Sunday, 30 August 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 254: Fri Sep 11

THIS SCREENING HAS BEEN POSTPONED.

IN COLD BLOOD opens at BFI Southbank today and you can find the details here.

Death Line (Sherman, 1972): Prince Charles Cinema, 11.30pm


This film is part of the Prince Charles Cinema's late-night season. You can find all the details here.

Time Out review:
'One of the great British horror films, Death Line is a classic example of what Hellraiser director Clive Barker calls 'embracing the monstrous'. The film's basic premise is a gruesome one: following a cave-in during the construction of an underground tunnel in 1892, successive generations of plague-ridden cannibals have survived and developed their own subterranean culture. Forced out of hiding by the death of his wife, the sole surviving cannibal begins abducting passengers from Russell Square tube station. The disgust provoked by the corpse-filled underground world inhabited by the cannibal is offset by the tenderness with which he treats his dying wife, and by the unutterable sadness of his lonely plight. The film's great achievement is in eliciting sympathy for a creature whose residual capacity for human feeling amid such terrible degradation is ultimately more moving than horrifying.'
Nigel Floyd
Here is the celebrated long take from this genuine British horror classic.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 253: Thu Sep 10

Juliet of the Spirits (Fellini, 1965): Gosh Comics, 1 Berwick St, W1F, 7.30pm


This is a Scalarama season screening presented by the Black Decagon Film Club. You can find all the details here on the club's Facebook page.

Time Out review:
What [Federico Fellini's previous film] did for its bourgeois film-director hero, Juliet of the Spirits does for his female opposite number, a repressed, paranoid, bourgeois housewife (played, of course, by Fellini's wife). That's to say it's a gaudy, hyperbolic pageant, in which a 'reality' composed of séances, film-star neighbours, tyrannous relatives, and a large helping of Catholic guilt is gradually invaded by 'flashbacks' and 'fantasies'. The overall charm just about carries the glibness of the psychological payoff, and the way that different veins of imagery interlock gives the film a cogency that later Fellini has woefully lacked.
Tony Rayns

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 252: Wed Sep 9

Fat City (Huston, 1972): Close-Up Cinema, 8pm



This movie, which also screens on 3rd, 11th and 24th September, is part of the New Hollywood season at Close-Up Cinema through September and October. You can find all the details here.

John Huston is much better known for The Dead, African Queen and The Maltese Falcon but Fat City is surely, along with Wise Blood (1979), his finest work. Don't miss the chance to see a rare screening of this wonderful slice of Hollywood melancholia in which Stacy Keach gives the performance of a lifetime as a struggling boxer giving it one last try and Jeff Bridges shines as a naive up-and-coming fighter. Watch out, in particular, for the final scene of this movie and an audacious, haunting shot a minute from the end.

Time Out review:
'Marvellous, grimly downbeat study of desperate lives and the escape routes people construct for themselves, stunningly shot by Conrad Hall. The setting is Stockton, California, a dreary wasteland of smoky bars and sunbleached streets where the lives of two boxers briefly meet, one on the way up, one on the way down. Neither, you sense instantly, for all their talk of past successes and future glories, will ever know any other world than the back-street gymnasiums and cheap boxing-rings where battered trainers and managers exchange confidences about their ailments, disappointments and dreams, and where in a sad and sobering climax two sick men beat each other half to death for a few dollars and a pint of glory. Huston directs with the same puritanical rigour he brought to Wise Blood. Beautifully summed up by Paul Taylor as a "masterpiece of skid row poetry".'
Tom Milne


Spoiler alert - here's that final scene.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 251: Tue Sep 8

L'Atalante (Vigo, 1934): David Lean Cinema, Katharine Street, Croydon, 7.30pm


This screening, part of the Scalarama season, will be from a 35mm print.

