Sunday, 11 September 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 289: Sun Oct 16

Private Property (Stevens, 1960): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


60th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (5th-16th October 2016) DAY 11
 
Every day (from October 5th to October 16th) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is all the information you need about the best way to get tickets.

This film also screens at the LFF on October 8th. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Released in 1960—the same year as Psycho and Michael Powell's Peeping Tom—this pervy low-budget thriller stars Corey Allen and a babyish Warren Oates as drifters who arrive in LA, follow a statuesque blond (Kate Manx) back to her home in the Hollywood Hills, and spy on her from the vacant house next door, waiting for the right moment to rape her. Leslie Stevens, a TV writer directing his debut feature, pays homage to Hitchcock in the dialogue and, in like fashion, gives his heroine a complicating psychological wrinkle: neglected by her workaholic husband and starved for attention, she's easy prey when Allen's character, a smooth-talking menace, appears at her door posing as a down-and-out landscaper. Stevens shot the movie in ten days at his own home, casting his wife in the lead and drawing a gentle, appealing performance from Manx in her first big-screen role. He would go on to create the sci-fi anthology series The Outer Limits; she would divorce him and commit suicide at age 34.
JR Jones 

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 288: Sat Oct 15

Daughters of the Dust (Dash, 1991): Vue West End, Leicester Square, Screen 5, 12.30pm


60th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (5th-16th October 2016) DAY 11
 
Every day (from October 5th to October 16th) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is all the information you need about the best way to get tickets.

This film also screens at the LFF on October 8th. Details here.

LFF introduction:

Julie Dash’s majestic first feature is a poignant portrait of three generations of Gullah women (descendants of West African slaves) at the turn of the 20th century as their family struggle with the decision to migrate from their sea island home off the coast of South Carolina to the mainland. Daughters portrayed a new type of blackness and black identity – one located in a pastoral island setting still informed by myth and ancestral traditions. Dash’s perspective is determinedly feminist as she fuses together image, sound, authentic dialect and traditions of African oral storytelling to portray the power, beauty, and resilience of black women. Her vision and aesthetic sensibilities perfectly capture a forgotten moment of the African American experience and charts new ground in the representation of black women on screen. One of the key inspirations for the film work that accompanied Beyoncé’s Lemonade, this is a timely re-release for Dash’s powerful film.
Karen Alexander

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 287: Fri Oct 14

The Informer (Robison, 1929): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.30pm


60th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (5th-16th October 2016) DAY 10
 
Every day (from October 5th to October 16th) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is all the information you need about the best way to get tickets.

LFF introduction:
Liam O’Flaherty’s 1925 novel about betrayal amidst the chaotic political and revolutionary environment of the newly independent Ireland of 1922 was famously adapted for the screen by John Ford. This earlier, silent adaptation is arguably finer, bringing to bear the best of late 1920s European filmmaking, but with one foot in the 1930s. O’Flaherty claimed that he wrote The Informer as a ‘high-brow detective story’ that was ‘based on the technique of the cinema’. Director Robison’s approach, emphasising the sense of claustrophobia and playing up the chiaroscuro, anticipates the mood of later film noir thrillers. German cinematographers Brandes and Sparkuhl make the most of the A-list international stars, Lars Hanson and the languorously beautiful Lya de Putti. Dublin is convincingly realised – one virtuoso tracking shot takes you from a rooftop down to a bustling street as it follows Gypo Nolan (Hanson), elbowing his way through the crowd, on his way to inform on his friend. Love and loyalty struggle to survive the consequences of his action.

Bryony Dixon 

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 286: Thu Oct 13

Memories of Underdevelopment 35mm (Alea, 1968): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.15pm


60th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (5th-16th October 2016) DAY 9
 
Every day (from October 5th to October 16th) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is all the information you need about the best way to get tickets.

Chicago Reader review:
Adapted by Cuban filmmaker Tomas Gutierrez Alea from Edmundo Desnoe's novel Inconsolable Memories, this 1969 film portrays the alienation of a bourgeois intellectual caught in the warp of a rapidly changing social reality. A thoroughly mature and original creation, Alea's film does not caricature Sergio—a 28-year-old living off reparations from his nationalized property—but rather strikingly portrays the existential contradictions of a man living in a vacuum, in a mixture of past and present, whose only response to the missile crisis is to watch it through binoculars while his more intellectually authentic (if less well schooled) countrymen respond with action. Told from Sergio's viewpoint, the film is a call to continued action for Cubans and an engrossing psychological portrait.

