Sunday, 15 September 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 293: Sun Oct 20

Locke (Knight, 2013): Vue 7, Leicester Square, 9pm


57th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (9-20 October 2013) DAY 12

Every day (from October 9 to October 20) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is the information you need to get those standby tickets.

LFF introduction:
Charged with the responsibility of ensuring the sound foundations of huge architectural constructions, structural engineer Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is as solid as the concrete that he pours for a living. For ten years he has built a reputation as a highly respected professional and as a fiercely loved father and husband. On the eve of a career-crowning moment, we follow Ivan’s journey driving from Wales to London, and see how one mistake has caused his hitherto firmly focused and controlled life to slowly and completely fall apart. Both Ivan’s brute determination to regain control over his life and his stubborn refusal to engage fully with the emotional reality, are combined perfectly in Hardy’s taut performance. Steven Knight’s direction, too, is as resolutely spartan as his central character. Shot in its entirety over eight days, and never leaving the interior of the car, Knight’s film nevertheless succeeds in creating a gripping atmosphere of tightly wound tension.
Jemma Desai

Here (and above) is an excerpt.

This film also screens on Friday 18th at OWE1 and Saturday 19th at Ritzy Cinema. Details here.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 292: Sat Oct 19

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


57th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (9-20 October 2013) DAY 11

Every day (from October 9 to October 20) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is the information you need to get those standby tickets.

I have written a feature about the drama both on and off the screen involving this brilliant movie here at the Guardian Film website.

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

This film also screens on 16th October at Vue 7. Details here.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 291: Fri Oct 18

 Stranger by the Lake (Guiraudie, 2013): Odeon West End 2, 9pm



57th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (9-20 October 2013) DAY 10

Every day (from October 9 to October 20) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is the information you need to get those standby tickets.

Time Out review:
An idyllic gay cruising spot in rural France provides the backdrop for Alain Guiraudie’s mesmerizing mix of explicit same-sex ethnography and old-school Hitchcockian suspense. Our lead is the boyishly handsome Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps), who spends several languid summer days lounging around a lakeside beach populated by men of all shapes and sizes. He’s most attracted to the muscular, mustachioed Michel (Christophe Paou), who has Franck all but proposing on bended knee after a day of sexual frolic. But could this sinewy Adonis actually be a murderer? With its graphically unsimulated couplings, rigorously composed widescreen frames, eerily lush landscapes and empathic understanding of gay culture in all its multifaceted shades, the film feels like a queer-cinema landmark.
Keith Uhlich


Here (and above) is the trailer.

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This was the original choice but reports have been lukewarm . . .

Grand Piano (Mira, 2013): Vue Cinema 7, Leicester Square, 9pm



57th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (9-20 October 2013) DAY 10

Every day (from October 9 to October 20) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is the information you need to get those standby tickets.

LFF introduction: 
After a five year absence from the stage, famed classical pianist Tom Selznik (Elijah Wood) prepares for a highly anticipated return to the spotlight. Already crippled with stage fright, Tom’s performance takes a sinister turn when he discovers a threatening note scrawled on his music sheet. Soon, Tom realises that he is being watched by a madman with a keen ear for music and must now play the best concert of his life, as if he hits a wrong note, both he and his wife will be killed. From its delightfully outlandish starting point, Eugenio Mira’s thriller is as efficient in its storytelling as it is inventive in execution. With the occasional nod to Hitchcock, not to mention a fondness for Dario Argento and all things giallo, Grand Piano is overflowing with dark humour and visual trickery. An exercise in sustained tension that makes piano playing feel as exciting as a high-speed car chase.
Michael Blyth

Here (and above) is an interview with star Elijah Wood.

The film also screens on Tue 15th at the Ritzy Cinema. Details here.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 290: Thu Oct 17

Gloria (Lelio, 2012): Odeon West End 1, 8.30pm


57th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (9-20 October 2013) DAY 9

Every day (from October 9 to October 20) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is the information you need to get those standby tickets.

