Thursday, 13 September 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 284: Sun Oct 21

7th Heaven (Borzage, 1927): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 3pm


62nd LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (10th-21st October 2018) DAY 12

Every day (from October 10th to October 21st) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is all the information you need about the best way to get tickets.


Chicago Reader review:
Frank Borzage won an Academy Award for his direction of this 1927 romance, and it remains the best known of his silent films. Janet Gaynor (who also won an Oscar) is a Parisian waif taken in by free spirit Charles Farrell; their love deepens as the clouds of World War I gather and Farrell is drafted and sent to the front. With its theme of sheltering love and its justly celebrated ending (perhaps the most serious assault on realism in the American cinema), the film is quintessential Borzage.

Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 283: Sat Oct 20

Pixote (Babenco, 1981): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.30pm


62nd LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (10th-21st October 2018) DAY 11

Every day (from October 10th to October 21st) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is all the information you need about the best way to get tickets.


Time Out review:
Not since Luis Buñuel's Los Olvidados has the plight of kids in Third World urban poverty been so acutely affecting; and not since Truffaut's 400 Blows has a child actor (Fernando Ramos da Silva) so etched his tragic delinquency on the memory of middle-class audiences. Even allowing for the institutional horrors depicted in Scum, nothing in recent cinema comes close to the devastating account of brutalisation and exploitation offered in Hector Babenco's film about a 10-year-old boy who somehow survives the vicious oppression of the reform school, to escape and find his way into dope-dealing, prostitution and murder in the Brazilian underworld. Originally labelled a 'denunciation' film in Brazil for its critique of a social system that fails to prevent the majority of the country's three million homeless kids from turning to crime, Pixote arrived here laden with art cinema awards for its exposé of a problem which, for all its cultural remoteness, carves into your conscience with the sudden thrust of a flick knife in a street fight.
Martyn Auty


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 282: Fri Oct 19

The Last Movie (Hopper, 1971): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 2.45pm


 62nd LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (10th-21st October 2018) DAY 10

Every day (from October 10th to October 21st) 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 Last Movie also screens at Prince Charles Cinema on October 15th. Full details here.


Chicago Reader review:
The least that can be said for Dennis Hopper's 1971 drama is that no other studio-released film of the period is quite so formally audacious. After 
Easy Rider, Hopper was given carte blanche by Universal Pictures to make this disjointed epic in Peru; although it was given a special prize at the Venice film festival, the film was withdrawn from circulation in the U.S. after a couple of weeks and has rarely been screened since. After working in a western directed by Samuel Fuller (playing himself), during which one of the lead actors (Dean Stockwell) has been killed, an American stunt man (Hopper) remains behind with a Peruvian woman. He is eventually drafted into an imaginary movie being made by the Indian villagers and is also enlisted in a scheme to find gold in the mountains. The curious thing about this freewheeling allegory is that it is simultaneously about many things (the fakery of moviemaking, mutual exploitation, ugly Americans in the third world, Hopper as Jesus) and nothing at all.

Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 281: Thu Oct 18

The Green Fog (Maddin, 2017): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.30pm



62nd LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (10th-21st October 2018) DAY 9

Every day (from October 10th to October 21st) 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 Green Fog also screens at the BFI IMAX on October 16th. Full details here.


Chicago reader review:
The Green Fog
 is a striking departure from Guy Maddin's previous features because it's composed entirely of archival footage, nearly all of it from Hollywood movies and TV series. Acting on a commission from the San Francisco Film Society, the director pored over more than 100 dramas shot on location in the City by the Bay, snipping out the images he wanted and editing them into a new narrative loosely based on the greatest of them, Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958). The result, running about an hour, may not be particularly innovative—avant-gardists have been repurposing archival footage for decades—but it could be the most entertaining experimental film ever. Maddin has a jeweler's eye for the screen moment; he extracts only the most potent images and kinetic movements, divorcing them from their original story lines and distilling them into moments of pure pleasure. His narrative, something about a detective investigating a mysterious green fog that's swept over the city, is so silly you needn't think about it; the visual candy alone, unified by Jacob Garchik's edgy string score, will pull you through to the end. The Green Fog is a true paradox—an academic exercise with a popcorn mentality and a big role for Chuck Norris.

JR Jones

Here (and above) is the trailer.



Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 280: Wed Oct 17

Madeline's Madeline (Decker, 2018): ICA Cinema, 8.50pm


62nd LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (10th-21st October 2018) DAY 8

Every day (from October 10th to October 21st) 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.

Madeline's Madeline also screens at BFI Southbank on October 19th. Full details here.


New Yorker review:
Josephine Decker’s film, in its dramatic contours, is an utterly clear and classical drama about a Queens family. Miranda July plays Regina, an excessive, boundary-challenged, somewhat out-of-control single mother of a sixteen-year-old girl named Madeline (Helena Howard). Madeline, who is confronting mental illness, is an acting prodigy and the youngest member of a Manhattan-based experimental-theatre company run by a director (Molly Parker) who is emotionally vampirizing Madeline to sustain her own artistry.
Decker’s first two features, “Butter on the Latch” (2013) and “Thou Wast Mild and Lovely” (2014), marked one of the most notable débuts in the modern American cinema; the films’ scathing emotional realms were matched by a freedom in the creation of images and the shaping of drama that suggested a complete reimagination of moviemaking. They were also produced on micro-budgets, in very limited locations, with just a handful of actors. “Madeline’s Madeline,” which has somewhat more substantial funding (though likely just cab change for a studio production), ranges extensively among indoor and outdoor locations and features an ample array of actors young and old, a varied spectrum of tones, a sense of a city that’s infused with its heroine’s creative passions, intimate tensions, personal histories, and medical troubles. The closest comparison is to Kenneth Lonergan’s “
Margaret,” with its fusion of a teeager’s private life and the life of New York. But where Lonergan’s Upper West Side film was framed on the vectors of power and the romance of bourgeois connectedness, “Madeline’s Madeline” is a drama of furious disconnection, a cinematic gear-grinding of a working-class family of modest means who seem hardly at home in their own neighborhood and are relentlessly abraded by contact with the deceptively welcoming milieu of art. Decker’s film, which is shot (by the cinematographer Ashley Connor) in jagged angles and torn edges, with physical energy and piercing clarity, is filled with the urgent drive for artistic creation—as well as with the practicalities and pitfalls, the sincere ardor and the manipulations, deceptions and delusions, that the worldly ways of art entail.

Richard Brody 

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 279: Tue Oct 16

The Image Book (Godard, 2018): Vue Cinema, Leicester Square, 8.30pm


62nd LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (10th-21st October 2018) DAY 7

Every day (from October 10th to October 21st) 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 Image Book also screens at the BFI IMAX on October 14th. Full details here.

London Film Festival review:
Spinning ever further from his New Wave narrative roots, Jean-Luc Godard revisits the approach of his pioneering Histoire(s) du Cinéma in a collaborative venture with Fabrice Aragno, Jean-Paul Battaggia and Nicole Brenez. Emerging from a flash storm of spoken and written screen texts, artworks, film and TV clips is a suggestive, polyphonic discourse about the contemporary condition. It takes in those recurrent Godard themes – film history and the Holocaust – as well as an extended contemplation of the Middle East and the West’s incapacity to understand it as anything but an indefinable ‘other’. With a characteristically fragmented soundtrack, including sonic radicals Alfred Schnittke and Scott Walker, this tonic workout for the mind, eyes and imagination shows Godard, at 87, as intransigently and vitally confrontational as ever.

Jonathan Romney

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 278: Mon Oct 15

The Fog (Carpenter, 1980): Vue Cinema 5, Leicester Square, 6.30pm


62nd LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (10th-21st October 2018) DAY 6

Every day (from October 10th to October 21st) 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 Fog also screens at VUE Cinema on October 20th. Full details here.


Time Out review:
The Fog will disappoint those expecting a re-run of the creepy scares from Halloween
. Instead, expanding enormously on the fantasy elements of his earlier films, John Carpenter has turned in a full-scale thriller of the supernatural, as a sinister fog bank comes rolling in off the sea to take revenge on the smug little town of Antonio Bay, N. Calif. No shotguns pumping; no prowling of dark corners; no tricksy dry-ice chills. Instead you'll find a masterful simplicity of style, a lonely and determined group of characters under siege, and a childlike sense of brooding fear that almost disappeared in the '70s. Carpenter's confidence is outrageous; the range of his models even more so (from Poe to RKO); and the achievement is all his own, despite ragged moments and occasional hesitations.
Chris Auty


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 277: Sun Oct 14

Summer/Leto (Serebrennikov, 2018): Odeon Tottenham Court Road, 5.45pm


62nd LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (10th-21st October 2018) DAY 5

Every day (from October 10th to October 21st) 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.

