Monday, 31 July 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 225: Tue Aug 15

Love Streams (Cassavetes, 1984): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.40pm


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

Chicago Reader review:
John Cassavetes's career of risk taking comes to a climax in this rich, original, emotionally magnificent 1984 film about a brother who is unable to love (Cassavetes) and a sister who loves too much (Gena Rowlands). For half its length the film follows their separate experiences—he as a celebrated novelist living a life of desperate dissolution in Los Angeles; she as a wife and mother undergoing a painful divorce in Chicago—and then brings them together for a rocky reunion. At the climax they trade roles, and each is alone again in a new way. Cassavetes follows his vision to the limit, a course that takes him through extravagance, indulgence, and hysteria—yet for all of his apparent disdain for classical construction, there isn't a moment in the film that doesn't find its place in a grand design. With Seymour Cassel and Diahnne Abbott.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 224: Mon Aug 14

The Return of the Pink Panther (Edwards, 1975): Regent Street Cinema, 7.30pm


This film is part of the Nick Broomfield Presents season at Regent Street Cinema. You can find the full details of the season here.

Chicago Reader review:
A triumphant 1974 return of Peter Sellers as the exquisitely inept Inspector Clouseau. The razor-sharp direction is by Blake Edwards, whose instinct for the amusing aspects of life's gruesome interludes makes this innocent looking comedy-mystery a study of survival-with-style in the face of almost certain disaster. With Christopher Plummer and Herbert Lom.
JR Jones

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 223: Sun Aug 13

Out Of the Past (Tourneur, 1947): Rio Cinema, 3.45pm


This 35mm screening is part of Remembering Robert Mitchum' day at Rio Cinema. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
The most delicate and nuanced of film noirs (1947), graced with a reflective lyricism that almost lifts it out of the genre. Robert Mitchum, a former private eye, has taken refuge from life as the owner of a small-town gas station. A gangster (Kirk Douglas) presses him back into service to search for his wandering mistress (Jane Greer). This is no expressionist thunderstorm of guilt and fate, but a film of small, finely textured effects, centered on subtle grades of morality. The cool, feathery photography is by Nicholas Musuraca; the director is Jacques Tourneur. With Rhonda Fleming, Steve Brodie, and Richard Webb.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 222: Sat Aug 12

Le Doulos (Melville, 1962): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 4, 6.20 & 8.45pm


This 4K restoration of the Jean-Pierre Melville film, part of the director's season at BFI Southbank, is on an extended run at the cinema. You can find all the details of the screening here.

Chicago Reader review:
Jean-Pierre Melville's existentialized gangster films are one of the glories of the French cinema, American forms played out with European self-consciousness. This 1962 effort stars Jean-Paul Belmondo as an informer on the lam, but plot pales before Melville's detailed noir imagery of dingy hotel rooms, back alleys, and subterranean passages. Melville's love for American films (he was a man of taste as well as talent) was one of the most profound influences on the New Wave generation.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 221: Fri Aug 11

1991: The Year Punk Broke (Markey, 1992): Rio Cinema, 10.30pm


This is the second in a regular series of NTS Radio & Rio Cinema screenings, a special presentation of the 1992 music documentary '1991: The Year Punk Broke'.

The documentary follows Sonic Youth around their legendary 1991 European tour and its screening at the Rio will mark 25 years since its theatrical debut. The show will be accompanied by never-before-seen footage of Sonic Youth and Nirvana, kindly provided by the film's director Dave Markey.

Skinny Girl Diet will perform a live set before the film starts, with NTS hosts Black Impulse DJing in the Rio's foyer after the film. Doors from 10.30pm BST. Skinny Girl Diet play at 23.15. DJ's till late.