Hollywood Reporter review:
It’s hard to imagine anyone with a heart and a brain not responding to the quiet delights and stunning intimacy of Chilean director Sebastian Lelio’s account of the personal evolution of a 58-year-old divorcee, played with scrupulous honesty and intelligence by the wonderful Paulina GarciaA large part of the cumulative joy of this movie is considering all the ways in which the story might have been mishandled. Midlife sexual desire, second-chance romance, the hunger for companionship, the challenging path toward self-reliance -- these are all potential minefields ready to set off explosions of mawkish cliché. But Gloria is a work of maturity, depth and emotional insight. There’s not a single false note here to push the uplifting empowerment or resilience angles, or the conclusion that having a man is not a requirement in order to feel complete. Yet those nonstrident feminist themes emerge organically, without the need to be articulated.
David Rooney

Here (and above) is the trailer.

This film also screens on Sun 20th at BFI Southbank, NFT1. Here are the details.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 289: Wed Oct 16

Night Moves (Reichardt, 2013): Vue5, Leicester Square, 3pm


57th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (9-20 October 2013) DAY 8

Every day (from October 9 to October 20) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is the information you need to get those standby tickets.

LFF introduction:
Kelly Reichardt follows Meek’s Cutoff, her elegiac re-visioning of the American Western, with another compelling and inventive take on genre form. In this taut political thriller, radical environmentalist Josh (Jesse Eisenberg) and society drop-out Dena (Dakota Fanning) drive halfway across Oregon and meet with ex-marine Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard) to execute their meticulously planned act of eco-terrorism. Following their clandestine operation, they separate and resume their regular lives, but the media frenzy that follows reveals the unintended consequences of their actions. Josh, who lives and works on a communal organic farm, becomes increasingly paranoid, worried that the intensity of Dena’s emotional response to the situation will expose them. Reichardt’s cinematic lyricism is always laced with astute observation about politics, gender and class. In this urgent and absorbing film she amplifies the political, making it central to the narrative thrust, but she remains just as interested in the interiority of her characters. The intended outcome of their enterprise is never illuminated or examined. The focus is on why each individual took action and how their original motivation effects their reaction when things go wrong. The film’s stealthy, provocative central question then becomes: what ignites protest and is it ever truly selfless?
Clare Stewart

Here (and above) is the trailer.

This film also screens on 15th Oct at OWE2 and 17th Oct at BFI Southbank. Details here.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 288: Tue Oct 15

Abuse of Weakness (Breillat, 2013): Odeon West End Two, 12.30pm


57th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (9-20 October 2013) DAY 7

Every day (from October 9 to October 20) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is the information you need to get those standby tickets.

LFF introduction: 
We expect Catherine Breillat’s films to be confrontational, but Abuse of Weakness is one of her most compelling to date, and arguably her most personal. Isabelle Huppert plays director and author Maud who, following a stroke that leaves her partly paralysed, chooses an unlikely lead actor for her next project – Vilko Piran (Kool Shen), an inveterate con man turned literary star. While their film collaboration is slow to materialise, the pair’s relationship becomes a fraught battle for control as Maud finds herself in thrall to Vilko, writing endless cheques to fund his lifestyle. ‘Abuse of Weakness’ is a legal term, but Breillat questions the real meaning of the phrase, leaving the viewer to determine whether Maud truly is weak or whether the exploitation she willingly undergoes is her way of exercising power and control. What makes the story especially charged is the fact that similar events happened to Breillat herself; indeed, this is her second treatment of the episode, following her autobiographical book of 2009. Helping her cast a pitiless searchlight on her own/Maud’s complicity in her ruin is Isabelle Huppert’s mesmerising performance, which – while uncannily close to the real Breillat – transcends impersonation to become a fearless study in will and perversity. In this searching and soberly executed drama, rapper turned actor Kool Shen offers unnerving support as Vilko, the user who’s also, we increasingly suspect, the used.
Jonathan Romney

Here (and above) is an excerpt.

This film also screens on Oct 14th at OWE2 and Oct 17th at Cine Lumiere. Details here

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 287: Mon Oct 14

Under The Skin (Glazer, 2013): Odeon West End 2, 12.30pm


57th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (9-20 October 2013) DAY 6

Every day (from October 9 to October 20) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is the information you need to get those standby tickets.