Don Druker

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 285: Wed Oct 12

Porto (Klinger, 2016) 35mm: BFI Southbank, NFT1, 9.15pm

 


60th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (5th-16th October 2016) DAY 8
 
Every day (from October 5th to October 16th) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is all the information you need about the best way to get tickets.

This film is also being screened at the LFF on October 14th and 15th. Details here.

LFF introduction:
A location where every frame seems imbued with a lingering romantic pessimism, Porto is the setting for the end, the start and the reminiscence of a love affair between American drifter Jake and French archaeologist Mati. By turns sexy and sad, the film shows the damage that their momentary connection helps them transcend, as well as the feelings they’re left with. Anton Yelchin, in one of his final roles, brings a restless physicality to Jake, a man caged in his own way of thinking. And Lucie Lucas’ bold performance is made iconic through some Nouvelle Vague framing – especially in an extraordinary eyes-across-the-room café scene. Executive produced by Jim Jarmusch and featuring a brief vocal performance by Chantal Akerman, director Gabe Klinger follows his 2013 documentary Double Play: James Benning and Richard Linklater with this ravishing debut fiction feature combining the textures of 35mm,16mm and Super8 film formats to question the verisimilitude of love, and of film itself.

Kate Taylor

Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 284: Tue Oct 11

Hell Drivers (Endfield, 1957): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.15pm



60th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (5th-16th October 2016) DAY 7
 
Every day (from October 5th to October 16th) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is all the information you need about the best way to get tickets.

Time Out review:
Energetic and violent trucking thriller marked by the raw, angry edge of the best of blacklist victim Endfield's Hollywood work, and by his appreciation (shared, oddly enough, by fellow exile Joseph Losey) of the markedly out-of-the-mainstream talent of Stanley Baker. Playing an ex-con hired as one of a team of drivers forced to drive at dangerous speeds in rattletrap lorries over rugged roads to meet the daily quota of loads to be delivered (a touch of The Wages of Fear here), Baker further becomes involved in a deadly duel with a sadistic rival (Patrick McGoohan) on his way to smashing the haulage company's racket.

Paul Taylor


The VistaVision fine grain positive of the full-length British release version was scanned at 6K to capture the image detail. The sound has been remastered from the best original 35mm source.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 283: Mon Oct 10

Lovetrue (Har'el, 2016): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 3.45pm



60th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (5th-16th October 2016) DAY 6
 
Every day (from October 5th to October 16th) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is all the information you need about the best way to get tickets.

This film also screens at LFF on October 8th. Details here.

LFF introduction:Following her groundbreaking debut Bombay Beach (2011), director Alma Har’el returns with another genre-bending gem about our perception of love and relationships. We enter the psyches of three young people: Blake, an Alaskan stripper reflecting on her budding relationship and wondering how long she can carry on the job; Coconut Willie, a Hawaiian surfer who discovers he’s not the biological father of his son; and Victory, a young black woman in New York City pondering family bonds and faith. Har’el smartly interlaces these real-life stories with actors playing the protagonists at different stages of their lives, interspersed with exquisite choreography that subtly blur the boundaries between reality and fantasy. The result is a multi-layered, deeply atmospheric and poetic viewing experience, graced with a hypnotic soundtrack by Flying Lotus that will leave you questioning the myth of True Love.
Laura Bonville 

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 282: Sun Oct 9

Hospital (Wiseman, 1969) 35mm: BFI Southbank, NFT2, 9pm


60th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (5th-16th October 2016) DAY 5
 
Every day (from October 5th to October 16th) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is all the information you need about the best way to get tickets.

LFF introduction:
Prepare for 84 unforgettably gripping minutes as master filmmaker Frederick Wiseman takes you deep, deeper and deeper still, into the beating heart of New York’s Metropolitan Hospital. Filming in its emergency ward, outpatient clinic and operating rooms, Wiseman weaves a rich human tapestry of embattled professionalism and human strength, frailty, suffering and redemption, all playing out amid the intricacies of a modern bureaucracy. Wiseman’s patience during filming and thoughtful editing bring out the complexities of staff-patient communication with a searching intelligence, flashes of humour and profound compassion. The crystal clarity of this new print is not to be missed. It’s a landmark of world documentary that’s far from worthy textbook stuff: this is great cinema, period.
Patrick Russell


Presented by Zipporah Films and Blaq Out in partnership with Doc & Film and UniversCiné, Hospital was restored in a 35 mm copy by the Library of Congress from original camera negatives in the Zipporah Films Collection.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 281: Sat Oct 8

One-Eyed Jacks (Brando, 1961): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 5.45pm


60th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (5th-16th October 2016) DAY 4

Every day (from October 5th to October 16th) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is all the information you need about the best way to get tickets.

