Friday, 29 March 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 108: Thu Apr 18

An American Werewolf in London (Landis, 1981): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.30pm
A special evening for BFI members and guests as the cinema welcomes writer and director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) to introduce An American Werewolf in London as the film that inspired him.

Time Out review:
It’d be interesting to see polling data on how many Brits recall John Landis’s hysterical gore-spattered masterpiece as that all-important rite of passage: their first 18. Well, the folks at the BBFC have ruined all that: in reclassifying the film 15, they’ve made all our childhoods seem that little bit less dangerous. Which is no reflection on the film: horror-comedy is overfamiliar nowadays, with diminishing returns, but this only makes Landis’s achievement more impressive. Not just gory but actually frightening, not just funny but clever, ‘American Werewolf…’ has its flaws, but these are outweighed by the film’s many, mighty strengths: the soundtrack is astounding, the characterisation is marvellous and the one-liners are endlessly memorable (‘a naked American man stole my balloons!’). A classic, no less.
Tom Huddleston

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 107: Wed Apr 17

Pieces (Piquer Simon, 1982): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm
This cult slasher movie is screening as part of the cinema's Good Bad Movie Club. More details here.

Ian Watson writing on Movies: So Bad They're Good takes up the tale: "There's a third world of films, unloved by critics, that yields some genuine pleasures, though they're unlikely to be mistaken for the work of, say, Bergman or Fellini.  Whether you call them b-movies, schlock or guilty pleasures doesn't matter; their low budgets and often scrappy direction is enough for them to be labelled "bad", a term Ernest Mathijs and Jamie Sexton, writing in Cult Cinema: An introduction, define as "poor and distasteful film-making..." Read more on Pieces on the blog here.

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 106: Tue Apr 16

Pulp Fiction (Tarantino, 1994): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.30pm
This is screening as part of the cinema's Classic Films season. More details here.

Time Out review:
'A sprawling, discursive fresco: three stories bookended by a prologue and epilogue. In the first story, a mobster (John Travolta) is charged with looking after the irresponsible wife (Uma Thurman) of his vengeful boss. In the second, a washed-up boxer (Willis) tries to trick the Mob by failing to throw a fight. And in the third, two hitmen (Travolta and Jackson) carry out a job, only to call on the services of a 'cleaner' (Harvey Keitel) when it gets messier than planned. It's the way Tarantino embellishes and, finally, interlinks these old chestnuts that makes the film alternately exhilarating and frustrating. There's plenty of sharp, sassy, profane dialogue, and there are plenty of acute, funny references to pop culture, though the talk sometimes delays the action, and the references sometimes seem self-consciously arch. And there are, too, the sudden lurches between humour and violence - shocking, but without moral depth. What writer/director Tarantino lacks, as yet, is the maturity to invest his work with anything that  might provoke a heartfelt emotional response to his characters. Very entertaining, none the less.' 
Geoff Andrew

Here is the trailer

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 105: Mon Apr 15

Brick (Johnson, 2005) & Looper (Johnson, 2012) double-bill: Prince Charles Cinema, 6.50pm
Director Rian Johnson will be in attendance for a Q&A following this double-bill screening.

Chicago Reader review of Brick:
For his debut feature Rian Johnson meticulously re-creates Dashiell Hammett's brand of gumshoe noir but transplants the blind-alley mystery and rat-a-tat dialogue to a modern SoCal suburban high school. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (a sitcom veteran who's been quietly building up an impressive body of work in movies) stars as a world-weary student trying to unravel the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend, and Lukas Haas is his nemesis, a ruthless, clubfooted heroin dealer who does business out of a paneled den in his parents' basement. It's a limited conceit—gone is the noir sense of being trapped by bad life choices—but it's worth seeing for the tightly coiled plot, well-realized characters, and novel take on rapacious teen culture.
JR Jones

Here is the trailer.

********************

Chicago Reader review of Looper:
This noirish time travel saga by Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom) brims with visual detail and imaginative camera set-ups, though it doesn't leave much of an aftertaste. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a contract killer in the mid-21st century whose targets are sent back to him from 30 years in the future; things get hairy when his latest victim turns out to be an older version of himself, played by Bruce Willis in his rueful hangdog mode. The dystopian setting, in which all U.S. infrastructure has eroded and everyone has a price on his head, makes for some bold cultural commentary, but as usual with Johnson, the engaging ideas feel like affectations rather than products of a fully developed sensibility.
Ben Sachs

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 104: Sun Apr 14

Theorem (Pasolini, 1968): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.30 & 8.45pm
This film, part of the Pier Paolo Pasolini season, is on an extended run from April 12th to May 9th. More details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Apart from his final feature, Salo, this is probably Pier Paolo Pasolini's most controversial film, and to my mind one of his very best, though it has the sort of audacity and extremeness that send some American audiences into gales of derisive, self-protective laughter (1968). The title is Italian for “theorem,” in this case a mythological figure: an attractive young man (Terence Stamp) who visits the home of a Milanese industrialist and proceeds to seduce every member of the household—father, mother (Silvana Mangano), daughter (Anne Wiazemsky), son, and maid (Laura Betti). Then he leaves, and everyone in the household undergoes cataclysmic changes. Pasolini wrote a parallel novel of the same title, part of it in verse, while making this film; neither work is, strictly speaking, an adaptation of the other, but each deals with the same elements, and the stark poetry of both is like a triple-distilled version of Pasolini's view of the world—a view in which Marxism, Christianity, and homosexuality are forced into mutual and scandalous confrontations. It's an “impossible” work: tragic, lyrical, outrageous, indigestible, deeply felt, and wholly sincere.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here is the BFI trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 103: Sat Apr 13

The Canterbury Tales (Pasolini, 1972): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.40pm
This film, part of the Pier Paolo Pasolini season at the BFI, also screens on April 15th and 25th. More details here.