Time Out review:
ET landed in the cosy American suburbs and wanted to go home. Now Scarlett Johansson – or something that looks like her – lands in modern Glasgow and thinks about sticking around in Jonathan Glazer’s creepy, mysterious and bold ‘Under the Skin’. One can only guess that the weather is beyond dire on her side of the galaxy. The film is an adaptation of Michel Faber’s 2000 novel and the first in nearly a decade from the director of ‘Sexy Beast’ and ‘Birth’. It’s an intoxicating marvel, strange and sublime: it combines sci-fi ideas, gloriously unusual special effects and a sharp atmosphere of horror with the everyday mundanity of a woman driving about rainy Scotland in a battered transit van.
Dave Calhoun

Here (and above) is the trailer.

This film also screens on Sunday 13th at Odeon West End 2 at 6pm. Details here.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 286: Sun Oct 13

A Touch of Sin (Zhangke, 2013): Renoir Cinema, 8.30pm


57th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (9-20 October 2013) DAY 5

Every day (from October 9 to October 20) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is the information you need to get those standby tickets.

LFF introduction:
Jia Zhangke lives in interesting times. A Touch of Sin is a virtual ‘state of the nation’ report on China in 2013 inspired by tweets about small, local incidents which escalated into rage, violence and even murder. Across four skilfully interlinked stories, which traverse the country from north to south and back again, Jia presents a range of indelible characters: an ex-miner enraged by corruption and profiteering, a man who kills and steals to stave off boredom, a woman who stabs her would-be rapist and a young kid drifting through the foreign-owned factories and nightclubs of the south. As the title suggests, the film pays dues to King Hu and other wuxia directors who explored earlier times when Chinese society had no adequate rule of law. Jia sees a present-day society in which violence seems almost endemic, and dares to ask: what is the country coming to?
Tony Rayns

Here (and above) is the trailer. 

This film also screens on Fri 11th at Odeon West End 1 at 8.45pm. Details here.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 285: Sat Oct 12

Model Shop (Demy, 1969): Odeon West End 1, Leicester Square, 3.30pm


57th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (9-20 October 2013) DAY 4

Every day (from October 9 to October 20) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is the information you need to get those standby tickets.

Time Out review:
Demy's only - and underrated - American film may lack the fairytale charm of his finest French work, but the bitter-sweet delicacy of tone and acute feeling for place are at once familiar. Aimée's Lola, abandoned by her lover Michel, has now turned up in LA where, older and sadder, she works in a seedy photographer's shop, and brings brief respite to a disenchanted young drifter (Lockwood) with whom she has a one night stand. Unlike Antonioni with Zabriskie Point, Demy never even tries to deal with the malaise afflicting American youth in the '60s, but gives us yet another (relatively plotless) tale of transient happiness and love lost. It's also one of the great movies about LA, shown for once as a ramshackle, rootless sprawl, where movement on the freeways (accompanied by the sounds of West Coast band Spirit) is seemingly endless.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is an extract.

This film also screens on Monday 14th at 9pm at BFI Southbank, NFT3. Details here.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 284: Fri Oct 11

Norte, the End of History (Diaz, 2013): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 12.45pm


57th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (9-20 October 2013) DAY 3

Every day (from October 9 to October 20) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is the information you need to get those standby tickets.

LFF introduction:
The films of Filipino Lav Diaz – 12 features to date – are one of the glories of contemporary cinema, but rarely if ever screened in the UK thanks in part to their epic durations: anything up to 11 hours. Diaz´s latest masterpiece weighs in at a relatively user-friendly four hours but more than earns every second of its screen time, as ecstatic critical reactions in the wake of its Cannes screenings testify. Diaz once again develops his longstanding engagement with Dostoevsky through an allegorically tinged tale of a nihilistic law student Fabian (a magnificent Sid Lucero), whose murder of a moneylender and her daughter prompts not only his own downfall, but the incarceration of a gentle family man, who mistakenly takes the rap. Spellbinding deep-focus colour imagery and a seemingly effortless binding of intimate detail with epic sweep make this one of the absolute must-sees of the Festival.
Kieron Corless

Here (and above) is the trailer.

