Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 25: Mon Jan 25

2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.01pm


If you are going to see 2001: A Space Odyssey then much the best to see the film in glorious 70mm. You have the chance all this month at the Prince Charles and this is your last one as the run ends tonight. Here are the other dates and here are the details of the other movies being shown in the great Stanley Kubrick season (all being screened in 35mm).

Chicago Reader review:
'Seeing this 1968 masterpiece in 70-millimeter, digitally restored and with remastered sound, provides an ideal opportunity to rediscover this mind-blowing myth of origin as it was meant to be seen and heard, an experience no video setup, no matter how elaborate, could ever begin to approach. The film remains threatening to contemporary studiothink in many important ways: Its special effects are used so seamlessly as part of an overall artistic strategy that, as critic Annette Michelson has pointed out, they don't even register as such. Dialogue plays a minimal role, yet the plot encompasses the history of mankind (a province of SF visionary Olaf Stapledon, who inspired Kubrick's cowriter, Arthur C. Clarke). And, like its flagrantly underrated companion piece, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, it meditates at length on the complex relationship between humanity and technology—not only the human qualities that we ascribe to machines but also the programming we knowingly or unknowingly submit to. The film's projections of the cold war and antiquated product placements may look quaint now, but the poetry is as hard-edged and full of wonder as ever.' 139 min.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 24: Sun Jan 24

The Seventh Continent (Haneke, 1989): Close-Up Cinema, 8pm


This is part of the Michael Haneke season (full details here) at Close-Up Cinema.

Chicago Reader review:
Michael Haneke's powerful, provocative, and highly disturbing film is about the collective suicide of a young and seemingly “normal” family (1989). Prompted by Austria's high suicide rate and various news stories, the film's agenda is not immediately apparent; Haneke focuses at first on the family's highly repetitive lifestyle and takes his time establishing the daily patterns of the characters. The roles of television and money in their lives are crucial to what the story is about, but the absence of any obvious reason for the family's ultimate despair is part of what gives this film its devastating impact. Its tact and intelligence, and also its reticence and detachment, make it a shocking and potent statement about our times—to my mind, a work much superior to the two other films in Haneke's trilogy about contemporary violence, Benny's Video and 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance. With Birgit Doll, Dieter Berner, Leni Tanzer, and Udo Samel.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 23: Sat Jan 23

Poison (Haynes, 1991): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.20pm


A rare 35mm screening of Todd Haynes' movie in the BFI Flare strand (full details here). The film is also being screened on January 21st. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
This 1991 avant-garde shocker by Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven) freely cuts between three supposedly separate stories, each in a different style and set in a different period: a 40s tale of homoerotic passion in a prison that's loosely derived from Jean Genet, a black-and-white 50s SF-horror melodrama about a leprous sex criminal, and an 80s TV exposé about a victimized seven-year-old boy who murders his father. The film produces poetic jolts and visual-thematic rhymes that somehow unify the disparate strands into a single galvanizing experience. Haynes starts with a title—"The whole world is dying of panicky fright"—and then proceeds to show exactly what he means, illustrating the kind of fear that produces and promotes victimization both in society and in the minds of social outcasts. I could have done without the designer prison, but most of the other stylistic conceits work. With Edith Meeks, Larry Maxwell, Susan Norman, Scott Renderer, and James Lyons (who also served as coeditor).
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 22: Fri Jan 22

71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (Haneke, 1994): Close-Up Cinema, 8pm


A rare sceening as part of the Michael Haneke season at Close-Up Cinema. You can find the full details of the director retrospective here.

Chicago Reader review:
Austrian provocateur Michael Haneke (The Piano Teacher) based this 1994 drama on the true story of a teenager who randomly blew away three people in a Viennese bank, then killed himself. Americans desensitized to senseless violence may find the subject matter almost banal, and the interspersed news footage of armed conflict from around the world feels like a rhetorical device. But the coldly telegraphic structure—a series of 71 blackouts following the four strangers to their deaths—yields some striking moments. In one sequence, a husband eating dinner with his wife blurts out that he loves her, then just as unexpectedly slaps her; in another, the homicidal youth practicing table tennis with a serving machine begins to seem like a slave to his own reflexes. 
JR Jones

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 21: Thu Jan 21

An American Werewolf in London (Landis, 1981): Genesis Cinema, 7pm


The Rochester Kino film club screen classic and cult films at various venues including cultural institutes and pop-up settings in London. The events are always introduced with a brief talk from Nick Walker, followed by an informal group discussion over refreshments. Rochester Kino's debut event at the Genesis will be a presentation of 'An American Werewolf In London' (1981). There will be a chance in Bar Paragon upstairs at the Genesis for a discussion about the film after the 35mm screening of this fondly remembered classic.

