Here is the ICA introduction: The British science fiction film Quatermass 2 (Hammer Film Productions, 1957) holds a particular significance for the fictional protagonist of three of Patrick Keiller's films, whose exploits also featured in the recent exhibition The Robinson Institute (Tate Britain, 2012) in which Quatermass 2 was displayed.
A detail of the film (the feature-length adaptation of Nigel Kneale's 1955 six-part BBC television serial) appears to connote Professor Quatermass's moon rocket base with the Spadeadam Rocket Establishment, built in the late 1950s to test rocket motors for Blue Streak, the UK's medium-range ballistic missile.
In the Robinson imagination, Blue Streak's subsequent cancellation and replacement with the US-produced Polaris figure as a crucial ‘moment' in the UK's post-WW2 history, the repercussions of which continue today, while Quatermass 2's encounter with an invading malevolent intelligence appears to offer both an explanation for the UK's descent into neoliberalism as well as, perhaps, some hope for an eventual recovery.
Join Patrick Keiller and Mark Fisher for a screening of Quatermass 2 followed by a discussion prompted by the film and by the histories explored in Keiller's films and in The View From the Train: Cities and Other Landscapes, Keiller's first collection of essays published by Verso Books (November 2013)
Patrick Keiller's films include the celebrated London (1994), Robinson in Space (1997), The Dilapidated Dwelling (2000), and Robinson in Ruins (2010); other works include the installations Londres, Bombay (Le Fresnoy, Tourcoing, 2006) and The Robinson Institute (Tate Britain, London, 2012), the latter accompanied by a book The Possibility of Life's Survival on the Planet. Formerly a research fellow at the Royal College of Art (2002-11), he has taught in schools of art and architecture since 1974.
Mark Fisher is the author of the influential Capitalist Realism (Zer0, 2009) and the forthcoming Ghosts of my Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures (Zer0, 2013). Since 2004, he has written the celebrated blog k-punk and is a regular contributor to publications including Frieze, The Wire and Film Quarterly. He lectures in Aural and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths and is a Commissioning Editor for Zer0 books.
No2 Eyes Without a Face (Franju, 1959): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 2.30pm
This film, part of the BFI Gothic season, is also screened on the 14th and 16th of November. All the details are here.
Chicago Reader review:
As Dave Kehr originally described it, “a classic example of the poetry of terror.” Georges Franju's 1959 horror film, based on a novel by Jean Redon, is about a plastic surgeon who's responsible for the car accident that leaves his daughter disfigured; he attempts to rebuild her face with transplants from attractive young women he kidnaps with the aid of his assistant. As absurd and as beautiful as a fairy tale, this chilling, nocturnal black-and-white masterpiece was originally released in this country dubbed and under the title The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus, but it's much too elegant to warrant the usual “psychotronic” treatment. It may be Franju's best feature, and Eugen Schufftan's exquisite cinematography deserves to be seen in 35-millimeter.
Here (and above) is the trailer.