Thursday, 30 April 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 130: Sun May 10

Les Bonnes Femmes (Chabrol, 1960): Cine Lumiere, 2pm


This haunting Claude Chabrol picture screens in the Sunday French Classics season at the Cine Lumiere. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Arguably the best as well as the most disturbing movie Claude Chabrol has made to date, this unjustly neglected 1960 feature, his fourth, focuses on the everyday lives and ultimate fates of four young women (Bernadette Lafont, Stephane Audran, Clotilde Joano, and Lucile Saint-Simon) working at an appliance store in Paris and longing for better things. Ruthlessly unsentimental yet powerfully compassionate, it shows Chabrol at his most formally inventive, and it exerted a pronounced influence on Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz two decades later.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) are the opening titles.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 129: Sat May 9

Thou Gild'st The Even (Unlu, 2013): Rio Cinema, 11.30pm


This film is part of the London Turkish Film Festival which runs from 7th to 17th May. You can read all the details of the festival here. This movie won best film at the 32nd Istanbul Film Festival.

London Turkish Film Festival preview:A strange but beautiful black-and-white mix of comedy, tragedy and fantasy with a hint of poetry and a touch of splatter movie, Thou Gids't the Even recountsf the ordinary troubles of people with extraordinary abilities. It explores sorrow, hope, and the insanity of human nature through the life of Cemal a bored and depressed football referee in a small Turkish town with two suns and three full moons. He wanders through life despondent and unfulfilled whilst surrounded by an invisible teacher, an immortal doctor, and a beautiful girl who can stop time with a clap of her hands. The apparent absurdity of it all is truly captivating.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 128: Fri May 8

Sivas (Mujdeci, 2014): Rio Cinema, 6.30pm


This film, which won the Jury prize at Venice last year, is one of the undoubted highlights of the London Turkish Film Festival which runs from 7th to 17th May. You can read all the details of the festival here. Sivas can also be seen at the Odeon Panton Street on 14th May. Details here.

London Turkish Film Festival preview:
Another of Turkish cinema's major international award winners in 2014 (Venice Film Festival Special Jury Prize), Sivas is set in remote eastern Anatolia, where Aslan, a troubled 11-year-old boy, rescues and adopts a shepherd dog who has been injured in an illegal dog fight. Sivas is at first just an impressive weapon in Aslan's fight for the affection of his classmate Ayşe but the potential for the animal to return to a more brutal and cruelly competitive world is always simmering below the surface. The contrast between the two worlds in writer-director Kaan Müjdeci's feature debut is beautifully and convincingly realised, not least thanks to the wonderful performance of Doğan İzci as the boy.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 127: Thu May 7

Only Angels Have Wings (Hawks, 1939): Regent Street Cinema, 7.30pm



This is the opening night of a new cinema, in a theatre dubbed “the birthplace of British cinema”, one which screened the UK’s first moving image – and its first X-rated film. Shira MacLeod, the Regent Street Cinema’s director, has revealed it will be the only movie theatre in the UK to show moving image media “from 16mm and 35mm to Super 8 film, to the latest in 4K digital film”.

The restored cinema, which also houses the original organ used to accompany silent movies, will feature “cutting-edge British and world cinema, retrospectives and classic repertory titles, documentaries, experimental moving image and animation”, Ms MacLeod has said in an article in the Independent you can read here.

The first screening, Only Angels Have Wings, is a major American movie and a pivotal film in the great Howard Hawks's career. Indeed, Robin Wood, in his BFI book on Hawks, describes the movie as a "completely achieved masterpiece". Cary Grant leads a group of pilots who regularly take their life in their hands flying mail planes across the Andes. They are joined by a sparky Jean Arthur, who drops in for a steak but fascinated by the life and times of Grant's team stays on and witnesses the adventures of one of Hawks's archetypal male groups. Only Angels Have Wings mixes tragedy and comedy in typical Hawks style and has an atmosphere all its own. Here is the justly celebrated piano-playing sequence with Grant and Arthur.

