Saturday, 25 May 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 164: Thu Jun 13

TAKE YOUR PICK 

1 White of the Eye (Cammell, 1987): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.30pm

THE HORROR SHOW VOD service launches Friday 14th June and to celebrate there will be an exclusive launch event at the Prince Charles cinema tonight.

Kim Newman (keeper of Empire Magazine’s video dungeon and author of Nightmare Movies) will introduce his own selection of a very rare 35mm screening of Donald Cammell’s classic serial killer horror WHITE OF THE EYE

There will also be a short film accompaniment; HIM INDOORS starring League of Gentleman’s Reece Shearsmith, introduced by director Paul Davis, and horror-themed stand-up comedy from Perfect Movie host Richard Sandling (winner of So You Think You’re Funny in 2007).

The Guardian’s Damon Wise will be conducting on-stage interviews with Kim Newman as well as with Him Indoors director Paul Davis.

Time Out review:
Donald Cammell transforms a stalk'n'slash thriller into a complex, cubist kaleidoscope of themes and images. Paul and Joan White (Keith and Moriarty) lead a happy enough life in a quiet Arizona mining town, until Paul suddenly finds himself chief suspect in a police investigation of a series of violently misogynistic murders. Matters are complicated by the reappearance of Joan's gun-crazy ex-husband (Rosenberg). A determinedly offbeat murder mystery, delving into dotty Indian mysticism and throwing up symbols, red herrings, and Steadicam flourishes for the asking, this nevertheless remains oddly effective. Imbued with a brooding, oppressive atmosphere and coloured by vivid performances, though often murkily motivated, it is genuinely nightmarish in its portrait of relationships where love is blinding and the past casts an intolerably heavy spell.

Geoff Andrew

Here is the trailer.

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2 Solaris (Tarkovsky, 1972): Renoir Cinema, 7.30pm

This is the latest screening from the A Nos Amours film club, a collective founded by film-makers Joanna Hogg and Adam Roberts dedicated to programming over-looked, under-exposed or especially potent cinema. 

Here is their introduction: This time À Nos Amours presents a 35mm screening of Solaris by Andrei Tarkovsky (1972), which will be introduced by novelist, essayist, journalist Will Self. 

Takovsky’s adaptation of Stanislaw Lem’s novel takes the premise of a powerful force on a distant planet that can materialise dreams and memories and creates from it a remarkable work of cinema. There are no monsters from any ‘beyond’ here: the truths Tarkovsky and the crew discover are folded from life, regret and consciousness itself.


Chicago Reader review:
Although Andrei Tarkovsky regarded this 1972 SF spectacle in 'Scope as the weakest of his films, it holds up remarkably well as a soulful Soviet “response” to 2001: A Space Odyssey, concentrating on the limits of man's imagination in relation to memory and conscience. Sent to a remote space station poised over the mysterious planet Solaris in order to investigate the puzzling data sent back by an earlier mission, a psychologist (Donatas Banionis) discovers that the planet materializes human forms based on the troubled memories of the space explorers—including the psychologist's own wife (Natalya Bondarchuk), who'd killed herself many years before but is repeatedly resurrected before his eyes. More an exploration of inner than of outer space, Tarkovsky's eerie mystic parable is given substance by the filmmaker's boldly original grasp of film language and the remarkable performances by all the principals. In Russian with subtitles. 165 min.

Jonathan Rosenabum


Here is an extract. 


Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 163: Wed Jun 12

The Accused (Kaplan, 1988): Hackney Picturehouse, 6.30pm

This is the latest screening for the I Am Dora collective. Here is their introduction:
I am Dora, in partnership with City Screen, are pleased to announce their fifth edition.A subjective and personal study, I am Dora explores how and why women identify with one another and what this means when the identification is with a flawed or misunderstood character.

Part 5 is guest curated by British filmmaker Tinge Krishnan. Tinge is a BAFTA winning short filmmaker who made her feature debut in 2011 with Junkhearts, a London set psychological thriller. 

Tinge has chosen Jonathan Kaplan’s "The Accused", starring Jodie Foster who won her first best actress Academy award for her performance as Sarah Tobias, the target of a brutal gang rape. Praised at the time of release for it’s frank depiction of rape, it’s confronting portrayal of attitudes to female victims of sexual violence is still fiercely relevant.The film will be screened at the Hackney Picturehouse and will be followed by an onstage discussion between Tinge and I am Dora founder Jemma Desai. The event will be accompanied with limited run film notes, written by Tinge and Jemma, and designed by Claire Huss.

More information on the I Am Dora Facebook page here.

