Friday, 30 May 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 172: Sun Jun 22

No1: Safe (Haynes, 1995): Hackney Picturehouse, 8pm


This is screened as part of the Anxiety Arts Festival.  Details of their excellent film programme can be found here.

Chicago Reader review:
An unsettling work (1995) by subversive American independent Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven), his first film in 35-millimeter and best film overall. It's been described as a movie about "environmental illness," but don't let that fool you: the alienation of one suburban housewife in southern California, effectively captured by Julianne Moore, may take physical form, but its sources are clearly spiritual and ideological. Haynes does a powerful job of conveying his hatred for the character's Sherman Oaks milieu (where he himself grew up) through his crafty and at times almost hallucinatory layering of sound and image. (Though Haynes's methodology is his own, you may be reminded at times of Michelangelo Antonioni and Chantal Akerman.) He also offers a scathing (if poker-faced) satire on New Age notions of healing. This creepy art movie will stay with you.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

******

No2: Spring in a Small Town (Fei Mu, 1948): BFI Southbank, 4.10, 6.10 & 8.30pm


This film, the highlight of the Century of Chinese Cinema season, starts an extended run at BFI Southbank on June 19. Details here.

Time Out review:
The crowning achievement of one of China's finest directors, this unique film both reflects and dissects the mood of helpless impotence which afflicted many Chinese in the years after the war. After a 10-year absence, a doctor visits a married couple living in a bomb-scarred country town. The husband is a broken man, close to suicide; the wife was once his lover and they start to drift back into an affair under the nose of her husband. The sense of frustration and enervation is palpable, underlined by Fei's brilliant idea to use dissolves within scenes, but the counter-current of renascent desire (sparked by Wei Wei's phenomenal performance as the wife) makes this also a very sensual movie.
Tony Rayns

Here is an extract.

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