Friday, 30 October 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 319: Sun Nov 15

No1: Regeneration (Walsh, 2015) & The Cheat (DeMille, 2015): Rio Cinema, 1.45pm


This is a special 'Rio Cinema at 100 Double Bill' to celebrate the picture palace's centenary. The Rio Cinema first opened its doors as the Kingsland Empire in 1915. This double bill features two of the films which would very likely have been shown a hundred years ago.

Here is the Rio introduction to the screenings:
"The first full-length gangster picture ever made," according to its director, Raoul Walsh, who would later make such Hollywood Golden Age gangster classics as THE ROARING TWENTIES, HIGH SIERRA, and WHITE HEAT. Produced in 1915 on location on the Lower East Side of New York REGENERATION features a cast of authentic lowlife types performing alongside professional actors. These gangsters are little more than two-bit street corner hoodlums trapped by their circumstances. A tough-as-nails orphan bred on unforgiving slum streets to become a hoodlum hero begins the tortuous journey that will make him a different kind of hero. REGENERATION is a re-discovered movie milestone which with its religious themes, mobile camerawork, and potent evocation of its grim locations has been called the spiritual ancestor of Martin Scorsese's MEAN STREETS. 

A scandal in 1915 because of its explosive sexual and racial content, THE CHEAT also emphatically announced the arrival of director Cecil B. DeMille whose 40-year Hollywood career was just beginning. Having gambled away the charity money she's entrusted with, a society lady borrows from a wealthy Asian man in exchange for sex and then reneges on the deal, entrapping herself and her husband in a web of revenge and racial intrigue. It's a taut melodrama with some outstanding (and sadistic) visuals that would have been horrifying 100 years ago and are still effective today. The film also made Japanese actor Sessue Hayakawa a sex symbol and a big star, although he is now best remembered as the prisoner-of-war camp commandant in David Lean's THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI made four decades later.

Here is an article by the Guardian's Pamela Hutchinson on 'Cinema 100 Hundred Years Ago' which looks at Regeneration and The Cheat among other landmark movies of 1915.

Here (and above) is an extract from Regeneration.

******************* 

No2 El (Bunuel, 1953): ICA Cinema, 4.15pm


This is part of the Luis Bunuel season at the ICA. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
One of Luis Bunuel's more perverse low-budget Mexican features (1952), also known in this country as This Strange Passion. Arturo de Cordova plays a wealthy Catholic whose insane jealousy toward his wife (Delia Garces) first becomes apparent on their honeymoon. In some ways it's a parody of machismo, full of anticlerical thrusts, but like many other Bunuel features of this period, the irreverence—consisting in part of such ghoulish, Sade-inspired notions as the hero wanting to sew up his wife's vagina—tends to be almost parenthetical rather than the main focus. Bunuel remained true to his surrealist origins throughout his Mexican period, but the full command of his earliest and latest films, as well as such intermediate masterpieces as Los olvidados and The Exterminating Angel, resulted in stronger fare than this. Still, the hero's wonderful crooked walk in the final shot seems the perfect emblem of Bunuel's own sly subversion in adverse circumstances.
Jonathan Rosenbaum 