Chicago Reader review:
Something of a first, this is a serious movie about rape, and as such might be said to represent penance of a sort for the crude milking of antifeminist sentiments in the previous film of producers Sherry Lansing and Stanley R. Jaffe, Fatal Attraction. Sarah Tobias (Jodie Foster) is gang-raped in a bar, and deputy district attorney Katheryn Murphy (Kelly McGillis) agrees to take her case. A courtroom drama with certain faint echoes of Anatomy of a Murder and the more recent Nuts (the latter of which had the same screenwriter, Tom Topor), this attention holder explores such issues as the public's received ideas about rape and the question of ultimate responsibility without ever stacking the deck or being unduly preachy; and director Jonathan Kaplan, who previously gave an edge to Over the Edge, guides things along capably. Not a brilliant film, but an intelligent and thoughtful one that builds to an effective climax, with an exceptional performance by Foster. 
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 162: Tue Jun 11

Vagabond (Varda, 1985): Room B33, Birkbeck College, Malet St, 6pm

This is part of the summer film season at Birkbeck College. Here is the introduction:

In this series we will watch three films in which the main protagonist is an itinerant or a wanderer. Whilst there is a great deal of journeying in cinema, this series distinguishes itself from the main stream genre of the road movie -whose forward propulsion mimics or can be seen as a metaphor for both the film itself rushing through the projector,and for narrative itself as linear journey rushing toward resolution and/or death. In the classical Hollywood journey/odyssey genre film the protagonist is often the active (often male) agent who mobilises the (often) linear trajectory of the films’ structure.

In this series we are interested in films that wander, meander, loop and weave -films that explore aimlessness, waiting, 'dead time', margins and associative oblique trajectories, films whose movement follows a different pattern, structure and logic creating a disorganised mobility that allows us to ask the question: can the cinematic produce nomadic subjectivities and what can that mean politically, psychically, formally, affectively, aesthetically?

After the screening there will be a panel discussion chaired by Amber Jacobs with Professor James Williams (Royal Holloway) Dr Libby Saxton (Queen Mary College).

Chicago Reader review:
The road movie takes a somber turn in this austerely beautiful 1985 French drama by Agnes Varda. Sandrine Bonnaire stars as a woman hitchhiking aimlessly through the unearthly winter landscape of southern France and surviving on handouts and ephemeral liaisons with strangers. Varda maintains a detached mood of melancholy and dread with lingering shots of etiolated plains and stunted vineyards, but at times her tracking shots of diseased trees, abandoned chateaus, and rusted fences become a bit relentless in their message that contemporary life is blighted and confining. At times Varda also slips into the bogus Brechtian posings of her earlier, execrable One Sings, the Other Doesn't—Mona's brief acquaintances stare into the camera and utter profundities such as "I often think of that hitchhiker: she was free and I am not. Where did she come from? Where did she go?" But in the protagonist, Varda has created an everyperson worthy of Samuel Beckett's. 
Peter Keough

Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 161: Mon Jun 10

Aguirre, Wrath of God (Herzog, 1972): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.20pm & NFT1, 8.45pm

This film, on an extended run at BFI Southbank and the highlight of the Werner Herzog season, is being screened from 7th June into July. More details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Werner Herzog's 1972 film plays like a structural inversion of his Every Man for Himself and God Against All, with a party of Spanish conquistadores gradually succumbing to Herzog's animistic vision of nature as they plow through the Brazilian jungles in search of El Dorado. As is too often the case in Herzog's films, the man-versus-nature theme is put a little too schematically, but Aguirre is rife with the disquieting, surrealistic images that are the purest expression of his considerable talent.
Dave Kehr

Here is the new BFI trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 160: Sun Jun 9

Pretty Maids All in a Row (Vadim, 1971): Cinema Museum, 4pm

The Cinema Museum are running a season celebrating all things Star Trek and today in a double-bill with the film Star Trek IV they are showing this Gene Roddenberry collaboration with Roger Vadim.

Here is the Cinema Museum introduction: This fourth instalment not only sees the first use of extensive location shooting but the passage of time has delivered us with a delicious 1980s time capsule. Appropriately for a story of time travel, the supporting feature takes us to the equally exotic 1970s. In a parallel universe Gene Roddenberry’s 1971 collaboration with Roger Vadim, Pretty Maids All in a Row – starring Rock Hudson, Angie Dickinson and James Doohan amongst others – revolutionised another genre in much the same way Star Trek did science fiction. In the event we are left with a fascinating what-if and a colourful but rarely seen cinematic experience.

Pretty Maids All in a Row is always cited by Quentin Tarantino as one of his favourite movies (you can see his top dozen here) and this is a rare chance to see the film on the big screen. It's a weird one.