Chicago Reader review:
Howard Hawks's 1939 film represents the equilibrium point of his career: the themes he was developing throughout the 30s here reach a perfect clarity and confidence of expression, without yet confronting the darker intimations that would haunt his films of the 40s and 50s. The setting is a South American port where a group of fliers, led by Cary Grant, challenges the elements nightly by piloting mail across a treacherous mountain range. This all-male existential ritual (Grant almost seems the high priest of some Sartrean temple) is invaded by an American showgirl (Jean Arthur) who stops off for a steak and remains, fascinated by the heightened, heady atmosphere of primal struggle. The film's moral seriousness (which sometimes approaches overt didacticism) is balanced by the usual Hawks humor and warmth, and as Grant and Arthur are drawn into a romance, the film moves toward a humanistic softening of its stark premises.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 126: Wed May 6

Look Back in Anger (Richardson, 1959): ArtHouse Crouch End, 8.30pm


Chicago Reader review:
Tony Richardson directed this competent 1959 adaptation of John Osborne's archetypal (and, alas, archetypally misogynist) Angry Young Man play. Richard Burton (a bit too old for his role) is the antiestablishment Jimmy Porter, Mary Ure is his dumped-on wife, and Claire Bloom is her best friend (and his lover). Probably still watchable today, if only for the brittle dialogue and kitchen-sink realism, but undoubtedly dated as well. Nigel Kneale wrote the script; with Edith Evans and Donald Pleasence
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 125: Tue May 5

Alphaville (Godard, 1965): ICA Cinema, 6.30pm


This is part of the Eye on I season at the ICA. All four films are essential viewing. Details here.

Chicago Reader review of Alphaville:
The unadorned streets of Paris become Alpha 60, Capital of Pain, in Jean-Luc Godard's smoky, acrid 1965 science fiction film. It's the most political of Godard's films before his complete radicalization, and probably his most anguished. The terrain crossed by special agent Lemmy Caution (B movie star Eddie Constantine) is relentlessly sterile and oppressive, a wilderness of glass-box architecture and endless white corridors. The view of technology as inherently evil is too facile for Godard's fine, paradoxical mind, and the film as a whole is light on insight. But it remains an outstanding example of the filmmaker's power to transform an environment through the selection of detail: everything in it is familiar, but nothing is recognizable. With Anna Karina and Akim Tamiroff.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Here is academic Colin MacCabe's introduction to Alphaville.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 124: Mon May 4

The Stranger (Welles, 1946): Curzon Bloomsbury, 3pm


This film is part of a weekend of screenings devoted to director Orseon Welles at Curzon Bloomsbury. You can find the full details on this page on the cinema's website.  This film is part of a double-bill with Too Much Johnson.

Chicago Reader review:
Orson Welles's 1946 film reproduces his personal themes of self-scrutiny and self-destruction only in outline, though it is an inventive, highly enjoyable thriller. FBI investigator Edward G. Robinson tracks a Nazi war criminal (Welles) to his lair, a small town in Connecticut where he lives with his unknowing American wife (Loretta Young) and teaches at a prep school. Welles rolls out all his technical thunder for the chase finale, but the most impressive scenes in the film may be those that depict daily life in the village; wrapped in snow, the setting has the magic hush of The Magnificent Ambersons. Welles has said that he made the film to prove he could shoot a conventional Hollywood feature; the proof is there but it did him no good. With Billy House; John Huston contributed, anonymously, to the script. 
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 123: Sun May 3

Les Diaboliques (Clouzot, 1955): Cine Lumiere, 2pm


This is part of the Sunday French Classics season at Cine Lumiere. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
The notoriously ruthless 1955 thriller by France's most neurotic director, Henri-Georges Clouzot (The Wages of Fear). Clouzot cast his own wife, Vera, as an invalid who plots the murder of her husband, assisted by his mistress (Simone Signoret). Set in the rotting confines of a private school for boys, the film is cruel, sour, and—unfortunately—very effective.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 122: Sat May 2

Chimes at Midnight (Welles, 1966): Curzon Bloomsbury, 3pm


This film, Orson Welles' personal favourite, starts a weekend of screenings devoted to the director at Curzon Bloomsbury. You can find the full details on this page on the cinema's website. This will be the first screening of the restored 50th anniversary edition (out on DVD on 29 June).

