Sunday, 26 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 78: Sun Mar 19

Millennium Mambo (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 2001): Barbican Cinema, 6pm

This 35mm screening is part of the Chronic Youth Film Festival at the Barbican Cinema. You can find all the details here.

Time Out review:
Vicky (Shu) came to Taipei as a teenager and lurched into an affair with the ultra-possessive Hao-Hao (Duan), who lived for DJ-ing but thought it would be uncool to play records for a living. She decided she'd leave him when her savings ran out but in the meantime gravitated into the orbit (not the bed) of small-time gangster Jack (Kao), who treated her like a best friend. But when she finally moved into Jack's place, he had a sudden money crisis and disappeared somewhere in Japan. This differs from Hou's earlier accounts of women around male riff-raff (Daughter of the Nile, the present-day parts of Good Men, Good Women) in two striking ways. First, it looks back at the present from a point ten years in the future, rendering it strange and distant. Second, Vicky is seen not as a marginalised onlooker but as a young woman coming into bloom, learning by experience how to build her own identity. The film is a virtual portrait of Shu Qi, in much the way that Godard once made films as pretexts for capturing the moods of Anna Karina. Extremely beautiful, as hypnotic as its trance-techno soundtrack, and (like Flowers of Shanghai) very, very druggy.
Tony Rayns

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 77: Sat Mar 18

Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958): Curzon Soho, 3pm

This screening is part of the '10th Anniversary Fashion in Film Festival'. You can find full details of the Fashion In Film Festival here.

Here is all you need to know about this extraordinary film and more on the Cinephilia & Beyond website.  

Chicago Reader review:
'One of the landmarks—not merely of the movies, but of 20th-century art. Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 film extends the theme of Rear Window—the relationship of creator and creation—into the realm of love and sexuality, focusing on an isolated, inspired romantic (James Stewart) who pursues the spirit of a woman (the powerfully carnal Kim Novak). The film's dynamics of chase, capture, and escape parallel the artist's struggle with his work; the enraptured gaze of the Stewart character before the phantom he has created parallels the spectator's position in front of the movie screen. The famous motif of the fall is presented in horizontal rather than vertical space, so that it becomes not a satanic fall from grace, but a modernist fall into the image, into the artwork—a total absorption of the creator by his creation, which in the end is shown as synonymous with death. But a thematic analysis can only scratch the surface of this extraordinarily dense and commanding film, perhaps the most intensely personal movie to emerge from the Hollywood cinema.'
Dave Kehr 

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 76: Fri Mar 17

In the Mood for Love (Kar-wai, 2000): Curzon Soho, 6pm

This film is part of the '10th Anniversary Fashion in Film Festival'. You can find full details of the Fashion In Film Festival here.

Chicago Reader review:
A brooding chamber piece (2000) about a love affair that never quite happens. Director Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong’s most romantic filmmaker, is known for his excesses, and in that sense the film’s spareness represents a bold departure. Claustrophobically set in adjacent flats in 1962 Hong Kong, where two young couples find themselves sharing space with other people, it focuses on a newspaper editor and a secretary at an export firm (Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung, the sexiest duo in Hong Kong cinema) who discover that their respective spouses are having an affair on the road. Wong, who improvises his films with the actors, endlessly repeats his musical motifs and variations on a handful of images, rituals, and short scenes (rainstorms, cab rides, stairways, tender and tentative hand gestures), while dressing Cheung in some of the most confining (though lovely) dresses imaginable, whose mandarin collars suggest neck braces.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) are extracts from the film and the soundtrack.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 75: Thu Mar 16

The Doom Generation (Araki, 1995): Barbican Cinema, 8.45pm

This 35mm screening is part of the 'What Movies Do To Us' season at the Barbican Cinema. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
More in-your-face aggression from American independent Gregg Araki (The Living End)—a road movie, a romantic triangle (James Duval, Rose McGowan, and Johnathon Schaech playing three goof-offs on the run), and loads of stylized violence (1995). Describing itself in the opening credits as “a heterosexual movie”—mainly because the three lead characters at least profess to be straight, unlike those in Araki's preceding features—this is still very much about homoerotic desire, often given a hysterical edge by the pop expressionism of Araki's visual style. Striking to look at, though often offensively opportunistic, this mainly comes across as a throwaway shocker with energy to spare. There's not much thought in evidence though.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 74: Wed Mar 15

Things To Come (Menzies, 1936): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm

This 35mm screening is part of the excellent '10th Anniversary Fashion in Film Festival'. You can find the full details here. The movie is introduced by Sir Christopher Frayling, the author of the BFI Film Classics volume on the film.