Here is an extract.


Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 159: Sat Jun 8

Dr Strangelove (Kubrick, 1963): ICA Cinema, 6pm

Here is the ICA introduction: In his new book A Short History of Nuclear Folly, Rudolph Herzog, the acclaimed author of Dead Funny, presents a devastating account of history's most irresponsible uses of nuclear technology. From the nightmare of Broken Arrows to Nazi bombs, suicide dust to plummeting nuclear satellites - and the death of John Wayne - Herzog focuses in on long-forgotten nuclear projects that nearly led to disaster.

A Short History of Nuclear Folly is a blackly sardonic people’s history of atomic blunders and near-misses in the spirit of films such as Dr. Strangelove and The Atomic Café. So it's only fitting that this celebrated young historian will introduce the book before a screening of Kubrick's Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

Rudolph Herzog is the author of the hugely popular Dead Funny: Telling Jokes in Hitler’s Germany (Melville House, 2011) and, as a director, is best known for the reality crime series The Heist (Channel 4). He is the son of the celebrated filmmaker Werner Herzog.


Time Out review:
'Perhaps Stanley Kubrick's most perfectly realised film, simply because his cynical vision of the progress of technology and human stupidity is wedded with comedy, in this case Terry Southern's sparkling script in which the world comes to an end thanks to a mad US general's paranoia about women and commies. Peter Sellers' three roles are something of an indulgent showcase, though as the tight-lipped RAF officer and the US president he gives excellent performances. Better, however, are Scott as the gung-ho military man frustrated by political soft-pedalling, and - especially - Sterling Hayden as the beleaguered lunatic who presses the button. Kubrick wanted to have the antics end up with a custard-pie finale, but thank heavens he didn't; the result is scary, hilarious, and nightmarishly beautiful, far more effective in its portrait of insanity and call for disarmament than any number of worthy anti-nuke documentaries.'
Geoff Andrew

Watch this trailer. Now try and tell me you don't want to see this film again.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 158: Fri Jun 7

The Fog (Carpenter, 1981): The Nave, St Paul's Rd, N1 2QN, 7pm
This is a Cigarette Burns production and promises to be one of their best yet. The Nave is close to where I live and I can't think of a more atmospheric setting for this movie.

Here are some more details:
To celebrate Death Waltz Recording Company's release of the Fog soundtrack with exclusive artwork by Dinos Chapman, Cigarette Burns Cinema and Death Waltz are proud to take over the Nave, an old deconsecrated church in Islington and transform it into a hall of cinematic worship for one night only , screening John Carpenter's atmospheric classic from celluloid.
To up the analogue ante after the screening Death Waltz will be unveiling their exclusive vinyl artwork from the mind of Dinos Chapman, attendees will the first people to see this specially commissioned work and will have the chance to purchase the limited edition double LP set before it goes on general sale the following week.


Time Out review:
The Fog will disappoint those expecting a re-run of the creepy scares from Halloween. Instead, expanding enormously on the fantasy elements of his earlier films, Carpenter has turned in a full-scale thriller of the supernatural, as a sinister fog bank comes rolling in off the sea to take revenge on the smug little town of Antonio Bay, N. Calif. No shotguns pumping; no prowling of dark corners; no tricksy dry-ice chills. Instead you'll find a masterful simplicity of style, a lonely and determined group of characters under siege, and a childlike sense of brooding fear that almost disappeared in the '70s. Carpenter's confidence is outrageous; the range of his models even more so (from Poe to RKO); and the achievement is all his own, despite ragged moments and occasional hesitations.
Chris Auty

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 157: Thu Jun 6

TAKE YOUR PICK

1 Dune (Lynch, 1984):
Somewhere in Tottenham. Address and more details here

This promises to be a fascinating evening, a VHS format screening of Dune, described by the organisers as "David Lynch's masterly crafted adaptation of Frank Herbert's epic sci-fi fantasy." 

The Facebook page of the organisers, 'VHSions', here outlines some of the attractions:
Costumes / Sickness / Spice / Sting / Early era computer effects / Twisted Landscapes / acne / Epic Art Direction / overblown budget / scarey edged out characters / 

Chicago Reader review:
If this 1984 film really cost $60 million, producer Dino De Laurentiis must be the greatest patron of avant-garde cinema since the Vicomte de Noailles financed Buñuel's
L'Age d'Or. Director David Lynch thoroughly (and perhaps inadvertently) subverts the adolescent inanities of Frank Herbert's plot by letting the narrative strangle itself in unnecessary complications, leaving the field clear to imagery as disturbing as anything in Eraserhead. The problem is that the imagery—as Sadean as Pasolini's Salo—isn't rooted in any story impulse, and so its power dissipates quickly. The real venue for this film is either a grind house or the Whitney Museum; its passage through the shopping malls of America was a once-in-a-lifetime anomaly. Kyle MacLachlan is the pallid hero who becomes a messiah to an oppressed desert tribe. 
Dave Kehr

Here are some sweet home movies made by Sean Youg on the set of Dune.


