Sunday, 28 July 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 228: Fri Aug 16

The Big City (Ray, 1963): BFI Southbank, NFT1 5.50pm & 8.20pm

This movie, part of the Satyajit Ray season at the BFI, is on an extended run into September. You can find the details here.

Time Out review:
A funny and ambiguously ironic account of a young woman's progress from subdued, traditional housewife to wage earner, finally achieving equality when she resigns her job - a gesture of solidarity for a sacked friend - and joins her husband among the ranks of the lower middle class urban unemployed. Set in 1955 in a bank crash-ridden Calcutta, Ray's Ozu-like comedy about anglicised Indians who sprinkle their conversation with English phrases marks a step forward from the famous pastorales which made his name in the West.
Peter Watts

Here is the BFI trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 227: Thu Aug 15

Pather Panchali (Ray, 1955): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.10pm
This debut film by Satyajit Ray, which opens the season devoted to the great Indian director's work, also screens on 18th August. Details can be found here.

Time Out review:
It’s 50 years since the late, great Bengali writer-director Satyajit Ray made his debut with this, the first and finest installment of his ground-breaking ‘Apu Trilogy’. It was the first Indian movie to attract attention in the West, and if your experience of subcontinental cinema extends no further than Bollywood’s  romantic musicals, it’s not just the film’s enduring status as a landmark of world cinema that makes it essential viewing. It remains a miracle of lyrical realism: the detailed, documentary-style observation of village life as experienced by young Apu, his sister Durga, their parents and ancient grandma is inflected by a marvellous use of motifs (trains beckoning to another, industrialised urban world, water as a symbol of cyclical regeneration) to turn a simple rites-of-passage story into pure poetry. A hymn to curiosity, courage and conscience, it introduces Apu as an opening eye, innocent of adult anxieties but alert to adventure and, finally, moral discovery. Ravi Shankar’s music is great too. A masterpiece, inarguably.
Geoff Andrew


Here is an introduction to the movie.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 226: Wed Aug 14

Kes (Loach, 1969): Somerset House, 9pm

This classic British film, one of the finest this country has produced, screens as part of the Somerset House Film 4 Summer Screen season. More details here.

Chicago Reader review:
In 1969 Ken Loach took time out from an acclaimed television career to direct this quietly powerful narrative feature, a classic of British social realism. Based on a novel by Barry Hines but shot like a documentary, with a hardscrabble industrial setting and a cast that blends professionals and amateurs, the film tracks an introverted Yorkshire lad (David Bradley) who's abandoned by his father and bullied by his coal-miner brother (Freddie Fletcher). A failure in the classroom and on the soccer pitch alike, the boy finds his wings when he adopts and trains a fledgling kestrel. Working in the style of cinema verite, cinematographer Chris Menges captures the petty tyrannies of the provincial working class and the inchoate joys of a youngster stumbling toward the greater world.
Andrea Gronvall

Here's the pub scene (for a change)

Friday, 26 July 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 225: Tue Aug 13

No1 The Long Goodbye (Altman, 1973): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.45pm

This Robert Altman neo-noir screens as part of the BFI Passport to Cinema season and is also being shown on August 13th. More details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Robert Altman's antiheroic rewrite of Raymond Chandler. Elliott Gould plays Marlowe as a chain-smoking nebbish—an innocent child of the 40s set down in what Altman sees (problematically) as the grown-up, shades-of-gray world of the 70s. The film is so inventive in its situations and humor that its shortcomings—the blunt ideas at its core—don't become apparent before several viewings. Somewhere deep down inside, there's a screenplay by Leigh Brackett (The Big Sleep, Rio Bravo); Altman has lost it in his improvisation, but it does give this 1973 film a firm, classical shape that eludes his other work. With Sterling Hayden, Mark Rydell, and Nina Van Pallandt.
Dave Kehr

Here is the trailer.

****

No2 Mulholland Dr. (Lynch, 2001): ICA Cinema, 7pm

Mulholland Dr is my personal favourite of all Lynch movies. An audacious exercise even by the director's standards, a great movie about Hollywood and one that has much more emotional resonance than most of his work.

Here is the trailer.

Throughout August the ICA Cinematheque is hosting a series of Tuesday night screenings exploring the concept of the psychogenic fugue state and its relationship to classical cinema narratives, ranging from the pioneering Technicolor fantasy constructions in The Wizard of Oz to the surreal identity-splitting work of David Lynch.
The psychogenic fugue is a unique form of amnesia in which the subject, when faced with an unbearable traumatic situation, retreats into a fictional narrative, a fantasy of their mind’s creation, to avoid the horrors of reality. Often discussed in relation to psychoanalytic thought, the notion of the fugue state as extended daydream or fantasy construction has a particular resonance with the escapist lure of the cinema experience, where spectators are invited to disassociate from reality and immerse themselves in an audio-visual narrative.
In this season each film consciously holds to light the mechanics of fantasy construction, emphasizing the parallels between these psychological daydreams and the filmmaking process itself.
Each screening will be accompanied by supplementary reading materials and a brief introduction from ICA Film & Cinema Co-ordinator James King that encourage the audience to engage in radical and alternative readings of these established works.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 224: Mon Aug 12

Negatives (Medak, 1968): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.30pm

Here's a curious one, introduced by the director Peter Medak.