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 318: Sat Nov 14

Werckmeister Harmonies (Tarr, 2000): BFI Soutbank, NFT2, 8.10pm


This is part of the Mirroring Tarkovsky season at BFI Southbank. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
A chilling, mesmerizing, intense account of ethnic cleansing (in spirit if not in letter) from Hungarian master Bela Tarr (2000, 145 min.), set in virtually the same overcast, rural black-and-white world as his Damnation and Satantango (both also cowritten by Laszlo Krasznahorkai). As in the Satantango, Krasznahorkai worked with Tarr in adapting his own novel—in this case the first to be translated into English, The Melancholy of Resistance, elaborately restructured here in terms of narrative sequence and viewpoint so that it's mainly limited to the experience of a simpleminded messenger and artist figure. A decrepit “circus” (actually a huge truck) in an impoverished town displays the stuffed body of “the largest whale in the world” while spreading rumors about but failing to deliver a foreign “prince.” Eventually the unemployed male locals head for the local hospital like a lynch mob and proceed to devastate the premises. Krasznahorkai's parallels with southern gothic fiction are as striking as those with other eastern European allegories, yielding cadenced prose as monotonously grim as Thomas Bernhard's. The long takes following characters—the structural equivalent of the novel's Faulknerian sentences, though the content recalls Beckett's comedy of inertia—underline our easy complicity with these monsters, and the actors, including Hanna Schygulla in a welcome comeback, are riveting. I miss the sarcasm and sweep of Satantango, but this is essential viewing, especially for anyone new to Tarr's cinema. In German and Hungarian with subtitles.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 317: Fri Nov 13

Mondo Hollywood (Cohen, 1967): Barbican Cinema, 8.15pm


This is part of the '1966 with Jon Savage' strand at Barbican Cinema., which includes Andy Warhol's film 'The Velvet Underground and Nico – A Symphony of Sound'. You can find all the details here.

Here is the Barbican introduction to Mondo Hollywood:
This 1960s free-form documentary explores a truly psychedelic Hollywood and lays bare the more unusual, outer fringes of the glitzy showbiz town. The opening vignette features the original hippie-vegan Gypsy Boots, and from there we go from one interesting character to another: from Dr Richard Alpert, who worked with the LSD pioneer Timothy Leary; the gays rights activist and fashion designer Rudi Gerenreich and the sculptor Valerie Porter as well as better known names like Frank Zappa, Jayne Mansfield, Bobby Beausoleil and Sonny and Cher. This cult classic documentary has gone on to influence more recent films such as Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, and remains a fascinating testament of individuals in the L.A. area in the 60’s.

After the screening, we are delighted to be joined by Jon Savage for a Screen Talk and book signing.

Here (and above) is a trailer made for the DVD release.

Here is a link to the director of tonight's film, Robert Carl Cohen, talking to Paul Thomas Anderson at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 316: Thu Nov 12

Cat People (Schrader, 1982): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.30pm


This 35mm screening is part of the BFI Love (Fatal Attractions) season and also screens on 13th November when Kim Newman will be introducing the film. Full details here.

Time Out review:
Beauty is the beast in Paul Schrader's erotic update of RKO's 1942 horror classic. Natassia Kinski's ambivalently bewildered Irena, subject to feline metamorphosis when aroused, is the deadly composite of sex-kitten and femme fatale: the virgin who literally develops claws (and more) in bed. Caught between her similarly cursed brother's pleas for incest, and her zoo-keeper boy-friend's ostensibly more natural desires, she's ironically caged as much by current notions of psycho-sexual 'liberation' as by the bars which await her. The seductively exotic surface of this mythically underpinned fantasy might be offset for some by much graphic gore, but if you can buy the romantic metaphors for the primitivisms of sexual obsession, the film delivers down the line. 
Paul Taylor

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 315: Wed Nov 11

The Big Blue (Besson, 1988): Cine Lumiere, 3pm


This is part of the French Film Festival at Cine Lumiere and also screens on 8th November. You can find full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
The first English-language feature (1988) of French movie brat Luc Besson, now showing in an expanded version of 168 minutes (36 minutes longer than the original release), is a romantic adventure story about two rival deep-sea divers (Jean Reno and Jean-Marc Barr) and the latter's girlfriend (Rosanna Arquette), a New York businesswoman.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 314: Tue Nov 10

Pickpocket (Bresson, 1959): Close-Up Cinema, 8pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Robert Bresson season at Close-Up and also screens on 14th November. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Robert Bresson made this short electrifying study in 1959; it's one of his greatest and purest films, full of hushed transgression and sudden grace. A petty thief (Martin Lasalle) becomes addicted to the art and thrill of picking pockets. He loses his friends and fiancee, and begins to live like a monk, concentrating his entire being on his obsessional, increasingly devotional acts of theft. If the film seems familiar, that's because Paul Schrader recycled great chunks of it in his scripts for Taxi Driver, American Gigolo, and Raging Bull. But the original retains its awesome, austere power. With Pierre Leymarie and Marika Green. In French with subtitles.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 313: Mon Nov 9

Ikiru (Kurosawa, 1952): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.40pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Classic Film Season at the Prince Charles Cinema.

