Sunday, 9 September 2012

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 259: Sun Sep 16

Peeping Tom (Powell, 1960) & Code Unknown (Haneke, 2000): Rio Cinema, 12.45pm
This is screening as part of the Scala Beyond, a six-week season celebrating all forms of cinema exhibition across the UK, from film clubs to film festivals, picture palaces to pop-up venues. You can find more details here at the website.

Welcome to the Capital Celluloid film screening debut, an important landmark in the history of the blog at which I hope to see as many of you as possible. The inspiration for this came from the wonderful history of double-bills programmed at the Scala Cinema and a fabulous video by Sussex University senior film studies lecturer, Catherine Grant, on the two movies and their links. You can find more details on the Facebook page here.

Peeping Tom, reviled on release in 1960 and effectively suppressed following a slew of vitriolic reviews, is now widely recognised as a bona fide masterpiece of British cinema. The story of a murderous psychologically damaged loner, who works in films, gets to the heart of movie-making and movie-watching in a way very few films have and remains a firm favourite among film-makers and cineastes alike.

Code Unknown is one of the richest achievements of modern European art cinema. Director Michael Haneke places his typically forensic gaze on modern western society and finds it wanting but the way he does so is cinematically innovative. Implicating the audience and challenging the expectations of the viewer is the aim here and the director succeeds, leaving mysteries which will have filmgoers arguing long after they have left the cinema.

Plus Q&A with guest speaker Catherine Grant, senior lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Sussex, who will explore the influence of Powell's film on Haneke's movie and screen her video True Likeness, which reveals the intimate connections between two disturbing and thought-provoking films.

Chicago reader review of Peeping Tom:
'Michael Powell's suppressed masterpiece, made in 1960 but sparsely shown in the U.S. with its ferocity and compassion intact. The German actor Carl Boehm plays a shy, sensitive British boy (Powell doesn't try to cover his accent, which is typical of the film's deliberate sacrifice of realism for effect) who loves movies with all his heart and soul because he knows what they're really about—sex and death. This seductive, brightly colored thriller isn't about the “problem” of voyeurism as much as the sub-rosa fascinations of the cinema. It's an understanding and at times even celebratory film—attitudes that scandalized critics years ago and are still pretty potent today. The uniformly excellent cast includes Anna Massey, Moira Shearer (the ballerina of Powell's The Red Shoes), and Maxine Audley' Dave Kehr
(Peeping Tom trailer here.)

Chicago Reader review of Code Unknown:
'Aptly subtitled “Incomplete Tales of Several Journeys,” the best feature to date by Austrian director Michael Haneke (2000, 117 min.) is a procession of long virtuoso takes that typically begin and end in the middle of actions or sentences, constituting not only an interactive jigsaw puzzle but a thrilling narrative experiment. The second episode is a nine-minute street scene involving an altercation between an actress (Juliette Binoche), her boyfriend's younger brother, an African music teacher who works with deaf-mute students, and a woman beggar from Romania; the other episodes effect a kind of narrative dispersal of these characters and some of their relatives across time and space. I couldn't always get what was happening, but I was never bored, and the questions raised reflect the mysteries of everyday life. The title refers to the pass codes used to enter houses in Paris—a metaphor for codes that might crack certain global and ethical issues.' Jonathan Rosenbaum
(Code Unknown trailer here.)

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