Time Out review:
It’d be interesting to see polling data on how many Brits recall John Landis’s hysterical gore-spattered masterpiece as that all-important rite of passage: their first 18. Well, the folks at the BBFC have ruined all that: in reclassifying the film 15, they’ve made all our childhoods seem that little bit less dangerous. Which is no reflection on the film: horror-comedy is overfamiliar nowadays, with diminishing returns, but this only makes Landis’s achievement more impressive. Not just gory but actually frightening, not just funny but clever, ‘American Werewolf…’ has its flaws, but these are outweighed by the film’s many, mighty strengths: the soundtrack is astounding, the characterisation is marvellous and the one-liners are endlessly memorable (‘a naked American man stole my balloons!’). A classic, no less.
Tom Huddleston

Here is the trailer.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 20: Wed Jan 20

Weekend (Godard, 1967): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.30pm



This film (35mm) screens as part of the Jean-Luc Godard season that runs from January through to March and is also being shown on January 19th. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Jean-Luc Godard's 1967 imagining of the twilight of the Western world, in which bourgeois society is stalled in an endless traffic jam, revolutionaries pass their time slaughtering pigs, and Mozart is played in open fields while the camera tracks in elegant circles. It's funny and grating, seductive and repulsive, by the usual Godardian turns: the paradoxes he loves to spin are emotional as well as intellectual. Though the film teeters on the brink of an icy Maoism, it never takes the plunge. With Mireille Darc, Jean Yanne, and Jean-Pierre Leaud.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 19: Tue Jan 19

As You Like It (Elliott/Eyre, 1963): Barbican Cinema, 6pm


This is part of an excellent Barbican film season of William Shakespeare's greatest plays performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company and their extraordinary company of actors, including Judi Dench, David Tennant and Vanessa Redgrave. You can find the full details here

This production was one of the earliest hits for the newly established RSC, Michael Elliott’s sparkling version of Shakespeare's comedy is still remembered with joy by a generation of theatre-goers. The design was dominated by a huge oak tree, but the production is most memorable for Vanessa Redgrave’s luminous Rosalind, supported by Max Adrian and Ian Bannen. Fortunately, the BBC made a studio recording, which here receives an exceptionally rare screening.

The Barbican to have invited Vanessa Redgrave to introduce her performance.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 18: Mon Jan 18

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (Cassavetes, 1976): Regent Street Cinema, 9.10pm


This is part of a John Cassavetes double-bill with Opening Night being screened at 6.30pm. You can find the full details here.

Time Out review:
John Cassavetes doesn't believe in gangsters, as soon becomes clear in this waywardly plotted account of how a bunch of them try to distract Gazzara from his loyalty to his barely solvent but chichi LA strip joint, the Crazy Horse West. Or rather Cassavetes doesn't believe in the kind of demands they make on a film, enforcing clichés of action and behaviour in return for a few cheap thrills. On the other hand, there's something about the ethnicity of the Mob - family closeness and family tyranny - which appeals to him, which is largely what his films are about, and which says something about the way he works with actors. The result is that his two gangster films - this one and the later Gloria - easily rate as his best work crisscrossed as they are by all sorts of contradictory impulses, with the hero/heroine being reluctantly propelled through the plot, trying to stay far enough ahead of the game to prevent his/her own act/movie being closed down. It's rather like a shaggy dog story operating inside a chase movie. Chinese Bookie is the more insouciant, involuted and unfathomable of the two; the curdled charm of Gazzara's lopsided grin has never been more to the point. (After its initial release, Cassavetes re-edited the film, adding sequences previously deleted but reducing the overall running time from 133 minutes.
Martyn Auty

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 17: Sun Jan 17

The Cobweb (Minnelli, 1955): Regent Street Cinema, 2pm


Vincente Minnelli's magnificent 1950s melodrama screens in a double-bill with The Big Sleep (showing on 35mm).

Chicago Reader review:
Vincente Minnelli's 1955 melodrama is set in a posh mental hospital; he choreographs the various plots and subplots with the same style and dynamism he brought to his famous musicals. Charles Boyer is the head of the clinic, a secret alcoholic worried about competition from hotshot young shrink Richard Widmark. Widmark, in turn, is caught in a triangle with his childish wife (Gloria Grahame) and an understanding colleague (Lauren Bacall). Among the guest loonies are Oscar Levant (who sings “Mother” in a straitjacket), Lillian Gish, Susan Strasberg, Fay Wray, John Kerr, Paul Stewart, and Adele Jergens; John Houseman produced.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 16: Sat Jan 16

The White Ribbon (Haneke, 2009): Close-Up Cinema, 8pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Michael Haneke season at Close-Up Cinema. Full details of the director retrospective can be found here.

Chicago Reader review:
Michael Haneke's black-and-white period drama, which won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes festival in 2009, has been described as a treatise on the root causes of German fascism. I'll leave that to the historians, but there's no denying this is a coldly commanding tale in which Haneke's signature obsessions—bourgeois control, sexual repression, emotional cruelty, cathartic violence—simmer quietly as subtext before bursting into the open in the final reels. On the eve of World War I, a northern village seems quiet and sedate but secretly roils with, as one character puts it, "malice, envy, apathy, and brutality." The title refers to the custom of a strict father who's respected in the community: after he's viciously caned his children, his wife ties a white ribbon on each of them to remind them of their newly won innocence and purity.
JR Jones

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 15: Fri Jan 15

La Chinoise (Godard, 1967): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.30pm



This film (35mm) screens as part of the Jean-Luc Godard season that runs from January through to March and is also being shown on January 17th. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
One of Jean-Luc Godard's most underrated and misunderstood films, this 1967 feature isn't so much an embrace of France's Maoist youth movement as a multifaceted interrogation of it—far more nuanced and lively than the theoretical agitprop Godard would make with others after the May 1968 uprisings. Though it explores the dogmatism and violence of a Maoist cell in Paris, Godard is equally preocccupied by such things as French rock, the color red, the history of cinema, the “revisionism” of the French Communist Party, and the rebels' youthful romantic longings. The spirited cast--including Anne Wiazemsky, Jean-Pierre Léaud, and Juliet Berto--make all this touching as well as troubling. The movie helped inspire student revolt at Columbia University soon afterward, but that's a tribute to its style and energy, not its political intelligence.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 14: Thu Jan 14

