Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 28: Thu Jan 28

One Plus One/Sympathy for the Devil (Godard, 1968): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.20pm

This was the penultimate screening of the year-long 70x70 film season in 2014. London writer, filmmaker and 'psychogeographer' Iain Sinclair celebrates his 70th birthday year, with the showing of 70 films, handpicked for their association with his work and shown in venues all over London.

Here is Iain Sinclair's introduction to the movie:
Sympathy for the Devil
was a 16mm polemic shot on 35mm. The contradictions begin there. At £150,000, it was Godard’s most expensive feature, made in a city he disliked and a language he pretended, when it suited him, not to speak. The sight of his new young wife, Anne Wiazemsky (fresh from her radiant debut, co-starring with a donkey in Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar), wandering about South London and West London, spraying slogans on corrugated fences, was profoundly depressing. The film became a documentary about futility, ugliness, poor light, the insolent rhetoric of scrapyards, gun-waving black freedom fighters (jobbing actors). Swinging London: the psychedelic gibbet. A colour-supplement commission dressed up as a movie. Photographers shooting photographers. Antonioni’s BlowUp, made two years before Godard hit town, predicts riverside expansionism and the future location of the Thames Barrier. A city of moneyed immigrants. Russians with good English tailoring eating Italian food. Godard’s more troubled raid tracks around a notable English monument, the Rolling Stones. More stone than roll: even then. Smoking defiantly, prematurely jaded musicians fiddle with a demon-summoning song, while the camera loops lethargically around them. A more unreal and therefore truer account of the psychosis of celebrity, of (simulated) Dionysiac madness, than Antonioni’s guitar-wrecking performance by the Yardbirds.

and above is the trailer.

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