Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 241: Wed Aug 31

The Decameron (Pasolini, 1971): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.10pm

This film is part of a Pier Paolo Pasolini season. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1971 film of ten tales from the Boccaccio classic represents the first part of his celebrated “trilogy of life,” which also includes the less enjoyable The Canterbury Tales and the more enjoyable (though equally questionable) Arabian Nights. Working with an Italian classic, he seems less inclined to transform his material, though what emerges is entertaining, if only in a mild way—rather like Playboy‘s “Ribald Tales.”
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 240: Tue Aug 30

Fox and His Friends (Fassbinder, 1975): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.05pm

This film is showing as part of the Rainer Werner Fassbinder season at Prince Charles Cinema. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
This 1975 melodrama by Rainer Werner Fassbinder is one of his better middle-period films. A fairgrounds worker (Fassbinder) who wins a small fortune in a state lottery is exploited and eventually destroyed by his effete bourgeois lover (Karlheinz Boehm) and the lover's stuck-up friends. Very sharp about class and milieu, the film is limited only by Fassbinder's characteristic enjoyment of the hero-victim's pain. At one point the camera is even stationed on a floor a moment before the hapless hero slips and falls, in sadistic anticipation of his mishap. As with much of Fassbinder's work, his cruelty complicates rather than negates his mordant, on-target social analysis. 
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 239: Mon Aug 29

Distant Thunder (Ray, 1973): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 2.40pm

This 4K presentation is part of the Satyajit Ray season at BFI Southbank (details here).

BFI review:
Ray had been planning to make a film about the Bengal famine of 1943 to 1944 for some years when he finally returned to the village landscapes he’d left behind with Three Daughters. A man-made catastrophe exacerbated by war and natural disasters, the famine decimated rural agriculture, leading to the death of some five million people. Adapted by Ray from the contemporaneous novel by Bibhutibhusan Banerjee, Distant Thunder examines the causes of the cataclysm. Shooting in vibrant colour, Ray fielded accusations that he’d glamourised or aestheticised the famine, and while it’s true that cinematographer Soumendu Roy captures the lushness of the natural world in vibrant detail, its disharmony with man speaks to the film’s bitter critical ironies. Although Distant Thunder took the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, otherwise it seems Ray couldn’t win. Local critics found it insufficiently anguished, while western writers saw only unsubtle melodrama. It’s a powerful examination of human failure, but charges of universality do Ray – and his subject – a disservice. “From the first moment of any Ray film,” read The Times review, “the spectator forgets the racial and cultural difference of the characters and sees only human beings.” As biographer Andrew Robinson has noted, however, that’s a misleading charge, however well-intentioned, for such an explicit – and specific – examination of caste tensions.
Matthew Thrift

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 238: Sun Aug 28

The Chess Players (Ray, 1977): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 2.40pm

This 35mm presentation is part of the Satyajit Ray season at BFI Southbank (details here).

BFI introduction:
Adapting Munshi Premchand’s story, Ray once again focuses on two individuals trapped in the vortex of history. Ruling Nawab Wajed Ali Shah, a poet and lover of arts, is ordered to step down by Lord Outram. As that feud plays out on a national stage, two friends play chess, oblivious to the changes taking place around them. Betrayal, on a personal and wider political scale, lies at the heart of this visually dazzling, richly rewarding drama.

Here (and) above is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 237: Sat Aug 27

 Scream (Craven, 1996): Everyman Islington Screen on Green, 10.30pm

This great post-modern horror movie is part of the '90s Films on 35mm' programme at the Everyman Islington Screen on the Green. This also screens on August Details here.

Time Out review:
'Wes Craven draws on a shared pop cultural heritage in horror flicks to fashion this bloody brand of post-modern comedy. 'So you like scary movies? Name the killer in Friday the 13th?' demands the anonymous caller of Drew Barrymore's lone teen in the prologue. 'Hang up again and I'll gut you like a fish!' The killer describes his apparently irrational vendetta against the high school population of Woodsboro as a game, and in this he's surely speaking for screenwriter Kevin Williamson and director Craven, who kill off the clichés and all the wrong characters with panache. At times, it's too clever, but it's sure scary, with the jokes notching up the general level of hysteria. As a bonus, Craven throws in half a dozen of Hollywood's brightest hopefuls: Neve Campbell in the central role of the teenager haunted by the murder of her mother; David Arquette as a naive local deputy; Courtney Cox as a TV star; Rose McGowan as the doomed best friend; and Skeet Ulrich as the evocatively named Billy Loomis. Intelligence, wit and sophistication - at last, a horror movie to shout about!'
Tom Charity

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 236: Fri Aug 26

Raging Bull (Scorsese, 1980): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.30pm

This film is being shown as part of the Big Screen Classics strand (details here) at BFI Southbank.

Time Out review:
You was my brudda. You shoulda looked out for me a little bit… I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum…’ When the washed-up Jake La Motta (Robert De Niro) quotes ‘On The Waterfront’ to himself, it tells us as much about his self-pity as the actual parallels with Brando’s Terry Malloy. Not just a contender but a champ, La Motta’s fall stemmed not from outside pressures but inner weaknesses, stunningly realised in De Niro’s colossal performance; both he and Scorsese have arguably never been better. Following from 1941 to 1964 the explosively jealous and narcissistic middle-weight, his brother-manager Joey – Joe Pesci, great in his breakthrough role, first of the badabing pairings with De Niro that would define his career – and Jake’s tenderised wife Vickie (Cathy Moriarty), ‘Raging Bull’ is a masterclass in pain inflicted on oneself and one’s loved ones, as well as one’s opponents. The use of pop and opera and the black-and-white photography (by Michael Chapman) are exemplary, the actual boxing a compulsive dance of death.
Ben Walters

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 235: Thu Aug 25

La Grande Illusion (Renoir, 1939): Castle Cinema, 7.30pm

CINÉ-REAL is a non-for-profit film club with the aim of bringing together film makers, actors, writers, directors, producers, photographers, cinephiles etc, to enjoy classic films as film and share their passion for filmmaking.. The films shown are all 16mm prints.

Chicago Reader review:
For many years this 1937 tale of brotherhood and escape, set in a World War I German prison camp, was considered Jean Renoir's official masterpiece. It's an excellent film, with Renoir's usual looping line and deft shifts of tone, though today the balance of critical opinion has shifted in favor of the greater darkness and filigree of The Rules of the Game. Francois Truffaut described it as"the least eccentric of all of Renoir's French movies," and for that reason it has long been the most popular. But to imagine this same material in the hands of any of the cinema's more naive, more didactic humanists—a Capra or a Stevens, say—is to appreciate the measure of Renoir's genius and honesty.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.