Ghost Story (Irvin, 1981): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.40pm


The 35mm print of this film, part of the always excellent Cult strand at BFI Southbank, is also being screened on January 17th. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
A weird but utterly fascinating film. Ostensibly a gothic chiller, this Peter Straub adaptation feels like a Technicolor spin on a German expressionist film, suggesting cinematographer Jack Cardiff was poking fun at horror-cinema conventions. Director John Irvin is a strange case; he's directed some stylistically transgressive genre movies (City of Industry, Raw Deal) as well as some outright duds, but he's rarely uninteresting.
Drew Hunt

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 13: Wed Jan 13

Masculin feminin (Godard, 1966): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.45pm



This film (35mm) screens as part of the Jean-Luc Godard season that runs from January through to March and is also being shown on January 3rd. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
"Give us this day our television—and an automobile, but deliver us from freedom." At first, this 1966 study of "the children of Marx and Coca-Cola" seems the most casual of Jean-Luc Godard's 60s films: it consists of a series of short, discontinuous scenes—labeled "precise facts"—loosely centered on a romance between Jean-Pierre Léaud and Chantal Goya, but with room for the Vietnam war and a quick recap of LeRoi Jones's Dutchman. But a closer look reveals a supple intertwining of quick shots and long takes, themes and variations—Godard is very strict in his sloppiness. An excellent film, still as fresh as the day it was made.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 12: Tue Jan 12

Reservoir Dogs (Tarantino, 1992): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6pm


This film, part of the Quentin Tarantino season, is also being shown on January 1st and 9th. You can find all the 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 2016 - Day 11: Mon Jan 11

Day For Night (Truffaut, 1973): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.10pm


This is part of BFI Southbank's Passport to Cinema season and is also being shown on January 16th. You can find the full details here.

Time Out review:
If we’re to learn anything from François Truffaut’s delicately cynical, New Hollywood-style satire from 1973 on the joys and pains of movie making (re-released in conjunction with the BFI’s current Truffaut season), it’s that we must view directors as social and professional chameleons. They must tap in to the emotions of their cast and exploit real suffering for the good of their camera. They must stand their ground with money men, sometimes employing visual trickery and snap decisions to preserve their integrity. Most of all, they must suppress the cosmic fury that comes when a leading lady arrives on set drunk or a trained kitten refuses to hit a mark.

It’s a hilarious and informative movie, and in the pantheon of films about filmmaking, it strikes a neat balance between the operatic neuroses of ‘8 1/2’ and the warm, pastel-hued nostalgia of ‘Singin’ in the Rain’. Also of interest – and a devious nod back to his ’60s heyday – is the manner in which Truffaut captures these behind-the-scenes shenanigans, employing gliding crane shots and flashes of abrupt editing to make us fully aware of the majestically artificial way the world is depicted by filmmakers.

Truffaut stars as indefatigable director Ferrand, shooting a fusty melodrama called ‘Meet Pamela’ and wearing the same sports jacket, shirt and tie combo as he would in ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’. He delivers the same coolly detached performance too, though it works a lot better in this context. The fact that his childish lead (Jean-Pierre Léaud, of course) is too often in a strop to concentrate on the part, or that his star (Jacqueline Bisset) is a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown are accepted as part and parcel of the business. But as Ferrand makes sure he’s seen in possession of a stack of serious film tomes and has nightmares about being trapped outside a cinema showing ‘Citizen Kane’, the point is that even if the end result is a piece of trash, a director always strives to be an artist.

David Jenkins

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 10: Sun Jan 10

Jackie Brown (Tarantino, 1997): BFI Southbank, NFT, 7.50pm


This film screens as part of the Quentin Tarantino season at BFI Southbank and is being shown from 35mm. The movie is also being shown on January 2nd and 19th. Full details here.

Time Out review:
A pretty faithful adaptation of Elmore Leonard's Rum Punch, Tarantino's finest, most mature movie to date centres on airline steward Jackie (Grier), picked up by the Feds at LAX with cash and drugs destined for gun trader Ordell (Jackson). Reluctant to do time and aware that Ordell tends to murder anyone he suspects might turn informer, she decides to play cops and criminals - not only Ordell, but his former cellmate Louis (De Niro) and pothead girlfriend Melanie (Fonda) - against each other, confiding only in Max (Forster), the world-weary bail bondsman Ordell hired to get her out of jail in the first place. What's immediately rewarding is that Tarantino forgoes flash patter, stand-offs and stylistic flourishes in favour of a closer focus on character (women included), relationships, motives and mood. Also crucial to our actually coming to care about these people is the terrific acting (Grier and Forster make you wonder where they've been all these years). But perhaps most surprising and welcome is that this is a subtle poignant account of middle-aged people trying to come to terms with failing faculties, fading looks, diminishing options and a need to make their lives count somehow.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 9: Sat Jan 9

Two or Three Things I Know About Her (Godard, 1967): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 3.40pm