The BFI introduction: Attempting to inject drama into their liaisons, jaded couple Theo and Vivien (Peter McEnery and Glenda Jackson, both superb) role play as Edwardian murderer Dr Crippen and his secretary lover. Using costumes from Theo’s antique shop to lend spice to their sex life, mutual resentment reigns. The aggressive Vivien dominates – until ice-cool German photographer Reingard (Diane Cilento) enters the scene. Peter Medak stylishly directs while cult musician Basil Kirchin uses his idiosyncratic talents to provide a memorable score.

Director Peter Medak will introduce this film and stay for a post-screening Q&A together with actor Peter McEnery.

You can get a flavour of the film here.

 

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 223: Sun Aug 11

The Untouchables (De Palma, 1987): Somerset House, 9pm

This Brian De Palma, one of the director's more successful forays into the strictly commercial sector, screens as part of the Somerset House Film 4 Summer Screen season. More details here.

Time Out review:
Time-honoured mayhem in the Windy City, and if there are few set-ups you haven't seen in previous Prohibition movies, it's perhaps because De Palma and scriptwriter David Mamet have settled for the bankability of enduring myth. And boy, it works like the 12-bar blues. The director's pyrotechnical urge is held in check and trusts the tale; the script doesn't dally overmuch on deep psychology; the acting is a treat. Connery's world-weary and pragmatic cop, Malone, steals the show because he's the only point of human identification between the monstrously evil Al Capone (De Niro) and the unloveably upright Eliot Ness (Costner), and when he dies the film has a rocky time recovering. Costner looks like the kid who got a briefcase for Xmas and was pleased, but painfully learns under Malone's tutelage how to fight dirty. De Niro establishes his corner courtesy of a bloody finger in close-up, and unleashes uncontrollable rage to electrifying effect, most notably at the blood-boltered baseball-bat board meeting. The Odessa Steps set piece at the railway station could maybe do with one more angle to shuffle, and the battle at the border bridge diminishes the claustrophobic grip of the corrupt city, but the narrative thunders to its conclusion like a locomotive.
Brian Case

Here's the famous stairway shootout sequence.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 222: Sat Aug 10

Los Angeles Plays Itself (Andersen, 2003): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 3.20pm

This superb video essay plays in The Art of the Essay Film season and also screens on August 15th. More details here.

Chicago Reader review:
This brilliant and often hilarious video essay (2003) by Thom Andersen (Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer) assembles clips from 191 movies set in Los Angeles, juxtaposing their fantasies with the real city as seen by a loyal and well-informed native. That might sound like a slender premise for 169 minutes, but after five viewings I still feel I've only scratched the surface of this epic meditation. Andersen focuses on the city's people and architecture, but his wisecracking discourse is broad enough to encompass a wealth of local folklore, a bittersweet tribute to car culture, a critical history of mass transit in southern California, and a song of nostalgia for lost neighborhoods and lifestyles. Absorbing and revelatory, this is film criticism of the highest order.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here is the trailer.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 221: Fri Aug 9

Silence (Collins, 2012): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.20pm

This London Film Festival hit is on an extended run at BFI Southbank. Tonight's 6.20pm screening will feature a Q&A with the director, Pat Collins. More details here.
 

Here is the BFI Soutbank introduction: A real ‘find’ from last year’s BFI London Film Festival, this mesmerisingly beautiful first fiction feature from documentarist Pat Collins explores the relationships of sound and image, land and language with enormously rewarding results. In what seems a featherweight fiction firmly grounded in reality, the sound-man protagonist (Bhríde) is first found recording trams and traffic in Berlin; almost at once, he’s off on a project back in his native Ireland, trying to find and record locations devoid of man-made noise. But as he wanders the quiet byways of Connemara in springtime, listening to birds and insects, wind and water – not to mention any inquisitive or chatty locals he encounters – he comes to reconsider what it might mean to be ‘quiet’... At once lyrical and droll, meditative yet strangely pacy in its pleasingly meandering journey towards a haunting conclusion, Collins’ film – one of those rarities that really makes us listen – touches lightly but tellingly on a range of related topics to do with place, time, memory, notions of home and, more particularly, Ireland itself, past and present, real and mythical. A film to lose oneself in, a film to cherish.
Geoff Andrew

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 220: Thu Aug 8

No 1 Hell Drivers (Enfield, 1957): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.40pm

This rarely seen film, which screens as part of the Patrick McGoohan season at the BFI, is also being shown on Saturday August 3rd. More details here.

Time Out review:
Energetic and violent trucking thriller marked by the raw, angry edge of the best of blacklist victim Endfield's Hollywood work, and by his appreciation (shared, oddly enough, by fellow exile Joseph Losey) of the markedly out-of-the-mainstream talent of Stanley Baker. Playing an ex-con hired as one of a team of drivers forced to drive at dangerous speeds in rattletrap lorries over rugged roads to meet the daily quota of loads to be delivered (a touch of The Wages of Fear here), Baker further becomes involved in a deadly duel with a sadistic rival (McGoohan) on his way to smashing the haulage company's racket. Baker and Endfield eventually formed their own production company for Zulu.
Paul Taylor

Here are some clips.

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No2 Mommie Dearest (Perry, 1981): Hackney Picturehouse, 7.30pm

This is a screening organised by Amy Grimehouse. More details here.