Today's choice is also being shown at the LFF on October 9th. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Marlon Brando's only directorial effort was this eccentric 1961 western about an outlaw (Brando) who revenges himself on a former partner (Karl Malden) by seducing his daughter. There is a strong Freudian pull to the situation (the partner's name is “Dad”) that is more ritualized than dramatized: the most memorable scenes have a fierce masochistic intensity, as if Brando were taking the opportunity to punish himself for some unknown crime. The bizarre action is set off by the classic Hollywood iconography of the western landscape (photographed by Charles Lang) and the supporting cast: Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens, and Elisha Cook Jr.
Dave Kehr

'For years only viewable on poor-quality public-domain DVD, this new 4K restoration reveals Brando’s brooding and often breathtakingly photographed film as a magnificent achievement of real power and vision.' James Bell BFI.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 280: Fri Oct 7

Blue Velvet Revisited (Braatz, 2016): ICA Cinema, 6.15pm


60th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (5th-16th October 2016) DAY 3
 
Every day (from October 5th to October 16th) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is all the information you need about the best way to get tickets.

Today's choice is also being shown at the LFF on October 8th. Details here.

LFF introduction:
In 1985, David Lynch invited a young German filmmaker named Peter Braatz onto the set of his latest production, Blue Velvet. Over the next couple of months, Braatz recorded hours of footage, shot thousands of photographs and conducted numerous interviews with the cast and crew. For over 30 years, the majority of this material has gone unseen. But now, Braatz has pieced together his archival treasure trove to create a hypnotic meditation on one of cinema’s most enigmatic masterpieces. Presented without narration and no discernible narrative arc, this intuitive documentary does not seek to tell the story of how Blue Velvet came together, nor does it provide answers to the countless mysteries of the film’s labyrinthine plot. Instead, like a long-forgotten dream, Blue Velvet Revisited takes the viewer on a mysterious journey from which one emerges with more questions than answers. And what could be more Lynchian than that?

Michael Blyth

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 279: Thu Oct 6

Dawson City: Frozen Time (Morrison, 2016): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.15pm


60th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (5th-16th October 2016) DAY 2
 
Every day (from October 5th to October 16th) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is all the information you need about the best way to get tickets.

Today's choice is also being shown at the LFF on October 7th.  Details here.

LFF introduction:
American history is resurrected through American movies by Bill Morrison (Decasia). A master artist when it comes to the reconstruction of archive footage, he reveals a magical dance of the dead in layers of decaying nitrate stock. The North American Gold Rush of 1896 established Dawson City on the Klondike and Yukon Rivers in Canada, displacing a First Nation hunting ground. In 1903, the movies arrived as the town developed out of its whoring, drinking and gambling origins. It was so remote, the studios wouldn’t pay for the film prints to be retuned so they lay buried in the permafrost until rediscovered in 1978. With the original score composed by Alex Somers, the material is astounding – reanimating lost silent movie stars, the perils of prospecting, newsreel of baseball scandals and the expulsion of socialists after the Russian Revolution. Look out for key information on the origins of Donald Trump’s wealth!
Helen de Witt

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 278: Wed Oct 5

Manhattan (Allen, 1979): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 9pm



60th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (5th-16th October 2016) DAY 1
 
Every day (from October 5th to October 16th) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is all the information you need about the best way to get tickets.

Today's choice is also being shown at the LFF on October 6th.  Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Woody Allen's great leap forward into character development and dramatic integrity (1979). The story is La Ronde with a thrown cog, as Allen's Isaac Davis, a television writer with serious aspirations, turns among three women (Mariel Hemingway, Diane Keaton, and Meryl Streep), his spin impelled by best friend Michael Murphy. The script is funny and observant, full of shocks of recognition, but for all his progress as a writer, Allen's direction remains disconcertingly amateurish. The visuals are cramped and gray, the pacing is rough, and the performances are pitched on disruptively different levels of stylization. Still, it remains perhaps the only film in which Allen has been able to successfully imagine a personality other than his own. 

Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.                                                           

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 277: Tue Oct 4

Two Weeks in Another Town (Minnelli, 1962): BFI Southbank, NFT1 8.45pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Kirk Douglas season at BFI Southbank. You can read all the details here. This film is also being shown on September 25th.

Chicago Reader review:
Though crippled by studio recutting that tried to adjust this neurotic 1962 melodrama for the family market, Vincente Minnelli's adaptation of Irwin Shaw's novel is one of his last great pictures, reversing the Henry James model of innocent Americans encountering corruption abroad—it's the Americans who are decadent here. Intelligently scripted by Charles Schnee, the film reunites the director, writer, producer (John Houseman), star (Kirk Douglas), and composer (David Raksin) of The Bad and the Beautiful, describing the attempted comeback of an alcoholic ex-star (Douglas), asked to help a director friend (Edward G. Robinson) with a new picture in Rome, who encounters both his destructive ex-wife (Cyd Charisse) and a redemptive young Italian woman (Daliah Lavi) in the process. George Hamilton plays a spoiled young actor who falls under Douglas's tutelage, and Claire Trevor plays Robinson's wife. The costumes, decor, and 'Scope compositions show Minnelli at his most expressive, and the gaudy intensity—as well as the inside detail about the movie business—makes this compulsively watchable.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 276: Mon Oct 3

The Driver (Hill, 1978): Picturehouse Central, 7pm


This film is part of the Edgar Wright presents season at Picturehouse Central. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review of The Driver:
'An audacious, skillful film noir (1978) by Walter Hill, so highly stylized that it's guaranteed to alienate 90 percent of its audience. There's no realism, no psychology, and very little plot in Hill's story of a deadly game between a professional getaway driver (Ryan O'Neal) and a detective obsessed with catching him (Bruce Dern). There is, however, a great deal of technically sophisticated and very imaginative filmmaking. The cross-references here are Howard Hawks, Robert Bresson, and Jean-Pierre Melville: a strange, heady, and quite effective range of influences.'
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 275: Sun Oct 2

The American Friend (Wenders, 1977): Rio Cinema, 3.45pm



This screening is part of an 'Adapting Miss Highsmith' season  at the Rio Cinema. You can find the full details via the season website here. This film is part of a double-bill with The Glass Cell (Geissendorfer, 1978).

Chicago Reader review:
This gripping 1977 American thriller from Wim Wenders turns back on itself with deadly European irony. Dennis Hopper is an international art smuggler, Bruno Ganz is a Hamburg craftsman. Together they commit a murder and briefly become friends. The film has a fine grasp of tenuous emotional connections in the midst of a crumbling moral universe. Wenders's films (Kings of the Road, Alice in the Cities) are about life on the edge; this is one of his edgiest.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 274: Sat Oct 1

Rosemary's Baby (Polanski, 1968): Prince Charles Cinema, 6pm


This screening is part of the Classic Film Season at the Prince Charles Cinema. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
'The treacherous-mate theme that has been a staple of “women's pictures” since Gaslight gets its ultimate, most agonizing development in this 1968 story about a young woman (Mia Farrow) who discovers her husband has sold her body for use by a witches' coven. The horror is more clinical than supernatural, as Polanski transforms Ira Levin's story into a metaphor for the loss of identity induced by pregnancy. A very sophisticated, very effective piece of work spun from primal images, with an excellent cast that includes John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sidney Blackmer, Ralph Bellamy, Maurice Evans, Patsy Kelly, and Elisha Cook Jr.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 273: Fri Sep 30

The Sacrifice (Tarkovsky, 1986): Close-Up Cinema, 8pm


This 35mm screening is part of a season at Close-Up Cinema dedicated to celebrated director Andrei Tarkovsky. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Andrei Tarkovsky's last film (1986) isn't on the same level as his extraordinary Stalker, but it's a fitting apocalyptic statement, made when he knew he was dying of cancer. The first and penultimate shots—ten-minute takes that are, in very different ways, remarkable and complex achievements—manage to say more than most films do over their entire length. In between these shots one finds Tarkovsky working in a mode that bears a distinct relationship to Bergman—made all the more apparent by the Swedish setting, the cinematography (by Bergman's incomparable Sven Nykvist), and the casting of Erland Josephson in the lead—but the hallucinatory camera movements and the mysticism of the plot could belong to no one but Tarkovsky. As Alexander (Josephson), a university lecturer, celebrates his birthday with family and friends, a major nuclear crisis is reported on TV, followed by a power failure. Praying for the world to return to normal, Alexander promises to give up everything he has and winds up sleeping with his maid, reportedly a witch, to seal the bargain. As with Nostalghia, Tarkovsky's previous work of exile, it's possible to balk at the filmmaker's pretensions and antiquated sexual politics and yet be overwhelmed by his mastery and originality, as well as the conviction of his sincerity. Critics have been of little help in getting to the core of this powerful visionary; a better start might be to read Tarkovsky's book, Sculpting in Time. In Swedish with subtitles.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 272: Thu Sep 29

