Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 314: Tue Nov 20

Klute (Pakula, 1971): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.15pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Jane Fonda season at BFI Southbank (full details here) and is also being shown on November 28th (more details here).

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

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 313: Mon Nov 19

Innocence (Hadžihalilović, 2004): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.30pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Fantastique: The Dream Worlds of French Cinema season at BFI Southbank. Fulll details here. The film is also being shown on November 26th. Full details here.

Time Out review:
Is this a horror movie or a grim fairy tale? Dedicated to her colleague, confrontationalist director Gaspar Noé, and sourced from a work by dark expressionist Frank Wedekind, Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s stunning debut describes the purgatorial existence of schoolgirls in a sequestered rural college. In their crisp white gym shifts andpigtail ribbons colour-coded by age, these prepubescent model pupils are self-policing, save for a lone crippled mistress and a ballet teacher and the hovering threat of their ‘graduation’ ceremony in the mysterious house through the dark wood from whence none ever return. Meticulously shot by Benoît Debie with the chromatic richness of the pre-Raphaelite painters  – you can almost smell the moss and decay – and miraculously acted by its predominately young cast, Hadzihalilovic’s film may make for a finally problematic feminist fable, but its unique vision conjures memories of the terrible beauty of Franju’s surreal work and Laughton’s supreme symbolist invocation of childhood, ‘The Night of the Hunter’. 
Wally Hammond

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 312: Sun Nov 18

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Gilliam/Jones, 1975): Prince Charles Cinema, 3.30pm


Chicago Reader review:
Silly, sophomoric, and slapped together—but would you want it any other way? The Pythons' second feature (1975) is full of things that even the relatively tolerant BBC wouldn't allow—including real violence, real pestilence, real death, and other comic devices. TV's 30-minute format may be better suited to the team's fragile conceits (the killer bunny bit seems to go on forever), but for all the stretching the film never snaps. Look sharp for the Ken Russell hommages. Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam directed.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 311: Sat Nov 17

All Of Me (Reiner, 1984): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.10pm


This 35mm screening, which is also being shown on November 25th (full details here), is part of the BFI’s ‘Trailblazing Women’ strand in the Comedy Genius season. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Carl Reiner tries his hand at character comedy with this 1984 vehicle for Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin, whose plot suggests 30s screwball spiked with bad acid: Tomlin is a sickly, spoiled heiress who arranges to have her soul projected into the conspicuously healthy body of Victoria Tennant, but something goes haywire and she ends up inhabiting the right-hand side of lawyer Martin. The premise is less than elegant, but Reiner gives it a surprisingly disciplined development, staying within the limits of a self-defined plausibility and letting the gags grow organically from the situation. Martin has become a superb physical comic, and Tomlin brings some unexpected warmth to a cruelly written part. A manic fuzziness takes over in the last reel and spoils some of the pleasure, but it's still a sympathetic effort. 
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 310: Fri Nov 16

The Iron Rose (Rollin, 1973): BFI Southbank, 8.40pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Fantastique: The Dream Worlds of French Cinema season at BFI Southbank. Fulll details here. The film is also being shown on November 10th. Full details here.

BFI Southbank introduction:
Encompassing horror, eroticism and the fantastique, Jean Rollin’s films are possessed of a haunting atmosphere all their own. In this beguiling tale, a couple (Pascal and Quester) head into a rambling, deserted graveyard for a romantic tryst, but as darkness falls they realise they’re unable to find their way back out again... and edge toward madness.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 309: Thu Nov 15

All I Desire (Sirk, 1953): Cinema Museum, 7.30pm


This film is part of the 'Magnificent Obsessions; The Films of Ross Hunter' season at the Cinema Museum.

Chicago Reader review:
A failed actress and mother of three (Barbara Stanwyck) returns to the husband (Richard Carlson) and family she deserted years before in this superior 1953 drama by Douglas Sirk, a very personal reworking of a standard soap-opera plot. True to form, Sirk transforms the material through a careful and ironic subversion of the conventions; what emerges is a biting assessment of the value of survival in the face of small-town meanness and prejudice, a neat use of a very bourgeois format to satirize its audience.
Don Druker


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 308: Wed Nov 14

Bigger Than Life (Ray, 1956): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.10pm


Here's a chance to see Bigger Than Life, generally regarded to be one of Nicholas Ray's finest films, at the NFT from a 35mm print. I saw the film on TV recently again and was mightily impressed.

Ray was one of the most interesting directors of Hollywood's Golden Age. Famously lauded for Rebel Without A Cause, he was also responsible for some of the most remarkable movies to emerge from America in the 1950s.

