Sunday, 30 June 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 198: Wed Jul 17

The Sorcerers (Reeves, 1967): Hackney Picturehouse, 8.15pm

Here's the introduction to what looks a great evening: London psycho-geographical writer Iain Sinclair celebrates his 70th birthday year with the showing of 70 films he handpicked that relate to his work. Hackney Picturehouse is delighted to present the inaugural event of the series with a screening of "The Sorcerers", Michael Reeves' 1967 Boris Karloff science fiction/horror classic, followed by a rare cinema screening of the first of Iain & Chris Petit's made for TV trilogy - 1992's "The Cardinal & The Corpse". "The Cardinal & The Corpse" features a cavalcade of the 'reforgotten' including footage of Alan Moore, Michael Moorcock & Robin Cook (aka Derek Raymond) and east end poet/writer/activist Emanuel Litvinoff. Iain Sinclair, Alan Moore & Chris Petit will be on hand to read sections of their work and discuss the films.

Time Out review:
Perhaps the much-touted multiplex generation of movie-brat directors who purport to care so much about British genre cinema should take a look at this picture some time. Reeves directed his first feature when he was only 23, already displaying the virtuosity which would make its most astonishing manifestation in Witchfinder General. The story, adapted from John Burke's novel, follows an ageing couple, the Monserrats (Karloff and Lacey), who have devised a contraption that allows them to control the minds of others and vicariously experience the world through them. This has a particular kick when they find young prey in the form of Ogilvy to experiment on. As the Monserrats play audience to their victims' living scenarios, which the couple write to their own perverse specifications, this psychedelic horror film deals with the apparatus of cinema, and it still puts the mind in a spin.
Lizzie Francke

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 197: Tue Jul 16

Remorques (Stormy Waters): (Gremillon, 1941): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.30pm

This film, part of the Jean Gremillon season at BFI Southbank, also screens on July 9th. Full details of the season here.

Chicago Reader review:
Dave Kehr has rightly called Jean Gremillon “Jean Renoir's only serious rival in the prewar French cinema,” largely on the basis of Gueule d'amour (1937), Gremillon's first film with Jean Gabin. But the director released three comparably impressive features during the occupation, starting with this 1941 drama about a gruff, married salvage-boat captain in Brittany (Gabin) falling for the recently estranged wife (Michele Morgan) of a ruthless captain whose merchant ship he's towing to safety. Gabin and Morgan may have been the hottest couple this side of Bogart and Bacall, and despite some awkward use of miniatures in the early stretches, this benefits from stormy atmospherics, masterful characterization, and expressive use of sound. The script was adapted successively by Charles Spaak, Andre Cayatte, and Jacques Prevert from a novel by Roger Vercel. With Madeleine Renaud.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 196: Mon Jul 15

The Warriors (Hill, 1979): Clapham Picturehouse, 9pm

Here is the introduction to the evening's entertainment:
For the fifth edition of our ongoing series of special events, Permanent Plastic Helmet is delighted to present a rare, 35mm screening of Walter Hill’s classic action adventure THE WARRIORS. Join us in the bar from 8pm for food, drink and a playlist of classic soul. The film will be preceded by a prize giveaway and an introduction by film critic Ashley Clark (Sight & Sound, Little White Lies). Come out to play!This gaudy urban odyssey follows the eponymous Coney Island gang on their perilous journey home after they’ve been falsely accused of the murder of a major gang boss.
Blessed with stunning cinematography, a host of superb New York locations, and a pumping soundtrack, THE WARRIORS is one of the best American films of the 1970s.

Chicago Reader review:
Walter Hill's existential action piece (1979), rendered in a complete stylistic abstraction that will mean tough going for literal-minded audiences. The straightforward, straight-line plot—a street gang must cross the length of New York City, pursued by police and rival fraternities—is given the convoluted quality of a fever dream by Hill's quirky, claustrophobic direction. Not quite the clean, elegant creation that his earlier films were, The Warriors admits to failures of conception (occasional) and dialogue (frequent), but there is much of value in Hill's visual elaboration of the material.
Dave Kehr

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 195: Sun Jul 14

My Neighbour Totoro (Miyazaki, 1988) & Grave of Fireflies (Takahata, 1988)
Rio Cinema, 2.15pm

Chicago Reader review of My Neighbour Totoro:
Sheer enchantment, this 1989 animated feature is a key early work by Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away). A man and his two daughters move into an old house in the countryside and encounter Totoro, a giant slothlike (and slothful) creature who arranges for the girls to visit their ailing mother, riding in a phantom Cheshire-cat bus. Like much of Miyazaki's work, the film has an ecological bent that recalls the Shinto reverence for animal spirits and reflects quintessential Asian values like respect for one's parents and community in the face of crisis. It exemplifies Ghibli's style of fanciful realism, paying close attention to minute details as well-drawn figures move across a fluid backdrop. It also deals straightforwardly with substantial emotions like fear of death, though at times it veers toward the heart-tugging cuteness of the Pokemon series.
Ted Shen

Here is the trailer.

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Time Out review of Grave of the Fireflies:
Grave of the Fireflies’ is perhaps unique in that the medium of animation in no way softens the events of story. In fact, the opposite is true. Animation allows Takahata to draw performances from his children that no human of equal age could or should be expected to give. His treatment of little Setsuko results in arguably the most realistic four-year-old in cinema, simultaneously curious and wary, playful and serious, exploring her place in the world just as that world is beginning to fall apart. The older Seita feels withdrawn by comparison, though this decision feels wholly intentional and appropriate. This is a boy torn between childhood selfishness and societally imposed feelings of obligation, whose only point of focus becomes the sister he cannot save. And the scenes of Setsuko’s gradual decline would be simply impossible in a live-action context as it would be unwatchable, and with good reason. Visually, the film hews close to the established Ghibli palette, with motionless, often rather crude backgrounds and blurred upfront action. Takahata makes the most of these limitations – often focusing on characters faces in moments of grief or stillness, using the stillness of his backdrops to suggest a blank, unknowable world beyond their grasp – but they remain limitations.
‘Grave of the Fireflies’ is not a film to be taken lightly. It is not even a film to be enjoyed. It is a film which demands – and deserves – total concentration and emotional surrender. The reward is an experience unlike any other: exhausting, tragic and utterly bleak, but also somehow monumental.

