Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 278: Sun Oct 8

Jeune Femme (Serraille, 2017): Vue Leicester Square, 12.30pm


61st LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (4th-15th October 2017) DAY 4

Every day (from October 4th to October 15th) 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.

'Jeune Femme' also screens on October 8th at Curzon Mayfair and October 15th at Curzon Soho. Details here.

London Film Festival preview:
When a key doesn’t get Paula into her ex-lover’s apartment, her attempts at head-butting the door open also prove unsuccessful. A bleeding head wound opens this kinetic, urgent portrait of a heartbroken young woman who is her own worst enemy. Hauling the ex’s cat across Paris in a cardboard box, Paula’s days as a photographer’s muse are over. But she does possess a scrappy charisma and this magnetism is her ticket to clawing her way back to stability. Jeune Femme takes its cues from Laetitia Dosch’s impossible-to-take-your-eyes-off-her performance as Paula, hurtling through scenes to a post-punk electro score. Debut director Léonor Serraille impresses with sheer vivacity – this is filmmaking from someone who is alive to both the possibilities of cinema and to human experience in 2017. And it’s a film that is funny, moving and hugely invigorating.
Kate Taylor

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 277: Sat Oct 7

Western (Griesbach, 2017): Cine Lumiere, 5.45pm


61st LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (4th-15th October 2017) DAY 4

Every day (from October 4th to October 15th) 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.

'Western' also screens on October 8th at Vue Leicester Square. Details here.

London Film Festival preview:
Valeska Grisebach follows her 2006 award-winner Longing with a contemporary western in which tensions mount between German construction workers and Bulgarian villagers in a small rural town. Camped above the isolated town, the workers divert the local water supply, boorishly intimidate women and exacerbate tempers by flying a German flag above their camp (flaring age-old national resentments). Lanky loner Meinhardt stays aloof, preferring the company of the locals, finding a connection despite the lack of verbal communication. However, it’s when the white horse that Meinhardt borrows from townsman Adrian goes missing, that tempers finally fray. Grisebach’s exquisitely taut film explores the dynamics of all-male environments; masculinity is a language, albeit a rudimentary one, that can be culturally specific and ripe for misunderstanding. With expertly observed micro-dramas amidst the gorgeously photographed countryside, Western features melancholy and menace in equal measure, providing a memorable and unique addition to the genre.
Tricia Tuttle

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 276: Fri Oct 6

Suspiria (Argento, 1977): Picturehouse Central, 9pm



61st LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (4th-15th October 2017) DAY 3

Every day (from October 4th to October 15th) 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.

'Suspiria' also screens on October 14th at Curzon Soho. Details here. 

London Film Festival preview:
Witness Dario Argento’s eye-popping slice of technicolour terror as never before, with this stunning 4K restoration. Four decades ago, Italian genre master Dario Argento brazenly subverted expectations by abandoning the giallo tradition upon which he had built his reputation, launching headlong into a fantastical tale of the supernatural. The resulting film remains not just one of the director’s most celebrated works, but a defining classic of horror cinema. American ballerina Suzy Bannion arrives in Germany to study at the prestigious Tanz Dance Academy. But as a series of murders and a variety of other inexplicable events begin to pile up, Suzy realises her new school houses a terrifying secret. Dripping in dark imagination, Suspiria ranks as one of Argento’s most visionary works – its garish colour palette and bravura set pieces adding to a frenzied sense of dread. Now lovingly restored, this psychedelic nightmare is ready to terrify, perplex and astound all over again.

Michael Blyth

Here (and above) is the original trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 275: Thu Oct 5

The Maersk Opera (Superflex, 2017): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 1.15pm



61st LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (4th-15th October 2017) DAY 2

Every day (from October 4th to October 15th) 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.

'The Maersk Opera' also screens on October 4th at Vue Leicester Square. Details here.

London Film Festival preview:
A work of staggering ambition in production and storytelling that matches the stature of its controversial subject – one of Europe’s most contentious building projects. The Mærsk Opera is a musical reworking of the machinations behind the construction of the giant edifice of Copenhagen’s new opera house. It was donated to the city of Copenhagen by the late Mærsk McKinney-Møller, the world’s largest shipping owner and Denmark’s richest man. But there were conditions. It had to be built in the harbour on the sightline between a famous church and the royal palace. The musical composition by Anders Monrad, with libretto by Nikolaj Heltoft, brings to life a cast of characters both real and imaginary. The film deploys an incredible array of techniques, from animation to documentary, to tell this tale of hubris and hypocrisy which witnesses government officials and a city’s population seduced by the grand ambitions of the global capitalist.  
Helen De Witt

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 274: Wed Oct 4

Filmworker (Zierra, 2017): Vue Leicester Square, Screen 5, 8.40pm



61st LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (4th-15h October 2017) DAY 1

Every day (from October 4th to October 15th) 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.