Chicago Reader review:
'Jean Vigo's only full-length feature (1934), one of the supreme masterpieces of French cinema, was edited and then brutally reedited while Vigo was dying, so a “definitive” restoration is impossible. (The reassembled version released in France in 1990 is almost certainly the best and most complete we'll ever be able to see—it's wondrous to behold.) The simple love-story plot involves the marriage of a provincial woman (Dita Parlo) to the skipper of a barge (Jean Daste), and the only other characters of consequence are the barge's skeletal crew (Michel Simon and Louis Lefebvre) and a peddler (Gilles Margaritis) who flirts with the wife at a cabaret and describes the wonders of Paris to her. The sensuality of the characters and the settings, indelibly caught in Boris Kaufman's glistening cinematography, are only part of the film's remarkable poetry, the conviction of which goes beyond such categories as realism or surrealism, just as the powerful sexuality in the film ultimately transcends such categories as heterosexuality, homosexuality, and even bisexuality. Shot by shot and moment by moment, the film is so fully alive to the world's possibilities that magic and reality seem to function as opposite sides of the same coin, with neither fully adequate to Vigo's vision. The characters are at once extremely simple and extremely complex (richest of all is Simon's Pere Jules, as beautiful a piece of character acting as one can find anywhere), and while the continuity is choppy in spots—a factor skillfully cloaked by Maurice Jaubert's superb score—the film's aliveness and potency are so constant that this hardly seems to matter. A major inspiration to subsequent generations of filmmakers, yet no one has ever succeeded in matching it.'
Jonathan Rosenbaum 

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 250: Mon Sep 7

The Thing (Carpenter, 1982): Picturehouse Central, 8.30pm

This film can also be seen in a 70mm presentation at the Prince Charles Cinema on the 10th and 17th October. Full details here.


This is part of a strand entitled Culture Shock, a series of films dedicated to cult and genre films at Picturehouse Cinemas. Tonight's movie was voted No6 in Time Out's 100 best horror films.

Time Out review:
Time travel has many enticing possibilities, but one of the most enjoyable would be to travel back to 1982 and tell John Carpenter that his new movie would someday score sixth place in a list of the 100 best horror movies – even beating his own iconic ‘Halloween’. Like many future horror classics, ‘The Thing’ was hated on first release, dismissed as an ‘Alien’ clone more interested in pushing the boundaries of SFX than in character or tension. It was a disastrous flop, and threatened Carpenter’s once unassailable reputation as the king of the new horror. It’s hard to imagine now: with the benefit of hindsight (and, more importantly, repeat viewings), ‘The Thing’ has emerged as one of our most potent modern terrors, combining the icy-cold chill of suspicion and uncertainty with those magnificently imaginative, pre-CG effects blowouts.
Tom Huddleston

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 249: Sun Sep 6

Meshes of the Afternoon (Deren/Hammid, 1943) & Morvern Callar (Ramsay, 2002)
ICA Cinema, 6.15pm



This is part of the Onwards & Outwards season, a nationwide programme of screenings, talks, and events, which aims to establish a dialogue around the conditions of production that women face when attempting to use the moving image as a means of expression.

Here is the ICA introduction to today's special screening:
Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid's experimental investigation of deeply personal psychology, combined with their self-sufficient production ethics, would serve as inspiration for Lynne Ramsay's Morvern Callar. Using repetitive structures and iconic imagery, they construct a hallucinatory narrative that delves into the intimate subjectivity of its characters. Meshes Of The Afternoon was one of the key films which influenced Lynne Ramsay to study filmmaking rather than still photography.

Continuing her distinctive, and personal approach to filmmaking, Ramsay followed her debut feature Ratcatcher with an adaptation based of the novel Morvern Callar written by Alan Warner. The story follows a young woman in Scotland, played by Samantha Morton, who wakes on Christmas morning to find her boyfriend has committed suicide. Discovering his bank card and the text of his first novel, she decides to take his money and publish the novel under her name.
"I was interested in [Morvern Callar] because it isn't a very straight narrative, it is original in terms of character, it's original in terms of plot in some ways as well. That's a major risk because the reason conventional narratives are liked is because they work, and they've always worked. People like to be led like that. But that doesn't mean that there isn't another way of doing it. I enjoy experimenting and taking risks with the form." Lynne Ramsay, Vertigo
Chicago Reader review of Morvern Callar:
Morvern Callar (cult fave Samantha Morton) is an inarticulate grocery store clerk in a Scottish hamlet—dead-end girl in a dead-end job in a dead-end town. She seems frozen, unable to act, but when she does it's sudden and startling. An unexpected influx of cash sends her and her best friend, Lanna, who's noisier but equally feckless, on an aimless Spanish beach trip full of joyless sex, drug taking, and drunken Brits. It's not what Morvern wants—not that she knows what she wants—and when the accidental tourist becomes an accidental celebrity, things get even more disturbing. Fans of director Lynne Ramsay's first movie, the bleak Ratcatcher, won't be surprised that this little existential exercise makes The Stranger look like a funwagon






Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 248: Sat Sep 5

Penda's Fen (Clarke, 1974): Whitechapel Gallery, 3pm


This is part of the Scalarama film season. You can find all the details for the September screenings if you click on the link here

Here is the Whitechapel Gallery introduction to today's event:
A rare 16mm screening of Alan Clarke’s remarkable 1974 BBC Play for Today, one of the masterworks of British television drama. The screening will be introduced by its writer, David Rudkin, who will also be in conversation. The afternoon is opened with live music by multi-instrumentalist Bird Radio. The event also marks the launch of The Edge Is Where the Centre Is, a major new book exploring the making of the film, edited by Sukhdev Sandhu and published in association with Seen Studio.