Time Out review:
HG Wells thought Metropolis to be 'quite the silliest film', but a decade later Alexander Korda gave him enormous creative freedom to write a movie version of The Shape of Things to Come, which turned out to be just as silly. However, like Metropolis, it isn't just silly. It is a spectacular production wherein Wells takes his 'science versus art' preoccupations into the future (as seen from the '30s); and to make it work, only lacks the kind of pure cinematic form which a Powell/Pressburger would have given it, for its scale and love of 'ideas' pre-figure their films and make it just as unique in British cinema history. In the realm of 'prophetic science fiction', it is a genre landmark.
Chris Wicking

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 73: Tue Mar 14

Personal Shopper (Assayas, 2016): Curzon Soho, 6.20pm

This film, one of the highlights of last year's London Film Festival, gets a special screening at Curzon Soho followed by a Q&A with director Olivier Assayas.

Time Out review:
Amid all the shifting mirrored surfaces and hazy ambiguities of Olivier Assayas's bewitching, brazenly unconventional ghost story, this much can be said with certainty: Kristen Stewart has become one hell of an actress. The former 'Twilight' star was easily the standout feature of Assayas's last film, the slightly stilted study of actors 'Clouds of Sils Maria', quietly yanking the rug from under the feet of Juliette Binoche. Here, Stewart doesn't need to steal the film from anyone: she's in virtually every crisp frame of it, holding the camera's woozy gaze with her own quizzical, secretive stare and knotted body language. Her performance is a galvanising human influence on the film, even as her character, introverted American-in-Paris Maureen, seems forever on the verge of voluntary evaporation. An haute couture clothes buyer and general dogsbody to an insufferable A-list celebrity – shades of 'Sils Maria', then, though Assayas is on a very different thematic path this time – practising medium Maureen is haunted, in all senses, by the recent death of her twin brother. Stalking his former abode at night seeking a final communication, she encounters a spirit or two – but whose? And are they following her, or are the insidiously instructive, anonymous texts that start invading her phone from another amorphous entity? As Maureen's already fragile composure begins to fray, it's hard to tell if she's plagued more by absence or uncanny presence: even her boss is barely visible to her, leaving a trail of curt notes and messages in her wake. Among the many things that appear to be on Assayas's mind is the disembodied – and disembodying – nature of modern-day communication and social media, which makes ghosts of us all to those with whom we text far more than we talk. Perhaps no film has ever made the mobile phone quite such an instrument of tension: the on-screen iPhone ellipsis of an incoming message takes on a breath-halting urgency here. For the preservation of enjoyment, no more should be revealed about the film's gliding, glassy sashay through multiple, splintered genres and levels of consciousness – except to say that Assayas, working in the high-concept, game-playing vein of his 'Irma Vep' and 'demonlover', is in shivery control of it all. And he's found an impeccably attuned muse in Stewart, who wears the film's curiosity with the same casually challenging stride that she does – in a key scene of sensual self-realisation – a jaw-dropping silk-organza bondage gown.
Guy Lodge

Monday, 20 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 72: Mon Mar 13

The Conversation (Coppola, 1974): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.20pm

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

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.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 71: Sun Mar 12

Lola Montes (Ophuls, 1955): Genesis Cinema, 6pm

This film, a masterpiece by any standards, is part of the '10th Anniversary Fashion in Film Festival'. You can find full details of the Fashion In Film Festival here. This screening will be introduced by the artist and curator Cathy Haynes.

Chicago Reader review:
A baroque masterpiece by Max Ophuls, his last film (1955) and his only work in color and wide-screen. The producers were expecting a routine melodrama with Martine Carol (a bland French star of the period); when they saw what Ophuls had made—with its exquisite stylization, elaborate flashbacks, and infinite subtlety—they cut it to ribbons. The film was restored in the 60s and impressed some critics, including Andrew Sarris, as "the greatest film ever made," and certainly this story of a courtesan's life is among the most emotionally plangent, visually ravishing works the cinema has to offer. With Peter Ustinov, Anton Walbrook, Ivan Desny, and Oskar Werner.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 70: Sat Mar 11