AV Club review:
Sometimes it takes a little serendipity for a rock documentary to become something special. While the filmmakers behind classics such as Don’t Look Back, Woodstock, and Gimme Shelter deserve credit for choosing their subjects wisely, they couldn’t have predicted their excellent timing. The same can be said of Dave Markey’s 1991: The Year That Punk Broke, an occasionally amateurish, frequently riveting film about Sonic Youth’s tour of European rock festivals in August 1991. As the band’s Thurston Mooreadmits during a panel discussion included in the extras for the film’s new DVD edition, 1991 was essentially a “home movie” shot on Super 8, and not intended to become an actual motion picture. It was only after one of Sonic Youth’s supporting acts—a scruffy, largely unheralded Seattle trio named Nirvana—became a sensation within weeks of playing those shows that Markey’s ragtag collection of performance footage and backstage goofiness suddenly became bankable.
Not that Markey rushed to cash in on Nirvana-mania. He didn’t even want to include an early performance of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” reasoning that nobody would want to hear a song that was still all over the radio when the film was released in 1992. Fortunately, he decided otherwise—the live clip is both fantastically explosive and historically valuable—but 1991 stubbornly keeps the focus on Sonic Youth, the tour’s unquestioned star and a vital pillar of the oncoming alt-rock empire about to take over pop culture. While future stars like Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl, and Courtney Love lurk in the background of 1991—and bands like Dinosaur, Jr., Babes In Toyland, and the Ramones contribute gloriously unruly performances—the spotlight never leaves Sonic Youth for long.
Steven Hyden

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 220: Thu Aug 10

Dancer in The Dark (Von Trier, 2000): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.40pm


This film is part of the Cinematic Jukebox season at the Prince Charles. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Disgusting yet interesting, Lars von Trier's much heralded musical (2000)—or, more precisely, feature-length music video with interspersed dialogue—deserves to be seen because it's a freakish provocation, not just because it won the Palme d'Or at Cannes. A Czech immigrant working at a factory in rural Washington State in the early 60s (Icelandic pop star Bjork) is going blind and knows her son will too if she can't save enough money for an operation; the story gets even more melodramatic once a murder trial takes over. Reportedly shot with 100 digital video cameras (very few of which manage to find a good angle), the film reprises the sadomasochistic celebration of female suffering in Breaking the Waves, and with it von Trier affirms his solidarity with America's impoverished and downtrodden people (apparently a diversion from his career in Denmark as a porn producer). The musical numbers are a weird blend of rock video and Jacques Demy postmusicals, with lousy songs and choreography and a distance between the music and the action that suggests an amateur remake of Pennies From Heaven. But in spite of everything, Bjork's absolute dedication and submission to the material periodically blew me away. With David Morse, Peter Stormare, and a spectacularly misused Joel Grey.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 219: Wed Aug 9

Le Silence de la Mer (Melville, 1949): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.10pm


This film, which is also being shown on August 16th, is part of the Jean-Pierre Melville season at BFI Southbank. You can find full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Jean-Pierre Melville made this film, his first, in 1948 on a minuscule budget and without securing the rights to the famous resistance novel (by Vercors) it was based on. It's an allegory of French-German relations during the occupation, played out largely in a single sitting room where a German officer (Howard Vernon) bares his soul in endless monologues for his silent, unwilling French "hosts" (Nicole Stephane and Jean-Marie Robain). The minimalism of the material anticipates Bresson, while the theatrical dash of the staging suggests the strong influence of Orson Welles. Though too often abstract and rhetorical, the film is sustained by mood and visual resourcefulness; it's a strong debut for Melville, who went on to become one of the great eccentrics of the French cinema (Bob le Flambeur, Le Samourai).
Dave Kehr


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 218: Tue Aug 8

The Evil Within (Getty, 2017): Regent Street Cinema, 8.40pm


Cigarette Burns introduction:
We’re thrilled to present the English premiere of The Evil Within - Movie, a genuinely shocking and surprising horror film, a piece of outsider art and passion project which was very nearly lost when its writer and director Andrew Getty died during post production. Getty, himself the heir of American oil baron J. Paul Getty, spent 15 years and millions of his own money to tell his twisted and tragic tale of a young man (a tour de force performance by Frederick Koehler) with learning difficulties whose dreams are haunted by a demonic creature (horror genre icon Michael Berryman) ordering him on murderous rampages. Unable to understand or control himself, the bodies pile up and we fall deeper and deeper into the nightmares of the mind. We’ll be joined by the producer and saviour of the film, Michael Luceri, in a Skype Q&A hosted by filmmaker Jörg Tittel (The White King), who has been left permanently scarred by the film. In a good way. He hopes.