Here's a clip.

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2 Only Angels Have Wings (Hawks, 1939): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.10pm
This film, one of my all-time favourites, is screening as part of the Rita Hayworth season and is also being shown on June 1st and 14th. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Howard Hawks's 1939 film represents the equilibrium point of his career: the themes he was developing throughout the 30s here reach a perfect clarity and confidence of expression, without yet confronting the darker intimations that would haunt his films of the 40s and 50s. The setting is a South American port where a group of fliers, led by Cary Grant, challenges the elements nightly by piloting mail across a treacherous mountain range. This all-male existential ritual (Grant almost seems the high priest of some Sartrean temple) is invaded by an American showgirl (Jean Arthur) who stops off for a steak and remains, fascinated by the heightened, heady atmosphere of primal struggle. The film's moral seriousness (which sometimes approaches overt didacticism) is balanced by the usual Hawks humor and warmth, and as Grant and Arthur are drawn into a romance, the film moves toward a humanistic softening of its stark premises.
Dave Kehr

Here is the opening.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 156: Wed Jun 5

Land of Silence and Darkness (Herzog, 1971): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.30pm

This film, part of the Werner Herzog season at BFI Soutbank, is also screening on Tuesday June 13th. Details here. Tonight's screening is introduced by critic and head of programing at the BFI, Geoff Andrew.

Time Out review:
A stunning documentary about 56-year-old Fini, blind and deaf since her late teens. After 30 years of being confined to her bed by her mother, she fought to overcome her immense isolation by helping others similarly afflicted. While some of these tragically incommunicable individuals make for painful viewing, Herzog also demonstrates the humour and joys of a day at the zoo, or of a first plane flight, where touch and togetherness in suffering offer the sole but undeniable reason for living. The courage on view is astounding, and Herzog's treatment is never voyeuristic or sentimental, but sensuous and overwhelmingly moving. 
Geoff Andrew

Here is the opening.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 155: Tue Jun 4

Duel (Spielberg, 1971): Prince Charles Cinema, 9pm

This is screening as part of the Prince Charles' Classics season.

Time Out review:
Spielberg's first film, superbly scripted by Richard Matheson, made for TV but booking its own place on the big screen: an absolute cracker about a salesman driving along the highway who gradually realises that the huge petrol tanker playfully snapping at his heels - apparently driverless - has more sinister designs. There are no explanations and no motivations, except perhaps for a hint of allegory in the script (the motorist's name is Mann) and an intriguing visual suggestion that this is the old, old battle between the shining, prancing, vulnerable knight and the impervious, lumbering dragon. Simply a rivetingly murderous game of cat and mouse that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Tom Milne

Brilliant trailer too.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 154: Mon Jun 3

TAKE YOUR PICK

1 Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (Meyer, 1970): Lexi Cinema, 9pm
This is a Roger Ebert tribute screening. A film to savour and highly recommended.

Here is the Lexi's introduction: Venerable and adored film critic Ebert crossed the line to become scriptwriter in this collaboration with 1970s skin-flixster Russ Meyer.  An enduring camp cult classic, it follows three pneumatic wannabees who come to Hollywood to make it big but find only sex, drugs and sleaze.  Sophisticate Ebert brings a touch of sly wit and class to this most unlikely of projects.

From Kate Arthur, on BuzzFeed:
“…But always enhancing Ebert’s place as a seminal figure in movie criticism was his hilarious contribution to movies themselves: the 1970 release Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. He cowrote it with shlocktarian Russ Meyer, and it’s just an unparalleled spectacle of amazingness. On the occasion of its 10th anniversary, Ebert wrote about the experience in Film Comment: “We wrote the screenplay in six weeks flat, laughing maniacally from time to time, and then the movie was made.”

“The plot doesn’t make any sense, but if you want to try, Wikipedia has a good summary. And Louis Peitzman has written the “19 Reasons “Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls” Is The Greatest Cult Film Of All Time.” As Louis points out, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls gave us many gifts, but my favorite (and I’m sure I’m not alone) was the Z-Man character, who Ebert said was based on Phil Spector (“but neither Meyer nor I had ever met Spector,” he wrote).”

Two thumbs up, Roger!