Ray directed the weird western Johnny Guitar and a fascinating anti-war drama in Bitter Victory, a Richard Burton vehicle now almost entirely forgotten but which deserves its growing reputation. However, Bigger Than Life is Ray's masterpiece. A searing indictment of American middle-class values, the film was trashed on release but came to the attention of film buffs in the 1960s after being championed by Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard.

In the movie James Mason plays a quiet sububan teacher who is transformed into a murderous megalomaniac following his addiction to cortisone. If the radical story wasn't recommendation enough, Ray's use of colour and his unequalled use of Cinemascope are masterful.

The film is also on at the NFT on November 5th (details here) but tonight's screening is introduced by Geoff Andrew. This film is part of the Big Screen Classics strand.


Chicago Reader review:
Nicholas Ray's potent 1956 CinemaScope melodrama dealt with the ill effects of cortisone on a frustrated middle-class grammar-school teacher (James Mason) at about the same time that the first wave of “wonder” drugs hit the market. But the true subject of this deeply disturbing picture is middle-class values—about money, education, culture, religion, patriarchy, and “getting ahead.” These values are thrown into bold relief by the hero's drug dependency and resulting megalomania, which leads to shocking and tragic results for his family (Barbara Rush and Robert Simon) as well as himself. Ray's use of 'Scope framing and color to delineate the hero's dreams and dissatisfactions has rarely been as purposeful. (It's hard to think of another Hollywood picture with more to say about the sheer awfulness of “normal” American family life during the 50s.) With Walter Matthau in an early noncomic role as the hero's best friend; scripted by Cyril Hume, Richard Maibum, and an uncredited Clifford Odets.
Jonathan Rosenbaum 

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 307: Tue Nov 13

Melancholia (Von Trier, 2011): Barbican Cinema, 6.30pm



This screening is part of the Science on Screen season at the Barbican and is introduced by Valerio Lucarini, Professor of Statistical Mechanics at the University of Reading.

Barbican introduction:
A major focus of contemporary science deals with the understanding of critical transitions – situations, like the close encounter of Earth and Melancholia, where forecasting the final outcome is extremely challenging. The presentation will focus on the challenges of prediction in the vicinity of critical transitions, and how this is reflected in the film's climactic structure, which was a direct inspiration for a scientific paper written by Valerio Lucarini
.


Chicago Reader review:
A mysterious planet heads straight for earth, threatening to destroy all human life. The same premise has animated numerous sci-fi adventures, but this elegant drama by Danish writer-director Lars von Trier (
Dogville, Antichrist) applies it to more philosophical ends. Von Trier came up with the idea after his shrink pointed out to him that depressed people often react more calmly to a crisis than happy ones, because they already understand that life is nasty, brutish, and short. To that end, the filmmaker divides his story into two parts, named for a pair of siblings: Justine (Kirsten Dunst), who descends into catatonic misery as her malignant friends and relatives celebrate her wedding at a rented mansion, and Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg), whose cheery facade begins to crumble as the rogue planet grows ever larger in the sky. Apocalyptic visions are nothing new in cinema, but they're almost always epic in scale; Von Trier's innovation is to peer down the large end of the telescope, observing the end of the world in painfully intimate terms.

JR Jones

Here (and above) is the trailer. 

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 306: Mon Nov 12

They Shoot Horses Don't They (Pollack, 1969): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.30pm



This 35mm screening is part of the Jane Fonda season at BFI Southbank (full details here) and is also being shown on November 15th (follow this link for more information).

BFI introduction:
A film that Fonda herself has described as being seminal to her career, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? is set during the American Depression of the 1930s. Troubled Gloria (Fonda) heads to Hollywood to make it as an actress and joins a group of desperate people to compete in a gruelling dance marathon for a cash prize. She partners with naïve Robert (Sarrazin) as they try to survive the exploitative tactics of the MC.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 305: Sun Nov 11

Their Last Love Affair (Myung-se, 1996): Close-Up Cinema, 8pm


The London Korean Film Festival (LKFF) presents three early features at Close-Up Cinema by Korean New Wave director Lee Myung-se. Presented here on 35mm each film will be followed by a discussion between Lee and LKFF programmer Mark Morris. Full details here.
"People might find my films confusing, and perhaps that’s because I insist that film communicates without explanation. I think of my films as transmitting meaning directly, from heart to heart." – Lee Myung-se

Lee Myung-se’s films are exceptional and distinctive, and not only by Korean standards. Of the "new wave" directors he is perhaps the one least obviously marked [...] by the political struggles of the 1980s, but his films bespeak an even stronger impatience with the mainstream movie-making tradition [...] Lee’s work is committedly cosmopolitan in its refusal to limit itself to Korean terms of reference. It is also committedly innovative” – Tony Rayns

