Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 79: Thu Mar 20

Two Weeks in Another Town (Minnelli, 1962): Secret Location


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.

Tonight's is in a secret location and you need to email events@70x70.info to book.

Chicago Reader review:
Though crippled by studio recutting that tried to adjust this neurotic 1962 melodrama for the family market, Vincente Minnelli's adaptation of Irwin Shaw's novel is one of his last great pictures, reversing the Henry James model of innocent Americans encountering corruption abroad—it's the Americans who are decadent here. Intelligently scripted by Charles Schnee, the film reunites the director, writer, producer (John Houseman), star (Kirk Douglas), and composer (David Raksin) of The Bad and the Beautiful, describing the attempted comeback of an alcoholic ex-star (Douglas), asked to help a director friend (Edward G. Robinson) with a new picture in Rome, who encounters both his destructive ex-wife (Cyd Charisse) and a redemptive young Italian woman (Daliah Lavi) in the process. George Hamilton plays a spoiled young actor who falls under Douglas's tutelage, and Claire Trevor plays Robinson's wife. The costumes, decor, and 'Scope compositions show Minnelli at his most expressive, and the gaudy intensity—as well as the inside detail about the movie business—makes this compulsively watchable.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 78: Wed Mar 19

The Robber (Heisenberg, 2009): Goethe Institute, 7pm


A sneak preview of a film that gets a release in Britain on March 21st.

Here is the Goethe Institute introduction to a film nominated for a Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival:  Based on the true story of Johann Kastenberger, popularly known as Pumpgun-Ronnie, a marathon runner who in 1980s Austria came to fame for robbing banks and making his get-away on foot, Benjamin Heisenberg’s tense and highly cinematic film shows his protagonist as a man driven and at the same time stopped in his tracks by his need for constant motion. When he falls in love he has the chance to change direction.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 77: Tue Mar 18

The Long Goodbye (Altman, 1973): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.30pm


This is screening as part of the Classic Film season at the Prince Charles. More details here.

Time Out review:
Despite cries of outrage from hard-line Chandler purists, this is, along with Hawks' The Big Sleep, easily the most intelligent of all screen adaptations of the writer's work. Altman in fact stays pretty close to the novel's basic narrative (though there are a couple of crucial changes), but where he comes up with something totally original is in his ironic updating of the story and characters: Gould's Marlowe is a laid-back, shambling slob who, despite his incessant claim that everything is 'OK with me,' actually harbours the same honourable ideals as Chandler's Marlowe; but those values, Altman implies, just don't fit in with the neurotic, uncaring, ephemeral lifestyle led by the 'Me Generation' of modern LA. As Marlowe attempts to protect a friend suspected of battering his wife to death, and gets up to his neck in blackmail, suicide, betrayal and murder, Altman constructs not only a comment on the changes in values in America over the last three decades, but a critique of film noir mythology: references, both ironic and affectionate, to Chandler (cats and alcoholism) and to earlier private-eye thrillers abound. Shot in gloriously steely colours by Vilmos Zsigmond with a continually moving camera, wondrously scripted by Leigh Brackett (who worked on The Big Sleep), and superbly acted all round, it's one of the finest movies of the '70s. 
Geoff Andrew

Above is the trailer. Here is the theme tune, sung by Jack Sheldon.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 76: Mon Mar 17

Les Biches (Chabrol, 1968): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.10pm


This film is scereening as part of the Passport to Cinema season and is introduced by Richard Combs.