Starburst Magazine review:
A title like The Evil Within might make you write off the film as just another DTV supernatural horror, and even an overview of its plot – Danny, a man with learning difficulties living with his brother John, is urged to kill by his reflection in the large antique mirror John brings home one day – sounds almost purposefully generic. However, rest assured it’s something far more special than that. In much the same way that the ropy production values of low budget films can be overlooked when they’re creative enough, in this case enough money has been pumped into it that its journeyman vision is afforded the aesthetics of a major production. Getty throws in all the visual techniques you can think of, but instead of becoming the anarchic mess you would expect, they somehow coalesce into something not exactly coherent, but indisputably compelling. The film does have noticeable faults, such as sub-plots of dubious purpose drifting in and out of the narrative and some stilted dialogue with no purpose other than expository contrivance. It’s a cinematic chimera of pieces hacked apart and stitched together, its inspirations and influences write large across every moment. It’s clear Getty was figuring out his craft as he went, but unlike, say, Ed Wood’s enthusiastic incompetence or Tommy Wiseau’s oblivious narcissism, Getty displays flashes of genuine talent, and we can only try (and probably fail) to imagine what he would have gone on to make.
Andrew Marshall

 

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 217: Mon Aug 7

When You Read This Letter  (Melville, 1953): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.20pm


This 35mm screening, also being shown on August 14th, is part of the Jean-Pierre Melville season at BFI Southbank. You can find full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Sex, religion, and blackmail feed the cauldron of this early thriller (1953) from Jean-Pierre Melville, the French cinema’s preeminent misanthrope. A young novitiate (Juliette Greco) is called home to watch over her younger sister (Irene Galter) after their parents are killed in a car accident, and when the sister is raped by a handsome drifter (Philippe Lemaire), the former nun comes after him packing more than a rosary. The atmosphere is so thick with lust and vengeance that any Catholic reading of the story is impossible; here the Church is just another shadowy institution, where people hide from their own evil.
JR Jones


Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 216: Sun Aug 6

The Getaway (Peckinpah, 1972): Regent Street Cinema, 8.15pm


This excellent Sam Peckinpah film is being screened on a double-bill with Bullitt, also starring Steve McQueen. Details here.

Time Out review:
An evident precursor to The Driver (Walter Hill scripted both, this one from Jim Thompson's novel). The major strength of The Getaway rests solidly on Steve McQueen's central role, a cold tense core of pragmatic violence. Hounded by furies (two mobs, police, a hostile landscape), he responds with a lethal control, blasting his way through shootouts that teeter on madness to the loot, the girl, and Sam Peckinpah's mythic land of Mexico. Survival, purification, and the attainment of grace are achieved only by an extreme commitment to the Peckinpah existential ideal of action - a man is what he does. Peckinpah's own control of the escalating frenzy is masterly; this is one of his coldest films, but a great thriller.
Chris Peachment

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 215: Sat Aug 5

Boudu Saved From Drowning (Renoir, 1932): BFI Southbank, Studio, 3.30pm


This film, part of the Big Screen Classics season at BFI Southbank, is also being shown on August 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Jean Renoir's effortless 1932 masterpiece is as informal, beguiling, and subversive as its eponymous hero, a tramp who is saved from suicide by a Parisian bookseller and ends up taking over his benefactor's home, wife, and mistress. Michel Simon's Boudu is one of the great creations of the cinema: he's not a sentimental, Chaplinesque vagabond, but a smelly, loutish big-city bum; all he's got going for him is his unshakable faith in his perfect personal freedom. The bookseller thinks of himself as a free spirit and a dedicated humanitarian; he wants to be both Boudu's brother and his benefactor, but the tramp resists all of his approaches. He won't be trapped in any roles; like the water of the river from which he comes (and to which he returns), his only duty is to keep moving. Shot largely on location along the quays of Paris, the film features several early experiments with deep focus and nonnaturalistic sound, though its chief stylistic feature is Renoir's incomparable way of gently shifting moods, from the farcical to the lyrical to the tragic and back again.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 214: Fri Aug 4

The Swimmer (Perry, 1968): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.30pm