Tom Huddleston


Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 194: Sat Jul 13

Carnival of Souls (Harvey, 1962): St John on Bethnal Green, 5pm

This is especially worth catching if you're a fan of this particular cult movie as famous experimental rock band Pere Ubu will be performing their own soundtrack to the film. You can buy tickets here.

Here are the band's lead singer David Thomas's thoughts at The Quietus website:
It's not their first time playing a live score to films, having previously accompanied It Came From Outer Space and X, The May With X-Ray Eyes, with Thomas saying of the event: "I grew up addicted to Friday night sci-fi/horror flicks. The genre had an incalculable effect on the third generation of young rock giants who emerged in the 70s. Now it's time to honour that debt.
 
"The amateurish enthusiasm and naive intention, as well as lack of budget, of the B-movie encourages a kind of communal abstraction that approaches folk culture, and the frequent lack of a coherent agenda leaves lots of wiggle room for whatever personalised context or agenda an audience or band chooses to overlay. Wiggle room is good."


Time Out preview:
'The only survivor when a car plunges into a river, Mary Henry (Hilligoss) emerges on to a sandbank like a sodden sleepwalker. Shortly afterwards, en route to Utah to take up a job as a church organist, Mary is frightened by a ghostly apparition, a white-faced man whose repeated appearances seem mysteriously connected with an abandoned carnival pavilion. Other strange episodes, during which Mary seems to become invisible and inaudible to those around her, exacerbate her feeling that she has no place in this world. With its striking black-and-white compositions, disorienting dream sequences and eerie atmosphere, this has the feel of a silent German expressionist movie. Unfortunately, so does some of the acting, which suffers from exaggerated facial expressions and bizarre gesturing. But the mesmerising power of the carnival and dance-hall sequences far outweighs the corniness of the awkward intimate scenes; and as Mary, caught in limbo between this world and the next, dances to the discordant carnival music of time, the subsequent work of George Romero and David Lynch comes constantly to mind.' 
Nigel Floyd
Here is the trailer.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 193: Fri Jul 12

TAKE YOUR PICK
 
1 Lady Killer (Gremillon, 1937): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.40pm

This film, part of the Jean Gremillon season at BFI Southbank, also screens on July 2nd. Full details of the season here.

Chicago Reader review:
It's amazing that a film of this quality should be so completely unknown. Made in 1937, it's the masterpiece of Jean Gremillon, Jean Renoir's only serious rival in the prewar French cinema. Difficult to define stylistically (which is perhaps the secret of its greatness), the film consists of a series of tonal variations on the theme of the femme fatale, ranging from romanticism to naturalism to sophisticated comedy. Jean Gabin is “Gueule d'amour” (“Lover Lips”), a soldier famous in his garrison town for his way with women; when he meets the mysterious Mireille Balin (Gabin's costar in Pepe le Moko), he gives up everything to follow her to Paris. Gremillon seems the master of every style he attempts, but his genius lies in the smooth linking of those various styles; the film seems to evolve as it unfolds, changing its form in imperceptible stages. 
Dave Kehr

Here is an extract.

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2 The Serpent and the Rainbow (Craven, 1988): Phoenix Cinema, 10.15pm

This rare screening of Wes Craven's '80s horror movie is hosted by the excellent Cigarette Burns film club. More details on the Facebook page here.

Chicago Reader review:
An unusually ambitious effort from horror movie specialist Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street), filmed on location in Haiti (as well as the Dominican Republic). This genuinely frightening 1988 thriller follows the efforts of an anthropologist (Bill Pullman) sent by a U.S. pharmaceutical company to find the chemical mixture used in “zombification”—the voodoo practice that simulates death while leaving the victim alive and conscious. Depending largely on hallucinations and psychological terror (a la Altered States), and working from a Richard Maxwell and A.R. Simoun screenplay inspired by Wade Davis's nonfiction book of the same title, Craven provides more atmosphere and creepy ideas than fluid storytelling. But it's nice for a change to see some of the virtues of old-fashioned horror films—moody dream sequences, unsettling poetic images, and passages that suggest more than they show—rather than the usual splatter shocks and special effects (far from absent, but employed with relative economy). Cathy Tyson plays the hero's Haitian guide—a psychiatrist alert to some of the cultural ramifications of voodoo—and Zakes Mokae, Paul Winfield, and Brent Jennings, as other agents of the hero's dark education in prerevolutionary Haiti, are effective as well. 
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 192: Thu Jul 11

Lumiere d'ete (Gremillon, 1942): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.30pm

This film, part of the Jean Gremillon season at BFI Southbank, also screens on July 19th. Full details of the season here.