Chicago Reader review:
Akira Kurosawa's greatest film (1952) tells of a man (Takashi Shimura) who finds that he has terminal cancer and spends his remaining months building a playground in a poor section of the city. It avoids all the maudlin cliches and blind alleys of examining the "meaning of life," giving us instead a rare portrait of a man experiencing a genuine insight into what his wasted years have been leading to.
Don Druker

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 312: Sun Nov 8

The Conversation (Coppola, 1974): Picturehouse Central, 1.30pm


This is a special screening of Francis Ford Coppola's superb film. The afternoon starts with American artist Rachel Rose, whose exhibition, Palisades, is on view at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery from 1 October-8 November, discussing visual and sound techniques with legendary Oscar-winning editor and sound designer Walter Murch. Murch's work, apart from The Conversation, includes The Godfather: Part II (1974), Apocalypse Now (1979) and The English Patient (1996).

Chicago Reader review: 
Gene Hackman excels in Francis Ford Coppola's tasteful, incisive 1974 study of the awakening of conscience in an “electronic surveillance technician.” Coppola manages to turn an expert thriller into a portrayal of the conflict between ritual and responsibility without ever letting the levels of tension subside or the complicated plot get muddled. Fine support from Allen Garfield as an alternately amiable and desperately envious colleague, plus a superb sound track (vital to the action) by Walter Murch—all this and a fine, melancholy piano score by David Shire. 
Don Druker

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 311: Sat Nov 7

Interstellar (Nolan, 2014): Prince Charles Cinema, 8pm


This is a 70mm screening and will also be shown on 12th and 16th November. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
On a visual level, Interstellar is an exceptionally well-crafted Hollywood entertainment. Director Christopher Nolan, art director Dean Wolcott, and their effects artists render the imaginary settings in stunning detail. The film is rife with brilliant imagery: a horizon of frozen clouds, an ocean wave as tall as a skyscraper, the flashing interior of a wormhole through which the principal characters fly their spacecraft. The most striking thing about these images is that we’re rarely encouraged to ooh and aah over them; unlike most ambitious space operas since 2001: A Space Odyssey(1968), Interstellar inspires not wonder but a cool contemplation. Nolan and his brother Jonathan, who cowrote the script, advance a hard-science perspective, incorporating such concepts as the theory of relativity and placing dramatic emphasis on research and problem solving.
Ben Sachs

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 310: Fri Nov 6

Mr Vampire (Lau, 1985): Cinema Museum, 6pm


Here is the Kinima Film Club introduction to tonight's entertainment:
Kinima is ridiculously excited to be back at The Cinema Museum for their fifth event of cine-variety fun and an amazing film from Hong Kong. We are bringing Mr Vampire (1985), a rarely seen cult classic over from Hong Kong. Directed by Ricky Lau and produced by Sammo Hung this film blends multiple genres, from Vampire hopping, to flying kung-fu kicks, crazy superstitions and of course, love. Astonishingly, it never had a UK cinema release so we would proudly be hosting a special screening here at the Cinema Museum for you to feast your eyes on this mind-boggling feature.