Time Out review:
'With his first movie for a major studio, Meyer simply did what he'd been doing for years, only bigger and better. That's to say, he turned the homely story of an all-girl rock band's rise to fame under their transsexual manager into a delirious comedy melodrama, soused in self- parody but spiked with dope, sex and thrills.'
Tony Rayns

Here's one of the great songs from the soundtrack. In The Long Run by the The Carrie Nations.

2 A Clockwork Orange (Kubrick, 1971): Vue Cinema Islington, 9pm

This film, part of the Vue Cinemas Back to Vue season, is also being screened on Wednesday 5th June. More details here. You can find all the details of the full season here.

Here is the Vue's introduction: A Clockwork Orange is one of the most controversial films ever made, the masterpiece of one of the world's greatest directors. In a time not far in the future Alex (Malcolm McDowell) and his gang are wreaking havoc on a spree of murder and rape. When he is finally convicted he is given the choice of languishing in jail or undergoing a brutal aversion therapy that will cure him of his criminal tendencies. But how can the authorities be sure he's ready to go back onto those mean streets? A Clockwork Orange is an intelligent, challenging but highly enjoyable peek into an ultra-violent future. 

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 153: Sun Jun 2

Hors Satan (Dumont, 2011) & Beyond The Hills (Mungiu, 2012): Rio Cinema, 12.45pm
A 'Good & Evil Double-Bill' pairs two of the best recent foreign releases here.

Chicago Reader review of Hors Satan:
A nameless man appears in a small farm town on the northern French coast, spending his days wandering the fields and praying. He finds an acolyte in a sulky young woman, commits a seemingly random murder, and has violent sex with a strange woman. That’s about it for the story of this 2011 French drama, which evokes the Old Testament in its opaque simplicity, and Bruno Dumont’s commanding, atheistic style--rooted in purposely empty wide-screen vistas and the inexpressive faces of his nonactors--doesn’t offer many clues as to its meaning. As with L’Humanité (1999), Dumont wants to give epic form to the longing for spirituality in a despiritualized world. I found the movie mind-blowing, though it will likely irritate as many viewers as it impresses.
Ben Sachs

Here is the trailer.

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Chicago Reader review of Beyond The Hills:
Raised in a German orphanage, Voichita has found peace as a novice in a Romanian convent, but her austere life is roiled by a visit from her unstable friend Alina, who has graduated from the same orphanage to a series of foster homes. In many ways this long, layered drama from writer-director Cristian Mungiu seems like a companion piece to his harrowing abortion story 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007); both movies trace the uneasy relationship between a survivor and her weak, dependent pal as they try to navigate a world of patriarchal oppression. Here that oppression is embodied by the Russian Orthodox priest who threatens to expel Voichita for her friend's volatile behavior, yet Mungiu complicates this overt critique of religion by hinting that both Voichita's devotion to God and Alina's clinging attachment to Voichita are driven by childhood sexual abuse.
J.R. Jones

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 152: Sat Jun 1

Horse Feathers (McLeod, 1932): Barbican Cinema, 4pm

Chicago Reader review:
It's Darwin versus Huxley, but in the world of the Marx Brothers, man descends on a fireman's pole. This 1932 release was the first Marx film to take on the Depression, and the brothers manage to satirize everything from education to prostitution and bootlegging. “Whatever it is,” Groucho cries, “I'm against it”—which undoubtedly includes “college widow” Thelma Todd.


Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 151: Fri May 31

The Spongers (Joffe, 1978): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.20pm
This celebrated 1970s BBC Play for Today production is being screened as part of the Tony Garnett season. More details here.

Here is the BFI introduction to the evening: Once more proving his ability to spot talent, Garnett was responsible for providing Roland Joffé with his full-length directorial debut. Set during the 1977 Jubilee celebrations, Jim Allen’s script focuses on the plight of Pauline as she struggles to make ends meet. With a searing contemporary relevance, the film shows the human cost of decisions made by bureaucratic committees as council budgets are put under increasing pressure. Christine Hargreaves’ performance is devastating as we see the full impact of these decisions on her children. One of the most important plays of the 70s, it still speaks loudly to our conscience today.

Tony Garnett will introduce this screening and take questions afterwards.

You can get a feel for the play on YouTube here

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 150: Thu May 30

Frost (Kelemen, 1997): ICA Cinema, 7pm

This screening, introduced by Independent on Sunday film critic Jonathan Romney, is from the A Nos Amours film club, founded by film-makers Joanna Hogg and Adam Roberts dedicated to programming over-looked, under-exposed or especially potent cinema. More details on their website here.