Time Out review of Penda's Fen (the magazine voted the film at No76 in their top 100 British films list here):
This remarkable feature length television film – commissioned for the legendary 1970s ‘Play for Today’ single drama series – is often described as a step ‘off piste’ for its director Alan Clarke. That’s a misleading reading, however. The work’s qualities of resistance, questioning and personal and public transformation are entirely in keeping with the normally urban-centric filmmaker’s milieu. But the real credit lies with its writer David Rudkin. An astonishing playwright with a visionary reach and a genuine sense of ‘deep England’ and its radical potential, Rudkin here crafts a multi-layered reading of contemporary society and its personal, social, sexual, psychic and metaphysical fault lines. Fusing Elgar’s ‘Dream of Gerontius’ with a heightened socialism of vibrantly localist empathy, and pagan belief systems with pre-Norman histories and a seriously committed – and prescient – ecological awareness, ‘Penda’s Fen’ is a unique and important statement, rumoured soon – finally – to be available on DVD
Gareth Evans

Here (and above) is a pretty terrifying extract.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 247: Fri Sep 4

Serpico (Lumet, 1973): Close-Up Film Centre, 8pm


This film screens as part of a 1970s New Hollywood season at Close-Up. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
A virtuoso performance by Al Pacino and some expert location work by Sidney Lumet add up to a tour de force genre piece (1973) that transcends the supercop conventions to create a moving, engrossing portrait of Frank Serpico—a literate, sensitive, honest cop who tried to come to terms with society and the policeman's place in it, and was crucified by a police department too corrupt to want any part of the real world.


Monday, 17 August 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 246: Thu Sep 3

Scott Walker: 30th Century Man (Kijak, 2006): Regent Street Cinema, 6.30pm


This film is part of a double-bill with the movie Backstreet Boys at Regent Street. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
A singular vocalist but a protean songwriter, Scott Walker became a teen idol in the 60s with the Walker Brothers, embarked on an ambitious series of solo albums, and then dropped out of sight in the 70s, emerging every few years with a record more radical and off-putting than the last. For this engrossing 2008 documentary, Walker invited director Stephen Kijak into the studio to interview him and watch him record The Drift, and the brooding mystery man turns out to be a surprisingly open, clearheaded fellow who simply wants to be left alone to pursue his own ideas. Kijak also interviews some of Walker's famous fans - David Bowie, Sting, Lulu, Johnny Marr, Jarvis Cocker, Damon Albarn, Ute Lemper - and some of their most revealing comments come as they simply react to Walker's tunes playing in the background. The movie is hardly immune to Walker's mystique - it begins by likening him to Orpheus - but Kijak, like his subject, is admirably focused on the music.
JR Jones 

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 245: Wed Sep 2

L'Eclisse (Antonioni, 1962): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.10 & 8.35pm


The third, and arguably the best, of Michelangelo Antonioni's 'trilogy' about troubled relationships in an alienating world, is on an extended run at BFI Southbank. You can find all the details of the screenings, which start on August 28th, here.

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).

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 244: Tue Sep 1

Goodbye Uncle Tom (Jacopetti/Prosperi, 1971): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.15pm


Here is the BFI Southbank introduction to tonight's special screening, part of the BFI Screen Epiphanies series: We welcome writer, director and producer Nicolas Winding Refn (Pusher, Drive, Only God Forgives) to discuss how this film inspired him with film critic Alan Jones. This controversial 1970s docudrama explored the evils of slavery with graphic re-enactments of true events before the American Civil War. The director will also discuss his new book, The Act of Seeing, with co-author Jones at 6.15pm tonight in NFT1. Full details here.