Mr Vampire is a hidden Hong Kong gem so easily forgotten amongst the more popular iconic comedy kung-fu styled films of Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao, and Sammo Hung. Hung was a pivotal figure in leading the Hong Kong new wave movement in the 1980s and started the “Jiangshi” (read goeng-si in Cantonese) vampire hopping themed films. After producing Mr Vampire, Hung said that his inspiration for the film came from childhood stories told to him by his mother. The film is incredibly funny with weird references to Chinese legends and folklore mainly sourced from Strange stories from a Chinese Studio, a collection of short stories by Qing Dynasty writer Pu Songling.

Time Out review:
A ditzy rewrite on vampire mythology as we know it. When a Chinese family is menaced by blood-craving zombies, they discover that the thing the creatures really hate is sticky rice, and that by holding your breath it's possible to stop the fiends in their tracks. How all this new-found knowledge filters into the narrative is wild, funny, and not a little strange.
 
Derek Adams

Here (and above is the trailer)

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 309: Thu Nov 5

V for Vendetta (McTegiue, 2006): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.05pm


A special November 5th 35mm screening of this dystopian sci-fi film at the Prince Charles.

Chicago Reader review:
A popcorn movie that preaches mass rebellion against the government—what's not to like? After milking The Matrix for two superfluous sequels, writer-producers Andy and Larry Wachowski adapt a 1989 graphic novel by David Lloyd and Alan Moore; set in a futuristic Great Britain, the movie follows a masked figure (Hugo Weaving) as he carries out a series of assassinations and tries to unite the cowed populace against a totalitarian national-security state. The swashbuckling first hour is superior to the second, which bursts at the seams with backstory, but a rousing climax makes this the most potent piece of agitpop in years.
JR Jones

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 308: Wed Nov 4

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (Fassbinder, 1972): Goethe Institute, 7pm


Chicago Reader review:
A lesbian love triangle becomes a schema of sexual power plays in Rainer Werner Fassbinder's most harshly stylized and perhaps most significant film (1973). The action is confined to a single set—the apartment of fashion designer Margit Carstensen, decorated with desiccated mannequins and a mammoth painting of fleshy, galloping nudes—where the three characters (one is a mute) scheme, complain, and attempt to seduce. With Irm Hermann and Hanna Schygulla.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 307: Tue Nov 3

Leviathan (Zvyagintsev, 2014): ICA Cinema, 6.30pm


This is part of a Andrey Zvyagintsev retropsective at the ICA and will be followed by a Q&A with the director, introduced by Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw. Full details here.

Chicago Reader:
On the page, this might sound like a straightforward condemnation of Putin's Russia: a stoic family man tries to stop the seizure of his coastal property by the wealthy mayor, thereby rousing the combined wrath of government officials, law enforcement, and the Orthodox Church. Yet director Andrey Zvyagintsev renders this story strange by presenting it as the stuff of biblical allegory, invoking the perspective of an angry God with imposing landscape shots and a tone of preternatural dread. (Zvyagintsev makes his intentions explicit when one character likens the hero to a modern-day Job.) As in their previous feature, Elena, Zvyagintsev and cowriter Oleg Negin modulate their social critique with sharp, ironic humor; the mayor, in particular, is an inspired satirical creation, at once a spiteful monster and a graceless buffoon. In Russian with subtitles.
Ben Sachs

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 306: Mon Nov 2

The Godfather (Coppola, 1972): Royal Albert Hall, 7.30pm


Here is the Royal Albert Hall introduction to this special evening:
Following the extraordinary success of the sold out World Premiere at the Hall in 2014, The Godfather Live, a celebration of the crime classic regularly cited as one of the greatest films ever made, returns to London’s most iconic venue.
Francis Ford Coppola’s timeless masterpiece The Godfather, starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino and winner of three Academy Awards, will be shown on the big screen whilst Nino Rota’s immortal score is performed simultaneously by the Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Justin Freer.
Chicago Reader review:
The ultimate family film. Francis Ford Coppola gives full due to the themes of clannish insularity that made Mario Puzo's novel a best seller, though his heart seems to be with Al Pacino's lonely, willful isolation. This 1972 feature is sharp, entertaining, and convincing—discursive, but with a sense of structure and control that Coppola hasn't achieved since.
Dave Kehr
Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 305: Sun Nov 1

Gerry (Van Sant, 2002): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 5.30pm


This is part of the Mirroring Tarkovsky season at the BFI and will be a 35mm screening. The film also screens on 6th November. Full details here.