This film, screening in the Big Screen Classics season at BFI Southbank, is also being shown on August 12th, 18th and 25th. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
The only John Cheever story ever adapted to the big screen, this drama follows the eccentric journey of a suburban New York man who appears at the house of some old friends and resolves to take a dip in each of the backyard swimming pools that lead across the county back to his stately home. It's an unlikely movie property, but this 1968 feature imposes a dramatic shape on the story while preserving Cheever's characteristic sense of suburban rot. Burt Lancaster plays the title character, whose encounters with his upper-class neighbors (among them Kim Hunter and Joan Rivers) grow increasingly weird and disturbing as he approaches a cruel homecoming. A resounding commercial flop, this has since been recognized as a signature 60s film, prescient in its view of American self-deception. Frank Perry directed a screenplay by his wife, Eleanor, though the studio brought in Sydney Pollack for extensive reshoots.
JR Jones

Here (and above) is the original trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 213: Thu Aug 3

The Killing of Sister George (Aldrich, 1968): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.05pm


This 35mm screening (also being shown on August 5th) is part of the Gross Indecency season at BFI Southbank. Here are the full details of the season which runs through July and August.

Time Out review:
Although one can't deny the entertainment value of Robert Aldrich's adaptation of Frank Marcus's play about an ageing lesbian actress whose life falls apart as she loses first her job in a TV soap series and then her young lover, it could never be described as either realistic or sensitive. Rather, with its grotesque stereotyping and tour de force bitchiness and hysteria, it's like yet another instalment in the What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? saga. Cynical, objectionable, and fun, distinguished by Beryl Reid's marvellously energetic performance. 
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the opening of the movie.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 212: Wed Aug 2

The Conversation (Coppola, 1974): Curzon Soho, 6.20pm


Enthusiasms and NoDirectionHome present Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation, with Walter Murch Q&A, hosted by Matt Harlock (director of American: The Bill Hicks Story and founder of NoDirectionHome). Murch is one of the pivotal figures of New Hollywood, working variously as a first sound designer and later as film editor on, among many others, THX 1138, American Graffiti, Apocalypse Now and all three Godfather films. An innovator in sound, he began experimenting with tape recording as a child and, before studying film in the 1960s, worked in radio. His closest collaboration has been with Francis Ford Coppola, from 1969’s The Rain People up to 2009’s Tetro.

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 soundtrack (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 211: Tue Aug 1

Key Largo (Huston, 1948): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.50pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Big Screen Classics season at BFI Southbank. Here are the details of the season. Key Largo is also being screened on August 19th. Details here.

Time Out review:
Reworking of a Maxwell Anderson play about a gangster under threat of deportation who holes up with his henchmen in a semi-derelict hotel on an island off Florida, holding the occupants at gunpoint and remaining blind to the menace posed by a coming hurricane. The debt to The Petrified Forest is obvious, but instead of wallowing in world-weary pseudo-philosophy, Key Largo has altogether sharper things to say about post-war disillusionment, corruption in politics, and the fact that the old freebooting ways of the gangster were about to change into something more sinisterly complex. John Huston skilfully breaks up the action (basically one set and one continuous scene), working subtle variations on his groupings with the aid of superb deep-focus camera-work by Karl Freund. And although the characters are basically stereotypes, they are lent the gift of life by a superlative cast: Edward G Robinson as the truculent Little Caesar, Humphrey Bogart as an embittered ex-Army officer, Lauren Bacall as the innocent who loves him, and above all Claire Trevor as the gangster's disillusioned, drink-sodden moll.
Tom Milne

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 210: Mon Jul 31

Howards End (Ivory, 1992): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 3pm


This 4K restoration is on an extended run at BFI Southbank from July 28th to August 10th. You can find all the details here.

Los Angeles Times review:
Re-released in a sparkling new 4K restoration that dazzled audiences at its Cannes debut, this landmark example of a movie of passion, taste and sensitivity that honestly touches every emotion has not only not dated, it is as moving and relevant as it was the day of its 1992 release.
A major success at the time, “Howards End” received nine Oscar nominations, including best picture, director, cinematographer and acting nominations for Vanessa Redgrave and Emma Thompson, who won along with Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s script and Luciana Arrighi and Ian Whittaker’s art direction and set decoration. Experience was essential in bringing E.M. Forster’s 1910 novel of families in love and in conflict to the screen, and producer Ismail Merchant, director James Ivory and screenwriter Prawer Jhabvala had collaborated with each other for 30 years on films like “Heat and Dust” and “A Room With a View” when they undertook this project. What sets “Howards End” apart is the complex emotional life of its characters. This is a film capable of setting off lasting and heartfelt reverberations below an admittedly exquisite surface: As its Cannes screening demonstrated, every time you see it, it moves you in different ways.
Kenneth Turan
Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 209: Sun Jul 30