New York Times review:
Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco E. Prosperi, best-known for the groundbreaking shockumentary Mondo Cane, directed this bizarre and shocking look at slavery in America. Set in the deep South prior to the Civil War, Zio Tom finds Jacopetti and Prosperi travelling back in time aboard a helicopter to investigate the nuts and bolts of slavery as it happened in the United States prior to abolition. Along the way, the filmmakers go aboard a slave ship as frightened Africans are brought to America under inhuman conditions; they witness the dangerous and degrading process by which slaves were made ready for market; and they visit a "breeding farm" for slaves after laws prohibit the importation of slaves from abroad. Also included is a sermon from a preacher who argues for the moral and spiritual necessity of slavery (while another man speaks out against it strictly on grounds of economics and practicality); the contrasting thoughts of men and women on the matter of miscegenation; and an interview with an educated slave who feels his circumstances are better for him than conventional employment. Also shown is the brutal torture and punishment of slaves for any number of real or imagined grievances. Re-creating both the opulence and the ugliness of the Old South on a grand scale, Zio Tom concludes with present-day African-Americans reading {-The Confession of Nat Turner} and contemplating violent overthrow of the white-dominated culture. Understandably controversial, Zio Tom received a very brief theatrical release in the United States under the title Farewell Uncle Tom, where it received an X rating despite being trimmed by approximately 20 minutes from its original Italian running time.
Mark Deming

Here (and above) is an extract.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 243: Mon Aug 31

Filming Othello (Welles, 1978): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.40pm


This film, part of the Orson Welles season at the BFI, is also screened on Saturday 29th August. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
The last completed essay film of Orson Welles, and the last of his features to be released during his lifetime, this wonderfully candid, rarely screened account of the making of his first wholly independent feature offers a perfect introduction to that movie and to Welles's "second" manner of moviemaking, which became necessary once he parted company with the studios and mainstream media. Significantly, the only section of the original Othello we see and hear in its original form is part of the opening sequence; everything else--usually shown silently with Welles's narration--is an intricate reediting of the original material. Whether he's addressing us beside his moviola, delivering new versions of Shakespearean speeches, chatting with his old Irish friends and collaborators Micheal MacLiammoir (his Iago) and Hilton Edwards, or speaking to college students, Welles is at his spellbinding best.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 242: Sun Aug 30

Shampoo (Ashby, 1975): Hackney Picturehouse, 12.30pm


This is part of the Hackney Picturehouse Vintage Sundays season. Full details here.

Time Out review:
Made with all the awareness of hindsight, Shampoo offers a sharp sexual satire and a mature statement on both America and Hollywood in 1968, The Graduate as it should have been, perhaps. Everyone is shown to act out of the same fatal expediency, as the country elects Nixon for President while Beatty's chic Hollywood hairdresser tries to sort out an increasingly dishevelled sex life, a campaign against the Establishment via its wives and mistresses that's subversive only by default. Ostensibly a farce about fucking for fun and its repercussions, but the laughs are tempered by bleakness and the film ends up saddened by its characters' waywardness.
Chris Peachment

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 241: Sat Aug 29

Wes-Fest: A Wes Anderson Marathon: Prince Charles Cinema, 9pm


Prince Charles Cinema introduction:
We adore Wes Anderson and considering how frequently our screenings of his unique films sell out, you adore him as much as we do! So let"s all have an all-night marathon dedicated to his wonderful vision as we have EVERY one of his feature films (plus one short) in our most epic Wes Anderson marathon to date! 

What's your favourite Wes Anderson film? Mine's The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.
Here's the Chicago Reader review:
If Wes Anderson's Rushmore recalls J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye and his The Royal Tenenbaums offers a touch of Franny and Zooey, this 2004 feature by Anderson feature suffers from the mannerist self-consciousness of Seymour: An Introduction. Each successive movie seems further removed from real human behavior, though the attitudes here—mainly invested in Bill Murray as the title character, an over-the-hill filmmaker-oceanographer—seem as authentic as ever, and the fantasy trimmings are noticeably more lavish, drawing on the resources of Italy's Cinecitta studio and recalling Fellini in their cartoon colors. The secondary eccentrics—Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Cate Blanchett, Anjelica Huston, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Gambon, Bud Cort—resourcefully juggle about two character traits apiece, and the climactic rescue sequence is characteristically underplayed. Noah Baumbach collaborated on the arch script, whose bittersweet weirdness leaves a residue even as the narrative disintegrates.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 240: Fri Aug 28

Badlands (Malick, 1973): British Museum, 8.15pm


This classic American movie is screening as part of the Summer Love Weekend at the British Museum organised by the BFI, ahead of their season later this year. Here are the details.