Chicago Reader review:
This little-known 1943 masterpiece of the French cinema, whose title translates as “Summer Light,” is the work of Jean Gremillon, a filmmaker who worked—against the auteur grain—in a wide range of different styles. Made during the occupation and eventually banned by the Nazis, this film unites documentary and surrealism, sex farce and baroque tragedy in describing the romantic alliances between an artists colony and the castle of an evil nobleman. The film has been compared to The Rules of the Game, yet it has its own strange, ever-changing texture—it seems in some ways an anticipation of Godard. With Paul Bernard, Pierre Brasseur, and Madeleine Renaud; written by Jacques Prevert and Pierre Laroche.
Dave Kehr                                      

There's a good article here on the film maker by Jonathan Rosenabum.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 191: Wed Jul 10

The Royal Tenenbaums (Anderson, 2001): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm

This screens as part of the Directed by Wes Anderson season at the cinema. Here are the details of the full programme.

Chicago Reader review:
You may find Wes Anderson's 2001 follow-up to Rushmore a solid piece of entertainment in the same general mode, but disappointing insofar as it moves the earlier film's stylistic freshness into a kind of formula, increasing the overall cuteness while reducing the sense of adolescent despair. Not that the extended dysfunctional New York family of the title are happy campers by any means; like Salinger's Glass family, they're a disarming mix of prodigal talents, crippling incapacities, and diverging ethnicities. The movie's affection for them all is certainly infectious, and the cast is wonderful: Danny Glover, Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Bill Murray, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, and Owen Wilson. Whatever my qualms, it's still one of the funniest comedies around.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Great soundtrack. Great trailer.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 190: Tue Jul 9

TAKE YOUR PICK

Halley (Hofmann, 2013): Genesis Cinema, 8.30pm

This fascinating Mexican horror movie is part of the East End Film Festival, which runs from June 25 to July 10. Here are the details of the full programme.

Here is the EEFF introduction: A tale of urban loneliness with a dash of  David Cronenberg, Sebastian Hofmann’s staggering debut portrays Beto (Alberto Trujillo) a security guard in a Mexico City gym, whose physical state contrasts wildly with the healthy bodies around him. Retreating to his apartment, Beto sews himself up and injects himself with embalming fluid to hold off his physical deterioration. Wrestling with the notion that he may no longer be alive, Beto’s desire for life is rekindled by his boss’ advances. Halley is a far cry from social realism, but in its surreal depiction of total isolation, achieves something even more truthful.

Here is the great trailer.

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2 The Strange Monsieur Victor (Gremillon, 1938): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.30pm

This film, part of the Jean Gremillon season at BFI Southbank, also screens on July 6th. Full details of the season here.

Chicago Reader review:
In his finest work, including this masterful 1938 noir, the remarkable French filmmaker Jean Gremillon (1901-'59), trained as a composer and musician, used mise en scene, script construction, editing, and dialogue delivery to explore the complex relationship between film and music. Raimu, one of the greatest French actors, plays the “strange” title hero, a respectable Toulon merchant who secretly operates as a fence for local thieves; after he murders a potential blackmailer, an innocent local shoemaker (Pierre Blanchar) is sent to prison for the crime. Seven years later the fall guy escapes and returns to Toulon to see his son; unaware of Victor's guilt, he persuades the merchant to shelter him, then becomes involved with his wife. None of the moral ambiguities are lost on Gremillon, who eschews the usual distinctions between heroes and villains to make this a troubling and offbeat melodrama. Shot both in Toulon and at Berlin's UFA studio, this potent dissection of appearance and reality may be less impressive than Gremillon's subsequent Lumiere d'ete (1943), which benefits from Jacques Prevert's dialogue, but it's brilliant filmmaking all the same.
Jonathan Rosenabum 

Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 189: Mon Jul 8

Moon (Jones, 2009): RooftopFilm Club, Queen of Hoxton Pub, 9pm

I have been to screenings at this venue and been very impressed. The seating is in comfortable directors' chairs, there is excellent food and drink and blankets to keep warm in cool weather. Here is a list of their upcoming attractions.

Chicago Reader review: On the lunar surface, a lonely astronaut for a commercial mining company (Sam Rockwell) counts the days until his three-year contract is up and he can return home to his wife and daughter. But after a hallucinatory image of a woman causes him to crash his land rover, the computer monitoring the moon base (given deadpan voice by Kevin Spacey) diagnoses him with possible brain damage and confines him to the infirmary. Written and directed by Duncan Jones (son of space oddity David Bowie), this eerie drama harks back to sci-fi movies of the late 60s and early 70s that explored inner as well as outer space (2001, Solaris, and particularly Silent Running). As it turns out, the moon is just another shitty place to work, and as the hero discovers to his horror, even his own selfhood is company property.JR Jones

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 188: Sun Jul 7

Penance (Kurosowa, 2012): Barbican Cinema, 5pm

This celebrated Japanese TV series is part of the East End Film Festival, which runs from June 25 to July 10. Here are the details of the full programme.

Here is the East End Film Festival introduction: Four school girls witness an abduction, but remember nothing. When Emili turns up dead, her mother, Asako, holds the four girls responsible.15 years later, Asako revisits the four women to extract the penance she once promised them for their inaction. Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Tokyo Sonata, Pulse) has expertly adapted Kanae Minato’s famous novel, offering a brilliant character drama that minutely observes how five lives are changed by guilt and trauma and builds towards a final shocking conclusion. Penance was originally made as a television mini-series, but is nevertheless effortlessly cinematic and is another triumph from one of world cinema’s true masters.  

Here is the trailer.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 187: Sat Jul 6

TAKE YOUR PICK

1 Suspension of Disbelief (Figgis, 2012): Genesis Cinema, 6pm

This movie, which marks Mike Figgis's return to directing, is part of the East End Film Festival, which runs from June 25 to July 10. Here are the details of the full programme.

Here is the EEFF introduction: A world-renowned screenwriter becomes implicated in the murder of a beautiful young Frenchwoman in Mike Figgis’ return to the world of psycho-sexual mind games. A murder-mystery in which its protagonist loses sight of reality and the fiction he has created. Figgs is one of the UK’s truly maverick cinematic spirits and returns here with something fresh, exciting and more than a little disturbing.