Summer also screens at ICA Cinema on October 15th. Full details here.


London Film Festival review:
Amid the hyper-controlled cultural world of pre-Perestroika Leningrad, a rock scene is burgeoning. Their leader is the charismatic Mike (Roma Zver), who works in a factory by day and transcribes Iggy Pop, Lou Reed and David Bowie lyrics by night. Enter Viktor Tsoy (Teo Yoo), an aspiring musician who quickly charms the gang – and Mike’s girlfriend Natasha (Irina Starshenbaum). Amongst the rockers inspired by Western music playing in Communist Party-licensed clubs and semi-sedated audiences whose applause is policed, Tsoy’s raw talent is a breath of fresh air and hints at the possibility of – and need for – change. Though Serebrennikov remains under house arrest on as-yet-unfounded embezzlement charges, Summer is a timely mood piece that dares to ask how artists can survive in a repressive regime.
Anna Bogutskaya

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 276: Sat Oct 13

Between Two Cinemas (Lipman, 2018): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 4pm


62nd LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (10th-21st October 2018) DAY 4

Every day (from October 10th to October 21st) 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.


London Film Festival preview:
4K scans of several of Ross Lipman’s poetic, exploratory, partially-narrative short works are presented and the former UCLA archivist opens up new conversations about how artists look after their work, whilst casting a fresh eye on the broad terrain of alternative film as it has been historically received. Archival material on Stan Brakhage and Andrei Tarkovsky, along with details of collaborations with artists Bruce Baillie, Jeanne Dielman cinematographer Babette Mangolte, Bela Tarr composer Mihaly Vig and synthesizer pioneer Patrick Gleeson all feature in this highly unusual, immersive and discursive, personally inflected hybrid of curated-programme and essay-film.
William Fowler


Sunday, 9 September 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 275: Fri Oct 12

No1: Ash is Purest White (Zhangke, 2018): Curzon Mayfair, 5.30pm



62nd LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (10th-21st October 2018) DAY 3

Every day (from October 10th to October 21st) 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.

Ash is Purest White also screens at ICA Cinema on October 13th. Full details here.


London Film Festival preview:
Qiao (Zhao Tao) is the humble yet sassy moll to the swaggering but fair Bin (Liao Fan), a handsome gangster in a depressed mining town. When Bin’s ballroom dancing-obsessed boss is bumped off, Bin moves up, becoming leader of the ‘Jianghu’, a brotherhood of honourable criminals. But times have changed and honour is out of fashion, so when Bin is attacked by members of a new generation of wannabe mobsters, Qiao makes a decision that will have a seismic impact upon their lives. Ambitious and inventive, Ash Is Purest White is sprinkled with pop references and even some cosmic moments. Director Jia Zhang-ke continues to surprise with his perceptive chronicles of Chinese society, aided here by a magnificent performance from Zhao Tao as the woman who cannot be stopped.
Kate Taylor

Here (and above) is a clip.

BOTH SCREENINGS OF THIS FILM ARE CURRENTLY SOLD OUT SO HERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE OFFERING IF YOU CAN'T MAKE IT TO SEE THE NO1 CHOICE.

********

No2: Surprise Treasure (??????): BFI Southbank, 4.30pm

The clues are there for this 'Surprise' movie at the festival. I recall seeing this screened (also as a surprise as it was then out of circulation owing to rights' issues) after a Q&A with the director conducted by former festival head, Sandra Hebron. It's a superb film and not to be missed.

Here's the LFF introduction:
Long ago and far away a young director made a 43-minute biopic that would soon become known as one of the world’s great cult movies – a dazzling, postmodern joy, decades ahead of its time. The only problem was, it was suddenly withdrawn from circulation only to resurface much later in dodgy, 27th-generation online copies. This is the film that dare not speak its name, but this is a rare and free opportunity to see it reborn in this wonderful new restoration from the UCLA Film and Television Archive. We will also screen Todd Haynes’ short Dottie Gets Spanked. We’re delighted that the screening will be introduced by Christine Vachon, producer of Dottie Gets Spanked, Carol and Special Presentation Colette.