Here is the introduction:

Fred Kelemen, Bela Tarr's customary cinematographer, ally and collaborator, himself made films that Susan Sontag singled out as beacons of artistic purpose and wonder. Frost, from 1997/1999, is the film that almost died at birth as producer and filmmaker fell out. A Nos Amours presents a 16mm print of the authorised director's cut.

'Time of darkness. Time of fire kindled against cold and fear. During the Holy Night, the seven year old Micha has to escape with his young mother Marianne from the violence of his drunken father... During their one week odyssey through frozen Germany, mother and son meet people to offer them shelter... Crushed by their own poverty, or dominated by their feelings of being lost, these people just hurt them deeper and they can be nothing other than stations of their continuous escape' - Fred Kelemen www.fredkelemen.com

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 149: Wed May 29

Samurai Cop (Shervan, 1989): King's Cross Social Club, 2 Britannia Street, WC1, 7pm

This is the latest Duke Mitchell Film Club night. And here is their introduction:

We’ve brought you some off-beat themed evenings in the past, but what we’ve got to offer this time around could quite simply be our most obscure night yet. This time around we’ll be looking at the works of Iranian film directors working in Hollywood B-Movies!

Come and join us for simply one of the most incredible films you’ll ever watch: Samurai Cop (1989), from action master director Amir Shervan, a man who blazed a trailer of violence and destruction though LA in the late 80s.

Samurai Cop is simply one amazing scene after the other and it’s the perfect film to watch with a Duke audience. You’ll see terrible car chases, awfully staged action sequences and some simply unwatchable sex scenes, but you’ll love every second of it. Also he’s not a Samurai, he’s not even a very good cop!

Of course well also have all our special extras for the night, all with an Iranian theme: Trailer Trash, short films, a quiz, great music and more. Come and join us as the Duke does Hollywood, Iran Style!


More details at their Facebook page here.

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 148: Tue May 28

Le Cercle Rouge (Melville, 1970): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.20pm
This film, part of the Passport to Cinema season at BFI Southbank, is also being screened on May 27th. Details here.

Time Out review:
Melville's special achievement was to relocate the American gangster film in France, and to incorporate his own steely poetic and philosophical obsessions. He described this, his penultimate film, as a digest of the nineteen definitive underworld set-ups that could be found in John Huston's picture of doomed gangsters, The Asphalt Jungle. Darker, more abstract and desolate than his earlier work, this shows, set piece by set piece, the breakdown of the criminal codes under which Melville's characters had previously operated.
Chris Peachment

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 147: Mon May 27

Trainspotting (Boyle, 1996): Islington Vue, 9pm
This film, part of the Vue Cinemas Back to Vue season, is also being screened on Wednesday 29th. More details here. You can find all the details of the full season here.

Chicago Reader review:
Danny Boyle's second feature (1996), a lot more stylish and entertaining than Shallow Grave. Far from nihilistic, though certainly calculated to butt up against various puritanical norms, this feel-good jaunt about young Scottish heroin addicts and their degradation and betrayals of one another draws a lot of its energy from Richard Lester movies of the 60s and 70s and from A Clockwork Orange (the novel as well as the movie). Adapted by John Hodge from Irvine Welsh's popular pidgin-English novel (which had already been successfully adapted for the stage) and partially redubbed for American ears, it floats by almost as episodically as 94 minutes of MTV.
Jonathan Rosenabum

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 146: Sun May 26

TAKE YOUR PICK

1 Dr Who and the Daleks (Flemyng, 1965) + Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150AD (Flemyng, 1966):
Riverside Studios Cinema, 2pm & 3.50pm

A Dr Who double-bill for all the family. Here is the Riverside Cinema's introduction:

Doctor Who and the Daleks (U) 2pm
The first of Doctor Who's two outings on the big screen - Doctor Who travels with his companions to the planet Skaro - ravaged by nuclear war and home to a race of mutated survivors, the Daleks, and their human-like counterparts, the Thals. Now nearly 50 years old, Studio Canal has produced this new version in high definition for the first time.

Here is the trailer.

Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD (U) 3.50pm
Again showing in the new HD format, this 1966 film again pits Peter Cushing as Doctor Who against the Daleks, this time intent on mining the magnetic core of Earth using humans as slave labour.  

Here is the trailer

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2 A Tribute to Les Blank: Close-Up, BGWMC, 42-44 Pollard Row, E2 6NB, 2pm













In tribute to the renowned director Les Blank, who died recently aged 77, Close-Up present a programme celebrating his life and work. Many of Blank’s films document people at the margins of American society and their music – blues, Cajun, Creole music, TexMex, polka. Blank avoided commentary and testimonies from experts, instead his films immerse the audience in these cultures, capturing the essence and spirit of his subjects in unique, intimate and often impromptu situations. Blank brought similar technique to his films about established artists Dizzy Gillespie, Lightnin’ Hopkins and, in what remains his most famous work Burden of Dreams, Werner Herzog during the chaotic production of Fitzcarraldo.