This film (35mm) screens as part of the Jean-Luc Godard season that runs from January through to March and is also being shown on January 11th and 12th. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
The most intellectually heroic of Jean-Luc Godard's early features (1966) was inspired by his reading an article about suburban housewives day-tripping into Paris to turn tricks for spending money. Marina Vlady plays one such woman, followed over a single day in a slender narrative with many documentary and documentarylike digressions. But the central figure is Godard himself, who whispers his poetic and provocative ruminations over monumentally composed color 'Scope images and, like James Agee in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, continually interrogates his own methods and responses. Among the more memorable images are extreme close-ups of a cup of coffee, while another remarkable sequence deconstructs the operations of a car wash. Few features of the period capture the world with as much passion and insight.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 8: Fri Jan 8

Les Carabiniers (Godard, 1963): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.30pm


This film (35mm) screens as part of the Jean-Luc Godard season that runs from January through to March and is also being shown on January 2nd. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Jean-Luc Godard set out in 1963 to deliberately make a war film that would be neither dramatically involving nor formally compelling—and he succeeded so brilliantly that the film was seen as a disaster, precisely because the liberal-humanist critics of the time were being educated by it rather than reassured. A vitally important film, in terms of Godard's notions of form and in terms of his growing political awareness, it tells of two peasants drafted into the king's army, whose victories on the battlefields lead to their execution as traitors when diplomacy takes a characteristic turn.
Don Druker

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 7: Thu Jan 7

Made in U.S.A. (Godard, 1966): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.10pm


This film screens as part of the Jean-Luc Godard season that runs from January through to March and is also being shown on January 3rd. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Shot concurrently with Two or Three Things I Know About Her (1966), this fractured film essay by Jean-Luc Godard bursts with bright colors, comic-book characters, and seemingly random violence. As a detective investigating the murder of her lover, Anna Karina is a cartoonishly exaggerated version of Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep, and there are numerous verbal references to other films. Yet Godard abandons narrative coherence to question cinematic conventions and even language itself, offering isolated moments of visual pleasure and characters who seem to be talking to the camera as much as each other. References to communism and to advertising as a form of fascism contribute to the film's attack on conventional ways of creating meaning and the bourgeois complacency fostered by mass entertainment.
Fred Camper

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 6: Wed Jan 6

Une femme est une femme (Godard, 1961): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.45pm


The BFI are running a major season devoted to Jean-Luc Godard from January to March. This film also screens on January 1st and 9th. Details here.

For the director's early years' output I'm using this article by David Parkinson as a guide and choosing his selections for the Capital Celluloid picks in the first week of the year

Chicago Reader review:
Jean-Luc Godard's third feature and first studio production (1960) starts with a subversive premise: a “neorealist” musical in which the major characters (Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anna Karina, and Jean-Claude Brialy) can't really sing and dance, much as they'd like to. Periodically ravishing to look at (it's Godard's first foray into both color and 'Scope) and listen to (Michel Legrand did the nonsinging score), it's also highly deconstructive in the way it keeps jostling us away from these pleasures and in the general direction of indecorous reality. (It's also packed with both subtle and obvious references to other movies.) While its slender plot (stripper Karina wants a baby and turns to Belmondo when her boyfriend Brialy won't oblige her) can irritate in spots, the film's high spirits may still win you over. It's perhaps most memorable for being a highly personal “documentary” about Karina and Godard's feelings about her at the time, brimming with odd details and irreverent energies.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 5: Tue Jan 5

Breathless (Godard, 1960): BFI Southbank NFT1, 8.40pm


The BFI are running a major season devoted to Jean-Luc Godard from January to March. This film, perhaps still his most famous and accessible, also screens on January 5th and 10th. Full details here.

For the director's early years' output I'm using this article by David Parkinson as a guide and choosing his selections for the Capital Celluloid picks in the first week of the year.

Chicago Reader review:
Shot on a shoestring and none the worse for it, Jean-Luc Godard's gritty and engaging first feature had an almost revolutionary impact when first released in 1960. It lays down most of the Godardian repertoire that the later films would build upon: male bravado spiced with plug-ugly mugging and amusing self-mockery (brought to perfection in Jean-Paul Belmondo's wonderful performance); a fascination with female beauty and treachery (the indelible Jean Seberg as the archetypal American abroad); an emulation of the American gangster movie, and a love-hatred for America in general; radically employed jump cuts that have the effect of a needle skipping gaily across a record; and a taste for literary, painterly, and musical quotations, as well as original aphorisms. Less characteristic of Godard's later work are the superb jazz score (by French pianist Martial Solal), a relatively coherent and continuous narrative, and postsynchronized dialogue.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 4: Mon Jan 4

Le Mepris (Godard, 1963): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.30 & 8.45pm


The BFI are running a major season devoted to Jean-Luc Godard from January to March. This film is on an extended run from January 1st to 28th. Full details here.

For the director's early years' output I'm using this article by David Parkinson as a guide and choosing his selections for the Capital Celluloid picks in the first week of the year.

Chicago Reader review:
A tense, sensitive, and rigorous film by Jean-Luc Godard, based on Alberto Moravia's novel A Ghost at Noon. Michel Piccoli stars as a French screenwriter unable to counter the contempt that his wife (Brigitte Bardot) builds for him as he humbles himself before a producer (Jack Palance) and a legendary director (Fritz Lang). Made in 'Scope and color at the behest of producer Joseph Levine, who expected a big commercial success, this 1963 feature begins as an unlikely project for Godard but develops (some would say degenerates) into one of his most archly stylized films.
Dave Kehr

Here (and  above) is the trailer.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 3: Sun Jan 3

Pierrot Le Fou (Godard, 1965): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 3.10pm


The BFI are running a major season devoted to Jean-Luc Godard from January to March. This film also screens on 26th January. Full details here.