'Filmworker' also screens on October 5th at Empire Haymarket. Details here.

London Film Festival preview:
A fascinating account of working alongside Stanley Kubrick – by one of his closest collaborators. Leon Vitali first encountered Stanley Kubrick in the 1970s, when the young actor was cast in Barry Lyndon. It started a close and exacting collaboration that continued up until Kubrick’s death in 1999, and which this documentary chronicles with absorbing insight. Spellbound by Kubrick, Vitali gave up a promising on-screen career to work for the filmmaker – first on the casting of The Shining, but with his duties expanding over the years (everything from helping craft the performances of Full Metal Jacket to looking after Kubrick’s dogs). Reflecting on his relationship with him, Vitali is faithful to the memory of Kubrick, but also candid about the enormous pressures of working with such a singular individual. It is a revealing, admiring and occasionally poignant study of a life devoted to cinema.
Edward Lawrenson

Here (and above) is a news item on the film screened at its Cannes debut.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 273: Tue Oct 3

Christine (Carpenter, 1983): BFI Southbank, Studio, 8.50pm


This film is part of the 'Stephen King on Screen' season at BFI Southbank. You can find full details of the season here.

Chicago Reader review:
John Carpenter was the first filmmaker to grasp the basis of Stephen King's appeal—that he wasn't really a horror writer, but a Walt Disney-like spinner of psychological fables centered on adolescent sexual anxiety. But Carpenter's thematic self-consciousness—even backed by his supple visual style and an excellent performance by Keith Gordon as the high school nerd in love with his '58 Plymouth Fury—can't entirely overcome a shaky dramatic structure that sacrifices character logic to increasingly meaningless thrills. This 1983 feature was Carpenter's best film since Halloween but still couldn't recapture the perfect balance of visceral shock and narrative integrity that defined his first success. With John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul, and Harry Dean Stanton.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 272: Mon Oct 2

Variety (Gordon, 1983): Barbican Cinema, 8.45pm


This 35mm presentation is part of the Grime and Glamour NYC (1976-90) season at the Barbican Cinema. You can find the full details of the season here.

This was a Birkbeck Cinema introduction to this great 1980s indie movie:
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, New York-based filmmaker Bette Gordon produced a series of works that chart a major shift in experimental practice from the rigor of structural film to a theoretically informed interest in fragmented narrative and subjective experience that Noel Carroll would dub the “new talkies.” With her best-known work, 1983’s Variety, Gordon moves fully into the idiom of independent narrative cinema, but her concerns remain consistent: questions of sexuality, labour, and gentrification are pursued within a critical interrogation of filmic language. Hers is a cinema at once politically urgent, formally sophisticated, and emotionally compelling. Taking its name from the Times Square porn theatre where its lead character, Christine, gets a job as a ticket-taker, Variety is a narrative film about sex, pleasure, work, gendered looking, and the cinema itself. At the time of its release, one critic dubbed it a “feminist Vertigo,” and its affinities with the feminist film theory of the time are striking. But this Kathy Acker-scripted movie also pushes back against the anti-pornography feminism taking shape in New York City in the early 1980s; Christine is no kind of victim. The actions of groups like Women Against Pornography directly facilitated the gentrification of Times Square, turning the spaces of Variety into a vanished world by the end of the decade. Variety reminds us not only of this lost New York, but equally of a pre-Miramax age when American independent cinema was truly independent and in direct dialogue with experimental practices across media.

