Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 66: Thu Mar 7

Dollmania: A Morton Barlett inspired night of films
The Horse Hospital, Colonnade, Bloomsbury 7.30pm

Along with Henry Darger, Morton Bartlett is one of the most celebrated 'outsider artists'. The Chamber of Pop Culture at the Horse Hospital has an exhibition (from March 2 to 30) of Bartlett's photographs of his beautifully intricately carved, life-like, plaster dolls he made between 1926 and 1963. To coincide witht the exhibition here is an evening of films inspired by the artist.

Family Found (2002):

This 16mm short documentary directed by Emil Harris, filmed in Boston Massachusetts in 2002, covers the life and work of the renowned self-taught artist Morton Bartlett. The film has since been screened in several museums internationally including the American Folk Art Museum in New York, The Contemporary Art Museum in California, The Intuit Art Gallery in Chicago and The Brighton and Hove Museum in England. The film contains an original music score by the highly acclaimed composer John Zorn.

Dolls We Love (1982) from the Center for Home Movies in Baltimore, Marlyland:

A documentary by amateur filmmaker and Pacific Telephone Company telephone repairman, Arthur Smith, about the dolls that Blanche Smith collected while they lived in the Trail’s End Trailer Park in Big Bear Lake, California.

The Hitchcock Hour: Where the Woodbine Twineth (1965) (Poor Quality):

Orphaned Eva has come to live with her uncle, Mississippi riverboat Captain King Snyder and his old maid sister Nell and constantly talks to imaginary friends whom she believes are real. Captain gives Eva a doll named Numa. Eva warns that if Nell takes Numa away, Eva will trade places with Numa and go to the idyllic place “where the woodbine twineth.” A timeless Southern Gothic tale with a score by Hitchcock’s long-time collaborator Bernard Hermann.

Mister E (1960) from the Chicago Film Archives:

A domestic black comedy, made by Margaret Conneely, an award winning and prolific amateur filmmaker. Expresses some of the edgier mischief and discontent that women of the 1950s could rarely express openly. This short film narrates the revenge acted out by a young wife, left at home while her husband is at a card game; by staging a rendezvous with a mannequin, this woman provokes an eruption of jealousy and violence before bringing about the desired marital tenderness. .

The Twilight Zone episode Living Doll (1963):

Telly Savalas as Erich Streator, who is threatened by a toy doll. Erich does not like the Talky Tina his wife has bought for Christie, his step-daughter. However the doll, voiced by the great June Foray (the voice of Rocky J. Squirrel), tells Erich she hates him too. A gripping episode since Talky Tina never talks when anybody else is around. Poor Erich, but like most of the inhabitants of the Twilight Zone he gets what he has coming to him.

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 65: Wed Mar 6

Theatre of Blood (Hickox, 1973): BFI Southbank, 8.30pm

Here is the BFI introduction to what promises to be an excellent event: We are thrilled to welcome actor, writer, comedian and television producer Reece Shearsmith (League of Gentlemen, Shaun of the Dead, Psychoville) to introduce Theatre of Blood as the film that inspired him. Vincent Price stars in this decidedly dark and devilishly twisted tale about a washed-up actor who, after one too many bad reviews, wreaks gory revenge on his critics.

Chicago Reader review:
'A British black comedy/horror film (1973) about a demented Shakespearean actor (Vincent Price) having his revenge in the most macabre ways on eight critics: Ian Hendry, Robert Morley, Robert Coote, Harry Andrews, Jack Hawkins, Michael Hordern, Arthur Lowe, and Coral Browne. Gory, imaginative, wildly melodramatic—good fun. With Diana Rigg as Price's helpful daughter.'Dan Druker

Here are the gorgeous opening credits.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 64: Tue Mar 5

Rumble Fish (Coppola, 1983): Prince Charles Cinema, 8,45pm
This film is screening as part of the Classic Films season at the Prince Charles. Full listings here.