For the director's early years' output I'm using this article by David Parkinson as a guide and choosing his selections for the Capital Celluloid picks in the first week of the year.

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 for me 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.

Chicago Reader review of Pierrot Le Fou:
"I wanted to tell the story of the last romantic couple," Jean-Luc Godard said of this brilliant, all-over-the-place adventure and meditation about two lovers on the run (Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina). Made in 1965, the film, with its ravishing colors and beautiful 'Scope camerawork by Raoul Coutard, still looks as iconoclastic and fresh as it did when it belatedly opened in the U.S. Godard's misogynistic view of women as the ultimate betrayers is integral to the romanticism in much of his 60s work—and perhaps never more so than here—but Karina's charisma makes this pretty easy to ignore most of the time. The movie's frequent shifts in style, emotion, and narrative are both challenging and intoxicating: American director Samuel Fuller turns up at a party scene to offer his definition of cinema, Karina performs two memorable songs in musical-comedy fashion, Belmondo's character quotes copiously from his reading, and a fair number of red and blue cars are stolen and destroyed.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 2: Sat Jan 2

Alphaville (Godard, 1965): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.30pm


The BFI are running a major season devoted to Jean-Luc Godard from January to March. This film also screens on 13th January. Full details here.

For the director's early years' output I'm using this article by David Parkinson as a guide and choosing his selections for the Capital Celluloid picks in the first week of the year.

Here is academic Colin MacCabe's introduction to Alphaville. 

Chicago Reader review:
Shot on a shoestring and none the worse for it, Jean-Luc Godard's gritty and engaging first feature had an almost revolutionary impact when first released in 1960. It lays down most of the Godardian repertoire that the later films would build upon: male bravado spiced with plug-ugly mugging and amusing self-mockery (brought to perfection in Jean-Paul Belmondo's wonderful performance); a fascination with female beauty and treachery (the indelible Jean Seberg as the archetypal American abroad); an emulation of the American gangster movie, and a love-hatred for America in general; radically employed jump cuts that have the effect of a needle skipping gaily across a record; and a taste for literary, painterly, and musical quotations, as well as original aphorisms. Less characteristic of Godard's later work are the superb jazz score (by French pianist Martial Solal), a relatively coherent and continuous narrative, and postsynchronized dialogue.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 1: Fri Jan 1

Vivre sa vie (Godard, 1962): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.30pm


The BFI are running a major season devoted to Jean-Luc Godard from January to March. This film is on anextended runs and screens until January 21st (with Anna Karina Q&A on the 16th). You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader preview:
Twelve episodes from the life of a prostitute (Anna Karina), filmed with haunting terseness by Jean-Luc Godard. This 1962 film isn't the most stimulating of Godard's early work, but it does show him beginning to pull away from traditional cutting patterns and sequence arrangement. It's a film that seems meant to be read sideways, like a comic strip, rather than experienced straight-on like a movie. 
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 365: Thu Dec 31

When Harry Met Sally (Reiner, 1989): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.15am


An appropriate New Year's Eve screening of this re-released crowd-pleaser, the Prince Charles Cinema trumping the other venues showing the movie by screening on 35mm.

Time Out review:
Too often dismissed as the bland, cutesy, cakey-bakey face of the modern romcom, the late Nora Ephron was an unacknowledged genius when it came to screenplay construction – and ‘When Harry Met Sally’ remains her finest work. This is a film where everything works: Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan’s just-this-side-of-smug central couple, the gorgeous photography of New York through the changing seasons, even Harry Connick Jr’s jazz-lite soundtrack. And it’s all rooted in that flawless script. The story is simple: Crystal and Ryan meet after college, and loathe one another on sight. As the years pass the random meetings pile up, and dislike turns to reluctant friendship. But, as the film insistently, infamously asks, can men and women ever really be just friends? It’s not just that Ephron poses these kinds of obvious-but-important questions. It’s that she does so while circumventing romantic clichés left and right, creating unforgettably loveable characters and throwing in some of the most fluid, insightful and witty set-piece conversations ever written (the diner orgasm is the most famous, but it’s the tip of a very large iceberg). ‘Perfect’ is a big word to use about any film, but in this case no other will do.
Tom Huddleston

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 364: Wed Dec 30

Dreams (Kurosawa, 1999): Close-Up Cinema, 8pm


This screens as part of the Akira Kurosawa season at Close Up. Full details here. The film (being shown on 35mm) is also on at Close-Up Cinema on December 22nd. Details here.

"The eight episodes of this lyrical, painterly film depict a number of dreams that are vaguely intended to reflect the life and abiding obsessions of its director. Moving from childhood through war to the terror of nuclear pollution, each of the episodes – which, taken together, represent the director’s multi-faceted style – dazzles through its use of color and superbly wrought mise-en-scène rather than through dialogue or structure. In these stories of spirits, both ancient and modern, Kurosawa takes care to hint at his meanings rather than make them overtly manifest." – Harvard Film Archive

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 363: Tue Dec 29

The Dollars Trilogy:
A Fistful of Dollars; For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad & The Ugly
(Leone, 1964-66) Prince Charles Cinema, 3.45pm


The Prince Charles Cinema introduction:
The Dollars Trilogy (Italian: Trilogia del dollaro), also known as the Man with No Name Trilogy, is a film series consisting of three Spaghetti Western films directed by Sergio Leone. The films are titled A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). The series has become known for establishing the Spaghetti Western genre, and inspiring the creation of many more Spaghetti Western films. The three films are consistently listed among the best rated Western films of all time.

