Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 147: Wed May 28

No1: The Tales of Hoffmann (Powell & Pressburger, 1951):
Stratford Picturehouse, 6.15pm

This is part of a Powell & Pressburger season at Stratford Picturehouse.

It's also George A Romero's favourite movie.

Time Out review:
Made at the instigation of Sir Thomas Beecham - who conducts the Offenbach operetta - Powell and Pressburger's follow-up to 
The Red Shoes lacks the earlier film's coherence and emotional pull, but is equally lavish in its attempts to combine dance, music and film. Basically a trio of stories (plus prologue and epilogue) in which unrequited love figures strongly, the movie is inevitably uneven, and some have pointed to a rather kitschy element in its equation of Cinema and Great Art. But Powell's eye - aided by Hein Heckroth's designs and Chris Challis's camera - is as sharp and distinctive as ever, revelling in rich colours, fantastic compositions, and swooning movements (most notably in the lavish episode featuring a Venetian courtesan). Sumptuous spectacle.
Geoff Andrew


No2 The Scarlet Letter (Wenders, 1992): Goethe Institute, 7pm

This is part of the More or Less by the Book season at the Goethe Institute.

Time Out review:
Hawthorne's novel offers, however improbable a project, themes that connect with the main lines of Wenders' work: the central figure of the adulteress is an outsider in her own society, and the community of European immigrants are strangers in a strange land. But the movie is as uncharacteristic as you'd expect. Wenders made it (just after The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty) as a kind of exercise in fiction, and it definitely lacks the emotional conviction that usually distinguishes his work. But Wenders' admirers will find a lot to interest them. The only major weakness is J├╝rgen Knieper's excessive score.
Tony Rayns

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