Opening Night (Cassavetes, 1977): Curzon Soho, 8.30pm

This 35mm screening is part of the '10th Anniversary Fashion in Film Festival'. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
For all of John Cassavetes's concern with acting, this 1977 film is the only one of his features that takes it on as a subject; it also boasts his most impressive cast. During the New Haven tryouts for a new play, an aging star (Gena Rowlands), already distressed that she's playing a woman older than herself, is traumatized further by the accidental death of an adoring teenage fan (Laura Johnson). Fantasizing the continued existence of this girl as a younger version of herself, she repeatedly changes her lines onstage and addresses the audience directly, while the other members of the company—the director (Ben Gazzara), playwright (Joan Blondell), costar (Cassavetes), and producer (Paul Stewart)—try to help end her distress. Juggling onstage and offstage action, Cassavetes makes this a fascinating look at some of the internal mechanisms and conflicts that create theatrical fiction, and his wonderful cast—which also includes Zohra Lampert as the director's wife, assorted Cassavetes regulars, and cameos by Peter Falk and Peter Bogdanovich as themselves—never lets him down.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is a trailer.
s event is part of the 10th Anniversary Fashion in Film Festival, ‘Wearing Time: Past, Present, Future, Dream’. - See more at:
This event is part of the 10th Anniversary Fashion in Film Festival, ‘Wearing Time: Past, Present, Future, Dream’. - See more at:

Friday, 17 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 69: Fri Mar 10

The Love Witch (Biller, 2016): Rio Cinema, 11.30pm

Chicago Reader review:
This spellbinding ode to exploitation films of the 1960s and '70s is impressive not only for its mock-Technicolor hues and period mise-en-scène but also for what lies beneath: a creepy and cunning examination of female fantasy. A widowed witch (Samantha Robinson), heartbroken by the neglect of her late husband, moves to a small town and seduces a string of men with love potions as a way to feel adored. Director Anna Biller—who also wrote, produced, and edited the film, and created by hand many of its vivid costumes and set decorations—embraces the melodrama and vampy camp of ’60s horror while also considering the easy conflation of love, desire, and narcissism. Robert Frost once wrote that “love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired,” and Biller’s witch, both liberated in exploiting her sexuality and repressed by her white-knight fantasies, embodies the idea.
Leah Pickett

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 68: Thu Mar 9

Celine and Julie Go Boating (Rivette, 1974): Picturehouse Central, 6pm

A personal favourite. This is a long movie and I took a hip flask in when I went to see this on a date at Notting Hill's Electric Cinema back in the day. That worked wonderfully as this is a meandering film, probably best seen under some sort of influence.

Chicago Reader review:
Jacques Rivette's 193-minute comic feminist extravaganza is as scary and unsettling in its narrative high jinks as it is exhilarating in its uninhibited slapstick (1974). Its slow, sensual beginning stages a meeting between a librarian (Dominique Labourier) and a nightclub magician (Juliet Berto). Eventually, a plot within a plot magically takes shape—a somewhat sexist Victorian melodrama with Bulle Ogier, Marie-France Pisier, Barbet Schroeder (the film's producer), and a little girl—as each character, on successive days, visits an old dark house and the same events take place. The elaborate Hitchcockian doublings are so beautifully worked out that this movie steadily grows in resonance and power. The four main actresses scripted their own dialogue with Eduardo de Gregorio and Rivette, and the film derives many of its euphoric effects from a wholesale ransacking of the cinema of pleasure (cartoons, musicals, thrillers, and serials).
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 67: Wed Mar 8

Beginning of An Unknown Century (Shepitko/Smirnov, 1967):
Regent Street Cinema, 7pm

This two-part omnibus film was commissioned to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Revolution. Deemed too dark by Brezhnev’s censors, the film was immediately shelved, and first shown only 20 years later in 1987.

This evening is part of Kino Klassika's 'World to Win' season. Bringing together provocative films by directors such as Sergei Eisenstein, Mikhail Kalatozov, Larisa Shepitko and Andrei Smirnov, Jean-Luc Godard, Gauber Rocha, Andrzej Wajda, Bernardo Bertolucci and Ken Loach, the season offers a touring programme to reach audiences across the UK and includes tonight's presentation, the  once-banned Soviet film commissioned to commemorate the 50th anniversary of 1917, Larisa Shepitko and Andrei Smirnov’s Beginning of an Unknown Century on March 8, International Womens Day. You can read the full details here.