Chicago Reader review:
In spite of its reputation, and thanks in part to Faye Dunaway's remarkable performance as Joan Crawford, this 1981 adaptation of Christina Crawford's memoir about her driven, abusive mother is arguably too good to qualify as camp, even if it begins (and fitfully proceeds) like a horror film. Director Frank Perry, who collaborated with three others (including producer Frank Yablans) on the script, gives it all a certain crazed conviction. Jonathan Rosenabum

Here's the Amy preview plus a link to THAT scene:

Why not give Joan the respect that she’s entitled to?
A night in celebration of Joan Crawford.
A screening of Mommie Dearest with full quote – scream – drink and wire hanger along.
Prize for the best Joan, cabaret, pin the eyebrows on the Joan, drinking and dancing till late. More to be announced.
Find the boys and the booze at Hackney Attic, 8 August.
And remember….No… wire… hangers. EVER

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 219: Wed Aug 7

The Keep (Mann, 1983): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm

Some of us have been waiting years for this to be shown on the big screen, and in 35mm. Trust the Cigarette Burns film club team to come up trumps. They first showed this movie earlier this year and you can read more details on their Facebook page here.

Forget what you know about Michael Mann's film-making. This is a complete one-off.

Here is the Cigarette Burns introduction:
Screw your VHS.
Sod Laserdisc.
Smash your TV.
And bollocks to streaming.

We got THIRTY FIVE MILLIMETRES of celluloid, jam packed with THE KEEP! Deep within the borders of Romania lie mountains that were once home to folklore of the most terrifying nature, from dragons to werewolves to vampires, creatures of our nightmares have always called these mountains' peaks and passes home.

In Michael Mann's "lost" 2nd feature, a Nazi unit have unwittingly awaken an ancient evil, Molasar. Nestled in his Keep for years, he has risen and is hungry. Ian MacKellen, playing a Jewish theologian, is freed from a concentration camp to help send Molasar back from whence he came.

Cigarette Burns have teamed up with Electric Sheep Magazine to bring a very special and rare screening of a film never released on DVD making it nearly as mythical as Molasar himself.
Come join us as we wander through The Keep on 35mm, the way it's meant to be seen. 


Here is the trailer.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 218: Tue Aug 6

Kiss Me Deadly (Aldrich, 1955):
The Church of London, 71 Leonard St, EC2A, 6.30pm

Little White Lies magazine and MGM HD TV film channel bring a taste of L.A. to London this summer, continuing their great Hollywood Drive season with Robert Aldrich's classic 1950s noir.

Chicago Reader review of Kiss Me Deadly:
'The end of the world, starring Ralph Meeker (at his sleaziest) as Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer (at his most neolithic). Robert Aldrich's 1955 film is in some ways the apotheosis of film noir—it's certainly one of the most extreme examples of the genre, brimming with barely suppressed hysteria and set in a world totally without moral order. Even the credits run upside down. This independently produced low-budget film was a shining example for the New Wave directors—Truffaut, Godard, et al—who found it proof positive that commercial films could accommodate the quirkiest and most personal of visions.'
Dave Kehr

Here is the opening with the amazing credits. The ending is one of Hollywood's greatest.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 217: Mon Aug 5

TAKE YOUR PICK

1 To Live & Die in L.A. (Friedkin, 1985):
The Church of London, 71 Leonard St, EC2A, 6.30pm


Little White Lies magazine and MGM HD TV film channel bring a taste of L.A. to London this summer, starting with William Friedkin's classic 1980s cops and robbers tale.



Time Out review:
'Willem Dafoe is an LA supercrook, forging dollar bills for a city whose sole form of social intercourse resides in the getting, counting, and spending of large sums of money. This is a city (photographed by Robby Müller with the same luminosity he brought to Paris, Texas) where everyone is on the take, and that includes the two FBI agents (Petersen and Pankow) who are out to break Dafoe by any means. It all goes horribly wrong when they decide to pull their own heist in order to secure the necessary funds to stay in hot pursuit. Friedkin plays it as brutal and cynical as he ever did with The French Connection; and this time the car chase takes place on a six-lane freeway at the height of the rush hour, going against the traffic. Today, the play-dirty antics of Popeye Doyle probably look rather dated; God knows what state we will have to get into before all this looks tame.'
Chris Peachment

Watch this brilliant trailer.

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

2 The Pace of Time: In To Fragments at the Roundhouse, Camden 5pm

The Cinematograph film club are hosting a series of events at the Roundhouse in August. (All the details of the various screenings are here). The Pace Of Time comprises a series of events that explore different perspectives on time, designed to coincide with Conrad Shawcross’ installation, Timepiece.

Tonight's film screening involves different uses of time manipulation and fragmentation. The programme shifts from slower films which meditate on immediate surroundings (John Smith’s Leading Light) to the fragmented and jilted (Chris Welsby’s Fforest bay II), to the creative splicing of fragments and instances (The Cut-Ups by William S. Burroughs and Antony Balch). A presentation of transference from slow single focus, to the coexistence of multiple planes of consciousness.

The presence of the past informs our contemporary state. Memory focuses our attention in the present moment; it is fragmented, indistinct and filtered in flux.

PROGRAMME

Rob Gawthrop - Distancing (1979)
John Smith – Leading Light (1975)
David Hall - Phased Time (1974)
Chris Welsby – Fforest bay II (1973)
Rose Lowder - Bouquet 5 & 10 (1995)
Bruce Baillie – Castro Street (1966)
William S. Burroughs and Antony Balch – The Cut-Ups (1967)

All films shown on 16mm.


Projection by Maria Anastassiou
Programme by Ben Pritchard


Here is the Burroughs and Balch film 'The Cut-Ups'

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 216: Sun Aug 4

Heaven's Gate (Cimino, 1980): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.30pm

At last - a chance to see a movie that must rank as one of the most unjustly maligned in cinema history on an extended run from August 2nd to 15th at BFI Southbank. Details here.