Here is the trailer.

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2  Family Plot (Hitchcock, 1976): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.30pm

The final film from Alfred Hitchcock is being shown as part of the Passport to Cinema season at BFI Southbank. The movie also screens on July 9th and 14th and is introduced by the excellent Richard Combs on the 9th at 6.10pm. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Alfred Hitchcock's 53rd and final film (1976) was greeted with affectionate condescension by most American critics, but there's no reason to apologize for this small masterpiece, one of Hitchcock's most adventurous and expressive experiments in narrative form. After the blind alley of the heroless Topaz, Hitchcock here returned to the dual plotting of Psycho, thinking it through again as a comedy in which the two compared/contrasted couples (Bruce Dern and Barbara Harris versus Karen Black and William Devane) do not meet until the final minutes.
Dave Kehr

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 186: Fri Jul 5

TAKE YOUR PICK

1 A Field in England (Wheatley, 2013): Curzon Soho, ICA Cinema, Ritzy and Hackney Picturehouses

The much anticipated release of Ben Wheatley's new production is going to be quite an event with film fans able to see the movie at the cinema, via home media, video on demand and on television via Film 4 (at 10.45pm). You can even buy it on Blu-Ray or DVD. Charles Gant has written about this innovative form of release in the July edition of the cinema magazine Sight & Sound.

You can see all the details of how you can see the film via the website page here.

Here is the trailer.

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2 We Are The Freaks (Edgar, 2013): Genesis Cinema, 6.30pm

This movie screens as part of the East End Film Festival, which runs from June 25 to July 10. Here are the details of the full programme.

This is the East End Film Festival introduction: A funny, moving and timely portrait of youthful hopelessness in the late Thatcher years. Justin Edgar’s witty drama sees Jack, who dreams of escaping his unfulfilling factory job, meet the talented, well to do Elinor. Heading off on a journey into the night, they pick up two eccentric friends and come into contact with rave culture, youthful rebellion and dangerous drug dealers. This is a punchy evocation of a dying counterculture, featuring a brilliant contemporary soundtrack and a roll call of recognisable faces from Skins and This Is England.


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 185: Thu Jul 4

TAKE YOUR PICK

1 Leones (Lopez, 2012): Rich Mix Cinema, 9pm

This movie screens as part of the East End Film Festival, which runs from June 25 to July 10. Here are the details of the full programme.

Here is the East End Film Festival introduction: Jazmín López’s captivating debut feature is an elliptical meditation on social frameworks, human nature and the desperation to escape a mapped-out future. Five young friends descend into the forest. They immerse themselves in word games, play and seduction. Mysterious and elemental, López’s debut owes much to Borges and earns her comparisons with Terrence Malick, Gaspar Noe and, in the use of that auteur’s Steadicam operator, Gus Van Sant.

Here is the trailer.

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2 Fitzcarraldo (Herzog, 1982): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 5.50pm

This film, part of the Werner Herzog season at the BFI Southbank, also screens at the cinema on July 4th and 8th. You can find the details here.

Little White Lies review:
If fate conspires that you're only able to watch one Werner Herzog film in your lifetime, probably best to make it 1982's operatic downstream fantasia, Fitzcarraldo, a film whose own logistically tortuous production perfectly mirrored the designs of its fanatical lead character. Donning a white linen suit for the long haul, Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, AKA Fitzcarraldo (Klaus Kinski) packs up his gramophone and decides to take a steam ship down some of the most treacherous stretches of the Amazon with a view to bringing opera to the as-yet-uncivilised tribes of the deepest South American jungles. Although operating as a withering metaphor for extreme cultural subjugation, the film also works as an affirmative, yes-we-can odyssey which stands as a physical testament to the idea that even the most absurd folly can be achieved if you've got the mind and moxie to pull it off.
David Jenkins

Jenkins has picked his best ten Herzog movies for Little White Lies. You can read the article here.

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 184: Wed Jul 3

The Last Time I Saw Macao (João Rui Guerra da Mata, João Pedro Rodrigues, 2012):
Hackney Picturehouse, 8.45pm

This movie screens as part of the East End Film Festival, which runs from June 25 to July 10. Here are the details of the full programme.

Here is their introduction to tonight's movie: A narrator recounts his return to the ex-Portuguese gambling colony of Macao in search of a missing friend. João Pedro Rodrigues and João Rui, Guerra da Mata (To Die Like A Man), return with a glorious documentary/fiction hybrid that takes in film noir, post colonial guilt and the sensory overload of the city. Featuring a knockout lip-syncing opening dance number, and numerous diversions into reveries of time and memory, the film never loses sight of its thriller plot. Not just one of the year’s best films, but a film unlike any other.

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 183: Tue Jul 2

Where the Green Ants Dream (Herzog, 1984): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.45pm

This film, part of the Werner Herzog season at the BFI Southbank, also screens at the cinema on July 7th. You can find the details here.

Little White Lies review:
One of Herzog's lesser known fiction titles, the Australia-set Where The Green Ants Dream examines the diversity (and absurdity) of spiritual custom through the misted-up prism of light comic satire. A small cadre of Aboriginal tribespeople assemble on an area of parched desert in order to forcibly stymie the activities of a mining firm wanting to plunder the earth for minerals. These people have nothing, yet they will risk their lives so as no-one disturbs the dreams of the mythical, magnetic green ants, for it could place a horrible curse on future generations. Though the film is initially interested in lambasting corporate toadying, presenting the head of the mining firm bending over backwards to appease the cantankerous Aborigines, the film reveals itself as something bigger and more complex as it ruminates on the divisions in cultural attitudes that can never really be bridged and the poetic, often illogical schemes that people concoct inside their own minds to make life worth living.
David Jenkins

Jenkins has picked his best ten Herzog movies for Little White Lies. You can read the article here.