Chicago Reader review:

Bette Gordon's independent feature is a little overambitiously formal at times, drawing in references to Chantal Akerman and Jean-Luc Godard, but it works very well as a hauntingly subjective character study. A young woman takes a job as a cashier in a Manhattan porno theater; the sounds emanating from inside seem slowly to seduce her, and she focuses her fantasies on one of the regular customers—a mysterious older man who appears to have crime-syndicate connections. Gordon is not gifted with dialogue, but the film's long silent sequences spin an enveloping otherworldly atmosphere.
Dave Kehr
 

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 271: Sun Oct 1

Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde (Baker, 1971): Curzon Bloomsbury, 3.30pm


Curzon Bloomsbury introduction:
To celebrate the 60th anniversary the first Hammer Horror films, star Martine Beswick joins us at Curzon Bloomsbury to introduce a new digital restoration of the 1971 Hammer classic, Roy Ward Baker’s Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde. In a thirty year acting career, Martine was twice a Bond girl (From Russia With Love and Thunderball), starred alongside Klaus Kinski (A Bullet for the General) and appeared in many classic TV series (The Six Million Dollar Man, The Fall Guy and Fantasy Island). Having starred in Hammer’s One Million Years BC and Prehistoric Women, Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde was Martine’s first role in a horror film.

Time Out review:
Admirably successful attempt to ring new changes on an old theme, with the good doctor turning himself into a beautiful femme fatale who lures prostitutes to their death in an East End in panic at the Jack the Ripper killings. The transgression thus being sexual as well as moral, the already rich story takes on a wealth of new meanings, while Brian (Avengers) Clemens' script is both witty and imaginative. Enormous fun.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 270: Sat Sep 30

Crash (Cronenberg, 1996): Regent Street Cinema, 2.30pm


Here is the Regent Street Cinema introduction to this special 35mm screening:
Revisit the shock of symphorophilia with Will Self and Chris Beckett, editor of a new edition of Crash. Their discussion is followed by a rare chance to see the uncut version of David Cronenberg’s 1996 film adaptation on the big screen. David Cronenberg’s film of Crash (1996), which Ballard greatly admired, was awarded a Special Jury Prize at its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. The film introduced a second generation to Ballard’s unsettling vision, and sparked a censorship controversy that led to the film being banned by Westminster City Council. A new and expanded edition of the novel Crash (2017), edited by Chris Beckett, takes a fresh look at the novel by setting the narrative in its writing context. Drawing on Ballard’s archive at the British Library, it includes generous selections from the novel in draft, re-publishes Ballard’s contemporaneous ‘condensed novels’, and makes available for the first time Ballard’s draft script for the BBC short film Crash! (1971) directed by Harley Cokeliss. The film was made as Ballard drafted Crash, and its stylised visual language informs the novel. Also included in the new edition is Ballard’s introduction to the French publication of Crash (1974) in which he described the novel as a ‘a cautionary tale’. However, in an interview with Will Self in 1994, Ballard said that had been wrong in his introduction: ‘Crash is not a cautionary tale. Crash is what it appears to be. It is a psychopathic hymn. But it is a psychopathic hymn which has a point.’ This event is part of Banned Books Week, an international celebration of the freedom to read.

Chicago Reader review:
David Cronenberg wrote and directed this 1996 film, a masterful minimalist adaptation of J.G. Ballard's 1973 neo-futurist novel about sex and car crashes, and like the book it's audacious and intense—though ultimately somewhat monotonous in spite of its singularity. James Spader meets Holly Hunter via a car collision, and they and Spader's wife (Deborah Kara Unger) become acquainted with a kind of car-crash guru (Elias Koteas) and his own set of friends (including Rosanna Arquette). Sex and driving are all that this movie and its characters are interested in, but the lyrical, poetic, and melancholic undertones are potent, the performances adept and sexy, the sounds and images indelible. If you want something that's both different and accomplished, even if you can't be sure what it is, don't miss this.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer. 

Monday, 11 September 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 269: Fri Sep 29

Heart of Glass (Herzog, 1976): Close Up Cinema, 7.30pm


This film is part of the Werner Herzog season at Close-Up cinema in September. You can find all the details of the season here.

Time Out review:
It's hard to imagine that anyone other than Herzog would have wanted to make a film like Heart of Glass. It returns to the formal and conceptual extremism of his work before Kaspar Hauser: almost the entire cast are performing under hypnosis throughout, and the plot unfolds in increasingly oblique fragments, making it Herzog's most stylised film to date. It's certainly extremely bizarre, but by no means unapproachable. The tale it tells is plainly allegorical: a glass factory declines into bankruptcy when its owner dies without divulging the formula for its special ruby glass, and the village that depended on the factory for employment goes down with it. But one doesn't have much chance to mull over the implications during the film itself: Herzog directs attention squarely at the performances (which are almost agonisingly intense) and at the imagery (which is very beautiful in a German Gothic way). Any film that dares to hover so close to sheer absurdity needs - and deserves - a sympathetic audience.
Tony Rayns
Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 268: Thu Sep 28

Crime Wave (Paizs, 1985): Castle Cinema, 1st Floor, 64-66 Brooksby's Walk, E9



This film is part of the Scalarama 2017 season. Since 2011, in honour of the old Scala picturehouse in King's Cross, every September, cinemas, film clubs and film festivals plus various organisations and individuals who have a passion for movies, have united to celebrate and encourage watching films together. You can find details of all this year's events here.