"It seems to me, in its original version, among the supreme achievements of the Hollywood cinema."
Robin Wood, Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan

Time Out review:
For all the abuse heaped on it, this is - in its complete version, at least - a majestic and lovingly detailed Western which simultaneously celebrates and undermines the myth of the American frontier. The keynote is touched in the wonderfully choreographed opening evocation of a Harvard graduation in 1870: answering the Dean's ritual address urging graduates to spread culture through contact with the uncultivated, the class valedictorian (Hurt) mockingly replies that they see no need for change in a world 'on the whole well arranged'.

Twenty years later, as Hurt and fellow-graduate Kristofferson become involved in the Johnson County Wars, their troubled consciences suggest that some change in the 'arrangements' might well have been in order. Watching uneasily as the rich cattle barons legally exterminate the poor immigrant farmers who have taken to illegal rustling to feed their starving families, they can only attempt to enforce the law that has become a mockery (Kristofferson) or lapse into soothing alcoholism (Hurt).

Moral compromise on a national scale is in question here, a theme subtly echoed by the strange romantic triangle that lies at the heart of the film: a three-way struggle between the man who has everything (Kristofferson), the man who has nothing (Walken), and the girl (Huppert) who would settle for either provided no fraudulent compromise is asked of her. The ending, strange and dreamlike, blandly turns a blind eye to shut out the atrocities and casuistries we have witnessed, and on which the American dream was founded; not much wonder the American press went on a mass witch-hunt against the film's un-American activities.
Tom Milne

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 215: Sat Aug 3

Flaming Ears (Angela Hans Scheirl, Ursula Pürrer, and Dietmar Schipek, 1991):
Horse Hospital, Bloomsbury, 6.30pm

The weekend of feminist science fiction continues at the popular Horse Hospital arts venue.

Here is the Horse Hospital introduction: A vengeful comic book artist, a red rubber suit wearing alien and a pyromaniac performance artist play out a story of love and revenge in the lesbian populated future city of Ache. This violent and sexual anti-romantic tale takes cues from the early short films of Ursula Pürrer and Angela Hans Schier in its playfulness and provocation. Blown up from super-8, the grainy texture and saturated colours add to its DIY and experimental appeal and heighten the artificiality of this crumbling fantasy world.

“Imagine the film that J.G. Ballard might have made if he’d been born an Austrian dyke.”
B. Ruby Rich, San Francisco Weekly

Review by Marjorie Baumgarten:
Unlike little else that has come before it (except, perhaps, Lizzie Borden's 1983 gem Born in Flames), this 1991, Austrian-made, futuristic, lesbian thriller/romance/science fiction co-direction is in a league of its own. Set in the year 2700, the future portrayed here bears faint resemblance to any present we call our own. The fact that this universe is primarily comprised of lesbians is only one of the ways in which this film creates its overriding sense of unfamiliarity. Then there's the strangeness of the characters themselves, and a host of disorienting narrative and visual techniques that compel the viewer to constantly construct meanings anew. Shot in Super 8 and blown up to 16mm, the resultant graininess and threadbare aesthetics only contribute to Flaming Ears' dislocating effect. 

Friday, 19 July 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 214: Fri Aug 2

Teknolust (Hersham-Leeson, 2002) & Pumzi (Kahiu, 2010): Horse Hospital, Bloomsbury, 7.30pm

A weekend of feminist science fiction at the popular Horse Hospital arts venue.

Here is their introduction to this evening's movies: The inexhaustible and speculative realms of science fiction have traditionally and continue to be an effective and vital arena to play out the various potentials of feminist politics and ideologies, a platform to re-imagine and critique the current structures, norms and gender/identity constructs and lay bare the most fundamental and pervasive of injustices.

“No other genres so actively invite representations of the ultimate goals of feminism: worlds free of sexism, worlds in which women’s contributions (to science) are recognized and valued, worlds in which the diversity of women’s desire and sexuality, and worlds that move beyond gender.”
– Elyce Rae Helford

Club Des Femmes is proud to host an evening of feminist future vision. What will the woman of tomorrow be like? Will technology govern our future? Or Nature? Or will we? We’re offering you the chance to share future visions by two of the world’s most exciting women directors. See Tilda Swinton four times over in Lynn Hershman-Leeson’s Teknolust: a critique of a world where science controls our destiny, and Wanuri Kahiu’s Pumzi: an encouragement to an eco-consciousness now before it’s too late.

Plus, we’re asking you to help create our very own Club Des Femmes’ Futurewoman. Working with filmmaker and artist Lisa Gornick, join us for a night of performative zine-making. Bring your future visions, utopian ideas, texts, images, visions and concepts and we’ll publish an amalgam of the night’s findings of what Club Des Femmes women want for the future. It’s time to make a plan.

TEKNOLUST Director: Lynn Hershman-Leeson. 2002. USA. 85 mins With Tilda Swinton, Jeremy Davies, James Urbaniak

Here is the trailer.

PUMZI Director: Wanuri Kahiu. 2010. South Africa-Kenya. 21 mins With Chantelle Burger, Kudzani Moswela

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 213: Thu Aug 1

Only God Forgives (Winding Refn, 2013): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.45pm

This is going to be one of the most talked-about films of the year. Rex Reed has labelled the latest from Nicholas Winding Refn one of the worst of all-time while others have been ecstatic in their praise. It certainly sounds a movie worth catching and the BFI are showing it tonight in a special preview.