All three films are being screened from 35mm

Chicago Reader review of The Good, The Bad & The Ugly:Sergio Leone's comic, cynical, inexplicably moving epic spaghetti western (1966), in which all human motivation has been reduced to greed—it's just a matter of degree between the Good (Clint Eastwood), the Bad (Lee Van Cleef), and the Ugly (Eli Wallach). Leone's famous close-ups—the "two beeg eyes"—are matched by his masterfully composed long shots, which keep his crafty protagonists in the subversive foreground of a massively absurd American Civil War. Though ordained from the beginning, the three-way showdown that climaxes the film is tense and thoroughly astonishing.
Dave Kehr

Chicago Reader review of For a Few Dollars More:
Sergio Leone followed up his international hit A Fistful of Dollars with this 1965 spaghetti western, continuing a trilogy that would end the following year with The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. A nameless bounty hunter (Clint Eastwood) and a resolute ex-army colonel (Lee Van Cleef) team up to capture a scuzzy bandit who's planning to pull a bank job in El Paso. Leone's artful editing of close-ups to communicate the characters' spatial relationships is always a pleasure, and here he unveils his stylistic signature—extreme close-ups of the characters' eyes—as Van Cleef surveys the villain's wanted poster.
JR Jones

Time Out review of A Fistful of Dollars:Though far less operatic and satisfying than Leone's later work, his first spaghetti Western with Eastwood still looks stylish, if a little rough at the edges. Based on Kurosawa's Yojimbo, it set a fashion in surly, laconic, supercool heroes with Eastwood's amoral gunslinger, who plays off two gangs against one another in a deadly feud. All the classic Leone ingredients were there - the atonal score, the graphic violence, the horrendous dubbing - and the film's Stateside success changed the face of a genre.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is The Dollars Trilogy trailer.

Footnote: This trio of movies is also known as The Man With No Name Trilogy. On Wikipedia it is noted that the "Man with No Name" concept was invented by the American distributor United Artists, looking for a strong angle to sell the movies as a trilogy. Eastwood's character does indeed have a name (albeit a nickname) and a different one in each film: "Joe", "Manco" and "Blondie", respectively.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 362: Mon Dec 28

Of Time and the City (Davies, 2008): Regent Street Cinema, 6.30pm


To coincide with the release of the brilliant Sunset Song, Regent Street Cinema are showing Terence Davies's new film with this superb documentary, chosen as film of the year by Mark Kermode in 2008. This double-bill also screens on December 29th. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Terence Davies, England's greatest living filmmaker, has released only six features, and this one is his first documentary, a mesmerizing and eloquent essay about his native Liverpool. As autobiographical and intensely personal as Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988) and The Long Day Closes (1992), it encompasses his working-class background, his loss of faith in Catholicism (and, more generally, religion), and his evolution as a homosexual, as well as his taste in music and cinema. The film is made up chiefly of found footage and therefore lacks the mise en scene of its predecessors, but it has the added benefit of Davies's voice-over narration, which, thanks to his training and experience as an actor, is enormously powerful. (Check out the witty way he conveys his disdain for the Beatles through his delivery of one of their best-known refrains.)
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 361: Sun Dec 27

A.K. (Marker, 1985): Close Up Cinema, 8pm


This screens as part of the Akira Kurosawa season at Close Up. Full details here.

Here is the IDFA introduction to tonight's film:
Serge Silberman, the French producer of Akira Kurosawa's Ran (1985), asked Chris Marker to make a behind-the-scenes portrait of the great Japanese director on the set of the film at the foot of Mount Fuji. Marker was one of a generation of documentary filmmakers who exchanged the "objective" documentary for a more subjective form, as is demonstrated by the voice-over he wrote. Making-of documentaries were unusual in those days, and Marker (whose love of cinema had previously led to loving homages to Andrei Tarkovsky, Sergei Eisenstein and Alfred Hitchcock) gave the genre his own twist by making A.K. a poetic, self-reflexive exploration of Kurosawa's oeuvre. The result is a work of art on the making of a work of art – an ode to Kurosawa in which it is principally the details that attract Marker's attention. In Marker's hands, the extras trying on their samurai costumes, the endless waiting and even the weather become ruminations on the nature of filmmaking. A.K. is divided into the chapters "Battle," "Patience," "Faithfulness," "Speed," "Horses," "Rain," "Lacquer & Gold," "Fire," "Fog" and "Chaos," all themes that Marker saw throughout Kurosawa's work."