Here is the Castle Cinema introduction to tonight's offering:
Imagine if Steve Buscemi’s character from Ghost World made a movie, with levels of deadpan that make Jim Jarmusch look like Baz Luhrmann… but with a lurid perversion in every lovingly Bolexed frame that would make Baz blush. This is Crime Wave, John Paizs's one-of-a-kind ultra-indie black comedy, and it's coming to London for one night only as part of Scalarama.
Lost in distributor limbo virtually since its inception, this is the film Canadian cinephiles talk about in hushed tones round the bonfire. The object of numerous off-grid screenings and bootlegs, it now finally has a glorious 2K restoration, thanks to the Toronto International Film Festival – and, thanks to Matchbox Cineclub, Crime Wave is having a UK tour. Presented by She Shark Industries and zeroFunction Productions as part of Scalarama.


Chicago Reader review:
New-wave film noir comedy (1985) from Canadian independent John Paizs, about a Winnipeg screenwriter suffering from an odd sort of blockage (he only completes the beginnings and ends of his gory scenarios), who decides to improve his writing skills by taking a course from a psycho sex criminal in Kansas. Well, if Pee-wee Herman was new wave, I guess this must be too, though perhaps that's stretching the ol' elastic a little too far. Like His Infantile Eminence and One Crazy Summer's Savage Steve Holland, Paizs mines a vein of male sexual hysteria beneath the ineffectual clown's disguise; with Pee-wee it's a self-conscious ruse, but I'm not so sure about the other guys. Light and dementedly enjoyable, though the cartoon stuntedness gets to you after a while.
Pat Graham


Here (and above) is an extract.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 267: Wed Sep 27

Lost Highway (Lynch, 1997): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


This 35mm screening (also being shown on September 17th) is part of the David Lynch season at the Prince Charles Cinema. You can find the full details of the season here.
Chicago Reader review of Lost Highway:
It's questionable how much Barry Gifford has benefited the work of David Lynch—either in furnishing the source material for Wild at Heart or in collaborating on this even more noir-heavy script—but this 1996 feature was Lynch's most audacious break from conventional narrative since Eraserhead. The enigmatic plot, shaped like a Möbius strip, concerns a jazz musician (Bill Pullman) who inexplicably changes into a much younger garage mechanic (Balthazar Getty) after possibly killing his wife (Patricia Arquette). The wife seems to have been reincarnated as a gangster's girlfriend (Arquette again), who pursues the mechanic. Despite the shopworn noir imagery and teenage notions of sex, this beautifully structured (if rigorously nonhumanist) explosion of expressionist effects has a psychological coherence that goes well beyond logical story lines, and Lynch turns it into an exhilarating roller-coaster ride. With Robert Blake (as Arquette's eerie doppelganger), Gary Busey, Lucy Butler, Robert Loggia, Jack Nance, and Richard Pryor in a somewhat out-of-kilter cameo.

Jonathan Rosenbaum

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 266: Tue Sep 26

Dermon Lover Diary (DeMott, 1980): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.10pm


This extraordinary film is part of the 'Woman With A Movie Camera' strand at BFI Southbank. You can find more details here.

BFI Southbank introduction:
If you thought Lost in La Mancha and American Movie chronicled chaotic film productions, get a load of Joel DeMott’s eye-opening making-of documentary about 1977 horror flick The Demon Lover. Both funny and shocking – with a hilariously acerbic voiceover from DeMott herself – the rarely-screened Demon Lover Diary is one of the best films about filmmaking that you’ve never seen.

Village Voice review:
Joel DeMott and Jeff Kreines’s verite account of a bargain-basement horror flick being produced by a pair of ambitious Michigan proles is scarier than The Blair Witch Project, the indie of indies.
J Hoberman

There is a more detailed essay on this documentary by Rob Newton in Film Comment whihc you can find by clicking the link here.