Time Out review:
Like The Decameron, a broad canvas on which is writ large and bawdy the life of the people. We are again plummeted into a world of lecherous ladies, ugly old husbands, willing and ready pages, ending with a superb final fling in a gaudy red Sicilian hell, accompanied by a salvo of farts. As usual Pasolini creates visual magic where other directors would never see beyond the banal, and the humour is as rich as ever; but there is a distinct feeling of strain, not to say waste, about this film. The best tales are of course the blacker ones: Franco Citti as the Devil, in the Friar's tale, blackmailing sexual offenders; or the Steward's tale, a neat variation on one of the hoariest sex gags around. 

A 'U' certificate trailer for an X certificate film.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 102: Fri Apr 12

The Godfather Trilogy (Francis Ford Coppola)
The Godfather
(1972);  The Godfather Part II (1974) & The Godfather Part III (1990)
Prince Charles Cinema, 9pm

Chicago Reader review of The Godfather:
The ultimate family film. Francis Ford Coppola gives full due to the themes of clannish insularity that made Mario Puzo's novel a best seller, though his heart seems to be with Al Pacino's lonely, willful isolation. This 1972 feature is sharp, entertaining, and convincing—discursive, but with a sense of structure and control that Coppola hasn't achieved since.
Dave Kehr
Here is the trailer.

*********************

Chicago Reader review of The Godfather Part II:
Three hours and 20 minutes of Al Pacino suffering openly, Robert Duvall suffering silently, Diane Keaton suffering noisily, and (every so often) Robert De Niro suffering good-naturedly is almost too much, but Francis Ford Coppola pulls it off in grand style. This 1974 sequel never bores, though Gordon Willis's lights-in-your-face cinematography (with its heavy overhead lighting and all those browns and yellows) gets to you after a while, and Coppola's preoccupation with religious ritual almost spoils some quietly effective scenes.
Dan Druker
Here is the trailer

*********************

Chicago Reader review of The Godfather Part III: Francis Ford Coppola's tragic and worthy (if uneven) conclusion to his Godfather trilogy (1990), which he wrote in collaboration with Mario Puzo, represents a certain moral improvement over its predecessors by refusing to celebrate and condemn violence and duplicity in the same breath, or at least to the same degree. Michael Corleone (Al Pacino at his best) seeks absolution for his past sins, and although a cardinal grants it at one point (in a powerful confession scene), the film itself refuses to. While some of the allegorical implications persist (crime equals capitalism, Mafia equals family, both equal America), the decline of America in a world market where both European money and the Vatican are made to seem as corrupt as the Corleones leads to an overall change of focus. The episodic construction yields a strong first and third act and a sagging middle, and one regrets the absence of Robert Duvall, whose character provided a crucial link between crime and business in the first two parts.
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Here is the trailer.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 101: Thu Apr 11

Leo The Last (Boorman, 1970): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.10pm
This film, part of the John Boorman season, also screens on March 28th and April 2nd. You can find out all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
'Perhaps the most neglected of John Boorman's films, and certainly one of the strangest, this 1969 feature stars Marcello Mastroianni as a withdrawn Italian aristocrat who has a voyeuristic relationship with the residents of the black London ghetto where he lives, until he eventually emerges from his cocoon. Written by Boorman and William Stair, the film also features Billie Whitelaw and Calvin Lockhart. Steeped in the syntax of the swinging 60s even more than Boorman's previous Having a Wild Weekend and Point Blank, the film looks dated today, but interestingly and revealingly; and it shows a kind of originality and verve that has been Boorman's stock-in-trade from the beginning.'
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here is an extract.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 100: Wed Apr 10

Night of the Trailers plus Get Crazy (Arkush, 1983): Prince Charles Cinema, 9pm

Here is an introduction to tonight's entertainment from Alex Kidd:Night Of The Trailers started in early 2012 as a spin-off from the other film night I co-host: The Duke Mitchell Film Club, where I’d been putting together obscure trailer compilations for 5-years. Realising I was never going to be able to show all the amazing discoveries I’d been making I created Night Of The Trailers to be able to blow people’s minds with these obscure, entertaining and downright bizarre film trailers I’d unearthed. Night Of The Trailers 35MM Edition now takes all that to another level as I’m bringing you an evening of original cinema mayhem. We’ll be starting the night with 40-minutes of 35MM vintage trailers and adverts including lots of British cinema adverts you might remember from the 70s and 80s along with plenty of obscure trailer finds plus a few old favourites. Then we’ll be screening the little-seen Get Crazy (1983) in 35MM, this chaotic music comedy is unlike anything else you’ve ever seen, it never stops moving and you have no idea what’s going to happen next. Don’t miss this one-off chance to catch it on the bigscreen along with our full supporting show of trailers; I’ll also be introducing everything on the night!

Here is an extract from Get Crazy

And you can find the trailer here.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 99: Tue Apr 9

Monument Film (Kubelka, 2012): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.30pm

Here is the BFI introduction: The Austrian filmmaker Peter Kubelka has been a vital and uncompromising force in cinema for more than half a century. In a body of work that lasts not much more than an hour in total, he condenses and articulates the essential qualities of analogue cinema, distinguishing film as an autonomous artform. His 1960 film Arnulf Rainer, composed only of the purest elements of light and darkness, sound and silence, remains one of the most radical achievements in film history. In response to that earlier work, his new film Antiphon was revealed in 2012 as part of Monument Film, a powerful testament to the entire medium. With two 35mm projectors situated in the auditorium, each film is screened individually, then combined as double projections, both side-by-side and superimposed upon each other.

Throughout this extraordinary projection event, Peter Kubelka will discuss his theories, explaining the differences between film and digital media, and articulating his belief in the survival of cinema.
Curated by Mark Webber. Presented with the support of Austrian Cultural Forum. This performance was originally scheduled for the 56th BFI London Film Festival last October.

Here is an interview with Kubelka.

Here is some more background from a blog item I posted for the London Film Festival.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 98: Mon Apr 8

La Signora di Tutti (Ophuls, 1934): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.10pm
This film was selected by influential critic Laura Mulvey, who will introduce the screening. It is playing in the Passport to Cinema series at BFI Southbank.

Mulvey has regularly placed this film in her Sight & Sound top ten of all-time list which is the reason she is talking about the movie tonight. It will be fascinating to hear her take on one of director Max Ophuls' least known but equally fascinating films.

