What better way to celebrate Groundhog Day than watching Groundhog Day . . . What better way to celebrate Groundhog Day than watching Groundhog Day . . . What better way to celebrate Groundhog Day than watching Groundhog Day . . .
New Statesman film critic, Ryan Gilbey, has written a BFI Modern Classics monograph on Groundhog Day which I can highly recommend. Here is an extract from a feature he wrote for the Observer on the film:
'[Groundhog Day] has emerged as one of the most influential films in modern cinema - and not only on other movies. Tony Blair did not refer to Jurassic Park in his sombre speech about the Northern Ireland peace process. Dispatches during the search for weapons of mass distraction made no mention of Mrs Doubtfire . And the Archbishop of Canterbury neglected to name-check Indecent Proposal when delivering the 2002 Richard Dimbleby Lecture. But Groundhog Day was invoked on each of these occasions.
The title has become a way of encapsulating those feelings of futility, repetition and boredom that are a routine part of our lives. When Groundhog Day is referred to, it is not the 2 February celebration that comes to mind, but the story of a cynical TV weatherman, Phil Connors, played by Bill Murray, who pitches up in Punxsutawney to cover the festivities. Next morning, he wakes to discover it's not the next morning at all: he is trapped in Groundhog Day. No matter what crimes he commits or how definitively he annihilates himself, he will be returned to his dismal bed-and-breakfast each morning at 5.59am . . .'
Here all the Ned Ryerson scenes, here are all the Ned Ryerson scenes, here are all the Ned Ryerson scenes . . .
No2: The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 2015): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.30 & 8.45pm
Hou Hsiao-Hsien's latest release has garnered critical acclaim since its release and is on an extended run from January 22nd to February 4th. You can read the full details here.
Chicago Reader review:
In the ninth century, near the end of the Tang Dynasty, the governor of a state pulling away from the empire (Chang Chen) is stalked by a beautiful assassin (Shu Qi) who's been trained since childhood by the cunning princess of a rival family (Sheu Fang-yi). The story promises action, but this brooding martial-arts adventure from Hou Hsiao-hsien is largely a pictorial experience: in the glistening black-and-white preface, the killer slashes an opponent's throat and Hou cuts abruptly to a spray of wildflowers. Extreme wide shots place the characters against stunning mountain terrains and inside wild forests, recalling the crystalline detail of classical Chinese paintings; interior scenes unfold in a golden glow, gauzy curtains drifting back and forth over the action, while crickets chirp and tribal drums sound periodically, the hushed tone making the eruptions of swordplay seem even more clangorous. The dazzling 35-millimeter photography is by Mark Lee Ping Bing.
JR JonesHere (and above) is the trailer.