Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 346: Tue Dec 11

Fahrenheit 451 (Truffaut, 1966), BFI Southbank, 6.10pm
This is screening as part of the Passport to Cinema season and will be introduced by Richard Combs.
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 Colonel 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.

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

Chicago Reader review:
'Ray Bradbury's novel about thought control in a future society (451 degrees is the temperature at which books burn) was the basis for Francois Truffaut's first, ill-fated venture outside the bounds (and native language) of Gallic humanism. This 1966 film often looks good (it was Truffaut's first in color, photographed by Nicolas Roeg), but the ideas, such as they are, get lost in the meandering narrative. Bernard Herrmann's score, however, is one of his finest.'
Dave Kehr

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