Regent Street Cinema introduction:
Andrei Smirnov’s episode, Angel, is a story of everyday heroism and brutality during the Civil War years of the 1920s. It follows a group of refugees fleeing the conflict, whose train is derailed and captured by bandits. In Larisa Shepitko’s Homeland of Electricity a young mechanic is sent to a famine-stricken village in order to bring electricity to the people. The striking black-and-white visuals of the film are frequently compared to the works of Aleksandr Dovzhenko, Shepitko’s master.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 66: Tue Mar 7

Casque d'Or (Becker, 1952): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.20pm

This film is part of the Jacques Becker season at BFI Southbank. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
A radiant Simone Signoret dominates Jacques Becker's 1952 film, which is based on a Paris underworld incident of 1898 that is, in some ways, the French parallel to the legend of Frankie and Johnny. Becker emphasized atmospherics at the expense of psychology, which outraged the literary critics of the time and impressed the young Turks who later made up the New Wave. A turning point for French cinema, although it must be understood in context.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 65: Mon Mar 6

The Truman Show (Weir 1998): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.25pm

This is a 35mm screening and part of the Cinematic Jukebox Season at the Prince Charles.

Time Out review:
Truman Burbank is beginning to wise up. People seem to listen to him, but they never really connect; he feels trapped in a job he doesn't care about, a marriage he doesn't believe in, and a small island community he's never been able to leave. It's as if his life has been pre-programmed from the start: as indeed it has, for Truman is the unwitting subject of television's most audacious experiment, a real-life soap following one man from birth to death. When Truman (Carrey) appeals to a higher power, he's actually addressing the show's omniscient creator/director, Christof (Harris). The best comedy since Groundhog Day - better, even, than that - this is more than just a savvy and ingenious satire on media saturation, it's a moving metaphysical fable. One movie you can pronounce a modern classic with absolute confidence.
Tom Charity

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 64: Sun Mar 5

The Battle of Algiers (Pontecorvo, 1966): Cine Lumiere, 2pm

For its 50th anniversary The Battle of Algiers comes out in a restored print shown for the first time in the UK. A film subsidised by the Algerian government, it follows the country’s fight for independence from colonial France, reconstructing the main political events that took place in Algiers between 1954 and 1957. Preceded by an introduction with the film director’s son, Marco Pontecorvo. As part of the Cinema Made in Italy season.

Chicago Reader review:
Gillo Pontecorvo's searing documentary-style retelling (1965) of the tough, grinding, and ultimately tragic effort of the FLN to liberate Algeria. Pontecorvo has nearly accomplished the impossible: to make an epic film that convinces the viewer he is watching the real thing. Although the director's sympathies (with the rebels) are never in doubt, the film is tough-minded and fair; the cast (nonprofessional with the exception of Jean Martin as the paratroop colonel) is superb; the editing and the overall production are deft but not slick—in sum, a knockout.
Don Druker

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 63: Sat Mar 4

River of Grass (Reichardt, 1994): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 2.30pm

A chance to see a rare screening of Kelly Reichardt's first film, plus a Q&A with the director. Here are the details of the season devoted to her work, including her new movie Certain Women.

Chicago Reader review:
A canny, contemporary portrait of shiftlessness, this adept first feature (1993) by American independent Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy), set in the Florida Everglades, is about people so bored they jump at the chance to go on the lam—taking off even before they've committed a crime. Reichardt has an original sense of how to put together a film sequence and an effective way of guiding her cast of unknowns through an absurdist comedy of errors.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 62: Fri Mar 3

Certain Women (Reichardt, 2016): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6pm

There are still tickets left for this screening of one of the most anticipated movies of the year, plus Q&A with director Kelly Reichardt.

BFI Southbank introduction:
This London Film Festival Best Film-winner is an impeccably quiet study of three very different Montana-based women. Laura Dern’s lawyer is conducting a surreptitious lunchtime affair with a married man. Michelle Williams is Gina, a woman of frustrated ambitions trying to build a ‘perfect’ family home with her husband and surly child. Native American actress Lily Gladstone plays lonely ranch-hand Jamie, who enrols in night school and develops feelings for supply teacher Beth (Kristen Stewart). The whole cast shines, particularly Gladstone – sublime as the near-silent young woman struggling to articulate the nature of her interest in Beth. Reichardt’s delicate direction ensures that the minutest look or gesture gains epic significance, and the only moment in the film to employ scored music might just break your heart.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 61: Thu Mar 2

Wendy and Lucy (Reichardt, 2008): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.40pm

This is part of a season of director Kelly Reichardt films at BFI Southbank. The director will be in attendance for the March 4th screening (details here).