This film also screens at BFI Southbank Studio on Sun 13th at 6pm. Details here.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 283: Thu Oct 10

The Lusty Men (Ray, 1952): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.15pm



57th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (9-20 October 2013) DAY 2

Every day (from October 9 to October 20) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is the information you need to get those standby tickets.

Chicago Reader review:
A masterpiece by Nicholas Ray—perhaps the most melancholy and reflective of his films (1952). This modern-dress western centers on Ray's perennial themes of disaffection and self-destruction: Arthur Kennedy is a young rodeo rider, eager for quick fame and easy money; Robert Mitchum is his older friend, a veteran who's been there and knows better. Working with the great cinematographer Lee Garmes, Ray creates an unstable atmosphere of dust and despair—trailer camps and broken-down ranches—that expresses the contradictory impulses of his characters: a lust for freedom balanced by a quest for security. With Susan Hayward, superb as Kennedy's wife.
Dave Kehr

Here is the trailer.

This film also screens on Mon 14th at 1.15pm at NFT3. Details here

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 282: Wed Oct 9

Story of My Death (Serra, 2013): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6pm*


57th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (9-20 October 2013) DAY 1

Every day (from October 9 to October 20) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is the information you need to get those standby tickets.

LFF introduction: 
Catalan maverick Albert Serra provides a bold reworking of the conventions of historical drama in the imagined meeting between Dracula and Casanova that offers the premise for Story of My Death. Casanova, as envisaged by Serra is an ageing Marquis (Vicenç Altaió) who oozes a charged sexuality and rational sensibility. The Count Dracula (Eliseu Huertas) embodies a more violent and dangerous new world. Story of My Death is a film about a society in transition with the look of the film knowingly evoking paintings of the period. Beguiling in its audacity and its enactment of ideological positions, the film has a palpable erotic charge and the exquisite attention to composition we have come to expect from Serra’s work. Winner of the Golden Leopard award at Locarno and edited from 400 hours of film, the film presents a playful contemplation of the journey from the Enlightenment to the era of Romanticism.
Maria Delgado

Here is an extract from Story of My Death

*This film also screens on Friday 11th (2.45pm, Vue7, Leicester Square)

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 281: Tue Oct 8

Key film studies scholars on 'What's New with Jean Renoir': BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.10pm


The BFI introduction: This event replaces the previously scheduled talk “What’s Wrong with Jean Renoir?” which V F Perkins is unfortunately no longer able to deliver, due to unforeseen circumstances.

Kings College London host a special roundtable event, gathering some of best scholars on Jean Renoir working today to discuss the latest currents of thought on one of cinema’s greatest directors. Ginette Vincendeau and Alistair Philips - editors of A Companion to Jean Renoir, published by Wiley-Blackwell earlier this year – will be joined by Julian Jackson (Queen Mary, University of London), Keith Reader (University of Glasgow) and Martin O'Shaughnessy (Nottingham Trent). We hope to also welcome VF Perkins to the discussion.


Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 280: Mon Oct 7


The Pervert's Guide to Ideology (Fiennes, 2012): Across London


Starting from the provocative premise that political and commercial regimes regard us as 'subjects of pleasure', controlling us by offering us enjoyment, director Sophie Fiennes and charismatic philosopher Slavoj Žižek repeat the formula of their 2006 collaboration, The Pervert's Guide to Cinema.
The quirky, genial Žižek employs cleverly chosen clips from a huge variety of movies - including Brazil, M*A*S*H, The Sound of Music, and Brief Encounter - to illustrate his fascinating monologue, frequently appearing on sets and in costumes which replicate scenes from the films in question. For example, dressed as a chubbier, bearded Travis Bickle, he expounds the darker subtexts of Taxi Driver's plot from within the anti-hero's grotty apartment. This entertaining approach helps to ensure that what might otherwise have been a dense, even daunting intellectual challenge is actually an engaging and unexpected delight.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

 

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 279: Sun Oct 6

The Game (Fincher, 1997) and Birth (Glazer, 2004): ICA Cinema, 4pm


This is the first screening from the Badlands Film Collective. There is some information here. More details to come.