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 265: Mon Sep 25

Lawrence of Arabia (Lean, 1962): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.30pm


One of the greatest films ever - on 70mm - in the best screen in London. The film is on an extended run from September 22nd and there are numerous opportunities to see this film in NFT1 too. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
David Lean's 1962 spectacle about T.E. Lawrence's military career between 1916 and '18, written by Robert Bolt and produced by Sam Spiegel, remains one of the most intelligent, handsome, and influential of all war epics. Combining the scenic splendor of De Mille with virtues of the English theater, Lean endeared himself to English professors and action buffs alike. The film won seven Oscars, including best picture and direction, yet the ideological crassness of De Mille and most war movies isn't so much transcended as given a high gloss: the film's subject is basically the White Man's Burden—despite ironic notations—with Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, and Omar Sharif called upon to represent the Arab soul, and Jose Ferrer embodying the savage Turks. The all-male cast helps make this one of the most homoerotic of all screen epics, though the characters' sexual experiences are at best only hinted at.
Jonathan Rosenabum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 264: Sun Sep 24

A Page of Madness (Kinugasa, 1926): Kings College London, 6pm


On the 91st anniversary of its theatrical release, the Japanese Avant-garde and Experimental Film Festival are proud to host a 35mm presentation of Teinosuke Kinugasa's A Page of Madness (Kurutta ichipeiji, 1926) with live benshi, musical accompaniment and post-screening panel discussion.

Benshi Tomoko Komura will be narrating the scenes and dialogue (in English) in real time, as would have happened at the film's theatrical release.  Clive Bell, Sylvia Hallett and Keiko Kitamura will provide a live score on the shakuhachi, piano and koto respectively. There will also be a post-screening discussion, with a panel consisting of Japanese cinema specialist Jasper Sharp, silent film expert Pamela Hutchinson and benshi Tomoko Komura. A special video introduction from Professor Aaron Gerow will precede the screening - his book A Page of Madness: Cinema and Modernity in 1920s Japan remains the definitive work on the film.

Chicago Reader review:
Teinosuke Kinugasa's mind-boggling silent masterpiece of 1926 was thought to have been lost for 40 years until the director discovered a print in his garden shed. A seaman hires on as a janitor at an insane asylum to free his wife, who's become an inmate after attempting to kill herself and her baby. The film's expressionist style is all the more surprising because Japan had no such tradition to speak of; Kinugasa hadn't even seen The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari when he made this. Yet the rhythmic pulsation of graphic, semiabstract depictions of madness makes the film both startling and mesmerizing.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is an extract

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 263: Sat Sep 23

Manhunter (Mann, 1986): Cinema Museum, 6.35pm


The Celluloid Sorceress proudly presents her first all-day event at the Cinema Museum. All the films are screened from 35mm, all are rare prints and all are cult films. Manhunter is the standout here but there are plenty of excellent movies on offer.
Doors 11am for 11:30am start.
  • 11.30 Innocent Blood (1992, 113 mins, Cert 15)
  • 13.45 Trick or Treat (1986, 98 mins, Cert 18)
  • 16.25 The Last Starfighter (1984, 101 mins, Cert PG)
  • 18.35 Manhunter (1986, 119 mins, Cert 18)
  • 20.55 Razorback (1984, 95 mins, Cert 18)

Time Out review:
Michael Mann hits top form with this splendidly stylish and oppressive thriller adapted from Thomas Harris' Red Dragon. The plot is complex and ingenious: FBI forensics expert Will Graham (William Petersen), blessed (and tormented) by an ability to fathom the workings of the criminal mind through psychic empathy, is brought back from voluntary retirement to track down a serial killer, the 'Tooth Fairy'. Focused on the anxiety and confusion of the hunter rather than his psychotic prey, the film functions both as a disturbing examination of voyeurism, and as an often almost unbearably grim suspenser. Mann creates a terrifying menacing atmosphere without resorting to graphic depiction of the seriously nasty killings: music, designer-expressionist 'Scope photography, and an imaginative use of locations, combine with shots of the aftermath of the massacres to evoke a world nightmarishly perceived by Graham's haunted sensibility. The performances, too, are superior, most memorably Cox's intellectually brilliant and malevolent asylum inmate. One of the most impressive American thrillers of the late '80s.
Geoff Andrew


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 262: Fri Sep 22

Cruising (Friedkin, 1980): Prince Charles Cinema, 9pm


This 35mm presentation is part of a weekend of screenings in the Check The Gate season at the Prince Charles Cinema, a celebration of films presented from film from September 22nd to September 24th. You can find the full programme here.