BFI Southbank preview: Fans of ultra-violence won’t be disappointed with this Bangkok-set gangster story, directed by Refn (Drive, Bronson). Julian (Ryan Gosling) runs a Muay Thai boxing club, co-owned by his brother Billy who is murdered by a vengeful father after a particularly violent evening. With his truly chilling mother demanding he take revenge and a sword-wielding police man watching his every move, Julian is caught in a chain of events that will lead him down a luridly lit corridor of bloodshed.

Here is the trailer.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 212: Wed Jul 31

Frances Ha (Baumbach, 2012): Rio Cinema, 4.30pm, 6.45pm & 9pm

One of the most anticipated releases of the year is out on Friday July 26.

Frances, a dance teacher, aims for the sky in many areas of life, but remains stuck on street-level with most. Revolving around a character whose unwaveringly upbeat outlook is sparklingly portrayed by Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach’s low-budget comedy explores the ever-relevant themes of ambition and financial division with fun and flair. With shades of late-1970s Woody Allen, this black-and-white New York-set movie exudes charm, and portrays a generation that’s under-employed, over-educated and with closer relationships to friends than family members or lovers.

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 211: Tue Jul 30

TAKE YOUR PICK

1 Fritz Lang's Mabuse Trilogy -- 12 noon Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922); 2.30pm The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933) and 7.30pm The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (1960):
Swedenborg Hall, 20-21 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TH | 12 noon - 9.30 pm

London writer, filmmaker and 'psychogeogrpaher' Iain Sinclair celebrates his 70th birthday year, with the showing of 70 films, handpicked for their relation to his work. As part of the 70x70 season, which kicked off at the Hackney Picturehouse on 17 July, the Swedenborg Society is delighted to present Fritz Lang's definitive Dr Mabuse trilogy. These screenings will take place in Swedenborg Hall, 'one of London's most atmospheric venues' (The Guardian) and Iain Sinclair will be present to give readings and discuss the films. The Society will also launch the latest volume in the Swedenborg Archive series: Swimming To Heaven by Sinclair.

Timetable:
12.00-4.00         SCREENING: Dr Mabuse: the Gambler
4.00-4.30            Break (with refreshments)
4.30-6.30           SCREENING: The Testament of Dr Mabuse
6.30-7.00            Break (with refreshments)
7.00-7.30           TALK & BOOK LAUNCH: Iain Sinclair/Swimming To Heaven
7.30-9.30            SCREENING: The 1000 Eyes of Dr Mabuse

ADMISSION IS FREE BUT CAPACITY IS LIMITED. Please contact nora@swedenborg.org.ukto book places in advance.

Chicago Reader review of Dr Mabuse: The Gambler:
Fritz Lang's two-part 1922 film about the criminal genius Mabuse, who seems to have most of Weimar Germany under his diabolical control, was widely admired by the surrealists, and it's easy to see why. Lang consistently sacrifices plot and character to absurd situations and disturbing images—the film plays like the stream of a not very pleasant consciousness.
Dave Kehr 

Here is an extract.

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

Chicago Reader review of The Testament of Dr Mabuse:
Fritz Lang left Germany after completing this 1933 film, which continued the story of the master criminal Lang had created for his famous two-part silent Doktor Mabuse, der Spieler. Mabuse has become a protofascist, with a commanding power over other men's minds. With some benefit of hindsight, Lang later characterized the film as an explicit anti-Nazi parable, but its meanings are more general and its points of correspondence not exact. Instead, the movie captures an air of dread, despair, and individual impotence—a political atmosphere that meshed perfectly with Lang's raging paranoia. Nevertheless, the Nazis banned it. In German with subtitles. 
Dave Kehr

Here is the brilliant opening.

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

Chicago Reader review of The Thousand Eyes of Dr Mabuse:
After a long and fruitful career in Hollywood, Fritz Lang returned to Germany in 1960 to make the final chapter in his trilogy about the criminal genius Dr. Mabuse. (The first two films in the series were released in 1922 and 1933.) The Thousand Eyes has the stripped-down, elemental feel of many late masterpieces: all the distractions have been cleared away, and Lang is able to present his concerns with a disarming directness. The comic-book story focuses on the psychopathology of power; around the edges lurk the shadows of paranoia, sexual displacement, and death. The director himself is finally equated with the omniscient Mabuse in one of the first overtly modernist flourishes in cinema.
Dave Kehr

Here is the trailer.

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

Chicago Reader review:
More than a half million people died in 1965 and '66 when the Indonesian military, capitalizing on a brief coup attempt against President Sukarno, decided to exterminate the country's large communist party; the killings were never punished, and many of the perpetrators, who seized victims' property as their own, are still part of the power structure there. For this unique and unforgettable documentary, Joshua Oppenheimer persuaded former executioners to create scenes about their killings and he recorded the process of their staging the vignettes, some of them done in the style of Hollywood movies. These self-serving fantasies would probably seem unbearably perverse if Oppenheimer didn't also provide a close and damning study of the current political climate in Indonesia, where orange-clad paramilitaries still stomp around intimidating people, indoctrinating local children, and raking in the bucks from gambling and smuggling.
JR Jones

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 210: Mon Jul 29

Memento (Nolan, 2000): 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.