Time Out review:
Gus Van Sant's exotic experimental folly was deemed a 'love it or hate it' proposition after its unveiling at the 2002 Sundance festival, but the first suspicion was that it was another of this wandering director's conceptual whims, like his remake of Psycho. Given Elephant's subsequent success at Cannes 2003, dare we hope he's back on the trail of his early edge? Made avowedly under the (semi-digested) influence of Hungary's stringent real time minimalist Béla Tarr, and after one too many late night confabs with Damon and Affleck, the film is a pristinely spartan drama in which the two players ('Gerry' to one another) drive into the New Mexico desert, hike a way further, realise they're lost, and walk themselves into the dust through the following night and day. Their moods shift along with the ravishing desert scapes (the production relocated from Argentina to Utah, New Mexico and California halfway through the shoot), while, between the wilful longueurs, the actors improvise their few inconsequential bits of business with droll Beckett-like absurdity. Best to see it as bone-headed expression of Van Sant's own state of mind: a sententious howl of aesthetic anguish.
Nick Bradshaw

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 304: Sat Oct 31

Cigarette Burns present All Hallows 'Eve All-Nighter .. including ...

Halloween III (Wallace, 1982): Regent Street Cinema, 11.30pm

plus: Christine - 16mm theatrical print; Tourist Trap - 35mm theatrical print, includes an additional five minutes not on the Bluray; Salem's Lot - 35mm theatrical print, trimmed for cinemas, with extra footage and Zombie Flesh Eaters (Zombie) - 35mm US theatrical print.


Here is the Regent Street Cinema introduction to the evening:
Join us as we celebrate All Hallows’ Eve, we’ll take a trip through the mysterious Silver Shamrock factory, encounter supernatural mannequins, ride in a deadly, classic car, journey to a tropical island, infested with zombies and battle the creatures of the night. Peppering the evening and keeping spirits high and strong against the forces of evil will be Radio 6 darlings, Those Unfortunates, knocking out some of the finest tunes from your favourite films, think Scream and Scream Again and Monsters Rule OK! Singing along is encouraged, and prizes will be awarded to the best dressed.


Time Out review of Halloween III:
The title is a bit of a cheat, since the indestructible psycho of the first two films plays no part here. With the possibilities of the character well and truly exhausted, Season of the Witch turns more profitably to a marvellously ingenious Nigel Kneale tale of a toymaker and his fiendish plan to restore Halloween to its witch cult origins (involving a TV commercial for toy masks that are in fact diabolical engines). Kneale had his name removed from the credits after tampering with his script had reduced O'Herlihy's toymaker - originally bathed in Celtic mists of myth and magic - to the conventional mad doctor. The end result is a bit of a mess but hugely enjoyable, and often (thanks to Dean Cundey's camerawork and John Carpenter's close supervision as producer) as striking visually as its predecessors.
Tom Milne

Here (and above) is the trailer for Halloween III. 

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 303: Fri Oct 30

Stalker (Tarkovsky, 1979): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8pm


This film is part of the Mirroring Tarkovsky season, a full BFI Southbank retrospective for the director which you can find the details for here. Stalker has various screenings from October 20th to November 7th and you can find those dates here.