Observer film critic Philip French explains the background to the film here: 'Max Ophüls (1902-57) was firmly established in Germany as a director for stage, radio and cinema with one minor movie masterpiece (Liebelei) to his credit when the Nazis came to power. As a prominent Jewish artist, he went into exile never to return, working elsewhere in Europe, then in Hollywood, before returning to France to make La Ronde and three other masterworks before his untimely death. Stories of love at first sight, frustrated affairs, tragic encounters – these were his forte, with haunting, romantic music, and exquisite tracking shots that take the audience down streets, through rooms, up and down staircases. All this is here in the one movie he made in Italy, La Signora di tutti ("Everybody's Woman"), which brought him the prize for technical achievement at the second Venice film festival. The enchanting Isa Miranda plays a chanteuse and Italian movie star who reviews her career in flashback from the operating table after a suicide attempt, recalling the lives she has innocently ruined.'

Ophuls was taken up by film academics in the 1970s and 80s and was the subject of a major clash in film studies and ideology between those involved in the magazines Screen and Movie. La Signora di Tutti was not available on a decent 16mm print in Britain until the early 1980s and has not been written about as extensively as other Ophuls' movies. For those interested in later studies of tonight's film I can recommend Michael Walker's article in Movie (vol No36) and Mary Ann Doane's essay in Cinema Journal from 1988.

Chicago Reader review:
'Max Ophuls made this melodrama in Italy in 1934, following his flight from Germany. With its large-scale, operatic effects and aggressively experimental style, it's clearly a young man's film, yet contains more of the mature Ophuls than any early work of his I've seen: the elaborate flashback structure employed to tell this tale of a movie star's romantic entanglements anticipates Lola Montes, and the cold, static beauty of lead actress Isa Miranda suggests the sublime emptiness of Danielle Darrieux in The Earrings of Madame de.... Ophuls's camera glides and glides, as it always would, yet at this early point the camera movements don't have quite the emotional refinement they would acquire later on. Technique, in Ophuls's case, seems to precede specific meaning, but the emotional outlines are clear.'
Dave Kehr

Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 97: Sun Apr 7

Vinyl (Warhol, 1965): ICA Cinema, 7pm
This is part of a short Andy Warhol season at the ICA. All the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
'After paying $3,000 for the rights to Anthony Burgess's novel A Clockwork Orange, Andy Warhol made this very loose adaptation (1965) using direct sound, with such Warhol regulars as Ondine and Edie Sedgwick, Gerard Malanga performing a whip dance, and music by the Velvet Underground. It's one of Warhol's very best—and most painterly—films, more interesting for what it does with crowded space than for the S and M.'
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 96: Sat Apr 6

Excalibur (Boorman, 1981): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 3.40pm
This film, part of the John Boorman season at BFI Southbank, also screens on March 31st, April 21st and April 30th. More details here.

Chicago Reader review:
'John Boorman's 1981 retelling of the Arthurian legends is a continuation of the thematic thrust and visual plan of his Exorcist II, though the failure of that bold, hallucinatory, and flawed film seems to have put Boorman into partial retreat. There is humor here (in the form of a vaudeville Merlin, played by Nicol Williamson) as well as a diminution of scale that seems intended to help audiences through the thornier byways of Boorman's vision. But Boorman has not compromised in his temporal manipulations and his rigorous depsychologizing of his characters, which is where many viewers will have the most trouble. The Waste Land arrives via T.S. Eliot and From Ritual to Romance, though this slightly threadbare interpretation doesn't distract from Boorman's personal concerns, which remain as proudly recondite as ever.'
Dave Kehr

Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 95: Fri Apr 5

Chelsea Girls (Warhol, 1966): ICA Cinema, 7pm
This is aprtt of a short Andy Warhol season at the ICA. All the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
'The most celebrated Andy Warhol feature (1966), and for many the best, is made up of a dozen 33-minute reels that are projected two at a time, side by side. The sound varies according to chance and the projectionist, as only one sound track is played at a time. The people shown include such Warhol “superstars” as Nico, Ondine, Gerard Malanga, Marie Menken, Mary Woronov (who later costarred in Eating Raoul), Ingrid Superstar, Brigid Polk, and International Velvet. All apparently residents of Manhattan's Chelsea Hotel, they engage in a number of activities and dialogues for 210 minutes, and the results are often spellbinding; the juxtaposition of two film images at once gives the spectator an unusual amount of freedom in what to concentrate on and what to make of these variously whacked-out performers.'
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 94: Thu Apr 4

Deliverance (Boorman, 1972): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.30pm
This film, screening as part of the John Boorman season, is also being shown at BFI Southbank on March 30 plus April 14 and 20. More details here.

Chicago Reader review:
'John Boorman's 1972 film of the James Dickey novel has a beautiful visual style that balances the film's machismo message. Four men on a canoe trip down one of Georgia's last unspoiled rivers meet violence and death; Burt Reynolds is the compulsive outdoorsman and Jon Voight is the quiet city man out of his element. The best scene occurs early, when one of the men plays a strange banjo-guitar duet with a half-witted backwoods boy. Be sure to be on time.'
Dan Druker

Here is that famous duelling banjos scene.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 93: Wed Apr 3

Zardoz (Boorman, 1974): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.40pm
This film, part of the John Boorman season, also screens on Mar 30 at 6.20pm. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
'Probably John Boorman's most underrated film—an impossibly ambitious and pretentious but also highly inventive, provocative, and visually striking SF adventure with metaphysical trimmings (1974). Set in a postapocalyptic society in 2293, it stars Sean Connery as a warrior and noble savage with dawning awareness; interestingly enough, the plot in many ways resembles that of Boorman's best film, Point Blank.'Jonathan Rosenabum

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 92: Tue Apr 2

Metropolis (Lang, 1927): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm
This screens as part of the Prince Charles Cinema's Classic Films season. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
'Fritz Lang's 1927 silent epic about class struggle in a city of the 21st century still has a lot of popular currency, but it's never been a critics' favorite. This 124-minute version is the longest since the German premiere, and the unobtrusive use of intertitles to fill in the blanks makes it more coherent. The restoration clarifies the relationships among the hero (Gustav Fröhlich); his late mother, who died giving birth to him; his father, the ruler of Metropolis (Alfred Abel); and the father's bitter romantic rival (Rudolf Klein-Rogge), an inventor who creates a robot in the mother's image. Later the robot is upgraded to impersonate the hero's heartthrob (Brigitte Helm), a radical preacher who helps organize the city's exploited workers. The film looks fabulous, and Gottfried Huppertz's original score is another worthy addition.'
Jonathan Rosenabum