Chicago Reader review:
Orson Welles's 1966 version of the Falstaff story, assembled from Shakespearean bits and pieces, is the one Welles film that deserves to be called lovely; there is also a rising tide of opinion that proclaims it his masterpiece. Restrained and even serene (down to its memorably muddy battle scene), it shows Welles working largely without his technical flourishes—and for those who have never seen beyond his surface flash, it is ample proof of how sensitive and subtle an artist he is. With Keith Baxter, John Gielgud, Margaret Rutherford, and Jeanne Moreau.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the memorable battle scene.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 121: Fri May 1

8½ (Fellini, 1963): BFI Southbank, NFT2 2.30pm + NFT1 5.40 & 8.25pm


This classic movie starts an extended run at BFI Southbank tonight. Full details of the dates here.

Chicago Reader review:
If what you know about this exuberant, self-regarding movie comes from its countless inferior imitations (from Mazursky’s Alex in Wonderland and The Pickle to Allen’s Stardust Memories to Fosse’s All That Jazz), you owe it to yourself to see Federico Fellini’s exhilarating, stocktaking original... It’s Fellini’s last black-and-white picture, and conceivably the most gorgeous and inventive thing he’s ever made — certainly more fun than anything he’s made since.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the new BFI trailer.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 120: Thu Apr 30

The Outrage (Karlin, 1995) & The Serpent (Karlin, 1997):
BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.40pm


This is part of the Cinema Born Again: Radical Film from the 1970s season. Marc Karlin, who directed tonight's double bill, was once described as "the most significant unknown film-maker working in Britain during the past three decades". 

In NFT3 at 6.15pm there will be a screening of Karlin's Between Times plus a talk and discussion on Karlin's legacy.

Here is the BFI introduction to The Outrage: The tactile, abstract canvases of celebrated painter Cy Twombly form the focal point of this unusual artist documentary. The fictional, mysterious M does the looking; reacting initially with rage and frustration, before asking why. Karlin reflects on our changing relationship to art while also considering its significance in our lives, revealing himself in the process. This is an inspiring example of how to challenge the formal, conventional limits of film and TV

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

Here is the BFI introduction to The Serpent:This decidedly bold drama-documentary sees Rupert Murdoch re-imagined as the Dark Prince from Milton’s Paradise Lost. Commuter Michael Deakin drifts off to sleep and dreams of destroying the Prince who has made England ‘a hard, sniggering, resentful, hard shoulder of a place.’ But the voice of reason has other plans, and Deakin himself is implicated in the Prince’s rise to power.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 119: Wed Apr 29

Paris is Burning (Livingston, 1990): Cinema Museum, 7pm


ReShape and the Cinema Museum present the VITO Project, a series of free monthly screenings bringing generations of LGBTs together to provide an alternative space to mix, watch films and share ideas. Tonight's film is the documentary Paris is Burning.

Chicago Reader review:
Jennie Livingston's exuberant and loving documentary about "voguing" and the drag balls of Harlem is both a celebration and a canny commentary. Delving into the dance poses and acrobatic moves of black and Latino gay men, she enters this highly ritualized subculture with a genuine sense of curiosity and discovery, and is wise enough to let the participants themselves do most of the explaining. One emerges from this film not only with a new vocabulary and a fresh way of viewing the straight world, but with a bracing object lesson in understanding what society "role models" are all about. See it.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 118: Tue Apr 28

Nighthawks (Peck, 1978): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.10pm


Here is the BFI introduction to a groundbreaking 70s British movie:
Nighthawks is a richly authentic, pioneering account of gay life in the late 70s, told with refreshing honesty and humour. We follow a young teacher as he cruises in clubs and reveals a double life. With volunteer extras and privately raised money, the film was firmly rooted in the gay community of its day, and remains powerful and fascinating.

The film will be introduced by director Ron Peck.