Time Out review:
Christopher Nolan's Following was one of the most original British films of the '90s, and this follow-up makes no compromise. It opens with reverse action: a Polaroid photo fading and sliding into the camera, a corpse returned to life, a gun pulled from the head, a bullet sucked into the barrel. The action thereafter plays forwards as usual - with Leonard Shelby (Pearce) out to track down and take revenge on whoever raped and killed his wife - save that the brief narrative chunks flash ever further backwards in time, so that we share Shelby's confused point of view. He suffers from a rare kind of memory loss whereby, while he remembers life before the murder, he's been unable since then to recall anything for more than a few minutes. Hence he's forever forced to fathom afresh everything he sees and hears. The photos he takes for future reference and words he tattoos into his flesh help, but life remains a mysterious, very risky business. This taut, ingenious thriller displays real interest in how perception and memory shape action, identity and, of course, filmic storytelling. Moreover, a plot strand featuring Stephen Tobolowsky even touches the heart. There's grade A work from all concerned, especially Pearce, but in the end this is Nolan's film. And he delivers, with a vengeance.
Geoff Andrew

Here is the trailer.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 209: Sun Jul 28

A Weekend of Anger: the Films of Kenneth Anger (1995-present day)

ICA Cinema, 7pm

Here is the ICA introduction to what promises to be a special event:
We are pleased to welcome seminal Los Angeles-based filmmaker Kenneth Anger, to introduce and discuss his work alongside a rare opportunity to view a comprehensive survey of his practice spanning nearly six decades, from 1940s to the present. Anger will introduce both screenings, the first on Saturday 27 July including works made between 1947 and 1981, the second on Sunday 28 July featuring films made between 1995 and 2013. Following the Sunday screening, Anger will participate in a Q&A lead by ICA Associate Curator of Artists' Moving Image, Steven Cairns, as well as answering questions raised by the audience. 

Sunday screenings:

The Man We Want to Hang, 1995-2002, 14 min
Mouse Heaven, 2004, 11 min
Elliot's Suicide, 2004, 15 min
I'll Be Watching You, 2007, 5 min
My Surfing Lucifer, 2007, 4 min
Death, 2008, 1 min
Ich Will!, 2008, 35 min
Foreplay, 2008, 7 min
Uniform Attraction, 2008, 21 min
Brush of Baphomet, 2009, 7 min
Missoni, 2009, 3 min
Airship, 2012, 5 min
Total duration 3 hours (including 15 minute interval)

Here is Nigel Finch's Arena documentary on his Hollywood Babylon books.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 208: Sat Jul 27

A Weekend of Anger: the Films of Kenneth Anger (1947-1981)
ICA Cinema, 7pm

Here is the ICA introduction to what promises to be a special event:
We are pleased to welcome seminal Los Angeles-based filmmaker Kenneth Anger, to introduce and discuss his work alongside a rare opportunity to view a comprehensive survey of his practice spanning nearly six decades, from 1940s to the present. Anger will introduce both screenings, the first on Saturday 27 July including works made between 1947 and 1981, the second on Sunday 28 July featuring films made between 1995 and 2013. Following the Sunday screening, Anger will participate in a Q&A lead by ICA Associate Curator of Artists' Moving Image, Steven Cairns, as well as answering questions raised by the audience. 

Background from Wikipedia: Kenneth Anger (born Kenneth Wilbur Anglemeyer; February 3, 1927) is an American underground experimental filmmaker, actor and author of two controversial Hollywood Babylon books. Working exclusively in short films, he has produced almost forty works since 1937, nine of which have been grouped together as the "Magick Lantern Cycle", and form the basis of Anger's reputation as one of the most influential independent filmmakers in cinema history. His films variously merge surrealism with homoeroticism and the occult, and have been described as containing "elements of erotica, documentary, psychodrama, and spectacle." Anger himself has been described as "one of America's first openly gay filmmakers, and certainly the first whose work addressed homosexuality in an undisguised, self-implicating manner", and his "role in rendering gay culture visible within American cinema, commercial or otherwise, is impossible to overestimate", with several being released prior to the legalisation of homosexuality in the United States. He has also focused upon occult themes in many of his films, being fascinated by the notorious English occultist Aleister Crowley, and is a follower of Crowley's religion, Thelema.

Tonight's screenings (1947-1981):

Fireworks, 1947, 15 min
Puce Moment, 1949/1970, 6 min
Rabbit's Moon, 1950/71/79, 7 min
Eaux d'Artifice, 1953, 13 min
Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, 1954, 38 min
Scorpio Rising, 1963, 29 min
Kustom Car Kommandos, 1965, 3 min
Invocation of My Demon Brother, 1969, 11 min
Lucifer Rising, 1970-81, 30 min
Total duration 3 hours (including 15 minute interval)

Here is Lucifer Rising

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 207: Fri Jul 26

Dial M For Murder (3D version): (Hitchcock, 1953): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 2.30 & 6.30pm

This 3D re-release is on an extended run at BFI Southbank. Details here.

The master director used 3-D in typically innovative fashion and the screening of this film in that format has created quite a stir when shown in New York in recent years. I wrote about the background to this version of the film here in a Guardian article while the celebrated film academic David Bordwell has written extensively on the 3-D aspects of Dial M For Murder on his blog here.