Master of Cinema review:
'Rumble Fish was Francis Ford Coppola’s (Apocalypse Now; The Conversation) second adaptation of one of author S.E. Hinton’s novels, coming right off the heels of wrapping production on the previous adaptation for The Outsiders. Doing a complete 180 in tone, Coppola’s Rumble Fish was a surreal examination of urban decay, misspent youth, and brotherhood shot in black and white with occasional blips of color. Laden with symbolic imagery of lost time, allusions to Greek mythology and even the post-war philosophical ramblings of the Beat Generation (“California’s like a beautiful wild girl on heroin who’s high as a kite thinking she’s on top of the world, not knowin’ she’s dyin’ even if you show her the marks”), the film is focused on the relationship between the two brothers Rusty James (Matt Dillon; Crash; The Outsiders) and The Motorcycle Boy (Mickey Rourke; Immortals; Passion Play; The Expendables; The Wrestler). The younger Rusty dreams of being a gang leader like his brother while the recently returned The Motorcycle Boy, a philosophizing hero amongst the local gangs, seems world weary, tired of his former life. The acting isn’t exactly the highlight of this 1980s peculiarity as much as the dreamlike state evoked by the beautiful, angular camera shots, extreme close-ups, time lapse photography and film noir inspired cinematography of Stephen H. Burum. With that being said, the cast assembled by Coppola is one of the great ones that perhaps only a director of his caliber could assemble, consisting of those he previously worked with like Dennis Hopper and Laurence Fishburne as well as numerous individuals who would go on to become Hollywood staples, such as the aforementioned Matt Dillon, Nicolas Cage, and Chris Penn. Also of note is former drummer for The Police Stewart Copeland’s evocative film score that is both eclectic and fittingly syncopated.'

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 63: Mon Mar 4

La Belle et la Bete (Cocteau, 1946): Phoenix Cinema, 7pm

Friend and patron of the Phoenix, Mark Kermode introduces a special performance to raise money for the Tavistock Clinic Foundation. Organised in association with the A Nos Amours film club, the event will feature a rare screening of Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bête (PG) in 35mm followed by a Q&A with cultural historian Sir Christopher Frayling and psychotherapist Margaret Rustin. The evening will conclude with an auction of very rare and highly prized scene stills donated by the Kobal Collection (stills made by G.R. Aldo, cinematographer of Senso, Terra Trema and Umberto D.)

Chicago reader review:
A sublime, sumptuous film directed by Jean Cocteau with the help of Rene Clement (1946). Cocteau re-creates the classic story of the beauty who gives herself to the beast to save her father, and whose growing love eventually transforms him into a handsome prince, with a brilliant blend of decor (sets by Christian Berard), human forms (superb makeup by Arakelian), and visual effects (dreamlike photography by Henri Alekan).

Dan Druker

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 62: Sun Mar 3

Love Meetings (Pasolini, 1964): BFI Southbank, NFT3 8.30pm
This film, which is screening as part of the Pier Paolo Pasolini season at the BFI Southbank, is also being shown on March 10 and March 14. Details here.

Here is the BFI introduction to the film: Comizi d’amore is Pasolini’s ciné-vérité investigation of Italian attitudes to sex and sexuality in 1964. Spot-sampling different areas of the country, Pasolini himself appears as an interviewer, asking subjects to discuss their freedoms, repressions and prejudices. Plus Pasolini’s surrealist contribution to the Silvana Mangano omnibus The Witches: The Earth Seen from the Moon (1966, 33min) reunites the stars of Hawks and Sparrows in a joyful fable.

Here is a fascinating extract.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 61: Sat Mar 2

Oldboy (Chan-Wook Park, 2003): Rio Cinema, 11.30pm
Another of the excellent midnight movie choices from the Rio Cinema. More details here.

Time Out review:
'It’s easy to feel blasé about the steady stream of action-oriented movies from the Far East, but this latest head-spinner from the director of the crunching ‘Sympathy for Mr Vengeance’ is far, far too good to leave to the ‘Asia Extreme’ crowd.

When we first meet businessman Oh Dae-Su (Choi Min-Sik), he’s a drunken boor, though he’d doubtless sober up if he knew what was coming. Abducted by persons unknown, he’s held prisoner for 15 years, until he’s just as unexpectedly released. Still none the wiser, he falls into a relationship with a sushi-bar hostess, whereupon his captor contacts him by mobile and offers a deal: if he can work out why he was kidnapped in the first place, the villain will offer up his life – if not, the girl cops it.

For Oh Dae-Su, getting mad and getting even amount to virtually the same thing. The sequence where he rearranges some low-life’s dental work will doubtless attract over-excited attention, much like the jaw-dropping one-take hammer-wielding skirmish in a corridor. But the upfront mayhem shouldn’t be allowed to distract from the film’s emotional depth or indeed its brilliant lead performance. For the protagonist, vengeance is a voyage of discovery, yet his newfound propensity towards violence troubles him, and his burning desire to confront his secretive nemesis may be fuelled by lingering self-doubt that he deserved his fate. Whatever happens, he’ll never be the same man again.