The River (Renoir, 1951): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Classic Film Season at the Prince Charles. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Jean Renoir's 1951 masterpiece, his first film in color. The story concerns a group of English colonialists living on the banks of the Ganges, but beyond that the film describes how the European mind gradually succumbs to the eternal perspectives of India. Renoir's images flow with the same still motion as his metaphorical river: entering or leaving the frame is a matter of life and death, but in the end it is the same. For Andre Bazin, this was the Rules of the Game of Renoir's postwar period, a film in which “the screen no longer exists; there is nothing but reality."
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 271: Wed Sep 28

Bonnie and Clyde (Penn, 1967): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Warren Beatty season at the Prince Charles Cinema. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
When Fritz Lang filmed it in 1938 (as You Only Live Once), the story had a metaphysical thrust. When Nicholas Ray filmed it in 1948 (They Live by Night), it was romantic and doom laden. But by the time Arthur Penn got to it in 1967, it was pure myth, the distillation of dozens of drive-in movies about rebellious kids and their defeat at the hands of the establishment. It's by far the least controlled of Penn's films (the tone wobbles between hick satire and noble social portraiture, and the issue of violence is displayed more than it's examined), but the pieces work wonderfully well, propelled by what was then a very original acting style. With Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman, Estelle Parsons, Michael J. Pollard, and Gene Wilder.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer. 

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 270: Tue Sep 27

Fata Morgana (Herzog, 1971): Barbican Cinema, 8.30pm


This film is screening as part of a 'Head Trips: Films for the Inner Eye' season at the Barbican. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Cold, documentarylike images of the Sahara are used in a grotesque retelling of the story of creation in Werner Herzog's 1971 experimental feature. Every shot has a double edge of harsh reality and surrealist fantasy, as when the landing of a jet plane, repeated nine or ten times, becomes an odd spiritual symbol, at once banal and mysterious. You'll either be bored to death or fascinated—for me, it's Herzog's most interesting film.

Dave Kehr


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 269: Mon Sep 26

The Colour of Pomegranates (Parajanov, 1968): Barbican Cinema, 8pm


Here is the feature I wrote for the Guardian on this unique movie.

This film is screening as part of a 'Head Trips: Films for the Inner Eye' season at the Barbican. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader:
The late Sergei Paradjanov's greatest film, a mystical and historical mosaic about the life, work, and inner world of the 18th-century Armenian poet Sayat Nova, was previously available only in the ethnically “dry-cleaned” Russian version—recut and somewhat reorganized by Sergei Yutkevich, with chapter headings added to clarify the content for Russian viewers. This superior 1969 version of the film, found in an Armenian studio in the early 90s, shouldn't be regarded as definitive (some of the material from the Yutkevich cut is missing), but it's certainly the finest we have and may ever have: some shots and sequences are new, some are positioned differently, and, of particular advantage to Western viewers, much more of the poetry is subtitled. (Oddly enough, it's hard to tell why the “new” shots were censored.) In both versions the striking use of tableaulike frames recalls the shallow space of movies made roughly a century ago, while the gorgeous uses of color and the wild poetic conceits seem to derive from some utopian cinema of the future, at once “difficult” and immediate, cryptic and ravishing. This is essential viewing.
Jonathan Rosenabum

Here (and above) is the trailer. 

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 268: Sun Sep 25

Nostalgia (Tarkovsky, 1983): Close-Up Cinema, 8pm


This 35mm screening is part of a season at Close-Up Cinema dedicated to celebrated director Andrei Tarkovsky. You can find the full details here.