Time Out review of The Game:
San Francisco. Ruthless financier Nicholas Van Orton (Douglas) is a control freak who no longer knows the meaning of fun or friendship. When his estranged, addictive brother Conrad (Penn) enrolls him with Consumer Recreation Services for his birthday, his curiosity's aroused by the offer of a mysterious 'game' tailored to the needs of each participant. At first his application is rejected, but when, on TV, a newscaster starts talking directly to him, Nicholas realises the game's already begun and that his actions are being monitored and manipulated. As his privacy is progressively invaded and the situations in which he finds himself become ever more life-threatening, Van Orton tries to pull out of the game, but too late. Though the film's 'message' about complacency transformed by chaos and uncertainty is hackneyed, the alarming twists of the witty, ingenious script (by John Brancato and Michael Ferris) hold the attention throughout.
Geoff Andrew

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Time out review of Birth:

Life in Upper Manhattan is sweet for Anna (Nicole Kidman), a smart, professional thirtysomething with a gentle manner and breezy take on life. Ten years have passed since the death of her first husband, Sean, and she has finally capitulated and agreed to marry the distinctly agreeable, if a little dull, Joseph (Danny Huston). Joseph is a scion of a well-heeled New York family, most of whom, unusually, live together in a sprawling, old-fashioned apartment lorded over by the acid-tongued but likeable Eleanor (Lauren Bacall), a grand old matriarch of the metropolis.

Then comes an unexpected knock on the door, a deus ex machina that delivers to them a stranger: a ten-year-old boy called Sean (Cameron Bright) who claims to be the reincarnation of Anna’s dead husband. Unsurprisingly, the plot then thickens.

If this sounds like paranormal, sci-fi garbage, don’t be deterred. Jonathan Glazer has in fact crafted an intoxicating tale that explores notions of disruption, grief, lost love and fear of the future. Like his debut film ‘Sexy Beast’, the former commercials wunderkind shows himself to be a master of mood and place. In ‘Sexy Beast’, it was the ex-pat, ex-crim Spanish lifestyle that was rudely punctured by Ben Kingsley’s sudden arrival. Here, it’s the rarified world of chamber music, opera and family dinner parties that’s spoilt by a grubby little kid from downtown.
Dave Calhoun

Here (and above) is the trailer for The Game.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 278: Sat Oct 5

A Midnight Masterclass in Film with Colin MacCabe: Gate Notting Hill, 11pm


This looks fascinating. A masterclass in film in the 'How To' season with Colin McCabe.

Here is the cinema's introduction, more details of which you can find here: A midnight masterclass on some of the greatest moments in world cinema, explaining in close-up what makes each clip so perfect. The shot, the cut, the grammar of film: this unique take on the finest of all modern entertainments will be essential viewing.


Film is the greatest of contemporary arts and, even in the digital age, our most popular source of entertainment. Since the end of the First World War it has provided our most important fictions, about individuals and society, as well as faithfully documenting our times: no previous era has been so multifarious; no previous era has been recorded as it was being lived. This evening class will help you to understand better this unprecedented medium of light and sound. The majority of the class will focus on how the great directors create a particular the world for the spectator, using camera angle, the shot, and rhythm, the cut. We will start with Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil and move through examples from Roman Polanski’s Chinatown and Terence Davies’s Distant Voices/Still Lives before looking at contemporary Hollywood David Fincher’s The Social Network and the current master of European cinema Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon. The final part of the class will consider cinema as the great international medium ­ the only truly global art which offers us unparalleled insight into other cultures and societies.


