Sunday, 6 September 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 263: Sun Sep 20

Runaway Train (Konchalovsky, 1985) & Shy People (Konchalovsky, 1987):
Regent Street Cinema, 2pm & 4.25pm

The Badlands Collective present a double-bill tribute to Cannon Films as part of the Scalarama season which takes place throughout September. All the films in the season can be found here.

Chicago Reader review of Runaway Train:
Considering how much is truly awful about this 1985 film—a ludicrous situation (two convicts and a woman are trapped on a locomotive speeding out of control through the Alaskan wilderness), gobs of undigested philosophical dialogue, an appallingly mannered Method performance by lead Jon Voight—it's a high tribute to the skills of director Andrei Konchalovsky (Maria's Lovers) that it comes off as gripping entertainment. Imagine a cross between the macho roughhouse of a Robert Aldrich film (Emperor of the North is a close comparison) and the visual texture (snow, rusting steel, licking flames) of a Tarkovsky thumb sucker like Stalker and you'll have some idea. Konchalovsky excels both at the staging of claustrophobic psychodrama (the way he shoots the action in the cramped engine cab is a model of the creative use of restricted space) and large-scale action, setting up a very effective movement between emotional pressure and physical release. With Eric Roberts and Rebecca De Mornay; based on an unproduced screenplay by Akira Kurosawa.
Dave Kehr


Chicago Reader review of Shy People:
Andrei Konchalovsky's engrossing feature about a New York journalist (Jill Clayburgh) who invites her teenage daughter (Martha Plimpton) along on an expedition to the remote bayous of Louisiana to hunt up some remote relatives for a magazine article she's writing—a journey that leads her to the imperious and eccentric widow Ruth (Barbara Hershey) and her family. The interesting and exciting thing about this exercise in comparative anthropology—which can incidentally be read as a brilliantly understated cold-war allegory—is that it is never complacent or obvious; the relative values of “civilization” and primitivism are constantly juxtaposed, but without the kind of facility that one would expect from such a venture. The mysticism and poetry of Konchalovsky's conception, moreover, are never forced, and never allowed to interfere with the film's value as entertainment (adventure, comedy, and melodrama, with a faint touch of fantasy)—yielding a movie that manages to be “Russian” in conception without sacrificing any of its local truths. Gerard Brach and Marjorie David collaborated with Konchalovsky on the script; with Merritt Butrick, John Philbin, and Mare Winningham. Chris Menges is the talented cinematographer; the music is by Tangerine Dream.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer for Shy People.

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