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 117: Mon Apr 27

Christmas Holiday (Siodmak, 1944): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.50pm


This is part of the Robert Siodmak season at BFI and also screens on 30 April. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
A demented melodrama from 1944, starring the most unlikely film noir couple of all time, Gene Kelly and Deanna Durbin. Kelly is a murderous Creole; Durbin is a sweet young thing from Vermont who supports him through thick but mostly thin. This bizarre film was the product of a collaboration between Germanic stylist Robert Siodmak (Phantom Lady) and scenarist Herman J. Mankiewicz (Citizen Kane). Somewhere in the background lurks a Somerset Maugham story. Highly peculiar, and a must for anyone who has suffered through One Hundred Men and a Girl.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) are the opening titles.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 116: Sun Apr 26

Madame De (Ophuls, 1953): Cine Lumiere, 2pm


This is part of Cine Lumiere's Sunday French Film Classics season. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
'Certainly one of the crowning achievements in film (1953). Max Ophuls's gliding camera follows Danielle Darrieux, Charles Boyer, and Vittorio De Sica through a circle of flirtation, passion, and disappointment, a tour that embraces both sophisticated comedy and high tragedy. Ophuls's camera style is famous for its physicalization of time, in which every fleeting moment is recorded and made palpable by the ceaseless tracking shots, yet his delineation of space is also sublime and highly charged: no director has better understood the emotional territory that exists offscreen.'
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is a short extract with director Paul Thomas Anderson talking about the movie.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 115: Sat Apr 25

Film That Buys the Cinema (Cube Cinema, 2014): The Horse Hospital, 7.30pm


A social-cinema-art-docu feature film, The Film That Buys The Cinema was born out of a very pressing concern: to secure the future of an 108 seat, completely independent Microplex Cinema in Bristol, England. This part of its mission was achieved, now it has a life of its own as a fully fledged film being screened across the globe. The Film That Buys the Cinema is a 70-minute work comprised of uncut one-minute takes, each one shot by a bewildering list of contributors, each whom have a wildly different relationship with this unique art-bunker. It’s a viewing experience unlike most and most suitable at the Horse Hospital, a space that has long been an inspiration on the Cube.

BFI London Film Festival review:
An insistent stream of lurid, poetic and bizarre otherworldly episodes are brought into compelling hard collision here, like an old underground VHS mixtape or an exceedingly choice – and unpredictable – weave of unlikely YouTube hits. This beguiling film was made to raise funds for the Cube, a boldly independent micro-cinema in Bristol trying to buy its own freehold. Each minute was newly shot by one of its different allies or former special guests - the luminaries include: Ben Rivers, Jem Cohen, Emma Hedditch, Nicolas Roeg, Peter Strickland and Jennet Thomas plus cult musician Jandek. An entertaining and powerful manifestation of the world of the Cube and its outreach, this epic movie also provides a striking measure of how much rich, diverse creative talent there is around right now.
William Fowler

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 114: Fri Apr 24

Daughters of the Dust (Dash, 1991): Tate Modern, 7pm


This is part of the LA Rebellion: Creating a Black Cinema season at the Tate. Full details of the films, which are on till April 25, can be found here.

Here is the Tate introduction:
Daughters of the Dust is a landmark in independent film. An enchanting visual poem, it is an impressionistic history of the Gullah people, who at the turn of the century find themselves torn between their traditions and modernity. Descendants of slaves who lived in isolation on the tropical Sea Islands off the Southern U.S. coast, the Gullah people maintained strong connections to African cultural and linguistic traditions. Focusing on the extended Peazant family in summer of 1902, the film explores the spiritual conflicts between different generations of women as they debate the consequences of their relocation to the mainland. 

Chicago Reader review:
Julie Dash's first feature (1991), set in the islands along the south Atlantic coast of the U.S. sometime around 1900. A group of black women, carrying on ancient African traditions and beliefs as part of an extended family preparing to migrate north, confront the issue of what to bring with them and what to leave behind. Lyrically distended in its folkloric meditations, with striking use of slow and slurred motion in certain interludes, this doesn't make much use of drama or narrative, and the musical score and performances occasionally seem at war with the period ambience. But the resources of the beautiful locations are exploited to the utmost, and Dash can be credited with an original, daring, and sincere conception. With Cora Lee Day, Alva Rogers, Adisa Anderson, Kaycee Moore, and Barbara-O.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 113: Thu Apr 23

Chantal Akerman par Chantal Akerman (Akerman, 1997): ICA Cinema, 6.40pm


This screening is part of the Chantal Akerman retrospective presented by A Nos Amours.

Tonight, two Chantal Akerman films from the late 1990s.