Time Out review:
The film with which Chabrol returned to 'serious' film-making after his series of delightful thriller/espionage spoofs, this was also the film in which he began transferring his allegiance from baroque Hitchcockery to the bleak geometry of Lang. A calm, exquisite study, set in an autumnal Riviera, of the permutational affairs of one man and two women which lead to obsession, madness and despair. Each sequence is like a question-mark adding new doubts and hypotheses to the circular (as opposed to triangular) relationship as a rich lady of lesbian leanings (Audran) picks up an impoverished girl (Sassard), and whisks her off to her St Tropez villa. There, much to the distress of her benefactress, the girl embarks on an affair with a handsome young architect (Trintignant), only to find in her turn that architect and lesbian lady are in the throes of a mutual passion. Impeccably performed, often bizarrely funny, the film winds, with brilliant clarity, through a maze of shadowy emotions to a splendidly Grand-Guignolesque ending.
Tom Milne

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

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 75: Sun Mar 16

Come On Over (Green, 1920): Barbican Cinema, 4pm


At a special screening to mark St Patrick’s Day, the Barbican present Alfred E Green’s story of the feisty Moyna Killilea (Colleeen Moore), who travels across the sea from Lisdoonvarna to follow her sweetheart (Ralph Graves) to a New York boarding house.

A series of misunderstandings and adventures ensue, featuring high society dames, a formidable landlady, Irish cops and drunken layabouts, all climaxing at a ceilidh. 

With a cast full of lively characters, this riotous comedy Irish gem has not been seen before in UK cinemas.

There will be a live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 74: Sat Mar 15

Dead of Night (Cavalcanti/Hamer/Dearden/Crichton, 1945): Tate Britain 7pm



This looks especially intriguing as the British ghost story classic is screened as part of the Tate series Assembly, a survey of recent artists’ film and video in Britain 2008–2013. 

I have spoken to the Tate series curator, George Clark, who told me: "This will be an attempt to rethink what a film screening might be, to create a deeper involvement with a movie for the audience." This is the final part of the Assembly series on artists' work on video in the last five years in Britain. Mark Aerial Waller has produced tonight's event which is the latest in his ongoing series, The Wayward Canon, a series in which Waller attempts to re-think the screening environment. It promises to be a pretty unique event with parts of the film remade and yoga routines book-ending the various episodes in this famous portmanteau film.

Tonight's presentation is entitled Yoga Horror and here is the Tate introduction:
Yoga Horror
occupies the convergent space of film viewing where the gallery exhibition overlaps with cinema and social gathering. The event includes a screening of the 1945 portmanteau British horror movie Dead of Night together with specially filmed new sequences and a yoga exercise video. Dead of Night is narrated through the half remembered experience of the protagonist Walter Craig, whose recurring nightmare provides a recursive structure for a series of tales, where one form of consciousness slips into another, where horror lies within slippages of logic and perception. This new production of Yoga Horror presents previously unseen footage constructed specially for the event. It is a dynamic montage of spectatorship and memory, inviting the audience to engage with the gap between waking and dreaming, between the impossible and the real. Their unique events explore the covert languages of cinema, the shadowy half-pronounced areas where humour, horror and truth reside.

Time Out review of Dead of Night:
'Nearly 60 years on, Ealing's compendium of spooky tales remains scary as hell. The best of the five stories, which we see enacted as they're related in turn by guests at a country house, are Cavalcanti's 'The Ventriloquist's Dummy', with Redgrave possessed by his deceptively lifeless little partner, and Hamer's 'The Haunted Mirror', with the splendid Withers a reluctant participant as history repeats itself; least frightening, but amusing, are Radford and Wayne as typically obsessive sporting coves in Crichton's 'Golfing Story'. Best of all, however, is the overall narrative arc, with the framing story finally taking a headlong rush into a nightmarish realm almost surreal in its weird clarity and familiarity.'
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is an introdcution by A.O. Scott to the great Ealing studio movie.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 73: Fri Mar 14

Carlito's Way (De Palma, 1993): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.15pm


This film screens as part of the Al Pacino season and is also being shown on March 6th. Details here.

Time Out review:
A fairly straightforward '30s-style gangster tragedy about a man doomed to an early grave by his society and his own code. Carlito (Pacino) wants out of the rackets, but to get there he has to 'play Bogart', running a discotheque, and even then he can't escape his friends - lover Miller and lawyer Penn. Just as Carlito can't reconcile who he is and where he came from, so Brian De Palma can't quite craft an anonymous mainstream movie. The picture comes alive in its set-pieces, most notably in the climax at Grand Central Station. It runs long and is ultimately not much more than a showpiece, but Pacino looks every inch a movie star, and De Palma provides a timely reminder of just how impoverished the Hollywood lexicon has become since the glory days of the '70s.
Tom Charity

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 72: Thu Mar 13

Dis Moi (Akerman, 1980): ICA Cinema, 7.30pm

This is the latest in the A Nos Amours film club Chantel Akerman retrospective. Full details here.