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 360: Sat Dec 26

Blade Runner (Scott, 1982): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.05pm


Chicago Reader review:
Not to be confused with the mislabeled “director's cut” that's been around for 15 years, this seventh edition of Ridley Scott's SF masterpiece (1982) is arguably the first to get it all right, finally telling the whole story comprehensibly. This visionary look at Los Angeles in 2019—a singular blend of grime and glitter that captures both the horror and the allure of Reagan-era capitalism—was a commercial flop when it first appeared. Loosely adapted from Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, it follows the hero (Harrison Ford) as he tracks down and kills “replicants,” or androids. Much of the film's erotic charge and moral and ideological ambiguity stem from the fact that these characters are very nearly the only ones we care about. (We never know for sure whether Ford is a replicant himself.) With Sean Young, Rutger Hauer, Daryl Hannah, Edward James Olmos, Joe Turkel, and William J. Sanderson.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the new trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 359: Fri Dec 25

HAPPY CHRISTMAS

Cinemas are closed today but you can catch my twitter recommendations for great movies on the television over the holiday period via my twitter handle @tpaleyfilm and the hashtag #bestxmasholidayfilmonTVtoday.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 358: Thu Dec 24

It's A Wonderful Life (Capra, 1946): Prince Charles Cinema, 1pm & 3.45pm



This greatest of all Christmas films is on an extended run at the Prince Charles Cinema from December 4th. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
'The film Frank Capra was born to make. This 1946 release marked his return to features after four years of turning out propaganda films for the government, and Capra poured his heart and soul into it. James Stewart stars as a small-town nobody, on the brink of suicide, who believes his life is worthless. Guardian angel Henry Travers shows him how wrong he is by letting Stewart see what would have happened had he never been born. Wonderfully drawn and acted by a superb cast (Donna Reed, Beulah Bondi, Thomas Mitchell, Lionel Barrymore, Gloria Grahame) and told with a sense of image and metaphor (the use of water is especially elegant) that appears in no other Capra film. The epiphany of movie sentiment and a transcendent experience.'
Dave Kehr


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 357: Wed Dec 23

Far from Heaven (Haynes, 2002): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.20pm



This film screens in 35mm in the BFI Love: The Power of Love season strand. You can find the full details of the season here and you can find the details for this film's screenings on the 5th and 9th December here.

Chicago Reader review:
Todd Haynes's best feature to date—a provocative companion piece to his underrated Safe (1995), which also starred Julianne Moore as a lost suburban housewife but is otherwise quite different. This captures the look, feel, and sound of glamorous 50s tearjerkers like All That Heaven Allows, not to mock or feel superior to them but to say new things with their vocabulary. The story, set in 1957, concerns a traditional if well-to-do "homemaker" who falls in love with her black gardener (a superb performance by Dennis Haysbert) around the time that she discovers her husband (Dennis Quaid) is a closeted homosexual. Frankly, I find this movie more emotionally powerful, more truthful about the 50s, and more meaningful than any of the Technicolor Douglas Sirk pictures it evokes, even though it trades in obvious artifice in a way the originals never did. Though technically an independent feature, this is in fact one of the best Hollywood movies around.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 356: Tue Dec 22

The Shop Around the Corner (Lubitsch, 1940): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.30pm


This film is part of the BFI Love: Fools for Love strand. You can find the full details of the season here. This movie also screens on December 28th and 30th. It will be screened on 35mm.

Chicago Reader review:
There are no art deco nightclubs, shimmering silk gowns, or slamming bedroom doors to be seen, but this 1940 film is one of Ernst Lubitsch's finest and most enduring works, a romantic comedy of dazzling range that takes place almost entirely within the four walls of a leather-goods store in prewar Budapest. James Stewart is the earnest, slightly awkward young manager; Margaret Sullavan is the new sales clerk who gets on his nerves—and neither realizes that they are partners in a passionate romance being carried out through the mails. Interwoven with subplots centered on the other members of the shop's little family, the romance proceeds through Lubitsch's brilliant deployment of point of view, allowing the audience to enter the perceptions of each individual character at exactly the right moment to develop maximum sympathy and suspense. With Frank Morgan, Joseph Schildkraut, Sara Haden, and Felix Bressart.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 355: Mon Dec 21

Scrooge (Hurst, 1951): Prince Charles Cinema, 3.55pm


This movie, the best film version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, also screens at the Prince Charles Cinema on December 23rd and is also on an extended run at the BFI Southbank from December 18th to 30th. Tom Charity's review below is an honest and excellent one but I defy you not to be moved by Sim's central performance and it is this Ghost of Christmas Future that has haunted me since I saw this film as a ten-year-old.

Time Out review:
Surprisingly, there isn't a film version of the Dickens novella which merits the imprimatur 'classic'. The Muppets had a good stab at it, and Bill Murray was well cast in the otherwise scattershot Scrooged. On the plus side, this version is cast like an engraved illustration: Miles Thesiger, Mervyn Johns, Michael Hordern, Kathleen Harrison, Ernest Malleson, Hermione Baddeley and, above all, the splendidly aloof Alastair Sim, who feasts on Dickens' best lines ('I expect you want the whole day off tomorrow?'), greets each new ghost with a weary shiver, and handles his giddy rebirth with aplomb. A jobbing director who knew how to point a camera, Brian Hurst never betrayed much facility for cutting or movement. He stages the action competently, but the transitions between scenes are so choppy you wonder where the ads are. Add to this a prosaic adaptation by Noel Langley which gets bogged down in the backstory (the relatively dull visitation from the ghost of Christmas Past which explains how nice Ebenezer - a bashful George Cole - fell from the path of righteousness), some rather depressed-looking spirits, and the cringeworthy sentimentality of the Tiny Tim scenes, and you have what Scrooge himself might call 'Ho-hum-bug'.
Tom Charity

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 354: Sun Dec 20

Limelight (Chaplin, 1952): Regent Street Cinema, 2pm


This film, in my personal top ten favourites of all-time, is part of a Chaplin Sundays season at the Regent Street Cinema. You can find all the details of the season here.