Colin MacCabe is Distinguished Professor of English and Film at the University of Pittsburgh. He is a giant in the fields of film and literary modernism, with his book James Joyce and the Revolution of the Word now considered a classic. In the seventies he was a leading figure on the Screen editorial board; in the eighties he was Head of Production at the British Film Institute, producing films like Derek Jarman’s Caravaggio and Terence Davies’s The Long Day Closes. In the nineties he produced a series on The Century of Cinema working with directors like Scorsese, Godard, Oshima and Frears. Since 2000 he has worked with Isaac Julien and Chris Marker, as well as setting up the Derek Jarman Lab teaching students in the humanities how to think with images. His most recent venture is a collaboration with the Lab and Tilda Swinton to make a series of four films on John Berger. The first of these films, Ways of Listening, premieres at the Telluride Film Festival this August.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 277: Fri Oct 4

Riddles of the Sphinx (Mulvey/Wollen, 1977): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6pm



Time Out review:
Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen's second film places the simple story of a mother/child relationship in the wholly unexpected context of the myth of Oedipus' encounter with the Sphinx; its achievement is to make that context seem both logical and necessary. First off, the story: a broken marriage, an over-possessive mother, a growing awareness of feminist issues, a close female friend, and a newly questioning spirit of independence. Then, underpinning it, the myth, which introduces a set of basic questions about the female unconscious. The mixture of feminist politics and Freudian theory would be enough in itself to make the film unusually interesting, but various other elements make it actively compelling: the beautiful, hypnotic score by Mike Ratledge, the tantalising blend of visual, aural and literary narration in the telling of the story, and the firm intelligence that informs the film's unique and seductive overall structure.
Tony Rayns

Here is the BFI trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 276: Thu Oct 3

Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, 1948): Phoenix Cinema, 11am


Chicago Reader review:
Though open to criticism for its obsession with the brutality of modern life, this 1948 film by Vittorio De Sica is undeniably the most important neorealist film after Rossellini's Open City. As a man searches for the stolen bicycle that means the difference between work and unemployment, De Sica explores the terrible dehumanization of postwar life—and finds that loneliness is its unifying theme.
Don Druker

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 275: Wed Oct 2

London (Keiller, 1994): Barbican Cinema, 6.30pm


This is part of the Urban Wandering season at the Barbican. Here is the Barbican's introduction: A unique film equal parts fiction and documentary, London captures the capital in a portrait of sly wit and surreal insight, at a moment of disenchantment before Cool Britannia and Tate Modern.

The film’s two wandering flâneurs see Rimbaud in Canary Wharf, and egalitarianism in the Routemaster bus, as they meander, on foot and in the imagination, through tableaux of a decaying city that never had the revolution it deserved. In this vital piece of cinema from ex-architect Keiller, 18th century romanticism collides with contemporary urban alienation, in an experimental travelogue narrated by Paul Scofield.

UK 1994 Dir. Patrick Keiller 85 min.

+ Q&A with director Patrick Keiller
+
Driftwood
The capital and capitalism collide in celebrated artists Relph and Payne’s first film – an acerbic musing on “a city so assured of its brilliance that it constantly forgets to do anything noteworthy,” at the fin-de-siècle. Described by critic Jerry Saltz as “a love song to their native London… sung in the key of spleen,” this short film offers a generational response to Keiller’s London, in its charting of the city’s continuation of disorderly ‘pack-donkey’ urban chaos.

UK1999 Dirs. Oliver Payne and Nick Relph 23 min.

Here (and above) you can dip into this unique film.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 274: Tue Oct 1

Bronco Bullfrog (Platts-Mills, 1970): Barbican Cinema, 6pm


Time Out review:
You can just about read, scrawled on the wall of a shed in this buoyant and funny British film from 1969, ‘Barny (sic) is a big prick’, which gives you some idea of the sort of kids young director Barney Platts-Mills was working with when he filmed this story of teenage love and alienation on the streets of the old East End. Bronco Bullfrog (Sam Shepherd) is a lonely wide boy fresh out of borstal, but the film’s anti-hero is Del (Del Walker), a young welder who starts doing ‘jobs’ with Bronco at the same time as dating nervous 15-year-old Irene (Anne Gooding) against the wishes of her sourpuss mum. All this change sends Del into a headspin: what’s a boy to do with his life? None of the actors were professional (although some came from Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop), and there’s a lovely naturalism to the chat and romance, even if some scenes come across as a bit shaky. Most strikingly, and unlike other better-known realist films of the time, there’s nothing precious about its attitude to the working class: the spirit of its actors runs right through it.
Dave Calhoun

This film is part of the 70x70 season. London writer, filmmaker and 'psychogeographer' Iain Sinclair celebrates his 70th birthday year, with the showing of 70 films, handpicked for their association with his work and shown in venues all over London. Here is a full list of the excellent programme. 