Here is the ICA introduction:
A Nos Amours continues a retrospective of the complete film works of Chantal Akerman with Dis Moi  (1980) in which the filmmaker, herself a daughter of a holocaust survivor, engages for the first time with the Shoah.

Dis-moi was commission for television – part of a series about grandmothers (Grands-mères, un série proposée par Jean Frapat). Akerman chose to talk with several elderly Jewish women – all of them survivors of the Shoah.

Akerman has a terrible family history of her own – 'My mother arrived in Brussels in 1938 from a small town near Krakow. In 1942 she was taken to Auschwitz, just 30 miles from where she grew up…Her parents died there and most of her family' (from an interview in the Jewish Chronicle). Akerman’s mother Natalia, a teenager at the time, survived, a quite unimaginable orphaning.

The filmmaker is in the frame and conducts the interviews, bearing witness to stories told by these elderly but dignified women survivors. But there is comedy here too – after all, these are stubborn, tough and wayward women who if bored are quite capable of losing interest in interviews and film crews, preferring to switch on the TV.

Nothing invokes the European disaster better than these encounters with orphans of the Shoah – cut off from the past and themselves by experience of horror.

Subtitled in English by A Nos Amours for the first time, translated by Sylvie Beaufils.

Screening with Autour de Jeanne Dielman, Sami Frey’s documentary video shot on the set of Jeanne Dielman, edited by Chantal Akerman and Agnès Ravez.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 71: Wed Mar 12

No 1: Rio Bravo (Hawks, 1959): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.50pm


This is my favourite film. I wrote about the movie in the 'My favourite film' season in the Guardian. My conclusion was: 'Over the course of Rio Bravo we are treated to an entertainment masterclass, a high watermark of Hollywood cinema in its heyday. I may not go as far as Quentin Tarantino, who declared that he would show the film to any new girlfriend and end the relationship if she did not declare her undying love for Hawks's classic, but it is the movie I return to again and again, to revisit old friends and remind myself what form optimism takes in a work of art.' If you get the chance get along to see this highlight of the Prince Charles Western Wednesdays season.

Chicago Reader review:
Howard Hawks's finest western (1959), and perhaps his finest film—but who wants to quibble on this level? John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, and Walter Brennan hole up in a sheriff's office, there to protect a prisoner from a band of hired guns outside. But the subtly stylized setting soon becomes an arena for a moral battle, as the characters discover and test their resources of trust, skill, and courage, values poised against encroaching chaos. It's American filmmaking at its finest—clean, clear, and direct—and it's also the most optimistic masterpiece on film, valiantly shoring fragments against human ruin. Superb in every respect, from Wayne's performance to Russell Harlan's brilliant night photography. With Angie Dickinson.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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

No2: Salt of the Earth (Biberman, 1954): ICA Cinema, 6.30pm


Here is the ICA introduction to this remarkable film: A rare 16mm screening of the remarkable blacklisted American drama Salt of the Earth, 60 years to the week since it was first released in New York City.
This unique film was written by Michael Wilson, directed by Herbert J. Biberman, and produced by Paul Jarrico, all of whom had been blacklisted by the Hollywood establishment due to their alleged Communist sympathies. Produced in collaboration with the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, it tracks the progress of a long, hard strike (based on the 1951 strike against the Empire Zinc Company in Grant County, New Mexico) in a strikingly Neo-Realist style.
Employing actual miners and their families as actors in the film, Biberman and his crew faced unprecedented pressures on all fronts in production of this deeply humane and socially radical work, pioneering in its understanding of the role played by women both in the struggle, and for their own greater emancipation. Acutely relevant more than half a century later, it is a rousing call for ongoing non-violent resistance and solidarity in the face of capital and corporate power.
The screening is followed by a discussion with Sophie Mayer, writer, activist and critical biographer of Sally Potter, hosted by Gareth Evans, Film Curator Whitechapel Gallery.
Here (and above) is the opening.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 70: Tue Mar 11