Chicago Reader review:
William Friedkin clearly set out to make a crushing horror film on the order of The Exorcist, but the people he cast as the demons—New York's gay community—forced him to back down. What's left is the framework for a graphic, brutal, sickening film (1980), without the violent effects that might have made sense (however illegitimate) out of the conception. Like The Exorcist, it alternates five minutes of shock with ten minutes of dull exposition, plenty of time to watch Al Pacino wrestle with his miserably conceived character. Friedkin's technique bears unfortunate parallels to the S and M fantasy—he beats up the audience and some people love him for it. But here the follow-through's pretty weak, trailing off into some artsy ambiguity that damaged the film's commercial chances.
Dave Kehr


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 261: Thu Sep 21

In The Last Days of the City (El Said, 2016): ICA Cinema, 8.15pm


This screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Tamer El Said and actor Khalid Abdalla. The film is on a short run at the ICA until September 28th. Full details here.

AnOther Magazine review:
The walls, alleys and skylines of downtown Cairo, often bathed in the fading light of sunset, dominate this piercingly melancholy yet stirring portrait of the Egyptian capital by its director Tamer El Said. In its eye for rich visual detail, it also captures didactic stickers in elevators and other strictures inscribed in a cityscape noisy with signals. It centres on a filmmaker (played by Khaled Abdalla) who is trying to make a film about the city he loves, even as he’s worn down by the drudgery of everyday life (he’s struggling to find an apartment to rent, and the woman he’s not yet over is leaving town). His artist friends in Baghdad and Beirut share their emotionally complex quandaries on whether or not to emigrate. It’s before the 2011 revolution, and as unrest stirs in the streets against Mubarak’s regime, an air of endings is in the air.
Carmen Gray

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 260: Wed Sep 20

Coogan's Bluff (Siegel, 1968): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.30pm


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

Chicago Reader review:
Don Siegel's hilarious, action-packed study of an Arizona deputy sheriff (Clint Eastwood) set loose in New York City on the trail of an escaped prisoner (Don Stroud). Eastwood's performance as the flawed, headstrong superman has been terribly underrated, but he brings to the part of Coogan a sure knowledge of the man's obvious strengths and not so obvious failings. With able support from Lee J. Cobb, as the suffering detective whose rules Coogan can't avoid, and the golden Siegel touch, this adds up to an exciting variation on the lone-wolf genre.
Don Druker


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 259: Tue Sep 19

My Journey Through French Cinema (Tavernier, 2016): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 7pm


This film is being screened on an extended run at BFI Southbank (full details here) with the event on September 15th featuring a Q&A with Bernard Tavernier. Information here.

Chicago Reader review:
Veteran director Bertrand Tavernier (Life and Nothing But, It All Starts Today) presents a personal, epic history of the French cinema, just as Martin Scorsese did with Italian cinema in My Voyage to Italy (1999) and U.S. cinema in A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies (1995). Even at 200 minutes this is a pretty narrow journey, focusing almost exclusively on classical French cinema of the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, but as with Scorsese, the reminiscences can flower into precise and passionate criticism. The great masters roll by—Jacques Becker, Jean Renoir, Marcel Carné, Jean-Pierre Melville, who mentored Tavernier—but more distinctive and revealing are the fannish tributes to tough guys Jean Gabin and Eddie Constantine, innovative composers Maurice Jaubert and Joseph Kosma, and forgotten auteurs Edmond T. Gréville (Menaces) and Pierre Schoendoerffer (The 317th Platoon).
JR Jones


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 258: Mon Sep 18

Klute (Pakula, 1971): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.15pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Alan J Pakula Paranoia Trilogy at the Prince Charles Cinema. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader:
As close to a classic as anything New Hollywood produced, Alan Pakula's 1971 film tells of a small-town detective who comes to New York in search of a friend's killer. The trail leads to a tough-minded hooker who can't understand the cop's determination. Donald Sutherland works small and subtly, balancing Jane Fonda's flashy virtuoso technique.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 257: Sun Sep 17

A Nos Amours (Pialat, 1983): Rio Cinema, 1.45pm


This 35mm  screening, which is being shown as part of the upcoming Maurice Pialat retrospective “I Don’t Like You Either” on MUBI, will be followed by a panel discussion including David Jenkins, editor of Little White Lies, and Adam Roberts, founder of the À Nos Amours filmmakers collective.

