Saturday, 30 June 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 178: Fri Jul 6

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Mitchell, 2001): Genesis Cinema, 9pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Genesis Cinema 19th birthday celebrations season.


Chicago Reader review:
Hedwig (John Cameron Mitchell), whose halfhearted, half-assed sex change at least got her out of Berlin, fronts the Angry Inch, an obscure rock band playing gigs in small clubs while the rock superstar who dumped Hedwig years earlier plays the stadiums next door. Hedwig tells her tale of woe to a succession of unreceptive on-screen audiences that, by implication, include us. Dramatized with a stylized realism that seems perfectly natural in a musical, this 2001 saga draws on Plato and 70s glam rock with equal aplomb. Writer-director Mitchell originally created Hedwig for the stage with composer-lyricist Stephen Trask, who sings the vocals. With Trask, Miriam Shor, and Michael Pitt.
Lisa Alspector

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 177: Thu Jul 5

'36 to '77 (Karlin, Sanders, Scott & Trevelyan, 1978): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.30pm


BFI introduction:
Initially conceived as a sequel to The Nightcleaners (1975) by the Berwick Street Film Collective, ’36 to ’77 is a deeply reflective film-portrait of former cleaner, Myrtle Wardally, who, alongside the Women’s Liberation Workshop, was involved in the struggle to unionise the night cleaners of London. This event marks a new publication on both films (Koenig Books/Raven Row), which includes digital scans, commissioned texts and archival material. ‘To view ’36 to ’77 today... is to be confronted by its continued capacity to confound the expectations brought by critically minded spectators to the promise and purpose of political documentary produced during the 1970s’ – Kodwo Eshun.
The film will be followed by the surviving directors.


Time Out review:This curious movie began life as Nightcleaners 2 by the Berwick Street Collective, and ended up as a kind of portrait of a Grenadan woman called Myrtle Wardally (born in 1936 - hence the title), credited to four members of the former Collective. Ms Wardally was a leader of the Cleaners' Action Group strike in Fulham in 1972, and she here reminisces about the limited success of that campaign, but also describes her childhood in Grenada and speaks about her present life. There is rigorous separation of sound and image throughout, to the extent that the film is less about social politics than about the politics of film-form. There are visual recollections from Nightcleaners,but most of the image-track comprises shots of Ms Wardally's face, frames frozen and then slowly animated, out of synch with her words. Curious.
Tony Rayns

Here (and above) is an extract from 'Nightcleaners'.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 176: Wed Jul 4

Breakfast At Tiffany's (Edwards, 1961): Castle Cinema, 7.30pm


This 16mm screening is presented by Cine-Real. More details here.

Guardian review: 
At the risk of infringing some kind of cinema blasphemy law, I have mixed feelings about Blake Edwards's 1961 movie, now re-released for its 50th anniversary. I last watched it 10 years ago, for its 40th, and all that made me groan then was Mickey Rooney's awful impersonation of Holly Golightly's comedy Japanese neighbour, Mr Yunioshi. Now there seem to me more false notes. Audrey Hepburn may be iconic in publicity stills, but actually walking and talking, she looks brittle, affected, sexless and evasive. In this softened version of the Capote original, she is a sphinx whose secret has been coyly removed. Well, the movie still looks very good, and you'd need a heart of stone not to love the cat.
Peter Bradshaw


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 175: Tue Jul 3

The Mafu Cage (Arthur, 1978): Barbican Cinema, 8.45pm


This 35mm screening is part of 'The Unholy Women' season curated by The Final Girld. You can find full details of the season here.

Time Out review:
A foray into the incestuous lives of two sisters, Karen Arthur's second feature is a slow, visually beautiful tale of sexuality and madness, with a haunting score by Roger Kellaway. Cissy (Carol Kane, excellent) is creative and crazy. She's in love with her dead father and her doting older sister Ellen (Lee Grant), and has turned their living-room into a claustrophobic jungle (they were brought up in Africa). At one end is 'The Mafu Cage', a home for primates - and a coffin if they go too far. For neither man nor ape (there's a lovely orang-utan involved) may touch her, Ellen, or their father's collection of phallic African treasures without violent consequences... the hot-house aura is enticing, and although the narrative comes close to exploitation, there's a surprisingly loving depth to the characters.