Running Around Like A Chicken With Its Head Cut Off
1960 | B/W | 4 min |

Blank's first student film, stars himself with Gail Blank and Pieter Van Deusen. The film includes homage to Ingmar Bergman's Seventh Seal, the film that inspired Blank to become a filmmaker.

Dizzie Gillespie
1964 | B/W | 20 min |

Dizzy, Blank's earliest music film, focuses on the trumpet player himself, who, along with Charlie Parker, Thelonius Monk and others, sparked the change from Jazz into Bop in the 40s.

The Blues Accordin' To Lightnin' Hopkins
1968 | Colour | 31 min |

"In his own words and his 'own own' music, Lightnin' Hopkins reveals the inspiration for his blues. He sings, jives, ponders. He boogies at an outdoor barbecue and a black rodeo, and takes you with him on a homecoming visit to his boyhood home of Centerville, Texas. The film reaches past the impish bluesman himself into the Blues itself, into the red-clay Texas, into hard times, into blackness, into the senses." – Les Blank

Chulas Fronteras
1976 | Colour | 58 min |

"...the best visual record of Tex-Mex & Norteño music that I know." – Ry Cooder

"Chulas Fronteras is absolutely the best Chicano documentary film that I have seen to date. It is our history, rescued without excuses and without romanticism but wit vitality." – Prof. Juan Rodriguez

Burden Of Dreams
1982 | Colour | 95 min |

For nearly five years, acclaimed German filmmaker Werner Herzog desperately tried to complete one of the most ambitious and difficult films of his career, Fitzcarraldo, the story of one man’s attempt to build an opera house deep in the Amazon jungle. Les Blank captured the unfolding of this production, made more perilous by Herzog’s determination to shoot the most daunting scenes without models or special effects, including a sequence requiring hundreds of natives to pull a full-size, 320-ton steamship over a small mountain. The result is an extraordinary document of the filmmaking process and a unique look into the single-minded mission of one of cinema's most fearless directors.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 145: Sat May 25

Heavenly Creatures (Jackson, 1994): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.40pm
This film also screens at BFI Southbank on May 21st. Details here.

Time Out review:
Based on a real-life murder case that scandalised New Zealand in the '50s, Peter Jackson's movie marks a welcome change from the splatter of Bad Taste and Braindead. Rather than focus on the final act of violence, the film explores the overheated encounter between two teenagers: clever, cocky Juliet (Winslet), from a well-to-do English family, and pudgy, initially more introspective Pauline (Lynskey), a working-class girl. The pair's obsession with books, Mario Lanza, the fearsome Orson Welles and other 'saints' leads them to create their own 'Fourth World', a medieval fantasy involving royal romance and bloody intrigue; but when their parents decide that the friendship is 'wayward' and 'unhealthy', the girls' terror at the prospect of separation impels daydreams to invade reality, with deadly results. Jackson's film is distinguished by the intensity of the girls' secretive relationship. If the busy camera movements used to convey the heady exhilaration of their early encounters are irritating, the sense of claustrophobic immersion in private mysteries is palpable. Acted with conviction, and directed and written with febrile vibrancy.
Geoff Andrew

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 144: Fri May 24

The King of Marvin Gardens (Rafaelson, 1972): BFI Southbank, 2.30, 6.30 & 8.45pm
One of the best American films of the 70s returns for an extended run at BFI Southbank. Details here.

Time Out review:
An irresistible movie, not least for its haunting vision of Atlantic City as Xanadu, a stately pleasure dome of genteelly decaying palaces, run-down funfairs, and empty boardwalks presided over by white elephants abandoned to their brooding fate. It's like some unimaginable country of the mind, and so in a sense it is as two brothers embark on a sort of game (Atlantic City provided the original place names for the Monopoly board) in which they exchange their lives, their loves and their dreams. One has retreated, like Prospero, from the pain outside into the island of his mind; the other pursues an endless mirage of get-rich-quick schemes which will let him escape to an island paradise. Their fusion is a stunningly complex evocation of childish complicity and Pinterish obsessions, inevitably leading to tragedy as the obsessions founder on reality. One of the most underrated films of the decade.
Tom Milne

Watch these extracts.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 143: Thu May 23