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 182: Mon Jul 1

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Leone, 1966): Picturehouses Cinemas, 12 noon 

Chicago Reader review:
'Sergio Leone's comic, cynical, inexplicably moving epic spaghetti western (1966), in which all human motivation has been reduced to greed—it's just a matter of degree between the Good (Clint Eastwood), the Bad (Lee Van Cleef), and the Ugly (Eli Wallach). Leone's famous close-ups—the “two beeg eyes”—are matched by his masterfully composed long shots, which keep his crafty protagonists in the subversive foreground of a massively absurd American Civil War. Though ordained from the beginning, the three-way showdown that climaxes the film is tense and thoroughly astonishing.'
Dave Kehr  

Here is the justly famous Ecstasy of Gold sequence.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 181: Sun Jun 30

Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter (Hasebe, 1970): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.50pm

This film, which is screening as part of the Japanese film Seasons in the Sun season at BFI Southbank, is also being shown on June 25th. You can find the details here.

Here is the BFI introduction: The third in the five-episode delinquent girl-gang series that thrust Meiko Kaji to prominence, the provocatively-titled Sex Hunter is widely considered the best, with its raucous action and radical plot set in the mixed-race demi-monde surrounding a US naval base. The rough sexuality presaged Nikkatsu’s wholesale switch to erotic material the following year, which led to Kaji leaving the studio for more iconic roles as Female Convict Scorpion and Lady Snowblood.

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 180: Sat Jun 29

Murder by Decree (Clark, 1979): Masonic Temple at Andaz Hotel, Liverpool Street, 2pm

This movie screens as part of the East End Film Festival, which runs from June 25 to July 10. Here are the details of the full programme. The attraction here is the venue which looks amazing.

Time Out review:
Not entirely successful, but still an imaginative and ambitious attempt to combine historical speculation, conspiracy thriller, and the world of Conan Doyle. Treading much the same territory as Stephen Knight's book The Final Solution, it sees Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson investigating the Jack the Ripper murders, and coming up with an answer that involves royalty, Parliament and the Masons. For a full account of the theory - largely convincing - read Knight's book; but this will give you an idea of what may have prompted the murder of five prostitutes in Victorian London. The different threads are neatly interwoven, suspense and explanation being carefully balanced, and the horror of the crimes evoked in suitably nightmarish images. The only drawbacks, in fact, lie in Sutherland's appearance as a loony visionary, and in Plummer's occasional adoption of ludicrous disguises.
Geoff Andrew

Here is the trailer.

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Here is the introduction to the full screenings on the day at the Masonic Temple: Taking in evil cabals, hidden orders, occult coteries and mysterious cloak and dagger exercises, Secret Societies at the East End Film Festival returns to the Masonic Temple at the Andaz Hotel Liverpool Street with a day’s selection of cult-classics.

Schedule from 2pm onwards:
Sherlock Holmes hunts Jack the Ripper in British classic Murder By Decree, introduced by critic and novelist Kim Newman; a woman begins seeing strange apparitions in 1970’s giallo The Perfume of the Lady in Black; Jodorowsky’s Mexican circus grotesque Santa Sangre is introduced by its composer Simon Boswell; and finally, we descend into theTombs of the Blind Dead, a rarely seen but influential Spanish chiller.

2.00pm | Murder By Decree | Dir. Bob Clark
4:30pm | The Perfume of the Lady in Black | Dir. Francesco Barilli
6:15pm | Santa Sangre | Dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky
8:45pm | Tombs of the Blind Dead | Dir. Amando de Ossorio

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 179: Fri Jun 28

Miss Lovely (Ahluwalia, 2012): Rich Mix Cinema [at East End Film Festival] 6.30pm
35-47 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch

This movie screens as part of the East End Film Festival, which runs from June 25 to July 10. Here are the details of the full programme.

Here is their introduction: Set in the seedy world of India’s so called ‘C grade’ Hindi film industry of the 1980s, Ahluwalia challenges preconceptions of Indian cinema, spinning a yarn of two film producer brothers (Wasseypur’s Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and Anil George) whose prolific output of trashy cinema is threatened by the arrival of Pinky (Niharika Singh), a struggling actress who is more than meets the eye. A visually ravishing evocation of an era taking in sleazy hotels, abandoned warehouses, damaged wannabe stars and movie loving gangsters, this decade-spanning tragedy deserves its reputation as India’s answer to P.T. Anderson’s Boogie Nights.

Sight & Sound's Jonathan Romney described the director Ashim Ahluwalia as "a very impressive talent, and given the oppressive conventions of the Indian film industry, he’s clearly an independent spirit and then some."

Here is the trailer.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 178: Thu Jun 27

TAKE YOU PICK

1 Blood and Roses (Vadim, 1960): The Montpelier 43 Choumert Road, SE15 4AR

This rare screening of Roger Vadim's vampire movie is from the great Days Are Numbers film club. It's free entry and you can read all the details on their Facebook page  here.

Here is their introductionAn all-too rare chance to see this legendary - yet tragically still not available on DVD - vampire classic from the original enfant terrible of modern French film Roger Vadim.

Blood and Roses, like several other bloodsucking classics both before and after, takes its inspiration from Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu’s pre-Dracula novella ‘Carmilla’ and tells the tale of a modern-day European aristocrat haunted by her vampiric ancestor and driven to murder.

An exquisitely beautiful and unforgettably haunting film, this is easily Vadim’s best and deserves to be more widely seen than his infinitely more famous duo of And God Created Woman and Barbarella. That long-awaited DVD release would help, of course, but until then you can’t afford to miss our screening.