Chicago Reader review:
Andrei Tarkovsky's 1979 masterpiece, like his earlier Solaris, is a free and allegorical adaptation of an SF novel, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's Roadside Picnic. After a meteorite hits the earth, the region where it's fallen is believed to grant the wishes of those who enter and, sealed off by the authorities, can be penetrated only illegally and with special guides. One of them (Aleksandr Kaidanovsky), the stalker of the title, leads a writer and a professor through the grimiest industrial wasteland you've ever seen. What they find is pretty harsh and has none of the usual satisfactions of SF quests, but Tarkovsky regards their journey as a contemporary spiritual quest. His mise en scene is mesmerizing, and the final scene is breathtaking. Not an easy film, but almost certainly a great one.
Jonathan Rosenabum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 302: Thu Oct 29

Random Harvest (LeRoy, 1942): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 5.40pm


You know that top ten favourite (as opposed to greatest) films list you compile? This movie will never leave mine. It's the Sunday after I graduated; it's a gorgeous, hot summer's day. The Time Out TV film reviewer has recommended a 1940s weepie on the BBC that afternoon. There are two scenes in this film, one just after midway after a crucial plot twist occurs and the final one, that are pure cinematic swoons. I cannot recall a theatrical screening since I first saw this on TV in 1982 and nothing is going to stop me being there. Random Harvest also screens in NFT1 on October 28th. You can find the details here. The movie is being screened in the BFI Love: The Power of Love season.

Chicago Reader review:
A shell-shocked World War I amnesiac (Ronald Colman) marries a music-hall singer (Greer Garson), but ... I'm interrupting this review so you don't read a spoiler. James Agee compared watching this 1942 MGM feature, derived from a James Hilton story, to eating a bowl of shaving soap for breakfast, but it has a kind of deranged sincerity and integrity on its own terms, and it acquired a slew of Oscar nominations. 
Jonathan Rosenbaum 

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 301: Wed Oct 28

Nostalgia (Tarkovsky, 1983): BFI Southbnak, Studio, 8.45pm


This film features in BFI Southbank's Andrei Tarkovsky retropsective and also screens on October 31st and November 1st, 6th, 8th, 10th and 11th. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
The subject of Andrei Tarkovsky's 1983 film, his first made outside the USSR, is his longing to return to the USSR—a return portrayed as a recapturing of spiritual, moral, and emotional values. Oleg Yankovsky, who appeared in Tarkovsky's 1975 The Mirror, plays a Russian poet visiting Italy to research the life of an 18th-century composer. His translator (the radiant Dominziana Giordano) appears to be in love with him, but he is more intrigued by a local madman (Erland Josephson) who has become obsessed with the idea of carrying a lighted candle the windy length of a hot spring bath once used by Saint Catherine. The film is lovely but punishingly slow, packed with imagery that seems at once hopelessly obscure and crushingly obvious (Yankovsky's yearning for spiritual companionship is expressed by the specter of a dog). It aims for a hushed, hypnotic, incantatory effect, and it does succeed in inducing some kind of trance.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 300: Tue Oct 27

The Grim Reaper (Bertolucci, 1962): Italian Cultural Institute, 6.30pm



Nick Walker a freelance film programmer, events producer and lecturer, and also the founder and director of Rochester Kino, who have organised this screening, will introduce the film. You can find details of the Rochester Kino evens in London here.

Chicago Reader review:
Bernardo Bertolucci's feature debut (1962) opens with a tracking shot that leads to the lifeless body of a prostitute in a riverside park in Rome, and it continues with the theatrical interrogation of five down-at-the-heels suspects, each seated before a white backdrop and questioned from behind the camera. Their testimony (much of it proven false) introduces a series of personal vignettes aching with loneliness, a narrative structure that limits the characterization and never overcomes its debt to Rashomon. The result is stylish and occasionally haunting, but strangely the most compelling character turns out to be the victim, about whom nothing is revealed. Bertolucci's mentor, Pier Paolo Pasolini, wrote the story. 
JR Jones

Here is an interview with the director talking about the film.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 299: Mon Oct 26

Ulzana's Raid (Aldrich, 1972): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.10pm


This 35mm screening is part of the BFI's Passport to Cinema season. The film is also being shown on 23rd October and this evening the movie will be introduced by Richard Combs.