Helen MacKintosh

Here (and above) is an unofficial trailer.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 174: Mon Jul 2

Wendy and Lucy (Reichardt, 2008): Lexi Cinema, 6.30pm


Lexi Cinema introduction to this 'London Film School season' screening:
Welcome to your neighbourhood film school, a new series of hosted screenings exploring film history and introducing current debates in cinema culture.  Fill in the gaps in your film knowledge and join the conversation.  London has one of the most exciting and diverse cinema scenes in the world, and we welcome the writers, critics, curators and cultural commentators of the capital to NW10. Tonight's screening is introduced by Little White Lies magazine editor, David Jenkins.


Time Out review:
‘If a person can’t afford dog food, then they shouldn’t have a dog,’ snaps a preppy store clerk to Wendy (
Michelle Williams) after catching her stealing food for her beloved yellow-gold retriever, Lucy. The clerk’s sentiment captures the debate at the heart of this brilliant, desperately sad Steinbeckian fable from American director Kelly Reichardt. It’s Reichardt’s third full-length feature (‘Old Joy’ was in cinemas last year), but only her first masterpiece. The film it most resembles is De Sica’s neo-realist landmark, ‘Umberto D’ (without the craven sentimentality and doggie anthropomorphism), but ‘Wendy and Lucy’ also contains thematic overlaps with many other great movies, such as the starkness and instability of communal life in Altman’s ‘McCabe and Mrs Miller’, the muted despair in the Dardennes’s ‘Rosetta’ and the austere, heart-wrenching poetry of Kiarostami’s ‘Where Is the Friend’s House?’. But central to it all is Michelle Williams’s beautifully restrained and humane performance (her best by some stretch) which embodies the pent-up frustrations, doubts, fears and dilemmas that this lonely soul has been burdened with. Her nuanced and naturalistic delivery wrings poignant truth from the realities of Wendy’s struggle for perseverance and dignity, where every decision is crucial, and every futile cry of ‘Lucy!’ stabs directly at the heart. It’s what makes this film the small miracle that it is.

David Jenkins

You can read the full review here.

Here (and above) is the trailer. 

 

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 173: Sun Jul 1

Shoot the Piano Player (Truffaut, 1960): Cine Lumiere, 2pm


This film is part of the 'Classics' season at Cine Lumiere. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
After The 400 Blows, Francois Truffaut turned to what he described as “a pastiche of the Hollywood B film” for his 1962 second feature. Its ironic shifts of mood, from farce to near tragedy, conceal a deeper tone of despair. Charles Aznavour stars as a timid man, driven from society, who hurts when he tries to be kind and kills when he tries to love. Made with enthusiasm and audacity, it still seems fresh.
Don Druker


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 172: Sat Jun 30

Tron (Risberger, 1982): Everyman Screen on the Green, 11.30pm




This screening is part of a superb three-week late-night season at the Everyman Screen on the Green in Islington.

Introduction to Screen on the Green/Zabludowicz Collection season:
From camp to cult to classic, this series screenings feature rarely seen films and avant-garde shorts inspired by and of influence on artists Ericka Beckman and Marianna Simnett. Currently on view at the Zabludowicz Collection, their work ventures from video games and fairy tales to shudder-inducing surgery, resulting in an eclectic mix for these Late Nights. More details here.


In this 1982 classic, Tron, a computer hacker is abducted into the digital world and forced to participate in gladiatorial games where his only chance of escape is with the help of a heroic security program. Prior to the film Ericka Beckman’s Hiatus (1999/2015, 21 mins) will be shown.

Entertainment Weekly review:
Amazingly, Tron feels both dated and wildly ahead of its time. Twenty-nine years ago, in the golden age of 
Space Invaders and Asteroids, the cyberthriller’s neon-lit F/X and trapped-in-a-videogame story line were undeniably of the moment, if not ahead of it. Sure, the film itself was kind of silly, but its eye-candy visuals were a gee-whiz harbinger of binary blockbusters to come. Jeff Bridges seems to be the only one having fun, playing a videogame designer who gets sucked into a Day-Glo world of his own creation. It’s like Alice in Wonderland acted out on a kids’ Lite-Brite toy. For most people, TRON‘s importance is as a historical footnote. It’s the Model T of our CGI age. But the film’s fans are passionate ones. Over the past couple of decades, Tron has become a geek touchstone: Mention the name of Bridges’ alter ego Clu in Comic-Con’s fabled Hall H and you’ll make friends for life. The movie also remains a celluloid smorgasbord for stoners. The Dude would undoubtedly dig it. The set’s extras are pretty sweet: a featurette on the original film’s place in history, with Bridges waxing nostalgic on the pre-Internet days, and a commentary from director Steven Lisberger and his nerd herd of F/X brainiacs. You even get one of the film’s glowing Frisbee gizmos, which actually lights up. Groovy!