Fellini's Roma (Fellini, 1972): Phoenix Cinema, 11am

Chicago Reader review:
An imaginative, highly personal travelogue and essay film by Federico Fellini (1972), one of his best works of this period. It features the filmmaker roaming around the Eternal City with his crew, musing about the recent and distant historical past, running into old chums and acquaintances (such as Anna Magnani and Gore Vidal), and occasionally indulging some flamboyant conceits for their own sake (e.g., the memorable ecclesiastical fashion show). As usual with Fellini, especially from the 70s on, spectacle tends to be everything. In Italian with subtitles. 128 min.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here's the fabulous trailer.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 142: Wed May 22

Rome, Open City (Rossellini, 1945): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6pm
This classic Italian movie, screening as part of the Roots of Neorealism season at BFI Southbank, is also being shown on May 25th at the cinema. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Roberto Rossellini's 1946 story of a group of workers and a priest in 1943-'44 Rome, declared an “open city” by the Nazis, was begun only two months after the liberation. Its realistic treatment of everyday Italian life heralded the postwar renaissance of the Italian cinema and the development of neorealism; the film astonished audiences around the world and remains a masterpiece.
Don Druker

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 141: Tue May 21

Night of the Living Dead (Romero, 1968): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.30pm

Renowned zombie books author Max Brooks is at the Prince Charles tonight to introduce Romero's seminal movie. He will also be signing books and be around for a Q&A afterwards. If you want to read some of Brooks' thoughts on why zombies, and in particular why movies about the undead are so popular now, take a look at this Guardian article he wrote a few years back.

Chicago Reader review:
George Romero's gory, style-setting 1968 horror film, made for pennies in Pittsburgh. Its premise—the unburied dead arise and eat the living—is a powerful combination of the fantastic and the dumbly literal. Over its short, furious course, the picture violates so many strong taboos—cannibalism, incest, necrophilia—that it leaves audiences giddy and hysterical. Romero's sequel, Dawn of the Dead, displays a much-matured technique and greater thematic complexity, but Night retains its raw power.
Dave Kehr

Here is the trailer.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 140: Mon May 20

Bonnie and Clyde (Penn, 1967): Islington Vue Cinema, 9pm

This film, part of the Vue Cinemas Back to Vue season, is also being screened on Wednesday 22nd. More details here. You can find all the details of the full season here.

Chicago Reader review:
When Fritz Lang filmed it in 1938 (as You Only Live Once), the story had a metaphysical thrust. When Nicholas Ray filmed it in 1948 (They Live by Night), it was romantic and doom laden. But by the time Arthur Penn got to it in 1967, it was pure myth, the distillation of dozens of drive-in movies about rebellious kids and their defeat at the hands of the establishment. It's by far the least controlled of Penn's films (the tone wobbles between hick satire and noble social portraiture, and the issue of violence is displayed more than it's examined), but the pieces work wonderfully well, propelled by what was then a very original acting style. With Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman, Estelle Parsons, Michael J. Pollard, and Gene Wilder.
Dave Kehr

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 139: Sun May 19

Victim (Dearden, 1961) & The Servant (Losey, 1963) : Rio Cinema, 1pm & 3pm

A superb Dirk Bogarde double-bill, perfect Sunday afternoon viewing at the Rio.

Time Out review of Victim:
Released in 1961, when ‘convicted homosexual’ could still accurately describe a person’s legal status, ‘Victim’ was justifiably seen as a daring step for both its director Basil Dearden and star, Dirk Bogarde. Bogarde plays prominent barrister Melville Farr, who jeopardises his standing by investigating the blackmail of a late young man whose appeals for help he had earlier rejected. His performance marked his shift from romantic lead to serious actor and remains the film’s most fascinating ingredient: characterised by resolute continence punctuated with irruptions of desperate candour (‘I stopped seeing him because I wanted him. Do you understand? I wanted him!’), it speaks of a determined self-policing that has cordoned off passion, tracing a progression towards public openness that Bogarde himself never saw fit to follow. Unpacking a shadow society that cuts across age and class, Farr’s investigations unearth plenty of pleas for sympathy but no declarations of pride: if the homophobic are coded as hypocrites, the gay characters tend towards the passive and precious; only Farr, the diligent aspirant to heterosexual norms, shows real guts. The script’s good intentions can tend towards the preachy (it has been credited with contributing to the eventual change in the law), and it isn’t immune to the melodramatic or schematic. But there are many pleasures to be found in the quirky supporting cast, expressive, noir-style lighting and an effectively suspenseful opening all too aptly based around the construction of a façade and the withholding of information.
Ben Walters

Here is director Terence Davies on what Bogarde and the movie mean to him.

Here is the trailer.

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

If you want to read an excellent article on The Servant 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.