Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 343: Sat Dec 8

Elephant Man (Lynch, 1980): Limehouse Town Hall, 7.30pm 
This is a special ScreenDeep presentation which will feature history on headphones, some live music by Waverley Keys and Lynch's wonderfully moving movie on screen. More details plus intriguing trailer about this evening's presentation can be found here.

Time Out review:
'More accessible than Lynch's enigmatically disturbingEraserheadThe Elephant Man has much the same limpidly moving humanism as Truffaut's L'Enfant Sauvage in describing how the unfortunate John Merrick, brutalised by a childhood in which he was hideously abused as an inhuman freak, was gradually coaxed into revealing a soul of such delicacy and refinement that he became a lion of Victorian society. But that is only half the story the film tells. The darker side, underpinned by an evocation of the steamy, smoky hell that still underlies a London facelifted by the Industrial Revolution, is crystallised by the wonderful sequence in which Merrick is persuaded by a celebrated actress to read Romeo to her Juliet. A tender, touching scene ('Oh, Mr Merrick, you're not an elephant man at all. No, you're Romeo'), it nevertheless begs the question of what passions, inevitably doomed to frustration, have been roused in this presumably normally-sexed Elephant Man. Appearances are all, and like the proverbial Victorian piano, he can make the social grade only if his ruder appendages are hidden from sensitive eyes; hence what is effectively, at his time of greatest happiness, his suicide. A marvellous movie, shot in stunning black-and-white by Freddie Francis.'
Tom Milne

SPOILER ALERT: This is the ending of the movie, which is one of the most moving pieces of cinema I have ever seen. 

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