The Arbor (Barnard, 2010): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.40pm


This is as harrowing a film as I can recall seeing and was one of the highlights of the 2010 London Film Festival. An unmissable, groundbreaking documentary. The film also screens at BFI Southbank on March 2nd. All the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
British playwright Andrea Dunbar was only 18 when The Arbor, her blunt account of life in a squalid council estate, premiered at London's Royal Court Theatre in 1980; by age 29 she was dead of a cerebral hemorrhage, leaving behind three completed works and three children by three different men. This daring film by Clio Barnard revisits Dunbar's sad life and the even sadder life of her eldest daughter, Lorraine, dissolving the line between the stage and the real world just as the playwright tried to do. Domestic interior scenes from the eponymous play are staged outdoors at the Buttershaw estate where Dunbar lived, with residents looking on from the sidelines; and in the movie's most audacious gambit, actors lip-sync audio interviews recorded with the actual people in Dunbar's life. The resulting film is harshly, almost unbearably tragic, but it's also a startling paradox, impressively layered even as it strips the situations down to their naked truth.
JR Jones

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 69: Mon Mar 10

The Wind (Sjostrom, 1928): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.10pm


This is part of the excellent Passport to Cinema season at BFI Southbank and this screening is introduced by Kevin Brownlow. It is already sold out but my advice would be to contact the box office as there are frequently returns on the day.

Chicago Reader review:
A silent masterpiece (1928) by Swedish pioneer Victor Sjostrom, made during a brief tenure at MGM. Lillian Gish is a Virginia farm girl, brought to Texas and forced to marry a brutish cowboy (Lars Hanson). Sjostrom finds a perfect image for Gish's frustration and discontent in the prairie wind of the title. His strange and effective style might be best described as pastoral expressionism.
Dave Kehr

Here is the trailer.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 68: Sun Mar 9

Brassed Off (Herman, 1996): Tricycle Theatre, 5pm


I love this dialogue between Ewan McGregor and Tara Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald will be at this screening as will writer/director Mark Herman and fellow stars Stephen Tompkinson, Sue Johnston, Philip Jackson and Jim Carter. This is screening as part of the British Clsssics season. More details here.

Time Out review:
This is an angry, tragic film, which softens you up with a few off-the-peg stereotypes and colloquial laughs and then rams them back down your throat. Pete Postlethwaite is Danny, the devoted leader of the Grimley Colliery Band. Music is so important to him, he barely notices that the pit's on the verge of closure, and can't begin to understand why members like Andy (McGregor), Harry (Carter) and even his own son, Phil (Tompkinson), are finding it hard to cough up their subs. Matters come to a head with the band competing in the national championships and the miners voting for voluntary redundancy. Writer/director Herman pulls off a popular, proletarian comedy which might actually appeal to the people it's about. He uses comic shorthand - not all the relationships are as developed as they might be - but captures a credible sense of the tensions within the community at large, and the devastating impact of the pit closures. He's not shy about laying the blame, either. Tompkinson, Postlethwaite and Carter are stand-outs in an impressive ensemble cast, but for many, the brass band music will come as the real revelation.
Tom Charity

Here is the famous clown scene.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 67: Sat Mar 8

No1: How Strange to be Named Federico (Scola, 2013): Cine Lumiere, 8.50pm


This is reckoned to be the highlight of the Cine Lumiere's Made in Italy season. Here are the details of the films on from March 5th to 8th and here is their introduction to tonight's screening:

The film is a tribute and a portrait of Federico Fellini, on the twentieth anniversary of the great director’s death. In addition to Fellini’s incredibly rich cinema, it aims to commemorate a few private and lesser-known aspects of his life. An original film, made out of moments, and scattered impressions that recreate the emotions provoked by a great man: his genius, his famous irony, and his motto that ‘life is a party’. 

