Monday, 14 October 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 300: Sun Oct 27

No1 Friendly Witness (Sonbert, 1989): Tate Modern, 7pm

This is part of the Tate season devoted to the experimental film-maker Warren Sonbert. More details of the full retrospective can be found here.

Chicago Reader review:
'In contrast to his earlier sound films, Friendly Witness is obviously edited in relation to the music. But the editing never becomes a slave to the music's beat, and the images never become illustrations for the word of the songs. Instead the relationship between the image and music, particularly in the rock section, is not unlike the relationships Sonbert creates between images. At times the words of the songs seem to relate directly to the images we see (we hear "my little runaway" while seeing a motorcycle jumper); at other times words and images seem to be working almost at cross-purposes or relating only ironically. Similarly, at times the image rhythm and music rhythm appear to dance together, while at others they go their separate ways. 

What makes Friendly Witness such a rich masterpiece, & multiple viewings so rewarding, is that its whole structure is based not on a single organizational principle but on many, some of them almost contradictory. Some films are organized primarily as a series of metaphors, or by connecting images more abstractly through common shapes or movements, or by using images for their narrative possibilities--but Sonbert uses all these methods and more. He thus produces a cinema of multiple attractions based on dissonance as well as rhyme, fissure as well as connection, irony as well as rapture.'
Fred Camper

You can read the lengthy review here.


No2 An American Werewolf in London (Landis, 1981): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.30pm

This screening is aprt of the BFI Gothic season. The film is also being shown on October 22nd and November 4th. More details here.

Chicago Reader review:
John Landis's 1981 attempt to recast the classic horror film into the flip, self-mocking style of his Animal House while retaining the thrills and chills. It's a failure, less because the odd stylistic mix doesn't take (it does from time to time, and to striking effect) than because Landis hasn't bothered to put his story into any kind of satisfying shape. It's the Blues Brothers syndrome again: a lot of dissociated segments left hanging in midair. Still, this may be one of Landis's most personal films: passages of adolescent sexual fantasy alternate with powerfully expressed guilt over dirtier fantasies of family murder and rape. The director may be more in tune with the Freudian subtext of the werewolf fable than his carefully maintained surface cool might indicate. With David Naughton, Griffin Dunne, and Jenny Agutter.
Dave Kehr

Above (and here) is the trailer.

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