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 91: Mon Apr 1

Point Blank (Boorman, 1967): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 4.15, 6.30 & 8.45pm
This film, part of the John Boorman season at BFI Southbank, is on an extended run at the cinema from March 29 to April 11. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
'John Boorman's modernist, noirish thriller (1967) is still his best and funniest effort (despite the well-phrased demurrals of filmmaker Thom Andersen regarding its cavalier treatment of Los Angeles). Lee Marvin, betrayed by his wife and best friend, finds revenge when he emerges from prison. He recovers stolen money and fights his way to the top of a multiconglomerate—only to find absurdity and chaos. Boorman's treatment of cold violence and colder technology has lots of irony and visual flash—the way objects are often substituted for people is especially brilliant, while the influence of pop art makes for some lively 'Scope compositions—and the Resnais-like experiments with time and editing are still fresh and inventive. The accompanying cast (and iconography) includes Angie Dickinson, John Vernon, and Carroll O'Connor; an appropriate alternate title might be "Tarzan Versus IBM," a working title Jean-Luc Godard had for his Alphaville.'
Jonathan Rosenabum

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 90: Sun Mar 31

Pigsty (Pasolini, 1969): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.45pm
This film is screening as part of the Pier Paolo Pasolini season at the BFI Southbank. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
'Two contrasting and mutually reflecting and enhancing stories about consumption. One, set in contemporary Germany and featuring Jean-Pierre Leaud and Anne Wiazemsky (both dubbed into Italian), is about the son of a former Nazi who forsakes his fiancee to have sex with pigs; the other, set in the Middle Ages, features Pierre Clementi starving in the desert and eventually resorting to cannibalism. This isn't one of Pasolini's greatest films, though it's possibly the one that today best shows the warp and woof of its period.'
Jonathan Rosenbaum 

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 89: Sat Mar 30

Scarface (De Palma, 1983): Rio Cinema, 11.30pm
This is the latest in the Rio's excellent midnight movies season. You can find all the details of the Dalston cinema's late-night screenings here.

Time Out review:
'The recent, unironic adoption of Brian De Palma’s furious, ludicrous crime epic by gangstas, playas and hippety-hoppety bling merchants of all stripes is perhaps testament to the film’s outrageous cojones, rather than any piercing insight into the criminal psyche.

But there’s no denying that ‘Scarface’ is also a lot of fun, tracking homicidal Cuban homunculus Tony Montana (Al Pacino) from his first footsteps on US soil to his operatic demise in a cloud of AK-47 bullets and coke. In fact, cocaine-fuelled excess seems to power the whole movie, from Oliver Stone’s overloaded, trashily self-aware script to Al Pacino’s wildly unpredictable consonant-mangling mumble (‘Manolo, choot dis piece a chit’), from De Palma’s magnificently indulgent Wellesian long shots to the retina-scorching, high-kitsch set and costume design.

What’s most impressive is Stone and De Palma’s unwillingness to cloak Tony’s grotesque, voracious machine-gun capitalism with any sort of ‘Godfather’-style guff about honour and family: ‘Scarface’ is an unashamed study of selfish, sadistic criminality, and all the better for it.
'
Tom Huddleston

Here is the trailer.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 88: Fri Mar 29

Catch Us If You Can (Boorman, 1963): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.30pm
This film, which screens as part of the John Boorman season at BFI Southbank, also screens on March 31. Details here.

A road movie starring the Dave Clark Five? I'm not damning this with faint praise when I say this is a lot better than you might think. Boorman teamed up with playwright Peter Nichols to fashion a fascinating film which takes a mordant look at the Swinging Sixties and which takes unexpected turns in the trip from London to an island off the Devon coast. Not to be missed.


BFI Screenonline review:
'The film plays with notions of illusion and reality as they encounter various English types. Are the 'drop outs' (an early engagement with '60s counter-culture) they meet on Salisbury Plain really actors playing 'subversives' to be rounded up in a military exercise? Are middle-aged establishment types, married 'collectors' Guy and Nan, predatory/kinky (do they 'collect' young people)? But droll smoothie Robin Bailey as Guy is very funny, whether spying through keyholes, interrupting Dinah's bath, or as a fancy dress Frankenstein. 

Shot on location, the film makes skilful use of symbols - Dartmoor ponies, water, the tidal island - compare Cul-de-sac (d. Roman Polanski, 1966). The snow-covered Devon landscape is contrasted with the ad agency in Manny Wynn's crisp B/W images. Peter Nichols' screenplay taps into '60s anti-establishment themes - a Utopian quest is destroyed by army and big business. But 'Utopia' is an illusion - there is no 'island' or escape from the media's manipulative influence; materialist Zissell 'walks' to the island. Dinah says, "you arrived - but you missed the journey". Only romantics make 'the journey', and are inevitably disillusioned: a bleak message.

The US title, Having a Wild Weekend, may have led audiences to expect a Monkees-type romp, rather than a film that shifts into melancholy. It becomes a critique of the vacuity of the opening images. For a 'pop' film, that is radical.'
Roger Philip Mellor

Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 87: Thu Mar 28

A Moment Of Innocence (Makhmalbaf, 1996): ICA Cinema, 7.30pm
This screening is from the excellent A Nos Amours film club run by film makers Joanna Hogg and Adam Roberts. You can find out more about them via their Facebook page here.

Here is their introduction to tonight's programme:
'Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s cinema is tricky to define or pin down: what exactly is the relationship between fact and fantasy? Is it a realist fantasy or documentary? Cinema and everyday life blend dizzyingly, reflexively into one another: in A Moment of Innocence characters pitch for parts they are playing in the very film we are watching, the past is re-staged and re-enacted in the present, and the director pops up in front of camera (or at least his stand in!). Superficially this is a story about a past misdemeanor reinterpreted through the lens of hindsight. Mark Cousins has championed this remarkable, funny, searingly beautiful film in his Story of Film. Unavailable in the UK on DVD we are delighted to present on 35mm what we believe is a very great film. Screening with Abbas Kiarostami's joyous and playful short The Chorus.'