The movie will be introduced by Adrian Wooton, the chief executive of Film London.

**************** 

No2: Some Friends Apart (Dwoskin, 2002); Me, Myself & I (Dwoskin, 1967) and Chinese Checkers (Dwoskin, 1963): ICA Cinema 2-3pm

Stephen Dwoskin (1939-2012) was an internationally acclaimed filmmaker, director and producer. He worked in Warhol’s Factory, co-founded the London Film Makers Co-Op (now LUX) at Better Books as well as the Independent Filmmakers’ Association in the 1970s (an organisation that paved the way for Channel 4) and The Other Cinema.

Inaugurating the opening of the Dwoskin archive at the University of Reading, this symposium at the ICA (from 11.30am), whihc will screen three of his films from 2-3pm, will explore his historical importance as a key figure in independent film and his groundbreaking film work.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 66: Fri Mar 7

Rome, Open City (Rossellini, 1945): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 2.30pm & NFT3, 4.10 & 8.30pm


This masterpiece starts an extended run at the BFI till March 20th. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Roberto Rossellini's 1945 story of a group of workers and a priest in 1943-'44 Rome, declared an “open city” by the Nazis, was begun only two months after the liberation. Its realistic treatment of everyday Italian life heralded the postwar renaissance of the Italian cinema and the development of neorealism; the film astonished audiences around the world and remains a masterpiece. With Anna Magnani, Aldo Fabrizi, and Maria Michi. In Italian with subtitles.
Don Druker

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 65: Thu Mar 6

The Last of England (Jarman, 1987): King's College, The Strand, WC2, 7pm


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 you can find a full list of the programme.

Chicago Reader review:
Derek Jarman's kaleidoscopic experimental film (1987)—a dark, poetic meditation on Thatcher England—is visionary cinema at its best. Shot in Super-8, transferred to video for additional touches and processing, then transferred back to 35-millimeter, this work combines more than half a century of home movies of Jarman's family, a documentary record of industrial and ecological ruin, and sustained looks at Jarman regulars Tilda Swinton and Spencer Leigh. The often astonishing results become increasingly spellbinding as the work proceeds. Over an evocative narration by Jarman (which includes apocalyptic quotes from such poets as T.S. Eliot and Allen Ginsberg) and stirring use of music and sound effects, images in black and white, sepia, and color explode and merge with mesmerizing intensity and build toward a powerful personal statement.

Jonathan Rosenbaum


Here (and above) is a scene from the movie.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 64: Wed Mar 5

The Hands of Orlac (Wiene, 1924): Barts Pathology Museum, 6.30pm



Barts Pathology Museum had a silent films season in January (when this screening had to be postponed until this date). Full details here.

Here is Pamela Huntchinson's introduction from here Silent London blog: 'First, a recap. If you don’t know Barts Pathology Museum, that is because it is one of the capital’s best-kept secrets – a stunning Grade II listed 19th-century hall where quirky medical specimens are displayed. The hall has a glass roof, because once upon a time medical students would dissect cadavers there. You can read more about the history of the museum and its many fascinating artefacts on the museum blog, here. Entry to the museum is by appointment only, but the doors are open on selected evenings for a series of lectures and events on subjects ranging from film noir to taxidermy to dentistry. Your humble scribe was there last November, giving an illustrated talk on silent cinema. The January screenings are supported by Hendrick’s Gin, and entry to each film includes a G&T and some delicious, freshly popped popcorn as well as the film. I will be there to introduce the screenings and the the first movie in the series features live musical accompaniment, too.'