Chantal Akerman par Chantal Akerman (1996)
Commissioned as part of the series: Cinéma, de notre temps

The legendary series of film-maker portraits curated by Janine Bazin and André Labarthe offered Akerman a commission. She chose, entirely consistently with her projects to date, to make a study of herself as film-maker. Why not? She had turned film-making back on itself, and discovered a feminised and ‘other’ sensibility, another way of seeing the world and self.
Akerman delivers a monologue about her work and thinking. This is followed by a montage of clips from her work, including Jeanne Dielman, Saute ma Ville, Hotel Monterrey, Histoires d'Amerique, Toute une nuit, Portrait d'une jeune fille de la fin des années 60 à Bruxelles, Les années 80 and so on.
Akerman closes with a simple statement of fact, without biographical adornment: "I was born in Brussels, that’s the truth."

Chantal Akerman par Chantal Akerman, dir. Chantal Akerman, 1996, 63 mins

Sud (South) (1999)
Inspired by a love of the literature of William Faulkner and James Baldwin, Akerman planned a meditation on the American South, modeled perhaps on her prior D’est. But, just as she began work, James Byrd, Jr. was murdered in Jasper, Texas. A black man, he has severely beaten by three white men, chained to their truck, and dragged three miles through a black neighborhood.
Akerman’s engagement is not news reportage. Jasper, the context for the crime, must be scrutinised. Patient interviews reveal the people and their attitudes. Byrd's funeral is a moment of deep feeling.
This is a film that finds an alternative to the forensic investigation of In Cold Blood. This is a film that evokes a terrain, the folds of a psychological condition, the cold heart of white supremacism and the extraordinary nobility of the black community under attack.
Perhaps it is Akerman’s sense of exclusion, stemming from her family’s experience of the Holocaust, that enables her to see in this way.

Akerman has written:
How does the southern silence become so heavy and so menacing so suddenly? How do the trees and the whole natural environment evoke so intensely death, blood, and the weight of history? How does the present call up the past? And how does this past, with a mere gesture or a simple regard, haunt and torment you as you wander along an empty cotton field, or a dusty country road?
Sud, dir. Chantal Akerman, 1999, 71 mins

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 112: Wed Apr 22

The Falling (Morley, 2014): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.15pm


A special preview screening of this much-anticipated film + a Q&A with director Carol Morley.

Here so the BFI introduction:
Young Lydia (Williams), emotionally abandoned by her agoraphobic mum (Peake), becomes fixated on her best friend Abbie (Pugh). When Lydia’s white magik-obsessed brother and Abbie sleep together, her fragile world begins to unravel and a mysterious delirium takes over the girl’s school that she attends. Carol Morley (Dreams of a Life) returns to themes of identity, female experience and human connection with this distinctive new film.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 111: Tue Apr 21

Penthesilea (Mulvey/Wollen, 1974): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.40pm


This is part of the Cinema Born Again: Radical Film from the 70s season. This is preceded at 6.20pm in NFT1 by a discussion involving Laura Mulvey and a panel of fellow critics who will reflect on her groundbreaking essay ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.’

This is the BFI introduction:
Newsreel footage of the suffragette movement, manipulated and cut-up, forms just one sequence in which theorists Mulvey and Wollen consider the speculative archetype of the warrior Penthesilea and her manifestation in different media. A stylish 70s Wonder Woman comic plus the very film being made are also reflected upon, with the filmmakers resisting the idea of the authoritative statement.

Time Out review:
Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen's film opens with a mime performance of Kleist's play about the Queen of the Amazons, and then proceeds through a suite of four further sequences designed to tease out some of the main implications in this opening 'statement'. Feminist issues loom large, not surprisingly, but the film embraces many other things, from Kleist's bizarre personal history to the way an actor feels in assuming a role. It's constructed as an exploration of relationships, real or potential, rather than as an argument or a single line of thought: it's interested in the link that may exist between a Greek vase-painting of a warrior woman and the Suffragettes, or, more formally, between a specific sound and a specific image. As such, it's a kind of scrapbook with a polemic kick. And it's also something of a milestone in dragging the moribund British cinema into an era long inhabited by Godard and Straub.
Tony Rayns

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 110: Mon Apr 20

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (Powell & Pressburger, 1943):
BFI Southbank, NFT2, 5.50pm