Writer Grady Hendrix has written an excellent introduction to the films of Lee Myung-se in Film Comment which you can find here.
Close-Up introduction:
Poet-professor Yeong-min meets Yeong-hee, an attractive writer who has reviewed a collection of his poems. They click: literary criticism is far from their minds as they dash off to a hotel room for some fairly acrobatic lovemaking. He becomes obsessed with Yeong-hee; she makes an effort to resist, but not for long. Yeong-min, pretending to need time away from family for the sake of research, sets the two of them up in a beachside shack where domestic routine vies with passion. How long can this world apart contain them? The film playfully wrong-foots us at the outset. We begin in what looks like a noir crime caper, only to drop into the first encounter of the two main characters. Much later, even amid the passion and increasing tension in scenes at the beach house, the story maintains its balance of humour and visual beauty.

Mark Morris

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 304: Sat Nov 10

First Love (Myung-se, 1993): Close-Up Cinema, 8pm


The London Korean Film Festival (LKFF) presents three early features at Close-Up Cinema by Korean New Wave director Lee Myung-se. Presented here on 35mm each film will be followed by a discussion between Lee and LKFF programmer Mark Morris. Full details here.

"People might find my films confusing, and perhaps that’s because I insist that film communicates without explanation. I think of my films as transmitting meaning directly, from heart to heart." – Lee Myung-se

Lee Myung-se’s films are exceptional and distinctive, and not only by Korean standards. Of the "new wave" directors he is perhaps the one least obviously marked [...] by the political struggles of the 1980s, but his films bespeak an even stronger impatience with the mainstream movie-making tradition [...] Lee’s work is committedly cosmopolitan in its refusal to limit itself to Korean terms of reference. It is also committedly innovative” – Tony Rayns

Writer Grady Hendrix has written an excellent introduction to the films of Lee Myung-se in Film Comment which you can find here.
Close-Up introduction:
Yeong-shin is an innocent young woman from a nice family living in a pleasant if fairly poor neighbourhood in a town somewhere far from the big city. When her am-dram club decides to invite a writer from Seoul to come direct their production of 
Our Town, Yeong-shin, despite an unpromising first encounter with a grubby, hard-drinking Chang-wook, manages to fall head over heels. The film plays with our melodramatic reflexes, involving us in a sentimental education made all the more bittersweet through nuanced acting of Kim Hye-su. Rather than offering melo-realism, however, the film revels in the sheer beauty of its sets, subtle lighting, fantasy scenes – Yeong-shin’s ghostly visit to Chang-wook is both funny and heart-warming. Our Town has been termed a form of meta-theatre. Maybe we could consider Lee Myung-se’s aesthetic a kind of meta-cinema.
Mark Morris

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 303: Fri Nov 9

My Love, My Bride (Myung-se, 1990): Close-Up Cinema, 8pm


The London Korean Film Festival (LKFF) presents three early features at Close-Up Cinema by Korean New Wave director Lee Myung-se. Presented here on 35mm each film will be followed by a discussion between Lee and LKFF programmer Mark Morris. Full details here.
"People might find my films confusing, and perhaps that’s because I insist that film communicates without explanation. I think of my films as transmitting meaning directly, from heart to heart." – Lee Myung-se
Lee Myung-se’s films are exceptional and distinctive, and not only by Korean standards. Of the "new wave" directors he is perhaps the one least obviously marked [...] by the political struggles of the 1980s, but his films bespeak an even stronger impatience with the mainstream movie-making tradition [...] Lee’s work is committedly cosmopolitan in its refusal to limit itself to Korean terms of reference. It is also committedly innovative” – Tony Rayns

Writer Grady Hendrix has written an excellent introduction to the films of Lee Myung-se in Film Comment which you can find here.
Chicago Reader review:
Lee Myung-sei’s delightful Korean comedy about the trials and tribulations of a young married couple (Park Joong-hoon and Choi Jin-sii, both charming and resourceful actors) offers eloquent testimony to the stylistic importance of Frank Tashlin (The Girl Can’t Help It, Artists and Models, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?) as an international legacy. Tashlin’s background as an animator — his graphic talent, his formal ingenuity, his taste for bright primary colors — and his flair for satire of contemporary lifestyles both seem fully present in this lively and inventive feature. It isn’t that Lee has necessarily seen or studied Tashlin’s work, but Tashlin’s bag of tricks has become an automatic part of everyone’s resources, and this comedy fully exploits it.

Jonathan Rosenbaum
Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 302: Thu Nov 8

L'Insoumis (Cavalier, 1964): Cine Lumiere, 4pm


This 35mm screening from a new print is part of the French Film Festival season at Cine Lumiere. You can find full details of the season here.