Chicago Reader review:
Robert Wiene's legendary 1924 silent—about a pianist (Conrad Veidt) who gets a hand transplant and then discovers he has an impulse to kill—plays a significant role in Malcolm Lowry's novel Under the Volcano. The film's been remade several times, but reportedly this first version is the best of the lot.
Jonathan Rosenabum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 63: Tue Mar 4

Reservoir Dogs (Tarantino, 1992): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.30pm


This film is part of the Tarantino Tuesdays season at the Prince Charles. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
'A stunning debut (1992) from writer-director Quentin Tarantino, though a far cry from Stanley Kubrick's 1956 The Killing, to which it clearly owes a debt. Like The Killing, it employs an intricate flashback structure to follow the before and after of a carefully planned heist and explores some of the homoerotic allegiances, betrayals, and tensions involved; unlike The Killing, it never flashes back to the heist itself and leaves a good many knots still tied at the end. The hoods here—including Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi, and (in a bit) Tarantino himself—are all ex-cons hired by an older ex-con (Lawrence Tierney) who conceals their identities from one another by assigning them the names of colors. Our grasp of what's going on is always in flux, and Tarantino's skill with actors, dialogue, 'Scope framing, and offbeat construction is kaleidoscopic. More  questionable are the show-offy celebrations of brutality: buckets of blood, racist and homophobic  invective, and an excruciating sequence of sadistic torture and (offscreen) mutilation that's clearly meant to awe us with its sheer unpleasantness. It's unclear whether this macho thriller does anything  to improve the state of the world or our understanding of it, but it certainly sets off enough rockets to hold and shake us for every one of its 99 minutes.'
Jonathan Rosenbaum


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 62: Mon Mar 3

L'Eclisse (Antonioni, 1962): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.10pm



This film, which screens as part of the passport to Cinema season at BFI Southbank, will be introduced tonight by Mamoun Hassan.

Chicago Reader review:
The conclusion of Michelangelo Antonioni's loose trilogy (preceded by L'Avventura and La Notte), this 1961 film is conceivably the best in Antonioni's career, but significantly it has the least consequential plot. A sometime translator (Monica Vitti) recovering from an unhappy love affair briefly links up with a stockbroker (Alain Delon) in Rome, though the stunning final montage sequence—perhaps the most powerful thing Antonioni has ever done—does without these characters entirely. Alternately an essay and a prose poem about the contemporary world in which the "love story" figures as one of many motifs, this is remarkable both for its visual/atmospheric richness and its polyphonic and polyrhythmic mise en scene (Antonioni's handling of crowds at the Roman stock exchange is never less than amazing).
Jonathan Rosenabum

Here (and above) is the opening sequence.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 61: Sun Mar 2

Finis Terrae (Epstein, 1929): Tin Tabernacle Church, 12 Cambridge Ave, Kilburn, NW6


This is a special film programme in a wonderful venue curated by Nobody Ordered Wolves. Here is the introduction to the evening:


A very special programme of films about the sea. A series of poems about the ocean – its cruelty and its beauty – shown under the arches of a ship's innards. A ship that has run aground in Kilburn Park, encased in a tin church built in nine days in 1863. Jean Epstein's work has been unjustly neglected in the Anglophone world. A true pioneer of cinema, he proved a heavy influence upon the work of Buñuel and many other surrealist filmmakers. Using mostly non-professional actors, the film shows the precariousness of life in the remote coastal islands, where even broken bottle can have mortal consequences. Probing the love between two young men, this film is full of imagery that overflows with the grotesque in nature and the surrealism of the seaweed smoker's work. Moment to moment, Finis Terrae delivers more swoonsome cinema beauty than I Am Cuba, Days of Heaven and The Conformist combined. 
The feature is preceded by a programme of shorts that show the sea as a cruel mistress, the home of freakish vampires and as the source of all musical rhythm.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 60: Sat Mar 1

The Others (Amenabar, 2001) & The Orphanage (Bayona, 2007):
St John's Church, 200 Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, 6.30pm





Here is the St John's Church introduction to the Haunted Childhood themed double-bill:
Head to one of East London’s most atmospheric venues for a very special evening of ‘haunted childhood’ cinema on 1 March.  Shadowy figures in dark corners, strange footsteps shuffling across a creaking floor, a frosted whisper in the darkness –relive your darkest childhood fears at this night of films, music and ghostly happenings, set within the eerily beautiful church of St John on Bethnal Green, which is also an East End Film Festival venue. Fully licensed bar including spooky cocktails. Sometimes imaginary friends are more real than you think…