Chicago Reader review:
'This is one of the best features (1996) of the prolific and unpredictable Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf, a dozen of whose films are showing at the Film Center this month. It's also one of his most seminal and accessible--a reconstruction of a pivotal incident during his teens. At the time the shah was in power, and Makhmalbaf was a fundamentalist activist. He stabbed a policeman, was shot and arrested, and spent several years in prison. Two decades later, his politics quite different, Makhmalbaf was auditioning people to appear in his film Salaam Cinema, and among them was the policeman, now unemployed. The two of them wound up collaborating on this film, which tries to reconcile their separate versions of what happened with separate cameras. No doubt it was prompted in part by Abbas Kiarostami's remarkable Close-up (1990), another eclectic documentary that reconstructs past events--a hoax that involved Makhmalbaf himself--with two cameras (showing at the Film Center on April 24). But this is no mere imitation; it's a fascinating humanist experiment and investigation in its own right, full of warmth and humor as well as mystery. The original Persian title, incidentally, translates as "Bread and Flower."
'
Jonathan Rosenabum
Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 86: Wed Mar 27

The Birds (Hitchcock, 1963): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm

Chicago Reader review:'Alfred Hitchcock's most abstract film (1963), and perhaps his subtlest, still yielding new meanings and inflections after a dozen or more viewings. As emblems of sexual tension, divine retribution, meaningless chaos, metaphysical inversion, and aching human guilt, his attacking birds acquire a metaphorical complexity and slipperiness worthy of Melville. Tippi Hedren's lead performance is still open to controversy, but her evident stage fright is put to sublimely Hitchcockian uses. With Rod Taylor, Suzanne Pleshette, and Jessica Tandy (and does anyone besides me believe that Mrs. Brenner was having an affair with Dan Fawcett?).'

Here is the scene where Mrs Brenner finds Dan Fawcett. Not for the squeamish.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 85: Tue Mar 26

Oedipus Rex (Pasolini, 1967): BFI Southbank, NFT2 8.45pm
This film, part of the Pasolini season at BFI Southbank, also screen on March 30 & April 1. You can find the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
'One of the most underrated, neglected, and powerful of Pier Paolo Pasolini's features, this 1967 film, shot in Morocco, is a retelling of the Sophocles tragedy that begins in antiquity and ends in the 20th century, with references to both the fascist period in Italy and Pasolini's own life. With Franco Citti, Silvana Mangano, and Alida Valli. In Italian with subtitles. 119 min.'
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 84: Mon Mar 25

Women Beware Women (Flemyng, 1965): BFI Southbank, 6pm
Diana Rigg is at BFI Southbank for this fascinating look back on a Granada TV production.

Here is the BFI introduction: ‘A thundering production,’ wrote Mary Crozier in the Guardian about this tightly effective studio adaptation of Thomas Middleton’s drama of illicit desire. There had been no modern staging before a 1962 Royal Shakespeare Company presentation, so this was a bold choice for Granada. Diana Rigg stars, just before she debuted as The Avengers’ Emma Peel, and Gordon Flemyng’s cameras make the most of grilles, screens and staircases to conjure a rich visual style for the fiercely melodramatic action.

We are delighted to welcome a panel including Diana Rigg and the Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Gregory Doran (both work permitting) to discuss Jacobean tragedy on television. Illustrated with clips from such works as the rarely seen Women Beware Women (BBC-Open University 1981), the session will be chaired by producer and season curator John Wyver, whose recent TV credits include Macbeth and Julius Caesar.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 83: Sun Mar 24

The Servant (Losey, 1963): Curzon Soho, 2.45pm
This promises to be a special afternoon with cast members James Fox, Wendy Craig and Sarah Miles attending a Q&A after the film. The Servant will also get an extended run at BFI Southabnk. See here for details.

Here is the Curzon's introduction: Join us for a special screening of Joseph Losey’s The Servant, which marked the start of what became one of the most potent creative partnerships of British 1960s cinema. Losey and acclaimed playwright-turned-screenwriter Harold Pinter united to create a disturbing tale of seduction, sexual and social tension and psychological control. Acclaimed director/actor Richard Ayoade (Submarine, The IT Crowd) will introduce the screening, which will be followed by a post-screening discussion with cast members James Fox, Wendy Craig and Sarah Miles. The discussion will be moderated by Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw.

If you want to read an excellent article on the film I can recommend John Patterson's in the Guardian Guide here.

He writes: "Joseph Losey kicked off the 1960s proper with The Servant, an absolutely pivotal movie that exactly caught the spirit of the age as the country shook itself awake after the long frigid winter of 1962-3 and emerged, blinking and disoriented, into the torpid hothouse atmosphere surrounding the Profumo affair.

The story of an aristocrat (James Fox) taken in by his machiavellian manservant (Dirk Bogarde), its themes of working-class insurgency, upper-class degeneracy and mutually destructive, sexually-driven power-games – already hallmarks of the stage work of first-time screenwriter, Harold Pinter – not to mention a notorious scene that seems to depict incest between a supposed brother and sister, dovetailed in the popular mind with the emerging sex-and-spy scandal whose fumes would finally waft the Conservative party out of power in 1964.

The Servant was also perhaps the most baroquely stylised movie made in the United Kingdom since the heyday of Powell & Pressburger a decade earlier, but with Powell's optimistic high-Tory stylistic flourishes replaced by Losey's avowedly pessimistic Marxist mannerisms, or, as I prefer to think of them, his mise-in-sane."


Here is the trailer.


Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 82: Sat Mar 23

Dreams That Money Can Buy (Richter, 1947): Barbican Cinema, 4pm
This rarely seen film is screening as part of a season devoted to the artist Marchel Duchamp.