The Montpelier can easily be reached via train from Peckham Rye Station. You can catch the new and swanky Overground, as well as trains to and from London Bridge, Victoria, Blackfriars and more.

Here is the trailer.


The Lady from Shanghai (Welles, 1947): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.30pm

This film, screening as part of the Rita Hayworth season at the cinema, also screens on June 29th. Tonight the movie will be introduced by David Benedict. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
The weirdest great movie ever made (1948), which is somehow always summed up for me by the image of Glenn Anders cackling "Target practice! Target practice!" with unbalanced, malignant glee. Orson Welles directs and stars as an innocent Irish sailor who's drafted into a bizarre plot involving crippled criminal lawyer Everett Sloane and his icily seductive wife Rita Hayworth. Hayworth tells Welles he "knows nothing about wickedness" and proceeds to teach him, though he's an imperfect student. The film moves between Candide-like farce and a deeply disturbing apprehension of a world in grotesque, irreversible decay—it's the only true film noir comedy. The script, adapted from a novel by Sherwood King, is credited solely to Welles, but it's the work of many hands, including Welles, William Castle, Charles Lederer, and Fletcher Markle.
Dave Kehr

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 177: Wed Jun 26

Woyzeck (Herzog, 1979): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.45pm

This film, part of the Werner Herzog season, also screens at the cinema on Saturday 29th June. Here are the details.

Time Out review:
An anarchist's morality play; the tale of an army private tormented in private by visions of apocalypse, in public by the unbearable weight of social and sexual oppression; he flips. Herzog's harsh vision of human suffering beyond despair, adapted from the Georg Büchner play, casts Woyzeck as a proletarian King Lear (Kinski, extraordinary once again), but there are echoes, too, of Beckett and Brecht. A sharp parable on social oppression and dormant rebellion, made with a dispassionate, deliberate formality that some may find hard to take.
Chris Auty

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 176: Tue Jun 25

TAKE YOUR PICK

1 Sorcerer (Friedkin, 1977): Roxy Bar & Screen, London Bridge, 8pm

Now here's a proper treat. Savage Cinema film club gives us a rare chance to see a cult movie that has been one of the most difficult to see in recent years.

Here's the Savage Cinema introduction: After a long hiatus, Savage Cinema return to Roxy Bar & Screen with a special screening of one of the most relentless, underrated thrillers of the 1970s: William Friedkin's SORCERER (1977). A new restoration of the film is to be released next year, but here's your chance to catch the film early and join the ever-growing cult behind what Friedkin himself considers his greatest film.

Adapted from Georges Arnaud's novel The Wages Of Fear and loosely based on Henri-Georges Clouzot's film of the same name, Sorcerer is a white-knuckle explosive thriller about four outcasts on the run from around the world, including an American getaway driver played by Roy Scheider. The four are teamed together to illegally transport two trucks full of highly combustible nitroglycerine across the South American jungle, with the promise of new identities upon completion of the job. That is, if they escape the jungle with their lives...

Rarely seen in its original cut in the UK (over 30 minutes were cut out of its British cinema release), our screening will be augmented by rare screenings of two television episodes directed by Friedkin: the harrowing Nightcrawlers, directed for The New Twilight Zone in 1986; and OFF SEASON (1965), the last episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, as well as Friedkin's first directorial credit. In addition, we'll be celebrating the composers of Sorcerer's fantastic score by playing the best of Tangerine Dream's film music in the bar before and after the film.

Here is the trailer.


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2 Taste of Cherry (Kiarostami, 1997): Room B20, Birkbeck College, Malet St, W1.

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 Dr Rosalind Galt and Professor Laura Mulvey.

Chicago Reader review:
A middle-aged man who's contemplating suicide drives around the hilly, dusty outskirts of Tehran trying to find someone who will bury him if he succeeds and retrieve him if he fails. This minimalist yet powerful and life-enhancing 1997 feature by Abbas Kiarostami (Where Is the Friend's House?, Life and Nothing More, Through the Olive Trees) never explains why the man wants to end his life, yet every moment in his daylong odyssey carries a great deal of poignancy and philosophical weight. Kiarostami, one of the great filmmakers of our time, is a master at filming landscapes and constructing parablelike narratives whose missing pieces solicit the viewer's active imagination. Taste of Cherry actually says a great deal about what it was like to be alive in the 1990s, and despite its somber theme, this masterpiece has a startling epilogue that radiates with wonder and euphoria. In Farsi with subtitles.
Jonathan Rosenabaum

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 175: Mon Jun 24

Fata Morgana (Herzog, 1970): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.30pm

This film, which screens as part of the Werner Herzog season, will be introduced by season curator Geoff Andrew. It also screens on June 3rd and June 9th. Details here.

Critic David Jenkins has written an excellent article on the ten best Werner Herzog films which can be found here. Fata Morgana is at number three.

Chicago Reader review:
Cold, documentarylike images of the Sahara are used in a grotesque retelling of the story of creation in Werner Herzog's 1971 experimental feature. Every shot has a double edge of harsh reality and surrealist fantasy, as when the landing of a jet plane, repeated nine or ten times, becomes an odd spiritual symbol, at once banal and mysterious. You'll either be bored to death or fascinated—for me, it's Herzog's most interesting film.
Dave Kehr

Here is an excerpt.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 174: Sun Jun 23

Before Sunrise (Linklater, 1995) & Before Sunset (Linklater, 2004):
Hackney Picturehouse, 3pm


This double-bill is also being screened at Clapham Picturehouse on Sunday 16 June at 2pm. Details here.

Before Before Midnight hits the screen take the chance to see the first two films in Linklater's celebrated trilogy.