Chicago Reader review:
Kelly Reichardt's masterful low-budget drama tells a story a child could understand even as it indicts, with stinging anger, the economic cruelty of George Bush's America. Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain) is impressively restrained as Wendy, a young homeless woman who's living in her car with her beloved mutt, Lucy. After the car breaks down in an Oregon hick town, she makes the mistake of tying Lucy up outside a grocery store before going in to shoplift, and when she gets busted and taken to the local police station, the dog disappears. Reichardt (Old Joy) and co-writer Jonathan Raymond began working on the story after hearing conservative commentators bash the poor in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and their movie is a stark reminder of how easily someone like Wendy can fall through our frayed safety net. The climax is a heartbreaker, and in its haunting finale the movie recalls no less than Mervyn LeRoy's Depression-era classic I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang.

JR Jones
Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 60: Wed Mar 1

Weekend (Godard, 1969): Regent Street Cinema, 8.15pm

Don't miss this 35mm presentation of the Jean-Luc Godard classic. This screening is part of the Kino Klassika Foundation’s A World to Win programme.

Here is the Kino Klassika introduction to the season:
Marx proclaimed that throwing off its chains, the proletariat had a world to win. Kino Klassika will host a season of screenings, talks and events with Regent Street Cinema to mark the centenary of the October Revolution. The season opens with Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin on February 17th, the iconic film the revolution inspired, and goes on to examine a century of revolution on film. Bringing together provocative films by directors such as Eisenstein, Kalatozov, Shepitko and Smirnov,  Godard, Rocha, Wajda, Bertolucci and Loach, the season offers a touring programme to reach audiences across the UK. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Jean-Luc Godard's 1967 imagining of the twilight of the Western world, in which bourgeois society is stalled in an endless traffic jam, revolutionaries pass their time slaughtering pigs, and Mozart is played in open fields while the camera tracks in elegant circles. It's funny and grating, seductive and repulsive, by the usual Godardian turns: the paradoxes he loves to spin are emotional as well as intellectual. Though the film teeters on the brink of an icy Maoism, it never takes the plunge.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the original trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 59: Tue Feb 28

Once Upon A Time in the West (Leone, 1969): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 5.30pm

This 35mm screening is part of the Big Screen Classic season at BFI Southbank and is also being shown (in NFT1) on February 25th. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Sergio Leone, famous for his spaghetti westerns shot in Spain, dared to invade John Ford's own Monument Valley for this 1969 epic. He brought back a masterpiece, a film that expands his baroque, cartoonish style into genuine grandeur, weaving dozens of thematic variations and narrative arabesques around a classical western foundation myth. It's very much a foreigner's film, drawing its elements not from historical reality but from the mythic base made universal by the movies. Moments of intense realism flow into passages of operatic extravagance; lowbrow burlesque exists side by side with the expression of the most refined shades of feeling. The film failed commercially and was savagely recut by its distributor, Paramount Pictures; copies from the European version may be as close as we'll ever get to the original. With Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale, and Jason Robards; Bernardo Bertolucci contributed to the script.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 58: Mon Feb 27

Gloria (Cassavettes, 1980): Picturehouse Central, 6.45pm

Showing from a glorious 35mm print, this film is part of the Kicking Ass: Middle Aged Women On Screen season.

Chicago Reader review:
John Cassavetes clearly set out to make a commercial film, but, intransigent personality that he was, he turned in a slice of pure avant-garde: this 1980 release makes use of a fascinating discrepancy between dramatic tone and visual style. It's written as a soggy, conventional melodrama, about an ex-gun moll (Gena Rowlands) who tries to protect an orphaned Puerto Rican boy from the mob, but it's directed in Cassavetes's usual style of deflated naturalism. While the script pitches a series of wildly improbable events, the direction remains disruptively attuned to the dark, arrhythmic poetry of anticlimax. Heightened emotion and nagging banal reality fight each other for screen space, doing final battle in a daringly ambiguous ending. With John Adames, Buck Henry, and Julie Carmen.
Jonathan Rosenbaum 