Chicago Reader review:
'Hans Richter's rarely screened feature, made between 1944 and 1947, follows a young poet named Joe who sets up a shop that sells dreams to customers based on their own subconscious material. Half a dozen artists—Max Ernst (who provided the inspiration for the film and also wrote a monologue), Fernand Leger, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Alexander Calder, and David Diamond—were hired by Richter to design separate dreams for the film; other participants include Paul Bowles, Libby Holman, Darius Milhaud, and John Cage.'
Don Druker

Here is an extract.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 81: Fri Mar 22

Spring Breakers (Korine, 2012): ICA Cinema 8pm
The events hosted by Ultra Culture (aka film critic Charlie Lyne) at the ICA sell out pretty sharpish so try and snap up a ticket as soon as possible. Harmony Korine's film is highly awaited and this will be the first UK preview.

Here is Lyne's introduction to the night's events:
Join Ultra Culture Cinema this spring as we break with tradition and move into the spectacular setting of the ICA Theatre for our wildest night yet: the first UK preview of Harmony Korine's rowdy, raunchy nightmare of a teen movie, Spring Breakers.

A mind-altering collage of juvenile vice and Floridian debauchery, the film finds Korine working at maximum capacity, leaving no controversy unstoked, no mind unfucked and no scene transition unaccompanied by James Franco's intoxicating mantra of 'spring break, spring break forever'.

Backed by a soundtrack combining the talents of Skrillex, SebastiAn and Drive's Cliff Martinez, Spring Breakers powers through its odyssey of excess like a hedonistic fever dream, sweating off the screen in a haze of fuzzy memories and ill-fated good times. With the muscle of the ICA Theatre's monstrous sound system behind us, you won't find a more authentic spring break experience this side of Panama City Beach.

Plus: DJs before and after the film, surprises throughout the night and rewards for anyone who rocks up in the recommended dress code of hotpants and neon pink balaclavas.

Time Out review:
'It’s not just the ample teen flesh that’s a little tender in the new film from Harmony Korine – the impish American filmmaker who wrote ‘Kids’ (1995) when he was around college age and directed ‘Gummo’ and ‘Mister Lonely’. Korine’s last full-length film was the scuzzy, experimental ‘Trash Humpers’, and he often keeps things unpolished in look and spiky in tone. But this absurd, brightly glowing tale of three girls (Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine) who rob a restaurant to fund a booze-and-sex holiday in Florida with a fourth friend (Selena Gomez) is surprisingly good-looking, dreamy and soft-centred.

What threatens to be a down ’n’ dirty tits ’n’ ass fest in the style of Larry Clark, or even a kids-in-peril thriller, actually turns into a warped fairytale of the American teen dream of hedonism and crime, one that takes itself just seriously enough not to be dismissed as trashy exploitation. It flirts with the mainstream – from which it borrows its style, music and actresses – but the film’s true intent is never fully clear. It’s campy and comic at times, but Korine also gives the film a downbeat, melancholic edge, with voiceovers, pointed repetition of dialogue and images, and hallucinatory camera work, sound and editing.
'
Dave Calhoun

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 80: Thu Mar 21

Ghost Dog (Jarmusch, 1999): Clapham Picturehouse, 8.50pm

Film blogger Ashley Clark (aka Permanent Plastic Helmet) is hosting this evening. For more details see his Facebook page for the event here.

Here is his introduction: For the fourth instalment of our ongoing Permanent Plastic Helmet presents… series of events, we are delighted to announce a 35mm screening of Jim Jarmusch’s extraordinary, unclassifiable classic Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.

This surreal tale stars Forest Whitaker as a perma-cool, self-taught samurai hitman who finds himself targeted for death by the mafia. Blessed with stunning cinematography from Robby Müller (Paris, Texas) and a brilliant original score from Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA, it’s an intoxicating, unique and strangely moving fusion of gangsta, gangster and ninja worlds

Come to the bar before the screening for drinks and free food, all soundtracked by classic 90s hip-hop and soul. Before the film commences, there will be a free prize draw and an introduction by PPH editor and film critic (Sight & Sound, Little White Lies) Ashley Clark.


Chicago Reader review:
'Jim Jarmusch's seventh narrative feature (1999) focuses on a solitary inner-city maverick and hit man (Forest Whitaker) who lives on a rooftop with pigeons and has trained himself as a samurai according to the 18th-century book Hagakure: The Way of the Samurai, pledging loyalty to a New Jersey gangster (John Tormey) who once saved his life, whom he communicates with mainly by carrier pigeon. Like some of Jarmusch's other films, this is essentially a poetic comic fantasy that has a lot to say about contemporary global culture; it's beautifully cast and filmed (cinematography by the matchless Robby Müller) and often quite moving, despite the fact that most of the characters are never developed much beyond mythic or parodic prototypes. The music is by Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA; with Cliff Gorman, Camille Winbush, Isaach de Bankolé, Henry Silva, and Tricia Vessey.' Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 79: Wed Mar 20

Alias Ruby Blade (Meillier, 2012): Curzon Soho, 6.40pm
This film is screening as part of the Human Rights watch Film Festival.

This documentary about the remarkable love story between human rights activist Kirsty Sword and political prisoner Xanana Gusmão proves that ordinary people truly can make a difference. Armed with nothing more than determination and a sense of justice, the two lovers struggled for many years for the independence of East Timor. 

While working in Jakarta for the Timorese resistance, Sword used the pseudonym Ruby Blade to smuggle video equipment, computers and audio cassettes to their leader Gusmão, who was serving a life sentence in the notorious Cipinang Jail. This was followed by an intense correspondence between the two that lasted many years. They exchanged letters, video messages, paintings, photographs and even bonsai trees, and grew ever closer to one another, falling in love without ever having met. 

Through remarkable archive material and accounts from friends, fellow combatants and Sword herself, the film explores not only their remarkable relationship but also the history of a decade of peaceful resistance that ultimately led to the first new democracy of this millennium.

You can see a trailer via this link.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 78: Tue Mar 19

The Fox (Rydell, 1967): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.20pm
This film, rarely seen at the cinema, screens as part of the BFI Lesbian & Gay Film Festival and will be will be introduced by Michael Lawrence, Lecturer in film studies at the University of Sussex.