Chicago Reader review:
'Alfred Hitchcock's 1953 adaptation of Frederick Knott's dinner-theater warhorse about a fading tennis champion (Ray Milland) who arranges the murder of his wife (Grace Kelly). The film is confined almost entirely to a cramped apartment set—a constricted space that takes on a highly expressive quality in the picture's original 3-D version. The screenplay tends to constrain rather than liberate Hitchcock's thematic thrust, but there is much of technical value in his geometric survey of the scene and the elaborate strategies employed to transfer audience sympathy among the four main characters.'
Dave Kehr


There are some 3-D clips on YouTube here.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 206: Thu Jul 25

Joseph Kilián (Jurácek/Schmidt, 1963) & The Sun in a Net (Uher, 1962):
Riverside Studios Cinema, 8pm


Time Out review of Joseph Kilian:
A bizarre, consciously Kafkaesque allegory in which a young man wanders the streets of Prague fruitlessly searching for a man called Joseph Kilián, of whom no one seems to have heard. Passing a state cat-shop, he impulsively hires a cat for the day, only to find, nightmarishly, that the shop is no longer there when he tries to return the cat as required. Wittily poking fun at the personality cult (a huge portrait of Stalin looms over a roomful of frayed agit-prop posters and Cold War slogans), Jurácek and Schmidt scarcely put a foot wrong in evoking the incomprehensible mazes - simultaneously absurd and terrifying - of totalitarian bureaucracy. 
Tom Milne

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Riverside introduction to The Sun in a Net:
Štefan Uher's exquisite, groundbreaking feature is consistently ranked amongst the greatest films in the history of Slovak cinema and is cited as the film that kick-started the whole 'Czechoslovak New Wave' movement. Bringing to the screen a number of hitherto unacceptable social and political themes, the film is a complex interplay of sunlight and darkness, sound and silence, truth and lies.

'It has the vivacity and love of life that we found in the early films of Truffaut, for example. The only mystery is why has it been unknown outside Czechoslovakia for almost half a century?'
- Senses of Cinema


Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 205: Wed Jul 24

Rat-Trap (Gopalakrishnan, 1982): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.20pm

This landmark film is screening as part of the London Indian Film Festival. Here are all the details.

Time Out review:
A middle-aged rural landowner, who has never had to do a thing for himself, loses the female relatives who wait on him, one after another, and watches helplessly as his estate, already ravaged by thefts and mismanagement, falls into decay. Not a fresh subject, but the treatment is extraordinary: using rats as his governing metaphor, Gopalakrishnan constructs his film like a cinematic rondo, making every composition and every camera movement count. 
Tony Rayns

Here is the opening of the movie.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 204: Tue Jul 23

Bad Lieutenant (Herzog, 2008): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.30pm

This screens as part of the Werner Herzog season and is also being shown on July 25th. More details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Abel Ferrara's cult favorite Bad Lieutenant (1992) was a Scorsese-style exercise in macho histrionics and tortured Catholicism; this Werner Herzog drama plays more like a dark comedy, powerfully alive to the relaxed morality and hothouse culture of its title town. Taking over for Harvey Keitel, Nicolas Cage plays a different cop but with the same weakness for sex, drugs, and gambling; after a family of Senegalese immigrants is massacred in a drug-turf dispute, he swings into action. The director is particularly fascinated by the reptiles (snakes, alligators, iguanas) that are part of the landscape, and Cage, stoop-shouldered from a back injury and saucer-eyed from his chemical intake, is pretty damn funny. The sterling cast includes Val Kilmer, Eva Mendes, Fairuza Balk, Jennifer Coolidge, Brad Dourif, Michael Shannon, and Irma P. Hall
JR Jones

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 203: Mon Jul 22

The Big Red One (Fuller, 1980): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 5.50pm

This film is being shown in the Passport to Cinema season and will be introduced tonight by Dominic Power. The movie also screens at BFI Southbank on July 28th and 30th. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
A heroic effort by critic Richard Schickel to reconstruct Samuel Fuller's most ambitious feature--a semiautobiographical account of his own fighting unit during World War II, severely truncated by distributors when first released (in 1980). This isn't a director's cut, but it's 50 minutes longer than the original release, with 15 previously missing scenes and 23 extensions of existing scenes supplied from surviving footage, with Fuller's script and notes used as guidelines. Starring Lee Marvin, Mark Hamill, Robert Carradine, and Bobby Di Cicco as well as Stephane Audran and Christa Lang (with a cameo by Fuller himself), this multifaceted, earthy, and philosophical reflection on war runs the gamut from realism to surrealism. What it lacks in cohesion it more than makes up for in comprehensiveness, as it follows Fuller's combat experience from North Africa to Sicily, France, Belgium, Germany, and Czechoslovakia. It's a grand-style, idiosyncratic war epic, with wonderful poetic ideas, intense emotions, and haunting images rich in metaphysical portent. Packed with energy and observation, it is full of unforgettable, spellbinding moments.
Jonathan Rosenabum

Here is the trailer.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 202: Sun Jul 21

Pierrot Le Fou (Godard,1965) & Bande a Part (Godard, 1964):
Riverside Cinema, 3pm & 5.15pm

When Pierrot Le Fou, which will surely come to be seen as one of Jean-Luc Godard's finest, was re-released in 1989 after many years out of circulation, critic Jonathan Rosenbaum had this to say in an article in Chicago Reader : "Looking at Pierrot Le Fou again almost a quarter of a century after it was made, 20 years after its initial U.S. release, is a bit like visiting another planet; it’s an explosion of color, sound, music, passion, violence, and wit that illustrates what used to be regarded as cinema."

It's impossible to give a swift synopsis for Pierrot Le Fou in which Jean Paul Belmondo, ostensibly escaping stifling domesticity, and Anna Karina, fleeing a group of gangsters, depart Paris for the south of France suffice to say that it is brimming with ideas and scenes of extraordinary complexity. My abiding memories of seeing this the first time was of the vitality and colour - I was reminded when viewing it again last year that this was also a caustic commentary by the director on his relationship with Karina. Still, a huge treat and a film you will not forget in a hurry.