Chris Nashawaty

Here (and above) is the trailer

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 171: Fri Jun 29

Vagabond (Varda, 1985): BFI Southbank, NFT2 2.30pm & 6pm, NFT1 9pm


This re-release, part of the Agnes Varda season at BFI Southbank, is on an extended run at the cinema until July 12th. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
The road movie takes a somber turn in this austerely beautiful 1985 French drama by Agnes Varda. Sandrine Bonnaire stars as a woman hitchhiking aimlessly through the unearthly winter landscape of southern France and surviving on handouts and ephemeral liaisons with strangers. Varda maintains a detached mood of melancholy and dread with lingering shots of etiolated plains and stunted vineyards, but at times her tracking shots of diseased trees, abandoned chateaus, and rusted fences become a bit relentless in their message that contemporary life is blighted and confining. At times Varda also slips into the bogus Brechtian posings of her earlier, execrable One Sings, the Other Doesn't—Mona's brief acquaintances stare into the camera and utter profundities such as "I often think of that hitchhiker: she was free and I am not. Where did she come from? Where did she go?" But in the protagonist, Varda has created an everyperson worthy of Samuel Beckett's.
Peter Keough


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 170: Thu Jun 28

Mirror, Mirror (Sargenti, 1990): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.45pm


This film will be introduced by the 'Final Girls'.

BFI Southbank introduction:
Shy teen goth Megan Gordon (Harvest) moves into a new house in suburban Los Angeles with her recently widowed mother Susan (Black). While exploring her new surroundings, she finds an antique mirror that seemingly belonged to the previous owners of the house. Not quite fitting in, and endlessly bullied by her classmates, Megan discovers she can use the mirror to enact revenge on her tormentors, which sets her on a dark and dangerous path... This female-scripted and directed gothic slasher looks at the toxic lifecycle of bullying and teenage despair, and marked the last major role of enigmatic actress (and Winona Ryder look-a-like) Rainbow Harvest.


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 169: Wed Jun 27

Little Vera (Pichul, 1988): Regent Street Cinema, 7.30pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Kino Klassika 'Youth on the March: the rise of the Soviet New Wave' season, tracing the clash of generations from the thaw to Perestroika, and curated by renowned film critic and journalist Konstantin Shavlovsky. Unlike the classic films of the French New Wave, these films are still unknown outside Russia. Most will be shown for the first time, certainly for the first time in their original formats. Full details of the season can be found by clicking here.

Time Out review:
The film that shocked the Soviets with its depiction of your average Russian family as a squalid, sottish, violent bunch of amoral no-hopers. Filtered through Western eyes, the sex scenes seem mild, the foul language blunted by subtitles, and the rebellious stance tame. But the film's message is still subtly affecting. The circumscribed sadness of life in a dull industrial town; the inability of the generations to understand each other; the hard eyed look at love as an explosive and divisive, not redemptive force; these themes are mercilessly delineated. There's also a welcome anarchic humour at work: when stolid Sergei bemoans Vera's lack of purpose, she writhes on top of him purring: 'You and I share the same goal. Communism'. You can feel the shock waves from here. The film's chief revelation is Natalya Negoda's searing performance as Vera, a feisty, mean-minded hellcat who injects chaos into every life that touches hers. The booze fuelled tale is wildly melodramatic, but the performances, pitilessly shot in gritty, realistic settings, are excellent.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 168: Tue Jun 26

When A Woman Ascends the Stairs (Naruse, 1960): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm



This 35mm screening is part of the Cinematic Jukebox season at the Prince Charles. You can see the full details of the season here.