Time Out review:
Another of Tarkovsky's strange, hauntingly beautiful meditations on man's search for self. The film may forsake the run-down space station of Solaris or the miraculous Zone of Stalker for the hilltop villages of Tuscany, but its framework is familiar (flashbacks in spectral black-and-white, the use of rich sepia alongside pastel colour to blur distinctions between dream and reality), and so are its themes (memory, melancholia, disenchantment with the material world, dogged stumbling after salvation). An appropriately haggard academic, Gorchakov (Oleg Jankovsky), has come to Italy to research the life of an obscure Russian composer. Brooding over familial traumas and his compatriot's eventual suicide, he's incapable of communicating with his statuesque young interpreter (Dominziana Giordano), let alone having an affair with her. In the meantime he meets Domenico (Erland Josephson), a recluse whom the locals dismiss as mad. Each man recognises something of himself in the other, and they embark upon the most absolute of alliances...Tarkovsky remains as much a metaphysician as anything else, and Nostalgia isn't an entertainment but an article of faith.
Angus MacKinnon

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 267: Sat Sep 24

Carrie (De Palma, 1976): ICA Cinema, 4.10pm


Brian De Palma's films have been controversial to say the least. Feminist film collective The Final Girls present a special 40th anniversary screening of his most iconic horror film, Carrie. Tormented by a hyper religious mother and the meanness of teenage girls, Carrie develops telekinetic powers. We will debate and explore the film's complex and divisive female protagonist and the role of women in Brian de Palma's films in a post-screening discussion. The discussion will be followed by a bloody prom party to give Carrie White the send-off she deserves.

Time Out review:
Viewed in a modern context, ‘Carrie’ is a more troubling film than it might have seemed to audiences in 1976, from the opening sequence of naked teenage girls gliding around a shower room in soapy, soft-porn slo-mo, through a bizarrely extended sequence of those same girls being put through their paces on the sports field, to the climactic scene of brutal matricide. As a film about women written and directed entirely by men, it does sometimes feel distanced and exploitative, as though author Stephen King and director Brian De Palma are peeking, ‘Animal House’-style, through that locker room window, and concocting furtive adolescent fantasies about the strange creatures they see there.

But De Palma’s grasp on King’s material is never in doubt: this is a truly throat-grabbing horror movie, sporting a handful of pitch-perfect set-pieces, not to mention one of the few examples of effective split-screen. Sissy Spacek’s performance in the title role is close to flawless: she was 27 when the film was shot, but looks barely half that, and this otherworldly combination of maturity and innocence adds to the film’s unsettling tone.

Tom Huddleston

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 266: Fri Sep 23

De Palma (Baumbach/Paltrow, 2015): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.15pm


The camera is turned on one of Hollywood’s most consistently daring provocateurs as he discusses his impressive career in this highly anticipated documentary. This film is on an extended run at BFI Southbank and you can find full details of all the screenings here.

Chicago Reader review:
Filmmakers Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow interview Brian De Palma, director of such durable thrillers as Scarface (1983), The Untouchables (1987), and Mission: Impossible (1996). As a documentary, this is pretty lazy; Paltrow and Baumbach simply walk De Palma through his filmography and collect his best stories (most of which involve him clashing creatively with someone and ultimately being proven right). But this systematic approach has a nice leveling effect in that his more obscure, offbeat projects (Greetings, Phantom of the Paradise, Home Movies) get as much attention as his signature films (Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out). De Palma came up in the business alongside Scorsese, Coppola, Spielberg, and Lucas, and the rap against him has always been that, despite his mastery of suspense mechanics, he lacks their strong personal vision. Nothing here really contradicts that, though the sheer variety of De Palma's work reveals an artist more eclectic and ambitious than people usually acknowledge. 
J R Jones

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 265: Thu Sep 22

Shampoo (Ashby, 1975): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.15pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Warren Beatty season at the Prince Charles Cinema. You can find all the 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 Warren 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 Petit

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 264: Wed Sep 21

Jamon Jamon (Luna, 1992): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.30pm



This film (35mm screening) is also being shown on September 23rd. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
A juicy and deliciously over-the-top piece of Spanish raunchiness with melodramatic as well as erotic overtones, this won the Silver Lion at the 1992 Venice film festival. Bigas Luna's comedy—whose title might be roughly translated (with pun added) as Double Hammy—is funnier to my taste than anything by Pedro Almodovar in his postpunk phase. (The fleshy and uninhibited satirical mode recalls Al Capp's comic strip Li'l Abner in more ways than one.) Determined to prevent her son from marrying a prostitute's daughter who works in a men's underwear factory, the wife of the factory's owner hires a stud to seduce her, then falls for the same hunk herself; in the ensuing fracas involving food, class, animals, passion, and porking, overripeness is all, right down to the climactic ham-bone duel. 94 min.
Jonathan Rosenabaum

Here (and above) is the trailer