If you've seen the film before you might want to read critic Nick Pinkerton's take on this troubling movie here from the Reverse Shot website here.

Chicago Reader review:
A 15-year-old French girl (Sandrine Bonnaire, extraordinary) finds refuge from her troubled family in a series of casual sexual encounters. The subject invites a certain social-worker condescension (it's the stuff of TV movies), yet Maurice Pialat's mise-en-scene allows us no comforting distance from the characters. His ragged long takes plunge us straight into the action and hold us there, as if we, too, were combatants in this family war. His unorthodox dramatic construction rejects the symmetry of classical plotting, and the narrative has a quirky, self-propelling quality that allows for some astonishing things to happen. Pialat himself plays the father, whose disappearance sets the action in motion and whose reappearance makes it explode.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 257: Sat Sep 16

Misery (Reiner, 1990): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.20pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Stephen King season at BFI Southbank and you can find the details of the season here. Tonight's film will also be shown on September 25th when the movie will be introduced by Anna Bogutskaya, the BFI events programmer.

Chicago Reader review:
A skillfully pared-down (if psychologically thin) horror thriller (1990), adapted by William Goldman from a Stephen King novel and crisply directed by Rob Reiner. A best-selling novelist (James Caan), who's recently killed off his beloved romantic heroine in order to do more personal writing, gets caught in a blizzard, suffers a nearly fatal car accident, and is saved by a fanatic admirer (Kathy Bates) who holds him captive in her isolated house. The setup recalls Martin Scorsese's The King of Comedy, though the fan has no aspirations for stardom and the macabre elements milk a certain snobbery and complacent misogyny. Fortunately, the situation is made more complex by the novelist being a rather supercilious creep and by Bates's remarkably nuanced (and deservedly Oscar-winning) performance, which gives her character considerable density and humanity in spite of her monstrous aspects. The economy of both script and direction is admirable—there's no wasted motion in sight—though the film's anthology of genre cliches ultimately undermines Bates's heroic efforts to make it something more. With Richard Farnsworth, Frances Sternhagen, and Lauren Bacall.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 256: Fri Sep 15

The Enigma of Kasper Hauser (Herzog, 1974): Close-Up Cinema, 7.30pm


This haunting film is part of the Werner Herzog season at Close-Up cinema in September. You can find all the details of the season here.

Time Out review:
Where others see freakshows, Werner Herzog finds poetry and wonder. These days, the German’s best films are documentaries. Earlier in his career, he made dramas with all the immediacy and sense of exploration of his later, now more familiar non-fiction. Based on true events, 1974’s ‘The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser’ begins with the old idea of the wise fool and takes it somewhere more mysterious and moving. Herzog cast wide-eyed, childlike Bruno S, a troubled street musician, as Hauser, a young man who appeared in the town square of Nuremberg in 1828 unable to speak and clutching a mysterious letter containing his name. After learning to talk, Kaspar told of being raised in a tiny cellar by an unknown captor. Herzog asks more questions about the people whom Kaspar encounters than he answers about Kaspar himself, although he’s far from an academic creation. His experiences over the few years we spend with him – as polite German society variously treats him as a freak, an experiment and worthy of care and respect – are full of sadness and intrigue. The conflict between logic and the unknowable is as fascinating and exciting for us as it clearly is for Herzog.
Dave Calhoun

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 255: Thu Sep 14

The Dark Half (Romero, 1993): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.10pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Stephen King season at BFI Southbank and you can find the details of the season here. Tonight's presentation is introduced by season curator Michael Blyth.

Time Out review:
Proof that not all films derived from Stephen King's books need be intellectually banal and cinematically dull. Romero's movie centres on Thad Beaumont (Timothy Hutton), a small-town author and creative-writing tutor, who, threatened with exposure, decides to kill off his literary doppelgänger, crime novelist George Stark. Soon afterwards, Thad's friends and colleagues start meeting violent deaths, apparently at the hands of the late Stark. Thad's wife Liz (Amy Madigan) is frightened for the children, but although the local lawman (Michael Rooker) is sympathetic, he refuses to believe that Thad's fictional alter ego is the razor wielding culprit. It's a strong conceit, but precisely how it's linked to a feather-brained subplot about the black-outs and aural hallucinations Thad suffered as a child remains obscure. This one-paced psychological horror movie delivers its share of visual shocks, but relies mainly on a controlled build-up of tension.
Nigel Floyd


Here (and above) is the trailer.