Chicago Reader review:
Charles Chaplin's 1952 film is overlong, visually flat, episodically constructed, and a masterpiece—it isn't “cinema” on any terms but Chaplin's own, but those are high terms indeed. An autobiographical fantasy, it tells of an aging vaudeville clown, Calvero, and his friendship with a young ballerina (Claire Bloom). Buster Keaton appears as an old crony, in a lovely hommage, and there are many antique music-hall numbers interspersed among the personal meditations on life, death, and the transcendence of art. The final shot is among the most eloquent and moving images I know, a picture of the soul in flight.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 353: Sat Dec 19

Barry Lyndon (Kubrick, 1975): ICA Cinema, 3pm


Richard Ayoade, Jan Harlan and Maria Pramaggiore are at the ICA Cinema for a panel discussion after the screening, presented by The Badlands Collective.

Here is the Badlands Collective introduction to today's special screening:
Winner of four Oscars for 1975, including Best Cinematography, Stanley Kubrick’s painterly, darkly comic masterpiece is celebrated in this rare screening from a 35mm archive print.

Based on William Thackeray’s novel about the rise and fall of an 18th Century Irish rogue (Ryan O’Neal), Barry Lyndon features breathtaking, technically revolutionary candlelit visuals that recall the paintings of Hogarth and Gainsborough, vividly realising an epic world of beauty, deceit and poetic justice. This event is presented by the curation group The Badlands Collective, and we also welcome Kubrick collaborator Jan Harlan, cinema scholar Maria Pramaggiore and filmmaker Richard Ayoade for a discussion after the film.

Chicago Reader review:
All of Stanley Kubrick's features look better now than when they were first released, but Barry Lyndon, which fared poorly at the box office in 1975, remains his most underrated. It may also be his greatest. This personal, idiosyncratic, melancholy, and long (three hours) adaptation of the Thackeray novel is exquisitely shot in natural light (or, in night scenes, candlelight) by John Alcott, with frequent use of slow backward zooms that distance us, both historically and emotionally, from its rambling picaresque narrative about an 18th-century Irish upstart (Ryan O'Neal). Despite its ponderous, funereal moods and pacing, the film is a highly accomplished piece of storytelling, building to one of the most suspenseful duels ever staged. It also repays close attention as a complex and fascinating historical meditation, as enigmatic in its way as 2001: A Space Odyssey. With Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee, Hardy Kruger, and Leonard Rossiter; narrated by Michael Hordern.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 352: Fri Dec 18

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Demy, 1964): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.10pm


This film screens in the BFI Love: The Power of Love season strand. You can find the full details of the season here and you can find the details for this film's screening on this date and on December 22nd here.

Chicago Reader review:
Jacques Demy's 1964 "film opera," with music by Michel Legrand, has a reputation for sappiness it doesn't deserve. The chief feature of Demy's direction is his deft avoidance of the pat, the obvious, and the sentimental, which is no mean feat when you're dealing with material as self-consciously simple as this. Catherine Deneuve loses her fiance to the draft; he's wounded and doesn't write, so she reluctantly marries someone else.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 351: Thu Dec 17

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Lucas, 2015): Science Museum, 1.10pm


The Science Museum in London is the only venue you can see the new Star Wars film in the IMAX 70mm format. Here is their introduction to the screenings which run from December 17th to 31st.

The Science Museum’s IMAX Theatre is the only venue in Europe screening this blockbuster film in the IMAX 15/70mm format. Sequences expand vertically to give viewers a truly immersive experience, filling the entire screen and displaying 40% more of the image than can be seen in standard cinemas. We recommend booking early as demand is expected to be high.

You can find all the details of times, screenings and bookings here.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 350: Wed Dec 16

Red Beard (Kurosawa, 1965): Close-Up Cinema, 8pm


This 35mm screening is part of Close-Up Cinema's Akira Kurosawa season. You can find full details here. The film is also being shown on 29th December.

Chicago Reader review:
Akira Kurosawa's 1965 film stars Yuzo Kayama as an impetuous young doctor coming into conflict with his aging superior in an impoverished clinic in early 19th-century Japan. As the older doctor, Toshiro Mifune is superb; and though the film has been criticized for its excessive sentimentality by some, it's a masterful evocation of period and a probing study of the conflict between responsibility and idealism. A mature work that merits the term most apply to it: Dostoyevskian.
Don Druker

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 349: Tue Dec 15

In the Mood for Love (Kar-wai, 2000): BFI Southbank, NFT, 6.20pm



This film screens in 35mm in the BFI Love: The Power of Love season strand. You can find the full details of the season here and you can also see this movie on 20th and 21st December.

Chicago Reader review:
A brooding chamber piece (2000) about a love affair that never quite happens. Director Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong’s most romantic filmmaker, is known for his excesses, and in that sense the film’s spareness represents a bold departure. Claustrophobically set in adjacent flats in 1962 Hong Kong, where two young couples find themselves sharing space with other people, it focuses on a newspaper editor and a secretary at an export firm (Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung, the sexiest duo in Hong Kong cinema) who discover that their respective spouses are having an affair on the road. Wong, who improvises his films with the actors, endlessly repeats his musical motifs and variations on a handful of images, rituals, and short scenes (rainstorms, cab rides, stairways, tender and tentative hand gestures), while dressing Cheung in some of the most confining (though lovely) dresses imaginable, whose mandarin collars suggest neck braces.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) are extracts for the film and the soundtrack.