Chicago Reader review:
A conventional drama—Indian-wise old scout (Burt Lancaster) and young officer with a lot to learn (Bruce Davison) clash over how to deal with renegade Apaches—given superior treatment by director Robert Aldrich. Aldrich's characters receive condemnation or praise purely as a matter of circumstance—they come to understand cruelty and violence as few are ever allowed (or forced) to. The issues, as Lancaster notes, get kind of confused, but the directorial viewpoint is clear.
Don Drucker

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 298: Sun Oct 25

Reds (Beatty, 1981): Regent Street Cinema, 2pm


To celebrating acclaimed playwright and screenwriter Trevor Griffiths’ 80th birthday this year, Regent Street Cinema are screening (in 35mm) his screen adaptation of Ten Days that Shook the World by John Reed. Griffiths will be in extended conversation with Gareth Evans after the film, talking about Reds and his life’s work on stage and screen.

Chicago Reader review:
Warren Beatty's shapely 1981 epic, based on the life of radical journalist John Reed, is a stunningly successful application of a novelistic aesthetic—a film that makes full and thoughtful use of its three-and-a-half-hour length to develop characters, ideas, and motifs with a depth seldom seen in movies. Though it deals with historical events—World War I, the growth of the workers' movement in America, the Russian Revolution—history is not used simply as a backdrop; rather, Beatty focuses on the interdependence of personal choices and historical developments, mingling ideology and emotion in a very human whole. The cast is extraordinary, with Diane Keaton in particular achieving a weight and authority she hadn't shown before. With Beatty, Edward Herrmann, Jerzy Kosinski, Jack Nicholson, Paul Sorvino, Maureen Stapleton, and a good many real-life “witnesses” of the periods and events covered, including Henry Miller and George Jessel.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 297: Sat Oct 24

Annie Hall (Allen, 1977): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.45pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Love (Fools for Love) season at BFI Southbank. You can find the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Woody Allen strode into his ambitious period by finally acknowledging his own attractiveness to women—by reversing the humor of sexual embarrassment that defined the early comedies and substituting the pain of romantic longing. Though this 1977 film is snobbish about fads, its own attitudes often seem narrowly fashionable: the characters yearn for commitment but spend most of their energy on what once was known as “self-actualization.” Visually and structurally it's a mess, but many of the situations are genuinely clever, and there are plenty of memorable gags. The perpetual problem is that Allen isn't nearly the thinker he thinks he is.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 296: Fri Oct 23

West End Jungle (Miller, 1961): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.10pm


This special evening's screening, entitled 'Soho Sex Club Night (Revisited)' and also including 'Get 'Em Off' (Walters, 1976), is part of the London on Film season at BFI Southbank.

Here is the BFI Southbank introduction to the night's entertainment:
Join us for another chance to take a sordid cinematic sojourn into London’s seediest backstreets, where we seek out crummy clip joints, sleazy cellar bars and saucy strip shows in old Soho.

West End Jungle:
This film is a disgrace!’ screamed the censor. This gloriously grimy exploitation docudrama (privately screened to MPs) was banned in the capital for decades. It follows prostitutes who were forced off the streets by legislation into a world of smoky vice-dens, where gold-digging hostesses relieved perspiring punters of their guineas.


Get 'Em Off:

An eclectic array of 1970s Soho strippers reveal all at the Nell Gwynne Theatre, 69 Dean Street. There’s Miss Anna, with her balloons and pin; Miss Chastity, coated in candle-wax; and Miss Coursetta and her furry fox puppet. You may be shocked, you may be scandalised, but you will not be bored!

Here (and above) is a short extract from West End Jungle.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 295: Thu Oct 22

Almayer's Folly (Akerman, 2011): ICA Cinema, 8.15pm


This is the final screening in the A Nos Amours Chantal Akerman retrospective at the ICA cinema. The late film-maker will be the subject of an exhibition at the Amibika P3 gallery while her final film, No Way Home, will be shown at the Regent St Cinema on 30th October. Details here.

