Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 33: Wed Feb 2

A Soul In Torment (Curtiz, 1921): Cinema Museum, 7.30pm


Cinema Museum introduction:
A Soul in Torment
 (1921) aka Frau Dorothys Bekenntnis / Mrs. Dane’s Confession is an Austrian film directed by Michael Curtiz, with cinematography by Gustav Ucicky, and starring Lucy Doraine, Alfons Fryland, Otto Tressier, Kurt Lessen, Harry DeLoon, Anton Tiller and Max-Ralph Ostermann. In 1919, Mihály Kertész (his stage name at the time – he was born Mano Kaminer) had moved to Austria from Hungary, where he made nearly 20 films, often with his wife Lucy Doraine (until their divorce in 1923). In 1926, he answered the call from Warner Bros., changing his name again to Michael Curtiz.

Dorothy (Lucy Doraine) awakens next to a body and is immediately arrested. Grilled by the police who accuse her of the murder, she protests that she’s innocent. Bit by bit Dorothy’s memories are pieced together, starting with the death of her parents and how she came under the tutelage of her uncle. But her seemingly safe life is derailed when she is saved from an attempted kidnapping by a dashing man. Unfortunately he is not really after her but her money.

We are screening a 35mm archive print, courtesy of the BFI. The film will be introduced by Michelle Facey.

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 32: Tue Feb 1

Shoot the Pianist (Truffaut, 1960): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.50pm 


This film is part of the Francois Truffaut season at BFI Southbank and also screens on February 11th and 26th. 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.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 31: Mon Jan 31

Love On the Run (Truffaut, 1979): BFI Sothbank, NFT2, 8.40pm


This film is part of the Francois Truffaut season at BFI Southbank.

Chicago Reader review:
Francois Truffaut took a few steps toward modernism with this very self-conscious experiment in narrative form (1979). It’s not so much another episode in the Antoine Doinel cycle as a reflection on it, using extensive clips from the previous features to examine the ways in which art devours life—a theme that has always been present in Truffaut’s autobiographical cinema, but never so directly stated. Still, the results are more interesting than satisfying; it is a film more thought than felt. With Jean-Pierre Leaud, Marie-France Pisier, and Claude Jade.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 30: Sun Jan 30

Under Your Skin (Niskanen, 1966): Close-Up Cinema, 8.15pm

This 35mm presentation is part of the Never on Sunday season at Close-Up Cinema. The season is a series of screenings of rare classics, archive masterpieces, obscure delights and forgotten gems carefully curated by Ehsan Khoshbakht and taking place the last Sunday of each month at Close-Up.

Close-Up Cinema introduction:
Directed by Mikko Niskanen, an indispensable figure of Finnish new cinema of the 1960s, Under Your Skin (Käpy selän alla) is one of the most significant films in the history of Finnish cinema which, in the spirit of New Wave, embraces a whole new generation of Finns dreaming of "a universal sense of responsibility." (Peter von Bagh). The tender and real depiction of this new politically-conscious generation, as well as fresh cinematic ideas employed, were warmly welcomed by both the Finnish audiences (making the film the second box office hit of 1966) and the critics, the latter leading to the film winning six Jussi awards, the Finnish equivalent of the Oscar.

"Set against a background of white birch trees, a glittering lake and early summer greenery, [Under Your Skin] has a rhapsodic character and describes the relationships between four young adults. The agile camera work still captures [the] fluidity of the relationships and the private feelings of the characters in a spontaneous way. The summer beauty of nature corresponds gracefully with the Scandinavian fantasy world that is always associated with freedom, youth and sentimentality. But Käpy selän alla also breaks the illusion of reality of the narrative cinema on several levels, and the focus of the camera goes beyond the confines of the narrative, and draws in the audience." Tytti Soila

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 29: Sat Jan 29

He Stands in a Desert Counting the Seconds of His Life (Mekas, 1969-1985):
Close Up Cinema, 7.30pm 


This film is also being shown on January 30th (full details here).

Close Up Cinema introduction to Jonas Mekas season (full details here)A Lithuanian, arriving in New York in flight from war-torn Europe, Jonas Mekas became one of the leading figures of American avant-garde filmmaking. In 1954, he became editor and chief of Film Culture; in 1958 he began writing his “Movie Journal” column for the Village Voice; in 1962 he co-founded the Film-Makers’ Cooperative (FMC) and the Filmmakers’ Cinematheque in 1964, which eventually grew into Anthology Film Archives, one of the world’s largest and most important repositories of avant-garde films. His own output ranged from narrative films (Guns of the Trees) to documentaries (The Brig) and to “diaries” (Walden). Mekas' highly personal film diaries recorded many of the underground events from the 1950s to the 80s as well as his own life, creating a unique body of work that is both a record of those eventful years and remarkable film poetry. 2022 would have been the 100th anniversary of this legendary filmmaker, and to celebrate this occasion we’re delighted to present 10 of Mekas’ landmark films.

Senses of Cinema review:
The great achievement of American avant-garde film has been the interiorization of the cinema image: the creation of a body of films whose techniques are geared not toward using the film image for objective presentation of external events but for the exploration of the varieties of the private personas and inner visions of their makers. Jonas Mekas’s film, He Stands in a Desert Counting the Seconds of His Life, is one of the most intense, beautiful, and moving examples of that tradition.
Fred Camper


Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 28: Fri Jan 28

Absolute Beginners (Temple, 1986): BFI Southbank,NFT3, 8.45pm


This presentation is part of the David Bowie season at BFI Southbank. Full details here

Chicago Reader review:
A fascinating attempt by rock video director Julien Temple to do several things at once—adapt a Colin MacInnes novel, show the London youth scene in 1958 (while dealing at length with the racial tensions of the period), build on some of the stylistic innovations of Frank Tashlin, Vincente Minnelli, and Orson Welles, and put to best use a fascinating score by Gil Evans that adapts everything from Charles Mingus to Miles Davis. A mixed success, but an exhilarating try (1986). With David Bowie, Keith Richards, and James Fox.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 27: Thu Jan 27

My Little Eye (Evans, 2002): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.30pm


The film is part of the Terror Vision strand at BFI Southbank.

Time Out review:
The six months are nearly up. Another few days of voluntary captivity under the ever-watchful eyes of a hundred webcams and the five housemates will be home free - and a million dollars better off. But when Danny gets word that his grandfather has died, the group is unwilling to forfeit the prize so he can attend the funeral. And when, instead of the usual package of supplies, the contestants receive a bottle of champagne and a loaded gun, can they convince themselves that it's just another mind game, that survival is not at stake? A disturbing renovation of the classic 'old dark house' blood-chiller, this takes the logic of opportunism and runs with it. The film is shot entirely from the fixed vantage points of digital surveillance cameras and, in keeping with the tenets of voyeur TV, the contestants are noxious exhibitionists willing to endure any humiliation so long as Big Brother keeps watching. In the most chilling scene, they discover that this may not be the case - that their imagined fame doesn't extend beyond a handful of sadistic high-rollers. A nasty piece of work, but we probably deserve it.
Tom Charity

Here (and above) is the trailer.