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 273: Mon Sep 30

Zelig (Allen, 1983): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.10pm


This movie is part of the Passport to Cinema season and is also being shown on Sept 11th. Details here. Tonight's screening is introduced by Richard Combs.

Time Out review:
Those who dismiss Woody Allen as a neurotic narcissist out of touch with reality need to confront 1983’s ‘Zelig’. Perhaps the most complex, unusual film in an already diverse CV, it remains his most culturally and politically aware work, its relevance increasing with each passing year. Allen stars as the titular ‘human chameleon’ who can alter his appearance to ‘become’ any man he encounters, and whose discovery prompts headlines, psychological studies and dance crazes. Flawlessly constructed by Allen and genius cinematographer Gordon Willis as a back-to-the-’30s mock-doc, the film misses no opportunity to pinpoint the resonances inherent in its idea: Zelig’s desire for conformity leads him first to the Catholic Church, then the Nazi Party. The comedy tends to the smirk-inducing rather than the laugh-out-loud, and the second half wanders somewhat, but ‘Zelig’ is a strong contender for Allen’s most fascinating film.
Tom Huddleston

Here (and above) is the opening of the film.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 272: Sun Sep 29

The Sandwich Man (Hartford-Davis, 1966): Barbican Cinema, 4pm


This movie is screening as part of the Barbican's Urban Wandering - Film and the London Landscape season at the Barbican.

Here is the Network Films introduction:

“A fair day’s walk for a fair day’s pay”- motto of the Sandwich Men’s Brotherhood

Modern advertising can take many forms, but for both mobility and sheer economy nothing can match the Sandwich Man. These walking billboards with human fillings are amongst the sights of most big cities and afford a unique angle from which to observe life. Horace Quilby is a Sandwich Man who works on behalf of Finklebaum and O’Casey - dealers in ‘misfit clothing’ - and is a resplendent sight in his top hat and tails as he walks the London streets. Today is no ordinary day for Horace, however, as Esmerelda, his racing pigeon, is taking part in the race of her life.

A wonderful, lovable film full of gentle comedy and joyous optimism, featuring ex-Goon Michael Bentine in perhaps his best role - that of Horace Quilby, Sandwich Man. Written by both Bentine and director Robert Hartford-Davies, The Sandwich Man features a stellar cast of British comedy talent from the ‘60s who, alongside the marquee names, also include Alfie Bass, Peter Jones, John le Mesurier, Warren Mitchell, Jeremy Lloyd, Burt Kwouk and Suzy Kendall, all aiming to help (and hinder!) Horace in his odyssey around London.
 


Here (and above) is the trailer.
“A fair day’s walk for a fair day’s pay”- motto of the Sandwich Men’s Brotherhood

Modern advertising can take many forms, but for both mobility and sheer economy nothing can match the Sandwich Man. These walking billboards with human fillings are amongst the sights of most big cities and afford a unique angle from which to observe life. Horace Quilby is a Sandwich Man who works on behalf of Finklebaum and O’Casey - dealers in ‘misfit clothing’ - and is a resplendent sight in his top hat and tails as he walks the London streets. Today is no ordinary day for Horace, however, as Esmerelda, his racing pigeon, is taking part in the race of her life.

A wonderful, lovable film full of gentle comedy and joyous optimism, featuring ex-Goon Michael Bentine in perhaps his best role - that of Horace Quilby, Sandwich Man. Written by both Bentine and director Robert Hartford-Davies, The Sandwich Man features a stellar cast of British comedy talent from the ‘60s who, alongside the marquee names, also include Alfie Bass, Peter Jones, John le Mesurier, Warren Mitchell, Jeremy Lloyd, Burt Kwouk and Suzy Kendall, all aiming to help (and hinder!) Horace in his odyssey around London. - See more at: http://networkonair.com/shop/678-sandwich-man-the.html#sthash.gS66oumf.dpuf