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 57: Sun Feb 26

Day for Night (Truffaut, 1973): Cine Lumiere, 2pm

This screening, from a rare 35mm print, is part of the Sunday French Classics season at Cine Lumiere. You can find full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
If we’re to learn anything from François Truffaut’s delicately cynical, New Hollywood-style satire from 1973 on the joys and pains of movie making (re-released in conjunction with the BFI’s current Truffaut season), it’s that we must view directors as social and professional chameleons. They must tap in to the emotions of their cast and exploit real suffering for the good of their camera. They must stand their ground with money men, sometimes employing visual trickery and snap decisions to preserve their integrity. Most of all, they must suppress the cosmic fury that comes when a leading lady arrives on set drunk or a trained kitten refuses to hit a mark. It’s a hilarious and informative movie, and in the pantheon of films about filmmaking, it strikes a neat balance between the operatic neuroses of ‘8 1/2’ and the warm, pastel-hued nostalgia of ‘Singin’ in the Rain’. Also of interest – and a devious nod back to his ’60s heyday – is the manner in which Truffaut captures these behind-the-scenes shenanigans, employing gliding crane shots and flashes of abrupt editing to make us fully aware of the majestically artificial way the world is depicted by filmmakers. Truffaut stars as indefatigable director Ferrand, shooting a fusty melodrama called ‘Meet Pamela’ and wearing the same sports jacket, shirt and tie combo as he would in ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’. He delivers the same coolly detached performance too, though it works a lot better in this context. The fact that his childish lead (Jean-Pierre Léaud, of course) is too often in a strop to concentrate on the part, or that his star (Jacqueline Bisset) is a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown are accepted as part and parcel of the business. But as Ferrand makes sure he’s seen in possession of a stack of serious film tomes and has nightmares about being trapped outside a cinema showing ‘Citizen Kane’, the point is that even if the end result is a piece of trash, a director always strives to be an artist.
David Jenkins

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 56: Sat Feb 25

The Turin Horse (Tarr, 2011): Barbican Cinema, 2pm

This film is being shown as part of the 'The Craft of Film' season at Barbican Cinema, and features a Q&A with the movie's cinematographer Fred Kelemen.

Chicago Reader review:
Since Damnation (1988), the films of Hungarian master Bela Tarr have been set in a muddy, windswept limbo where people lead meager lives against the backdrop of an encroaching darkness. His latest (and reportedly final) work pares down that world to its essence: an old man and his daughter go through their daily routines—fetching water from their well, dressing, eating potatoes, trying to feed a horse—at a decrepit, isolated cottage. Through Tarr's meticulous vision, these ordinary hardships take on cosmic weight; this is tedium vividly rendered. Displaying little of the director's trademark dark humor, this isn't for every taste, but the superb sense of atmosphere and Fred Kelemen's gorgeous black-and-white camerawork make for an intense and occasionally riveting experience. Tarr's wife and editor, Ágnes Hranitzky, codirected.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 55: Fri Feb 24

The Chase (Ripley, 1946): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.20pm

This 35mm screening is part of the 'Martin Scorsese Curates' season at BFI Southbank. The movie is also being shown at the cinema on February 27th. Full details here.

BFI introduction:
Behind a bland generic title lurks a truly unsettling film noir. It starts straightforwardly enough, as a demobbed GI lands a job driving for a sociopathic crook, but then he rather unwisely falls for the crook’s downtrodden wife, and soon we’re tracing an elusive Moebius-strip narrative into nightmare territory. It’s like a David Lynch mystery ahead of its time.

Here (and above) is the opening.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 54: Thu Feb 23

Dogtooth (Lanthimos, 2009): Barbican Cinema, 6.15pm

This film is being shown as part of the 'The Craft of Film' season at Barbican Cinema, and features a Q&A with the movie's editor Yorgos Mavropsaridis.

Chicago Reader review:
I've seen movies this weird before, but never from Greece. Inside the confines of a nicely appointed country home, a stern patriarch and his obedient wife keep their teenage son and two teenage daughters cloistered from the world and zanily miseducated. Tape-recorded vocabulary lessons teach them new words with absurdly inaccurate definitions, an LP of Frank Sinatra singing "Fly Me to the Moon" is presented to them as their grandfather's voice, and a female security guard from the father's workplace is periodically brought home to copulate with the blank-faced young man. Writer-director Yorgos Lanthimos walks a fine line between the sinister and the hilarious, though the confused siblings (Aggeliki Papoulia, Mary Tsoni, and Hristos Passalis) are never less than poignant. This 2009 comedy is one you won't forget, though probably not for lack of trying.
JR Jones

Here (and above) is the trailer.