Chicago Reader review of The Others:
In a Victorian mansion on the isle of Jersey a woman and her two children wait out World War II with some illusions: the children believe their father will soon be back from the front, but their mother thinks he's dead—at least that's what she tells three servants she hires. A voluptuous sense of melodrama colors everything in and around the scary house, though no sound or sight is without subtlety. Vast wide shots show the mansion enveloped in fog, isolated from the rest of the world in a way that echoes the compartmentalization of the interior—locking every door behind her before she opens the next, the woman gives us and her new employees a tour of the house, where nearly every curtain is drawn day and night.
Lisa Alspector

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

Chicago Reader review of The Orphanage:
Despite a few bloodcurdling shocks, this handsome Spanish ghost story from producer Guillermo del Toro follows in the suggestive, richly romantic tradition of the old Val Lewton chillers. Statuesque beauty Belen Rueda (The Sea Inside) is mesmerizing as a woman who has moved into the country home where she once lived as an orphan. Her young son reports encounters with invisible children and eventually disappears himself, leaving the mother distraught and increasingly open to supernatural explanations. The plot tangles near the end as screenwriter Sergio G. Sanchez begins to fudge the mother's history at the orphanage, but I was coaxed away from the movie's literal meaning by its intuitive grasp of the genre's seductive power: as in some of the best ghost stories, dread of the other side is tempered by deep longing for those who've crossed over.
JR Jones

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 59: Fri Feb 28

Edward II (Jarman, 1991):
Deptford Film Club, St Nichlas' Church, Deptford Green, Deptford SE8 3DQ, 8pm


To celebrate the 450th anniversary of the playwright Christopher Marlowe's birth, the Deptford Film Club are screening Derek Jarman's Edward II inside the church where Marlowe is buried.

Chicago Reader review:
My candidate for best movie by the late Derek Jarman is this politically potent, deliberately shocking, anachronistic adaptation of the Christopher Marlowe play (1992); Jarman rethinks it in terms of contemporary English homophobia and the Thatcher-Reagan legacy. Shooting his spare settings in crisp 35-millimeter images, Jarman gives the tragedy a seriousness and potency that puts Peter Greenaway's Prospero's Books to shame. Coscripted by Stephen McBride and Ken Butler; with Steve Waddington, Andrew Tiernan, Tilda Swinton, Nigel Terry, and Jerome Flynn. The music is performed by the Elektra Quartet (and at one climactic juncture, Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics performs Cole Porter's “Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye”).
Jonathan Rosenbaum


Here is the trailer.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 58: Thu Feb 27

Fear Eats the Soul (Fassbinder, 1974): Phoenix Cinema, 11am


Chicago Reader review:
Rainer Werner Fassbinder takes Douglas Sirk's Hollywood melodrama All That Heaven Allows and pushes it over the brink: it becomes the story of a May-December romance between a Moroccan guest laborer and an aging German hausfrau. The visual style is mostly Sirk's as well—it emphasizes artificially cheerful primary colors and imprisoning frames within the frame—though the distant, drained, but finally impassioned acting style is pure Fassbinder. This 1974 film stands as one of Fassbinder's sturdiest achievements, posed between the low-budget funkiness of his early features and the mannerism of his late period. In German with subtitles.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 57: Wed Feb 26

THX1138 (Lucas, 1971): Prince Charles Cinema, 9pm


This film is being shown as part of the Prince Charles Cinema's sci-fi season. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
The surprising thing about George Lucas's first feature (1971), a dystopian SF parable now digitally enhanced and expanded by five minutes, is how arty it seems compared to his later movies: off-center 'Scope compositions reminiscent of Antonioni, striking white-on-white costumes and sets, a highly inventive sound track by cowriter Walter Murch. Yet the film is just as claustrophobic as Star Wars, and its ideas are equally shopworn, drawing on Orwell, Huxley, Kubrick, and Godard's Alphaville. A young Robert Duvall plays the title drone, who escapes from a totalitarian society after he and fellow cipher Maggie McOmie discover sex. Lucas's use of northern California locations is inventive.
Jonathan Rosenabum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 56: Tue Feb 25

Caravaggio (Jarman, 1986): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.45pm



This film, which is being shown as part of the Derek Jarman season, also screens on February 26th and 27th. You can find all the details here.