Chicago Reader review:
Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek as an aw-shucks madman killer and his fudge-brained girlfriend. Loosely based on the Starkweather-Fugate horror show of the late 50s, writer-director Terrence Malick's 1973 first feature is a film so rich in ideas it hardly knows where to turn. Transcendent themes of love and death are fused with a pop-culture sensibility and played out against a midwestern background, which is breathtaking both in its sweep and in its banality. Days of Heaven put Malick's intuitions into cogent form, but this is where his art begins. With Warren Oates and Alan Vint.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 239: Thu Aug 27

The Krays (Medak, 1990): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 9pm


This special screening is part of the London on Film season and includes a Q&A with stars Martin and Gary Kemp, director Peter Medak and scriptwriter Philip Ridley. Full details here.

Time Out review:
Medak's biopic skirts Sweeney-style fair-cop-guv clichés for bolder terrain, in which the macabre beginnings of the identical angels - all chirpy cockney, poor-but-spotless nostalgia - are placed as much within womb, hearth and home as in the streets, clubs and fairground booths through which Ron and Reg came to criminal prominence between Elvis and early Beatles. If Philip Ridley's script charts most of the signposts - school, army, protection, murder - it seems keen to establish the female connection, be it through Reggie's tormented, finally destroyed wife (Kate Hardie, magnificent), or the endless, loyal patience of the kray brood, presided over by mother (Billie Whitelaw) and consumptive but awesome Aunt Rose (Susan Fleetwood). Most surprising is the impressive showing of Gary and Martin Kemp (of Spandau Ballet) as the twins, despite fears that the 'youth cult' dimension might be too strong a factor in the concept; most riveting, a series of cameos including Tom Bell (ultra-seedy as victim Jack McVitie), Stephen Berkoff (OTT as victim George Cornell), Jimmy Jewel as the tall-tale-telling grandad every young thug should have. Little about the Krays' position as social climbing roughnecks, and not in the Badlands league, but a lot better than one dared hope.
Steve Grant

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 238: Wed Aug 26

Plan 9 from Outer Space (Wood, 1959): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.30pm


Here is the Prince Charles introduction to this special screning:
Premiered at the Watershed in Bristol for the BFI"s Sci-Fi season in 2014, FILM4 FrightFest is delighted to bring DJ Cheeba to London for the first time with his re-scored version of the infamous Ed Wood classic PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. 


Using records, laptops, DJ mixers, midi controllers, iPad based synths and drum machines, a voice changing megaphone and an ultra rare QFO turntable, DJ Cheeba adds a more dark and terrifying atmospheric edge to this classic film. Tickets are £12.50 and are available here now.

Chicago Reader review:
Bela Lugosi died during the making of this low-budget science fiction programmer, but that didn't faze director Edward Wood: the Lugosi footage, which consists of the actor skulking around a suburban garage, is replayed over and over, to highly surreal effect. Wood is notorious for his 1952 transvestite saga Glen or Glenda? (aka I Changed My Sex), but for my money this 1959 effort is twice as strange and appealing in its undisguised incompetence. J. Hoberman of the Village Voice has made a case for Wood as an unconscious avant-gardist; there's no denying that his blunders are unusually creative and oddly expressive.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 237: Tue Aug 25

It is Fine. Everything is Fine (Glover, 2007): ICA Cinema, 7.45pm



Crispin Glover is back for his famous Big Slide Show plus a screening of the second part of the "It" trilogy, titled 'It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine!' This comes highly recommended by colleagues at the Guardian and all those who went the last time the actor was in town and, having looked at some of Glover's work on YouTube, I am certain it will be like nothing else on offer in London tonight and as such well worth investigating. Apparently, Glover has said he has previously stayed until 4am to finish off his Q&A's! Here is Guardian film editor Catherine Shoard's interview with the actor/director.

Check this out, the trailer for tonight's movie. And this. Or even this.


The ICA introduction to tonight's show:

Crispin Glover will perform Crispin Hellion Glover's Big Slide Show part 2, a one hour dramatic narration of eight different profusely illustrated books. The images from the books are projected behind Mr. Glover during his performance.

There will then be a screening of It Is Fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE. This film goes into uncharted cinematic territory with screenwriter Steven C. Stewart starring in this semi-autobiographical, psycho-sexual tale about a man with severe cerebral palsy and a fetish for girls with long hair.

Part horror film, part exploitation picture and part documentary of a man who cannot express his sexuality in the way he desires, this fantastical and often humorous tale is told completely from Stewart’s actual point of view – that of someone who has lived for years watching people do things he will never be able to do. Here, Stewart’s character is something of a ladykiller, seducing a troubled, recently divorced mother, her teenage daughter and any number of other women he encounters along the way.