Chicago Reader review of Before Sunrise:
Richard Linklater goes Hollywood (1995)—triumphantly and with an overall intelligence, sweetness, and romantic simplicity that reminds me of wartime weepies like The Clock. After meeting on a train out of Budapest, a young American (Ethan Hawke) and a French student (Julie Delpy) casually explore Vienna for 14 hours; what emerges from their impromptu date has neither the flakiness of Linklater's Slacker nor the generational smarts of his Dazed and Confused (though it's closer in its picaresque form and lyricism to the former), but it does manage to say a few things about the fragility and uncertainty of contemporary relationships. Linklater's tact in handling such potentially mawkish material is as evident in what he leaves out as in what he includes, and if Hawke sometimes seems a mite doltish and preening, Delpy is a consistent delight. Kim Krizan collaborated with Linklater on the script, which abounds in lively dialogue and imaginative digressions.
Jonathan Rosenabum

Here is the trailer.

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

Chicago Reader review of Before Sunset:
Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), the young American and the Frenchwoman who met on a train and spent the day together in Vienna in Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise (1995), run into each other again nine years later, this time in Paris. What we see of their reunion unfolds in real time and lasts only 80 minutes, but it's so concentrated that the film is about the previous nine years as much as the breathless present. You won't need to have seen the earlier film to enjoy this to the utmost; in its performances, direction, and script (by Linklater, Kim Krizan, and the two actors), it's so perfectly conceived and executed that you may be hanging on every word and gesture. Just as romantic and compelling as the first film, this is a beautiful commentary on what might be described as nostalgia for the present.

Jonathan Rosenabum

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 173: Sat Jun 22

Branded to Kill (Suzuki, 1967): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6pm

This film, which is screening as part of the Japanese film Seasons in the Sun season at BFI Southbank, is also being shown on June 29th. You can find the details here.

Here is ther BFI introduction: Seijun Suzuki’s cult classic, a baroque tale of a hitman on a kill-or-be-killed mission, was branded ‘nonsense’ by Nikkatsu’s president Hori upon its release, and saw its director famously fired from the studio. With its striking Pop Art aesthetic, sultry jazz score and near- surreal parade of action sequences, it has achieved an almost otherworldly patina over the years, with Shishido redefining cool as the anonymous rice-sniffing contract killer who crosses crosshairs with Annu Mari’s ethereal femme fatale.

The screening on 22 June will be introduced by season curator Jasper Sharp. Here is Sharp's detailed introduction to the season on the BFI website.

Chicago Reader review:
Reputedly one of Seijun Suzuki's finest works and unquestionably very stylish in its 'Scope framings (Jim Jarmusch copied a few shots from it in his forthcoming Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai), this 1967 gangster film stars Jo Shishido as Hanada Goro, Tokyo's “number three killer,” who carries out a series of gangland murders while his boss is seducing his wife. Then Goro flubs an assignment and finds himself marked for a rubout. The film's cynicism and coldness led to Suzuki being fired from Nikkatsu studio, sparking a major controversy in the Japanese film world; it was a decade before Suzuki made another film. With Annu Mari and Mariko Ogawa.
Jonathan Rosenabum

Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 172: Fri Jun 21

Gilda (Vidor, 1946): BFI Southbank NFT1, 6.15pm

King Vidor's steamy 1940s noir got the re-release treatment from the BFI in 2011 and is on here as part of the Rita Hayworth season. It is also being screened on 23rd and 28th June and David Benedict introduces the film tonight. More details here. The film is perhaps most famous for Hayworth's central performance and John Patterson has written about her smouldering display here in the Guardian.

Time Out review:
'When Gilda was released in 1946, striking redhead Rita Hayworth had already starred in a series of musicals that made her America’s pin-up, yet here she delivers the same va-voom (in sundry shoulderpad-tastic Jean Louis outfits) while always hinting at the anxieties beneath the ‘love goddess’ surface. It was the defining role of her career, yet it says a lot about the rest of the movie that Hayworth’s fire never overwhelms it.

There’s an element of ‘Casablanca’ exoticism in the Buenos Aires setting, where moody leading man
Glenn Ford plays a drifter taken under the wing of casino owner George Macready – a silky-voiced character actor who always brought an element of sexual ambiguity to the screen. When the latter marries Hayworth on the spur of the moment, Ford bristles because he has previous with this femme fatale and is still feeling it. ‘Hate,’ as the pearly dialogue has it, ‘can be a very exciting emotion.’ From then on, homoerotic undertones, atmospheric black-and-white camerawork, Ford’s fight not to let bitterness get the better of decency and Hayworth’s ever-present heat combine in one of the great films noirs, softened just a little by the moralising censorship strictures of the time. See it.'
Trevor Johnston


Here is Hayworth's extraordinary first appearance in Gilda

Monday, 3 June 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 171: Thu Jun 20

Cover Girl (Charles Vidor, 1944): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.45pm

This film, part of the Rita Hayworth season at BFI Southbank, also screens at the cinema on June 16th. More details here.

Here is the BFI introduction: Loyalty is tested as top-form Hayworth swaps Gene Kelly’s Brooklyn club for Broadway fame via Vanity magazine. Hayworth positively gleams, doubles as her character Rusty’s grandmother and dances like a dream in the sockeroo title number. With Phil Silvers making it an ebullient song’n’dance trio, astringent Eve Arden, Jerome Kern-Ira Gershwin songs and more millinery than you can shake a stick at, it’s the finest musical Hayworth made.