If I had to pick one excerpt it would be
this one in which fellow director Sam Fuller is asked what is the meaning of cinema: "Film is like a battleground", recounts the American filmmaker. "Love, hate, action, violence, death. In one word: emotion." 

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Chicago Reader review of Bande a Part:
A gangster story, sort of, by Jean-Luc Godard, who supposedly told his backers that he was going to make a sequel to Breathless and then delivered this mix of musical comedy, slapstick, violence, and incidental observations on politics and philosophy. Claude Brasseur, Sami Frey, and Anna Karina make fairly inept burglars, but they do a wonderful version of the “Steam Heat” number from Stanley Donen's The Pajama Game. This 1964 feature remains one of Godard's most appealing and underrated films, relatively relaxed and strangely optimistic.
Dave Kehr

Here is the trailer.


Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 201: Sat Jul 20

Forbidden Zone (Elfman, 1982): Rio Cinema, 11.30pm

This is the latest in the excellent midnight movies slot at the Rio. More details here.

SFX website review:
Sometimes, as a reviewer, when you read back your notes, it’s almost a shame to chisel them down into coherent sentences. In fact… why bother?

“Big bam boom”. Vomit in lap. Honking noses. Bald men, musical grunts. Naked woman on a spit. League Of Gentlemen nostrils. Schoolkid pimp shoot-out. Terry Gilliam intestines. Unnecessary boobage. Human chandelier. Wobbling buttocks. Yiddish cabaret. Random gorilla. Geekboy pathos. Talking chickens. Jokeshop beards. Dog-humping oblivious women. Electrocution by vibrator. Singing zombies. Frog-headed man kicked in the nads.

Get the idea? Shot in black and white, this nutzoid musical freak-out was directed by Richard Elfman and scored by his brother Danny – now Tim Burton’s favoured composer. At the time, both were members of a performance troupe called The Mystic Knights Of Oingo Boingo. Transposing their sensibilities to celluloid with no thought of market or profit, they birthed this hysterical cult oddity.

The story? Okay… a family of freaks has a portal to the sixth dimension in their basement. The daughter goes through and meets the vertically-challenged King Fausto (Fantasy Island star Hervé Villechaize), who decides to make her a concubine. The jealous Queen captures and tortures the girl, but… oh, fuggedaboutit. Plot, schmot. It’s all about the insane spectacle.

You could toss definitions at this thing all day and never hit the bullseye. It’s Frank Zappa doing music hall. It’s a funhouse in a funny farm. It’s an MGM musical shot by depraved junkies. It’s Tiswas directed by the unquiet spirit of Ed Wood. It’s a punk rock Wizard Of Oz.  Mixing ‘30s jazz with German Expressionism and the Three Stooges with performance art, it’s camp, low-rent, crass and… utterly irresistible, actually.
Ian Berriman

Here is the famous Witch's Egg scene.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 200: Fri Jul 19

Roman Holiday (Wyler, 1953): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.20pm & NFT2, 8.30pm

This film starts an extended run at the cinema. More details here.

Time Out review:
This has the hallmarks of a Billy Wilder picture - Americans abroad, masquerades leading to moral transformation - and Wilder would doubtless have turned it into a blazing masterpiece. Wyler's style was not particularly suited to comedy - the film is a little long, a little heavy at times, the spontaneity a little over-rehearsed - and he simply makes a wonderfully enjoyable movie. Hepburn is the Princess bored with protocol who goes AWOL in Rome; Peck (Holden would have been better, edgier) is the American journalist who has the scoop fall into his lap; and Albert (the best performance) is the photographer who has to snap all of Hepburn's un-royal escapades. This sort of thing was churned out by Lubitsch in the '30s, on the Paramount back-lot; Wyler went on location, and in 1953 that was a real eye-opener, Hollywood's answer to neo-realism. The movie remains a great tonic.
Adrian Turner

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 199: Thu Jul 18

Troll 2 (Fragasso, 1990): Prince Charles Cinema, 7.10pm

This film is followed by the documentary Best Worst Movie on the Troll 2 phenomenon.

Here's the Prince Charles introduction: Following their SELL OUT performance back in February, TROLL 2 & BEST WORST MOVIE are back at The PCC for a second helping of Nilbog good-badness. The original "best worst film" of all time, TROLL 2, will again be screened alongside it's surprisingly excellent counterpart, BEST WORST MOVIE, making this the best worst movie night you're ever likely to see. The evening will also include: Free Double Decker Bologna Sandwiches, Nilbog Milk served at the Bar, Corn On The Cob & a raffle draw to win an original TROLL 2 VHS cassette.

Chicago Reader review:
A leading candidate for worst movie ever made, this cheapo horror flick by Claudio Fragasso was originally called “Goblins,” but when it went straight to video in 1990, it was repackaged as a sequel to the earlier and completely unrelated Troll (1986). The clumsy acting, laughable effects, and idiotic plot (marauding forest goblins try to turn a vacationing family into edible green goo) have won the movie a cult following whose believers insist it's so bad it's good. That may be so—there are certainly some derisive laughs to be had here—but life is short, and I can think of a lot more movies so good they're good. The new documentary Best Worst Movie examines the Troll 2 phenomenon and reveals what became of the no-name actors unlucky enough to have starred in the legendary turkey.
JR Jones

Here is the trailer.