting on innovative movie evenings. Here is one run by a group called The Pictures. You can enjoy a programme of shorts, music videos, DIY movies and documentaries tonight with the centrepiece the pilot episode of a programme David Lynch and Mark Frost produced following their hit with Twin Peaks.

The show was called On The Air and followed the antics of the staff of a fictional 1950s television network as they tried to put on a live variety program called "The Lester Guy Show" with disastrous results. This is a must for Lynch completists (only three programmes were aired though seven were filmed) and for the curious as the line up of supporting features sound terrific. Here is the opening of part one of On The Air as a taster.