Here is the BFI introduction to tonight's film:

For the fiercely independent March and her partner Banford, the isolated farm provides a hardscrabble haven: while Banford bakes the muffins, March mends the fences. The winter is hard, and the women are happy. But if their living is threatened by the nightly visits of the local fox – who is after their chickens – their lives will be transformed by the sudden arrival of Paul, the old farmer’s grandson – for he is after a wife. Repressions thaw as the icicles melt beneath the winter sun. Desires make their demands, with tragic consequences. Based on the novella by D.H. Lawrence, The Fox broke new ground in 1967 with its depiction of nudity, masturbation and lesbianism. Today, the film deserves reappraisal for its ambiguous exploration of sexuality and sacrifice.
Michael Lawrence

You can also read Roger Ebert's positive review here.

Here is an extract (spoiler alert).

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 77: Mon Mar 18

How to Survive a Plague (France, 2012): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.20pm
This documentary, which was a hit at Sundance and screens here as part of the BFI Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, is also being shown on March 20 at 8.40pm in NFT2. Details here.

Here is the BFI introduction to the film:
'Greenwich Village, the mid-1980s. With the city’s formerly thriving gay population hit hard by the AIDS epidemic, the community became increasing despondent by the lack of treatments available and the apparent resistance from both the government and drug manufacturers to seek new cures. With time running out, hundreds of activists took to the streets, demanding research into new drug development. In the face of such crippling adversity, a community was forced to become its own doctors, its own pharmacists and ultimately its own saviours. Largely comprised of astonishing archive footage of political rallies, activist workshops and interviews with inspirational activists, How to Survive a Plague is a deserving nominee for Best Documentary at this year’s Academy Awards®. A vital and rousing chronicle of how a community united to fight for their lives, demanding change and the respect they deserved.'
Michael Blyth

Here is the trailer.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 76: Sun Mar 17

Le Mepris (Godard, 1963): Cine Lumiere, 2pm

In Sight & Sound in 1996, Colin McCabe said: “[Le Mepris] is the greatest work of art produced in post-war Europe.” Are you still thinking about whether to go?

The film will be preceded by an introduction from Dr Mark Betz, Reader in Film Studies at King’s College and followed by a Ciné Salon, an informal discussion with film writer Nick Walker in the Bistrot. More details here.

Chicago Reader review:'A tense, sensitive, and rigorous film by Jean-Luc Godard, based on Alberto Moravia's novel A Ghost at Noon. Michel Piccoli stars as a French screenwriter unable to counter the contempt that his wife (Brigitte Bardot) builds for him as he humbles himself before a producer (Jack Palance) and a legendary director (Fritz Lang). Made in 'Scope and color at the behest of producer Joseph Levine, who expected a big commercial success, this 1963 feature begins as an unlikely project for Godard but develops (some would say degenerates) into one of his most archly stylized films.'
Dave Kehr

Now this is a proper trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 75: Sat Mar 16

Scanners (Cronenberg, 1981): Rio Cinema, 11.30pm
Another brilliant midnight movie from the Cigarette Burns team. I have to admit to not having seen this particular David Cronenberg film so I am gong to be there. Don't let that put you off. You can find out more here at the Cigarette Burns Facebook page.

Chicago Reader review:
'One of the most technically proficient of David Cronenberg's early gnawing, Canadian-made horror movies (1981), though it lacks both the logic and the queasy sexual subtext that made his still earlier work—Rabid, They Came From Within—so memorably revolting. The premise—warring factions of telekinetic killers are sent out by two mysterious corporations—is vague but suggestive, and it's developed with a creepy psychological resonance, though the film loses some force through the needlessly complicated, indifferently presented plotting. Like Tod Browning, Cronenberg doesn't have the stylistic resources to match the forcefulness of his ideas, but his movies remain in the mind for the pull of their private obsessions. With Stephen Lack, Patrick McGoohan, and Jennifer O'Neill.'
Dave Kehr

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 74: Fri Mar 15

Je, tu, il elle (Akerman, 1976): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.20pm
This film is screening as part of the BFI Lesbian & Gay Film Festival.

Chicago Reader review: 'Chantal Akerman directed and plays the lead in this early (1974) black-and-white feature that charts three successive stages of its heroine's love life. In the first part she lives like a hermit, eating only sugar, compulsively rearranging the furniture in her one-room flat, and apparently writing and rewriting a love letter; in part two she hitches a ride with a truck driver and eventually gives him a hand job; in part three she arrives at the home of her female lover, and they proceed to make frantic love. This is every bit as obsessive and as eerie as Akerman's later Jeanne Dielman and Toute une nuit, though not as striking on a visual level; as in all her best work, however, the minimalist structure is both potent and haunting.'
Jonathan Rosenabum

Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 73: Thu Mar 14

The Hunt (Vinterberg, 2012): BFI Southbank, Studio, 8.50pm
This movie, one of the best of 2012, is on an extended run from 3 to 14 March at BFI. Details here.

Time Out review:
What does it feel like to be wrongly accused of being a paedophile? ‘It gets into your bones… it gets into your soul,’ Lord McAlpine said recently. In this nerve-shredding drama from Denmark, a good man’s life is ripped apart by false allegations that he sexually abused a child. He didn’t do it. The little girl fibbed (in the same way she might tell the teacher her best friend gave her a Chinese burn). But her innocent lie spreads like a virus, killing trust and goodness in a close-knit small town.

This is lean, fast-paced storytelling from director and writer Thomas Vinterberg, who made ‘Festen’ in 1998 (about a paedophile father who raped his children). This has the same stripped back docu-drama style. Which focuses our attention on the acting – and it’s flawless. We watch the story play out in the reactions of everyone involved. As the only man working at the nursery, the kids adore Lucas. After hearing the allegations, a teacher watches him rough-play with some boys. We see the scene through her eyes. It looks suspicious. It really does.

These are all good people, and there’s a kind of moral puzzle here. We always have to listen to children. Always. But what if your best friend was accused? Would you believe him? At the other end of the scale, what kind of world is it when a man can’t hold hands with a child who isn’t his own – in case someone accuses him of being a paedo. What a knotty, frighteningly real drama ‘The Hunt’ is. And – in the light of the Jimmy Savile case and its fallout – what a very timely contribution to the issue it is.'
Cath Clarke

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 72: Wed Mar 13

Babeldom (Bush, 2012): ICA, 6.30pm
This fascinating documentary is screening from March 8 to 14 at the ICA. Details here.