Chicago Reader review:
A lush 1944 musical vehicle built for Rita Hayworth at the height of her popularity by Columbia's specialist in glitz, Charles Vidor (who went on to create the definitive Hayworth in Gilda). Gene Kelly, languishing as a contract player at MGM, made his first big impression on this loan-out, helped by a fresh-faced kid from South Carolina named Stanley Donen, who directed all of Kelly's dance numbers.                                         
Dave Kehr

The screening on Sunday 16 June will be introduced by season curator David Benedict.

Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 170: Wed Jun 19

The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner (Herzog, 1973): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.45pm

This film, part of the Werner Herzog season at BFI Southbank, also screens at the cinema on June 27th. See here for details.

Time Out review:
A film about flying in the face of death. In Steiner's case, the flying is literal: he is a champion ski-jumper, in Werner Herzog's view the best in the world because the most profoundly fearless. Convention would call this a 'documentary reportage', but convention would be wrong: the angle of approach is wholly unexpected, and Herzog's own participation as commentator/interviewer/hero-worshipper/myth-maker guarantees a really extraordinary level of engagement with the subject. Watch especially how he coaxes a truly revealing story about a pet raven out of a highly embarrassed Steiner in the closing moments. Herzog, a surrealist to the core, knows that the real world offers more fantastic phenomena than anything he can imagine.
Tony Rayns

Here is an extract.

The film is part of a double-bill with the 1976 doc How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 169: Tue Jun 18

Pigs and Battleships (Imamura, 1961): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.30pm

This film, which is screening as part of the Japanese film Seasons in the Sun season at BFI Southbank, is also being shown on June 8th. You can find the details here.

Time Out review:
Shohei Imamura's fifth film kicks off with hordes of uniformed American sailors running rampant through the neon lit streets of Yokosuka, and closes with a stampede of pigs doing much the same: a rather wonderful bracketing device pinpointing the twin poles of the slum town's economic life. Kinta (Nagato), like every other young punk in town, has his heart set on making a favourable impression with the gangsters, whose main racket involves exploiting the local pig trade. By contrast his girlfriend Haruko (Yoshimura) is one of the few women to think twice about prostituting herself to the steady influx of Yanks flush with money and booze. She wants them both to quit town while they can. Around this familiar set-up Imamura spins a hectic, furious portrait of a melting pot of deadend low-lives, which, with its restless tracking and panning shots, high contrast 'Scope photography and gothic secondary characters, recalls the corrupt, sweaty universe captured by Welles in Touch of Evil. Imamura plays fast and loose with the plotting (he likes his films 'messy'), but if some of the finer narrative details are opaque, the over-arching vision of life as a meat market is abundantly clear.

Here is the trailer.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 168: Mon Jun 17

Starship Troopers (Verehoven, 1999): Prince Charles Cinema, 9pm

Chicago Reader review:
Four friends just out of high school join the military: Denise Richards wants to pilot enormous spaceships, Casper Van Dien wants to be near her, Dina Meyer wants to be near him, and Neil Patrick Harris wants to pit his brain power against that of giant enemy insects—if they have brains. The plot of this 1997 feature may sound like silly, conventional science fiction and soap opera romance, but director Paul Verhoeven blends the conflicting elements of intentional camp and perverse sincerity into a single tone—and he doesn't resort to simple irony. Instead he revels in the contradictions and defies us to see fascist ideology in a story that allows us to identify with warmongering characters.
Lisa Alspector

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 167: Sun Jun 16

Jason & the Argonauts (Chaffey, 1963): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 2pm

Jason and his band of Argonauts, with help from the goddess Hera, set sail in the Argo in search of the golden fleece, unaware that one of their own has been tasked to sabotage the expedition. You know the story what matters is the animation by the late Ray Harryhausen ...

Showcasing some of the best-loved creatures made by the living legend of Dynamation, animation pioneer Harryhausen, Jason and the Argonauts features the statue of Talos, the winged harpies and the iconic sword-wielding skeleton army.

Film historian Tony Dalton will be present for a Q&A after the screening to celebrate the film’s 50th anniversary.

Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 166: Sat Jun 15

Tale of Tales (Norstein, 1979):
Deptford Film Club, St Nicholas’ Church, Deptford Green, Deptford SE8 3DQ

Following last year’s massively popular free short film screenings Brothers Quay in the Crypt, the Dep[tford Film Club return to the spooky underground space beneath St Nicholas’ Church in Deptford.

Yuri Norstein (or Norshteyn) is known as one of the world’s greatest animators. Born to a Jewish family in the village of Andreyevka, he grew up in the suburbs of Moscow. After working as an animation artist in some fifty films, Norstein began directing his own in 1968.

Norstein animations have been showered with international awards, and his Tale of Tales has been twice named ‘Best Animated Film of All Time’. His animation technique involves multiple glass planes which can move horizontally as well as toward and away from the camera, giving his animation a magically three-dimensional look.
 
The film club will be in the crypt from 1.00pm. The short films will run for 90 minutes or so, and then play again at about 3pm. Audience members are welcome to wander in and out as they please, or stay for all six films.

You can see an example of his work here.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 165: Fri Jun 14

Postcard from the Zoo (Edwin, 2012): ICA Cinema, 8.30pm

This film screens as part of the Terracotta Far East Festival at the Prince Charles and ICA Cinemas which takes place from 6th to 15th June. You can find all the details here.

Here is the ICA introduction: A beautiful and dreamlike adventure telling the story of Lana, a girl raised by a giraffe trainer after being abandoned in Jakarta zoo. Lana grew up surrounded by animals, boundaries and the sounds of subdued wilderness. In a world that was never built to be a home, young Indonesian director Edwin presents an enchanting romance full of myths, magic and memories. A co-production between Indonesia, Germany and Hong Kong, Postcards from the Zoo premiered at the 2012 Berlinale.

Here is the trailer.