There will be a Q&A with Crispin Glover following the screening.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 236: Mon Aug 24

Jaws (Spielberg, 1975): Picturehouse Central, 6.30pm


Here is the Picturehouse Central introduction to this special screening:
Join us for a Guardian Live screening of Steven Spielberg's Jaws, introduced by Observer film critic, Mark Kermode.


For 40 years Jaws has been terrifying cinemagoers out of the water. Based on a pulp bestseller by Peter Benchley, it is a story about an unlikely trio of men - an Ahab-like seadog (Robert Shaw), a hippy marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss) and a cop (Roy Scheider) - tracking down a killer shark terrorising a sleepy beach town. Long takes and John Williams's menacing orchestral score ratchet up the tension, but it is more than a masterfully constructed thriller. Critics have read it as a reaction to the Watergate scandal, an analysis of masculinity in crisis, and as an update of Melville's Moby-Dick. It also laid the template for the modern summer blockbuster.

Mark will introduce this special anniversary screening of the film, exploring its production, its legacy, and the elements that make it a modern masterpiece. Just remember: it's not about the shark.

Running time: 2 hrs & 45 mins, no interval.

Time Out review:
'Is there such a thing as a perfect film? One that knows what it wants to achieve and does it, flawlessly, artfully and intelligently? If so, then ‘Jaws’ is as good a candidate as any. Thirty-seven years on (and reissued in a new HD print), this tale of an island community terrorised by a killer shark still feels timeless and terrifying. The characterisation is precise and acutely observed (it’s one of the great guys-on-a-mission flicks), the dialogue is witty and wise, and the plot fits together like a finely crafted watch. The performances – not just leads, but the kids, townsfolk and the grief-stricken mother too – are impeccable. Best of all is Steven Spielberg’s direction: the camera moves like a predatory animal, gliding eerily across the surface of the vast Atlantic, creating sequences of almost unbearable suspense (never mind that the scariest scene was shot in a swimming pool). It’s no wonder a generation of holidaymakers still thinks twice before stepping into the water.'
Tom Huddleston
 


Here (and above) is the trailer.  

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 235: Sun Aug 23

Rocks in My Pockets (Baumane, 2014): ICA Cinema, 2pm


Here is the ICA introduction for this special screening:

Despite positive reviews and film festival success, Signe Baumane’s 2014 feature is not set for theatrical release. Her energetic taboo-busting candour and a style of animation that captures the shape-shifting whimsy of the imaginary world deserve to meet and engage a wider audience.

We will be screening Rocks in my Pockets, preceded by three shorts from Baumane's 2008 web series, The Teat Beat of Sex. The series is an non-squeamish look at how sex works from a female perspective. Each 'explicitly educational' episode clocks in at under two minutes and provides graphic insights into one of a range of coming-of-age issues.

Here (and above) is the official trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 234: Sat Aug 22

Blue Sunshine (Lieberman, 1978): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.30pm


This screens in the BFI's Cult strand and is also showing on Thursday 20th August. Details here.

Time Out review:
An intriguing premise: what if a certain species of LSD, a decade later, should begin to have an unexpected effect on its users' chromosomes? All over an American city, isolated individuals inexplicably slaughter their loved ones before going on the rampage. The film has a phenomenal opening, and makes the most of its plot possibilities, but the police's continual arrival at the scene of murder just in time to implicate the investigative hero will put a strain on any audience's credulity. Exploitation of a superior kind, nonetheless.
David Pirie

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 233: Fri Aug 21

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (Peckinpah, 1974): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.45pm


This film, which also screens opn 24th August, is in the BFI Passport to Cinema season.

Chicago Reader review:
By far the most underrated of Sam Peckinpah's films, this grim 1974 tale about a minor-league piano player in Mexico (Warren Oates) who sacrifices his love (Isela Vega) when he goes after a fortune as a bounty hunter is certainly one of the director's most personal and obsessive works—even comparable in some respects to Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano in its bottomless despair and bombastic self-hatred, as well as its rather ghoulish lyricism. (Critic Tom Milne has suggestively compared the labyrinthine plot to that of a gothic novel.) Oates has perhaps never been better, and a strong secondary cast—Vega, Gig Young, Robert Webber, Kris Kristofferson, Donnie Fritts, and Emilio Fernandez—is equally effective in etching Peckinpah's dark night of the soul. 

Jonathan Rosenbaum


Here and above is the trailer.