Time Out review:
'Returning to feature filmmaking after a lengthy sojourn as a video artist, Belgium’s Chantal Akerman delivers a work as substantive, challenging and unique as her brilliant Proust adaptation from 2000, ‘The Captive’. Billed as a ‘liberal’ take on Joseph Conrad’s little-known first novel, this languid essay in despair sees Stanislas Merhar playing the stuttering, frenzied but ultimately tragic and possibly deranged figure of Almayer, a European ex-pat in Cambodia who idly tends to his failing trading post while ensuring his daughter, Nina (born to a local mother), is instilled with the same enlightened European values as himself. Scenes usually run in single, medium close-up takes (all immaculately framed and executed) and the elliptical narrative can usually be navigated by gauging the griminess of the cast. Tough as the film may be, it still speaks volumes about colonial exploitation and catastrophic clashes of culture, gender and age. The (eight-minute) climactic shot is also sensational.'
David Jenkins


Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 294: Wed Oct 21

I Know Where I'm Going! (Powell & Pressburger, 1945): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.40pm


This film is part of the BFI's Love Season and also screens on Sunday 25th October. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Michael Powell's 1945 film resists easy classification: it opens as a screwball comedy, grows into a mystical, Flaherty-like study of man against the elements, and concludes as a warm romance. Wendy Hiller, in one of the best roles the movies gave her, is a toughened, materialistic young woman on her way to meet her millionaire fiance in the Hebrides; Roger Livesey is the young man she meets when a storm blows up and prevents her crossing to the islands. Funny and stirring, in quite unpredictable ways, with the usual Powellian flair for drawing the universal out of the screamingly eccentric.
Dave Kehr

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

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 293: Tue Oct 20

The Parallax View (Pakula, 1974): Close-Up Cinema, 8pm


This movie, which is also being shown on 14th October and 1st November, is part of the New Hollywood season at Close-Up Cinema through September and October. You can find all the details for the film's screenings here. The screenings will be from a 35mm print.

Time out review:
A thriller about a journalist, alerted to the mysterious deaths of witnesses to the assassination of a presidential candidate, who embarks on an investigation that reveals a nebulous conspiracy of gigantic and all-embracing scope. It sounds familiar, and refers to or overlaps a good handful of similar films, but is most relevantly tied to Klute. Where Klute was an exploration of claustrophobic anxiety, The Parallax View is inexorably agoraphobic. Its visual organisation is stunning as the journalist (Beatty) is drawn into an increasingly nightmarish world characterised by impenetrably opaque structures, a screen whited out from time to time, or meshed over with visually deceptive patterns. It is some indication of the area the film explores that in place of the self-revealing session with the analyst in Klute, The Parallax View presents us with the more insecurity-inducing questionnaire used by the mysterious Parallax Corporation for personality-testing prospective employees. Excellent performances; fascinating film.
Verina Glaessner

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 292: Mon Oct 19

Late Autumn (Ozu, 1960): Prince Charles Cinema, 9pm


This film is part of the Ozu Seasonal Selectrospective season at the Prince Charles. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
I'm not the world's biggest Ozu fan, but this late work (1960) is one of his finest. Three middle-aged men who once wooed the widowed Akiko (played with a wonderfully subtle mix of emotions by Setsuko Hara) conspire to marry off both her and her daughter, who declares herself happy as she is. The gentle comedy that ensues makes some good feminist points, but Ozu's deepest theme emerges out of the contrast between the bumbling, sometimes silly strivings of the characters and the stately tranquillity of the spaces around them. Occasional shots of interiors emptied of people are key: human dramas are seen from a distance, as blips within the inexorable passage of time.
Fred Camper

Here (and above) is the trailer.