Time Out review:
As Caravaggio (excellently played by Terry) lies dying at Porto Ercole in 1610, his mind drifts back over a short life of extraordinary passion: his relationship with his model, Ranuccio Thomasoni, who posed perhaps as the muscular assassin in so many 'martyrdom' pictures, and the other apex in the triangle, Lena, who is Ranuccio's mistress and Caravaggio's model for the Magdalene and the dead Virgin. Jarman proposes a murderous intensity as the mainspring for both Caravaggio's love life and for his furious painting, and it certainly carries great weight of conviction. For all the melodrama of the story, however, he has elected a style of grave serenity, composed of looks and glances, long silences in shaded rooms, sudden eruptions of blood. It all works miraculously well, even the conscious use of anachronisms and the street sounds of contemporary Italy.
Chris Peachment

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 55: Mon Feb 24

Interior. Leather Bar (Mathews/Franco, 2013): Riverside Studios, 9pm


Riverside Studios introduction: 1980s gay film classic Cruising provides the inspiration for Travis Mathews' and James Franco’s collaborative exploration of sexual and creative freedom. Here the filmmakers re-imagine the lost forty minutes from Cruising’s infamous leather bar sequence in a provocative and sexually explicit production.

We hope that Travis Mathews will join us via Skype Q & A after the screening.

This is part of the Deep Desires and Broken Dreams season. Details here

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 54: Sun Feb 23

Eraserhead (Lynch, 1976): Photographers Gallery, 3pm (FREE scereening)


Eraserhead is playing at the Photographers Gallery to coincide with an exhibition devoted to the director (plus Andy Warhol and William Burroughs) and takes me back to an era before video, DVD and social media when print and word-of-mouth were the main forms of communication where a film was concerned. Lynch's debut was a must-see back in the late 1970s and it was fitting that the movie had its premiere at a midnight screening at the Cinema Village in New York as the midnight-movie circuit was responsible for popularising this indefinable work.

Eraserhead is a seminal work in the history of independent film and is as much a must-see now for anyone interested in what film can achieve as it was when first released. Here is an extract, highlighting Lynch's innovative use of sound.

Chicago Reader review:
'David Lynch describes his first feature as “a dream of dark and troubling things,” and that's about as close as anyone could get to the essence of this obdurate blend of nightmare imagery, Grand Guignol, and camp humor. Some of it is disturbing, some of it is embarrassingly flat, but all of it shows a degree of technical accomplishment far beyond anything else on the midnight-show circuit. With Jack Nance and Charlotte Stewart.'
Dave Kehr 


Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 53: Sat Feb 22

Nymphomaniac Vol I & II (Von Trier, 2013):
Rio Cinema 6pm & all London Picturehouse Cinemas, 6.15pm


A special preview of what will be one of the most controversial films of the year with an introduction and a special on-stage interview after the film via satellite with members of the cast.

Here is the Picturehouse Cinema introduction:
Lars Von Trier’s epic film revolves around the extensive sexual experiences of Joe (Gainsbourg) as she relates them to Seligman (Skarsgård), who rescues her after a brutal beating. Joe’s candid tale is illustrated by flashbacks involving many of her conquests, including her very first (Shia LaBeouf) and a harsh sadist (Jamie Bell).

The first of the two volumes features the younger, experimental Joe, played by newcomer Martin; the second is more concerned with Joe’s quest to rediscover the pleasure of sex. But despite the many graphic sex scenes, the film is defiantly untitillating; instead it’s a visually and intellectually dazzling meditation on love, art, religion and desire.

Recalling the depth and richness of films such as BREAKING THE WAVES and even DANCER IN THE DARK, this is the work of a radical writer-director at the height of his powers.

Here (and above) is the trailer.