Easy Rider (Benning, 2012) & Easy Rider (Hopper, 1969): Close-Up Cinema, 5.30pm


Concluding their two-month On the Road season Close-Up Cinema present Dennis Hopper’s late-sixties classic in a double-bill with American minimalist filmmaker James Benning’s search for the legacy of the countercultural moment.

"I divided the original film into scenes," the director has written, "and then replaced each scene with one shot filmed at the original location. My Easy Rider tries to find today's counterculture (if one exists) by replacing the 60s music with music that I listen to today."
James Benning


Easy Rider (1969) review:
"This now-classic road movie turned the B-movie youthquake into an international art cinema. 
Easy Rider tells the story of Captain America and Billy the Kid as they go looking for America and, as Columbia’s original poster put it, “can’t find it anywhere.” From its legendary compilation score to its echt-60’s lens flares and culminating LSD trip, Easy Rider feels disconcertingly familiar, a model of what Tom Frank calls “the conquest of cool.” As they motor along to their inevitably tragic end, our heroes do drugs, have their rights violated, meet some interestingly allegorical groups of folks, and find themselves enframed by László Kovács’s gorgeous cinematography."
Harvard Film Archive


Here (and above) is the original trailer for the 1969 movie.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 208: Sat Jul 29

Unstoppable (Scott, 2010): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 5.50pm


This 35mm screening (also being shown in NFT1 on July 31st) is part of the Christopher Nolan Presents ... season at BFI Southbank, dedicated to showing movies from prints. You can find all the details about the season here.

Time Out review:
Tony Scott obviously buys into the old Orson Welles adage about cinema being ‘the biggest electric train set a boy ever had’. He follows his ‘Taking of Pelham 1 2 3’ remake with this much better action flick showcasing an even bigger hunk of rolling stock. After a snarl-up at the yard, this half-mile-long freight-hauling baby starts trundling along the rails on its own, gathering momentum through leafy Pennsylvania towards a dangerous curve where its payload of explosive chemicals promise a preview of the apocalypse. On the same tracks, a bunch of kiddies on a school trip, and another shunting engine where wily old engineer Denzel Washington is showing hot-shit new-boy Chris Pine the ropes. They’ll all be Jello if they get in the way, but letting the beast through is no solution either… You’ll look in vain for the metaphysical overlay Akira Kurosawa and Andrey Konchalovsky brought to a not dissimilar set-up in ‘Runaway Train’ (1985), but this is nuts-and-bolts suspense cinema at its slickest. Scott, his multi-camera crew and gifted editor don’t need 3D or even much CGI to convince us of the destructive potential of this big bad boy and sustain the tension effectively as fearful controller Rosario Dawson and unfolding TV news coverage fill in the necessary exposition. If you’re nit-picking, the personal issues batted between Washington and Pine in the cab feel decidedly formulaic, and the movie does peak in intensity around the two-thirds mark. Yet ultimately the pleasure is boyishly simple: very big train hits stuff. Bish bash bosh. Job done. Great fun.
Trevor Johnston

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 207: Fri Jul 28

Shadows (Cassavetes, 1959): Close-Up Cinema, 7.30pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Close-Up Cinema John Cassavetes season. Full details of the season can be found here.

Chicago Reader review:
'John Cassavetes's first feature (1959), shot in 16-millimeter, centers on three siblings living together in Manhattan; the oldest, a third-rate nightclub singer (Hugh Hurd), is visibly black, while the other two (Ben Carruthers and Lelia Goldoni) are sufficiently light skinned to pass for white. This is the only Cassavetes film made without a full script (it grew out of acting improvs), and rarely has so much warmth, delicacy, and raw feeling emerged so naturally and beautifully from performances in an American film. It's contemporaneous with early masterpieces of the French New Wave and deserves to be ranked alongside them for the freshness and freedom of its vision; in its portrait of a now-vanished Manhattan during the beat period, it also serves as a poignant time capsule. With Tony Ray (son of director Nicholas Ray), Rupert Crosse, Dennis Sallas, Tom Allen, and Davey Jones—all very fine—and a wonderful jazz score by Charles Mingus. It's conceivable that Cassavetes made greater films, but this is the one I cherish the most.'
Jonathan Rosenabum


Here (and above) is the trailer. 