Cine Lumiere introduction:
Against the background of the Algerian War of the 1960s, Thomas (Alain Delon) plays a deserter from the French Foreign Legion who is on the run from the authorities. He helps to set free Dominique (Lea Massari), who has been taken hostage by a group of terrorists. Soon, Thomas finds himself caught between the Foreign Legion and the terrorists seeking revenge. Inspired by real events, Alain Cavalier’s L’Insoumis is presented on a brand new print.


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 302: Wed Nov 7

The Wedding Ring (De Chalonge, 1971): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.30pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Fantastique: The Dream Worlds of French Cinema season at BFI Southbank. Fulll details here. The film is also being shown on November 22nd. Full details here.

BFI Southbank inroduction:
A foreboding unease creeps through Chalonge’s overlooked film, adapted from his own novel by Luis Buñuel collaborator Jean-Claude Carrière. Carrière himself stars as Hugues, a vet who meets Jeanne (Karina) through a dating agency and moves into her large apartment. As the apartment fills with Hugues’ animals and insects, strange goings on and suspicions between the couple increase.
The 35mm print we are presenting is slightly colour faded. We hope it will not spoil your enjoyment.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 301: Tue Nov 6

My Darling Clementine (Ford, 1946): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.30pm


This movie is part of the Classic Film Season at the Prince Charles. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
John Ford's 1946 reworking of the Doc Holliday-Wyatt Earp legend stars Henry Fonda as the elegant Earp and Victor Mature as a surprisingly moving Doc Holliday. The Earp-Clanton feud, climaxing with the epic gunfight at the O.K. Corral, becomes for Ford a perfect case study in the virtues of family unity, civilization, and loyalty—and the film that emerges is one of Ford's most sublime and atmospheric. Highly recommended.
Don Druker


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 300: Mon Nov 5

V for Vendetta (McTegiue, 2006): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


This 35mm presentation (more at the Prince Charles can be found here) is the annual Capital Celluloid choice for November 5th.

Chicago Reader review:
A popcorn movie that preaches mass rebellion against the government—what's not to like? After milking The Matrix for two superfluous sequels, writer-producers Andy and Larry Wachowski adapt a 1989 graphic novel by David Lloyd and Alan Moore; set in a futuristic Great Britain, the movie follows a masked figure (Hugo Weaving) as he carries out a series of assassinations and tries to unite the cowed populace against a totalitarian national-security state. The swashbuckling first hour is superior to the second, which bursts at the seams with backstory, but a rousing climax makes this the most potent piece of agitpop in years.
JR Jones

Here (and above) is an extract.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 299: Sun Nov 4

Love's Crucible (Sjöström, 1922): BFI Southbank, 1.50pm


This 35mm presentation, part of the Silent Cinema strand, includes an introduction by BFI curator Bryony Dixon and live piano accompaniment by Stephen Horne

BFI Southbank introduction:
A special treat for Halloween is Victor Sjöström’s little-known gem, which supplies sumptuous renaissance settings, martial hatred, creepy monks peddling poison and a great ‘burn the witch’ moment. The reputation of this ‘Catholic noir’ has been based on years of people repeating indifferent contemporary reviews rather than a re-evaluation with an audience – here is your chance to be part of its rehabilitation.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 298: Sat Nov 3

Black Narcissus (Powell/Pressburger, 1947): Electirc Cinema, 12noon



Electric Cinema introduction:
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Electric Cinema Club, when the Electric Portobello's programming inspired the likes of Stephen Frears and Nic Roeg, and spawned a whole heap of cineastes. Join us to celebrate this landmark when we will screen a specially made documentary featuring the team from the time, including the Programmer Peter Howden. We will then welcome them on stage for a Q&A chaired by BFI – and former Electric – Programmer Geoff Andrew, before a screening of Black Narcissus, a film close to the Cinema Club’s heart. Tickets at £30 each, all proceeds go to the Electric Cinema Club's online archive project.

Chicago Reader:
A story of damaged faith and rising sexual hysteria (1946) set among a group of nuns in India who are working to convert a sultan's palace into a convent. Films on this subject are generally solemn and naive, but director Michael Powell and writer Emeric Pressburger bring wit and intelligence to it—the title, for example, refers not to some campy romantic theme but to a cheap men's cologne worn by the local princeling. The film's lush, mountainous India, full of sensual challenges and metaphorical chasms, was created entirely in the studio, with the help of matte artist Peter Ellenshaw. Powell's equally extravagant visual style transforms it into a landscape of the mind—grand and terrible in its thorough abstraction. With Deborah Kerr, David Farrar, Jean Simmons, and Sabu.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.