Here is the ICA's introduction to the film: In his debut feature film, award winning British experimental animator and filmmaker Paul Bush presents an elegy to urban life. Against the backdrop of a city of the future, a portrait is assembled from film shot in modern cities all around the world and collected from the most recent research in science, technology and architecture. This exceptional documentary is a one-of-a-kind poetic treaty discussing the concept of the city. The screening on 10 March will be followed by a Q&A with director Paul Bush. We are also showing a compilation of Paul Bush's short films at 4pm on 10 March.

Here is the trailer.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 71: Tue Mar 12

Hawks and Sparrows (Pasolini, 1966): BFI Southbank, NFT1 8.40pm
This film is screening as part of the Pier Paolo Pasolini season at the BFI.

Chicago Reader review:
'Pier Paolo Pasolini was a major theorist as well as a leader in the Italian avant-garde. This film, made in 1965 immediately after his famous (and notorious) The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, reveals the structuralist's fascination with the transplantation of myth, as Pasolini relates the tale of everyman, using Toto (Italy's most famous comic actor) as the father and Ninetto Davoli as his empty-headed son. There's also a talking crow that says things like “The age of Brecht and Rossellini is finished.”'
Don Druker

Here are the amazing opening titles.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 70: Mon Mar 11

Sweet Smell of Success (Mackendrick, 1957): BFI Southbank NFT 2 6.10pm 
The film is also being shown at the BFI on Sat 9 and Sun 10 March. Details here.

This is screening as part of the Passport to Cinema season and is introduced by the excellent Philip Kemp. A colleague of mine simply said "It has everything" when she watched this movie for the first time and it is one of those rare instances when script, acting, mise-en-scene, cinematography and soundtrack combine to create a true classic.

Time Out review:
'A film noir from the Ealing funny man? But Mackendrick's involvement with cosy British humour was always less innocent than it looked: remember the anti-social wit of The Man in the White Suit, or the cruel cynicism of The Ladykillers? Sweet Smell of Success was the director's American debut, a rat trap of a film in which a vicious NY gossip hustler (Curtis) grovels for his 'Mr Big' (Lancaster), a monster newspaper columnist who is incestuously obsessed with destroying his kid sister's romance... and a figure as evil and memorable as Orson Welles in The Third Man or Mitchum in The Night of the Hunter. The dark streets gleam with the sweat of fear; Elmer Bernstein's limpid jazz score (courtesy of Chico Hamilton) whispers corruption in the Big City. The screen was rarely so dark or cruel.'

Anyone interested in reading more about this classy piece of film making is urged to seek out this BFI monograph written by James Naremore.

Here's an introduction to the movie from the Criterion team.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 69: Sun Mar 10

The Intruder (Corman, 1962): Cinema Museum, Kennington, London. 2.30pm
Here's a great idea - a season of Star Trek double bills, pairing instalments of the major film franchise with individual projects featuring the show’s original seven leading actors. Today it's Star Trek (1979) plus this great pic from maverick director Roger Corman.

Time out review:
'Raw-edged and startling, scripted by Charles Beaumont from his own novel based on real-life rabble-rouser John Kasper, Corman's film about Southern desegregation was shot on location in Missouri in a mere three weeks, with threats and obstruction from white locals mirroring the fictional action. Adam Cramer (Shatner, mesmerising) represents an organisation which seeks to stop the process of educational desegregation and thus frustrate plans of the 'Communist front headed by Jews' to 'mongrelise' society. Cramer is an insidious outsider whose impassioned speeches rouse the populace; the result is heightened Klu Klux Klan activity, attacks on black families and a liberal white newspaper editor, a near-hanging. Complex characterisation is sacrificed in the interests of representing the broad socio-political issues. Emotions intensify in accord with searing summer temperatures; visuals emphasise the economic disparities, memorably in shots of the black ghetto and of Cramer in his pristine white suit. Chilling, and especially at the moment Cramer delivers his battle-cry, 'This is just the beginning', painfully prophetic.'

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 68: Sat Mar 9

Django (Corbucci, 1966): Rio Cinema, 11.30pm
Another great late-night treat at the Rio Cinema. Here's the main inspiration for Tarantino's Django Unchained. Whisper it quietly: this is a better film.

Chicago Reader review:
'Sergio Corbucci's 1966 spaghetti western definitely corners the market on mud imagery: its mysterious title hero wanders into town dragging a coffin after him through the grimy, rutted streets, and when he takes down one bad guy, the man not only dies but topples over into quicksand and gets sucked into the earth. The coffin contains Django's secret weapon, an early machine gun, and the movie must have set some sort of record in its time for shots fired, though it also has one of the most crazed and kinetic bar fights ever committed to celluloid. Django here is a blue-eyed northerner (Franco Nero); the character would mutate considerably in his zillion subsequent screen appearances, including his recent incarnation as the freed slave of Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained.'
JR Jones

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 67: Fri Mar 8

Death Line (Sherman, 1972): Phoenix Cinema, 11.00pm
The Cigarette Burns film club present one of their great midnight movie events. Details here.

Time Out review:
'One of the great British horror films, Death Line is a classic example of what Hellraiser director Clive Barker calls 'embracing the monstrous'. The film's basic premise is a gruesome one: following a cave-in during the construction of an underground tunnel in 1892, successive generations of plague-ridden cannibals have survived and developed their own subterranean culture. Forced out of hiding by the death of his wife, the sole surviving cannibal begins abducting passengers from Russell Square tube station. The disgust provoked by the corpse-filled underground world inhabited by the cannibal is offset by the tenderness with which he treats his dying wife, and by the unutterable sadness of his lonely plight. The film's great achievement is in eliciting sympathy for a creature whose residual capacity for human feeling amid such terrible degradation is ultimately more moving than horrifying.'
Nigel Floyd
Here is the celebrated long take from this genuine British horror classic.