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 206: Thu Jul 27

Radio On (Petit, 1979): Close-Up Cinema, 7.30pm


This 35mm screening is part of Close-Up Cinema's 'On the Road' season. You can find all the details of the season here.

Chicago Reader review:
A British film about alienation, asphalt, and narrative disconnections, coproduced by Wim Wenders's German company. Director Christopher Petit, a former film critic, slips into Wenders's style—the cool, austere black-and-white images, the blank underplaying—as if he were taking it for a test drive: he wants to see what it can do, what its strengths are and where its weaknesses lie. Seizing on an archetypal Wenders situation—a car trip that becomes a metaphor for an emotional pilgrimage—Petit inspects and abstracts Wenders's ideas. The film is dull and distant, though not objectionably so—it seems to be the effect Petit has in mind. The relationships between his isolated, distracted characters are reproduced in the movie's low-key appeal to its audience. With David Beames and Lisa Kreuzer (1979).
Dave Kehr

Here is Mark Kermode introducing the film.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 205: Wed Jul 26

Sabotage (Hitchcock, 1936): Regent Street Cinema, 2pm


This film was one of my five picks for the Guardian of underrated Alfred  Hitchcock films. You can read my thoughts on the quintet of movies via the web here and this is what I had to say about Sabotage:
'Darker in tone and more harrowing than its reputation allows, Sabotage is arguably the most underrated of Hitchcock's still undervalued British period. A loose adaptation of the Joseph Conrad novel The Secret Agent about a shadowy network of anarchists, the film deserves to be remembered for much more than Hitchcock famously regretting his decision to let the bomb go off at the end of one of the director's most celebrated and manipulative suspense sequences. The movie's central couple run a cinema, which Hitchcock uses to masterful effect in an intriguing and rich sequence contrasting Walt Disney on the screen with the heartbreak of the wife following the tragedy at the centre of the narrative. The scene involving the "murder" (or is it "willed suicide"?) of her husband foreshadows the most brutal and shocking killing in Hitchcock's canon 30 years later, that of the East German agent Gromek in Torn Curtain (1966).'

Here (and above) is the famous bus bomb scene (Spoiler warning).

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 204: Tue Jul 25

Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (Frears, 1987): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.10pm


+ Roland Gift Q&A after the screening ...

Chicago Reader review:
Coming from the same director (Stephen Frears), writer (Hanif Kureishi), and producers (Tim Bevan and Sarah Radclyffe) who gave us My Beautiful Laundrette, this lively film about social and political turmoil in Thatcher England bears the same relationship to that earlier film as Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip has to Richard Pryor Live in Concert—i.e., a spontaneous gathering of forces whose energies and inspirations hit a raw nerve is succeeded by a more deliberate and self-conscious effort to bring the same powers into play. In this case, the return of corrupt, old-fashioned Rafi (Shashi Kapoor) to London to visit his son Sammy (Ayub Khan Din) and daughter-in-law Rosie (Frances Barber) reveals to him the cataclysmic changes the country has been undergoing—race riots, sexual warfare, and political upheavals—and he never quite recovers from the shock, even after he goes to see his old girlfriend Alice (Claire Bloom). When Sammy throws a dinner party for Rafi, he remarks to Rosie, “We'll round up the usual social deviants, communists, lesbians, and blacks, with a sprinkling of the mentally subnormal,” and the rather stylized landscape of interracial couples, bombed-out streets, and multisexual adventurers goes beyond the relative naturalism of My Beautiful Laundrette to create a world more akin to the scene of 50s turmoil in the underrated Absolute Beginners. Recklessly biting off more than they can possibly chew, the filmmakers still give us a memorable apocalyptic view of 1987 England. With Wendy Gazelle and Roland Gift (of the musical group the Fine Young Cannibals).
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the Film4 TV trailer.