Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 254: Wed Sep 11

This rarely seen Chris Petit movie is part of the 70x70 season. London writer, filmmaker and 'psychogeographer' Iain Sinclair celebrates his 70th birthday year, with the showing of 70 films, handpicked for their association with his work and shown in venues all over London. Here is a full list of the excellent programme. As part of 70x70, the Goethe-Institut presents two screenings reflecting the writer’s real and cinematic experiences of Berlin and the time of RAF terrorism.

Here is the introduction: Two films set in Berlin, one before, one after the fall of the wall, both featuring Eddie Constantine. He plays himself in Chris Petit’s atmospheric thriller Flight to Berlin and returns as Lemmy Caution, the secret agent of Alphaville (1965), to wander the streets of the post-wall city in Godard’s filmic essay Germany Year Zero Nine. Less interested in plot than in the urban landscape, in its history and in character, both films together create a rare portrait of Berlin.

There will be drinks after the first film, and the second film will be followed by a conversation between Iain Sinclair and Chris Petit.

The evening is also part of the Scalarama season which runs throughout September. Scalarama is the  follow-up to Scala Forever and Scala Beyond and brings together all types of different cinemas, venues, film clubs, societies, pop-ups and festivals to encourage and champion repertory and community cinema, and be the UK’s widest and most inclusive film event.

Here is a link to the full calendar of films being shown and here is the Scalarama Facebook page. There's a very good article about the background to the season here at Mostly Film.

Variety review:
Christopher Petit’s third feature is a dazzlingly make modern thriller, though lovers of neatly structured plots with satisfactory ending in which everything is explained may not appreciate its qualities. Petit, an ex-film critic, isn’t interested in the perfect plot as he showed in his critically acclaimed first feature Radio On: it’s not the story so much as the characters and the background detail that are exciting here. And Flight To Berlin is exciting. It opens brilliantly, as Susannah is taken from a Berlin apartment in the middle of the night by plainclothes police and driven speedily through the city streets. In the police station she’s interrogated but, as the sparse narration tell, “they asked me the wrong question.” The questions they ask concern why Susannah was in the apartment of a known criminal, but as i s discovered when the inevitable flashbacks begin, she has other problems . . .Gradually she becomes enmeshed with a group of mysterious characters . . .But it’s not just a buff film, for the elliptical script, excellent acting and, above all, the extraordinary location camerawork of Martin Schafer, combine to make compulsive viewing even if, in the end, the answers remain elusive.
David Stratton

Here (and above) is an extract from a documentary on Petit.

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