Chicago Reader review:
A 1960 film by Mikio Naruse, perhaps the greatest Japanese director as yet unknown to American audiences. Where most directors begin with an anonymous style, Naruse started out as a strong individualist (Wife! Be Like a Rose!) and gradually pared his work down to the sublime blankness of his late films, of which this is one. It's a melodrama of extreme emotional violence—about a woman (Hideko Takamine) who runs a bar in Tokyo's Ginza district and the seemingly endless series of betrayals that befall her—but Naruse treats it with such evenness that it becomes microscopically subtle: its deepest pain is conveyed by lack of expression on the actor's face. With Masayuki Mori (Ugetsu) and Tatsuya Nakadai (Kagemusha).

Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 167: Mon Jun 25

All This Panic (Gage, 2016): Lexi Cinema, 6.30pm



Lexi Cinema introduction to this 'London Film School season' screening:
Welcome to your neighbourhood film school, a new series of hosted screenings exploring film history and introducing current debates in cinema culture.  Fill in the gaps in your film knowledge and join the conversation.  London has one of the most exciting and diverse cinema scenes in the world, and we welcome the writers, critics, curators and cultural commentators of the capital to NW10.
  
This film is introduced by Observer film critic Simran Hans. Here is her Observer feature on the movie.

Times review:
This intimate, revelatory documentary about the lives of seven teenage girls in Brooklyn, New York, was shot over three years by Jenny Gage and her cinematographer husband, Tom Betterton. First seen aged 15, the girls seem obsessed with the superficial, but as their confidence with the constant camera grows, they reveal lives of complexity, agony, courage and silly joy. Sometimes their parents seem to be the children; sometimes their friends are their enemies, and it all plays out, fuelled by dope and drink, in jam-packed, cramped apartments in Clinton Hill or on the open spaces of the beach at what looks like Coney Island. The hand-held camera and natural light gives a woozy, dreamlike feeling to scenes, and the teenagers’ faces and costumes are their stories. In particular, the worlds of Lena, who is neglected as much as she is parented, and two sisters Ginger and Dusty, make the most compelling material. By the time the girls are 18, heading for college or compromise, you feel deeply involved, tender with worry about their futures.
Kate Muir

Here (and above) is the trailer

Friday, 15 June 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 166: Sun Jun 24

The Warriors (Hill, 1979): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Cinematic Jukebox season at the Prince Charles. You can see the full details here.


Chicago Reader review:
Walter Hill's existential action piece (1979), rendered in a complete stylistic abstraction that will mean tough going for literal-minded audiences. The straightforward, straight-line plot—a street gang must cross the length of New York City, pursued by police and rival fraternities—is given the convoluted quality of a fever dream by Hill's quirky, claustrophobic direction. Not quite the clean, elegant creation that his earlier films were, 
The Warriors admits to failures of conception (occasional) and dialogue (frequent), but there is much of value in Hill's visual elaboration of the material. With Michael Beck, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, and Thomas Waites.
Dave Kehr


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 165: Sat Jun 23

Let's Scare Jessica To Death (Hancock, 1971): Everyman Screen on the Green, 11.30pm


This 35mm screening is part of a superb three-week late-night season at the Everyman Screen on the Green in Islington.

Introduction to Screen on the Green/Zabludowicz Collection season:
From camp to cult to classic, this series screenings feature rarely seen films and avant-garde shorts inspired by and of influence on artists Ericka Beckman and Marianna Simnett. Currently on view at the Zabludowicz Collection, their work ventures from video games and fairy tales to shudder-inducing surgery, resulting in an eclectic mix for these Late Nights. More details here.


Tonight's presentation also includes live music by Lucinda Chua and Marianna Simnett and a reading of 'All the Things in the House that Could, Kill You' by Charlie Fox.

Here is an extract from Tom Fellows' review at the classichorror.com website:
That Let's Scare Jessica to Death should be overlooked as one of the finest horror pictures of the 1970s is apt. Lacking the guttural, attention grabbing scares of contemporaries Night of the Living Dead and Last House on the Left, the film is a more somber, subdued affair. Its autumnal light casts dark shadows and the rural farmhouse location becomes secondary to the inner landscape of a mentally unstable mind. Also Let's Scare Jessica to Death refuses the sensationalism usually associated with movie madness (no cannibal doctors or men dressed as their mothers here) and instead retreats inward, sharing whispered thoughts and ghostly warnings. Like its central protagonist, it is a movie that shyly refuses to draw attention to itself, but underneath lays insanity, sadness and startling beauty. A masterpiece.

Here (and above) is the trailer.