This film also screens on Sunday 26 April. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
It's almost impossible to define this 1943 masterpiece by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. It was ostensibly based on a cartoon series that satirized the British military class, yet its attitude toward the main character is one of affection, respect, and sometimes awe; it was intended as a propaganda film, yet Churchill wanted to suppress it; it has the romantic sweep of a grand love story, yet none of the romantic relationships it presents is truly fulfilled, and the film's most lasting bond is one between the British colonel (Roger Livesey) and his Prussian counterpart (Anton Walbrook). Pressburger's screenplay covers 40 years in the colonel's life through a series of brilliantly constructed flashbacks, compressions, and ellipses; Powell's camera renders the winding plot through boldly deployed Technicolor hues and camera movements of exquisite design and expressivity. It stands as very possibly the finest film ever made in Britain. With Deborah Kerr, Roland Culver, and James McKechnie.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 109: Sun Apr 19

Force of Evil (Polonsky, 1948): Rio Cinema, 2pm


This great noir features in a typically fine Rio Cinema double-bill with the 1996 Thom Andersen/Noel Burch documentary Red Hollywood which featured on the blog recently and which you can read all about here.

Chicago Reader review:
Abraham Polonsky's superior 1949 melodrama about the numbers racket. A poetic, terse, beautifully exact, and highly personal re-creation of the American underworld, with an unpunctuated Joycean screenplay by Polonsky that is perhaps unique in the American cinema. This is film noir at its best. Beautifully acted by John Garfield, Thomas Gomez, and Beatrice Pearson.
Don Druker

Here (and above) you can see Mark Cousins introducing the film on the TV programme Moviedrome.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 108: Sat Apr 18

Network (Lumet, 1976): Cinema Museum, 7pm


Here is the Cinema Museum introduction to tonight's entertainment:
Kinima Film Club are excited to be back at the Cinema Museum for their fourth evening of fiction, frolics, food, fancy… and fun! With roots in the music hall tradition of the 1850s, the classic variety show grew into something new and exciting with the advent of cinema – a mix of live performance and moving pictures. Kinima’s aim is to recapture the early wonders of cinema by turning the limelight on a fusion of variety acts and genre defining films. Your Saturday night movie treat is a 35mm screening of Sidney Lumet’s Network. Boasting a killer screenplay which rightfully earned Paddy Chayefsky an Oscar, the film has been described as “an outrageous satire ... brilliantly, cruelly funny” and “a messianic farce”. Lumet constructs a superb, dark critique of lurid television journalism, where entertainment value and short-term ratings are paramount. Its ruthless deconstruction of the media machine is no less prescient four decades later.

Chicago Reader review:
Good campy fun from the combined talents of Paddy Chayefsky and Sidney Lumet; Chayefsky was apparently serious about much of this shrill, self-important 1976 satire about television, interlaced with bile about radicals and pushy career women, and so were some critics at the time. Peter Finch, in his last performance, effectively plays a network news commentator who blows his top and his mind on the air and quickly becomes a self-styled messiah; William Holden plays the wizened TV executive who has the Truth, which pushy, nihilistic program director Faye Dunaway wants; and Robert Duvall, Wesley Addy, Ned Beatty, and Beatrice Straight are around for comparably juicy hyperbole.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 107: Fri Apr 17

Cry of the City (Siodmak, 1948): BFI Southbank, 2,30, 6.15 & 8.45pm


This film, the centrepiece of the Robert Siodmak season at the BFI, is on an extended run until May 27. You can find all the details of the screenings here.

BFI introduction:
An electrifying variation on the theme of a hoodlum (Conte) and a cop (Mature) who knew one another as kids, it opens with the former seriously wounded in hospital but determined to escape the police watching over him; he needs to clear the name of his fiancée, who’s suspected of a jewel robbery. While Conte, all insolent, menacing charm, is especially magnificent, and Mature invests the detective’s pursuit with unsettling hints of obsession, the movie fields a glorious gallery of shady figures, from a lawyer oozing corruption to a memorably sadistic masseuse. The steely realism is enhanced by flourishes of noir stylisation. A classic awaiting rediscovery.
Geoff Andrew

There's also a terrific review by critic David Jenkins in Little White Lies magazine which you can read here.

Here (and above) is the trailer.