Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 268: Tue Sep 25

Penda's Fen (Clarke, 1974) & Gone To Earth (Powell & Pressburger, 1950):
Roxy Bar and Screen, London Bridge, 7pm
This is screening as part of 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.

An excellent FilmBar 70 double-bill titled Blasted Heaths: Magical Landscapes in British film.
Here is the introduction: The British rugged rural landscape has proven to be a powerful and transcendental source of inspiration for our homegrown filmmakers. Bleak, barren and beautiful, our climes exude a twilight reality where social realism and the magical can co-exist. From the windy isolation of the Devonshire coast in ‘The Shout’ (1978) to the wild and rocky Shetland Isles of ‘The Edge of the World’ (1937), to the limbo of our borders in films such as ‘Tam Lin’ (1969), Filmbar70 will provide a celluloid escape to the country.

Time Out review of Penda's Fen (the magazine voted the film No76 in their top 100 British films list here):
This remarkable feature length television film – commissioned for the legendary 1970s ‘Play for Today’ single drama series – is often described as a step ‘off piste’ for its director Alan Clarke. That’s a misleading reading, however. The work’s qualities of resistance, questioning and personal and public transformation are entirely in keeping with the normally urban-centric filmmaker’s milieu. But the real credit lies with its writer David Rudkin. An astonishing playwright with a visionary reach and a genuine sense of ‘deep England’ and its radical potential, Rudkin here crafts a multi-layered reading of contemporary society and its personal, social, sexual, psychic and metaphysical fault lines. Fusing Elgar’s ‘Dream of Gerontius’ with a heightened socialism of vibrantly localist empathy, and pagan belief systems with pre-Norman histories and a seriously committed – and prescient – ecological awareness, ‘Penda’s Fen’ is a unique and important statement, rumoured soon – finally – to be available on DVD
Gareth Evans
Here's a pretty terrifying extract.

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Time Out review of Gone To Earth:
'A film much maligned in its time, not least by producer David O Selznick, who issued an American version retitled The Wild Heart, incorporating additional footage directed by Rouben Mamoulian and running only 82 minutes. Mary Webb's 1917 novel was the archetypal bodice-ripper - wicked squire, pious yokels, adultery and redemption - out of which Powell and Pressburger made a visually spellbinding romance. Christopher Challis' photography evokes Shropshire and the Welsh borders so that you can smell the earth. Menace, the bloodlust of the chase (of the fox or the outcast sinner), is omnipresent as trees bend and wild creatures panic before an unseen primal force. Cruelty besides beauty sweeps these pastoral vistas. Forget Jones' rustic English (Kentucky? Australian?) and the melodramatic clich├ęs (boots trampling posies): the haunting, dreamlike consistency recalls that other fairy story of innocence and menace, The Night of the Hunter. '
Martin Hoyle
Here is an extract.


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