Choi Min-Sik is in the Pacino or De Niro class, running the gamut from terrifying rage to abject degradation. The implausibilities in the plot melt away because we’re living the experience with him, thanks also in part to the bravura expressiveness of Park’s direction. Hitchcock and Fincher are reference points, but this combines visceral punch, a tortured humanity and even an underlying Korean political resonance given the weight of the past. Quite an achievement then, and well worthy of its Cannes prize.'
Trevor Johnston

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 60: Fri Mar 1

The Gospel According to St. Matthew (Pasolini, 1964): BFI Southbank, NFT1 6.30pm
This film screens as part of the Pier Paolo Pasolini season at the BFI and is on an extended run at the cinema until March 14. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Remarkable in its use of cinema verite to obtain a sense of dynamic immediacy, this 1964 film by avowed Marxist and atheist/Catholic Pier Paolo Pasolini sticks closely to the biblical story of Christ from the Annunciation to the Resurrection. Pasolini uses a complex but seemingly stark and simple visual style, and he evokes wonderful performances from nonprofessionals Enrique Irazoqui, Margherita Caruso, and Marcello Morante. 
Don Druker

Here is the BFI trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 59: Thu Feb 28

Body Double (De Palma, 1984): The Montpelier, 43 Choumert Road, SE15 4AR, 8pm
This is the latest screning from the Days Are Numbers film club. The details of tonight's entertainment are on their Facebook page here.

This is a very rare screening of Brian De Palma's underrated mid-1980s Hitchcockian thriller. Highly recommended.

Chicago Reader review:
'It pains me to say it, but I think Brian De Palma has gotten a bad rap on this one: the first hour of this thriller represents the most restrained, accomplished, and effective filmmaking he has ever done, and if the film does become more jokey and incontinent as it follows its derivative path, it never entirely loses the goodwill De Palma engenders with his deft opening sequences. Craig Wasson is an unemployed actor who is invited to house-sit a Hollywood Hills mansion; he becomes voyeuristically involved with his beautiful neighbor across the way, and witnesses her murder. Those who have seen Vertigo will have solved the mystery within the first 15 minutes, but De Palma's use of frame lines and focal lengths to define Wasson's point of view is so adept that the suspense takes hold anyway. De Palma's borrowings from Hitchcock can no longer be characterized as hommages or even as outright thievery; his concentration on Hitchcockian motifs is so complete and so fetishized that it now seems purely a matter of repetition compulsion. But Body Double is the first De Palma film to make me think that all of his practice is leading at least to the beginnings of perfection. With Gregg Henry and Melanie Griffith' Dave Kehr 

If you want to read more about this movie there's Susan Dworkin's Double De Palma, an on-the-set account of the making of the film, plus a very thoughtful chapter in Misogyny in the Movies: the De Palma Question by Kenneth Mackinnon.

Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 58: Wed Feb 27

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quaix de Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Akerman, 1975):
BFI Southbank NFT3, 6.10pm

This screening will be introduced by director Carol Morley (The Alcohol Years; Dreams of a Life).

Chicago Reader review:

Chantal Akerman's greatest film--made in 1975 and running 198 minutes--is one of those lucid puzzlers that may drive you up the wall but will keep you thinking for days or weeks. Delphine Seyrig, in one of her greatest performances, plays Jeanne Dielman, a Belgian woman obsessed with performing daily rounds of housework and other routines (including occasional prostitution) in the flat she occupies with her teenage son. The film follows three days in Dielman's regulated life, and Akerman's intense concentration on her daily activities--monumentalized by Babette Mangolte's superb cinematography and mainly frontal camera setups--eventually sensitizes us to the small ways in which her system is breaking down. By placing so much emphasis on aspects of life and work that other films routinely omit, mystify, or skirt over, Akerman forges a major statement, not only in a feminist context but also in a way that tells us something about the lives we all live. Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 57: Tue Feb 26

To Better Days (Hasan Tolga Pulatm 2012): ICA Cinema 6.30pm
This film is screening as part of the London Turkish Film Festival, which opens on February 21. You can find details of the full season, which runs until March 3, here.

Here is the ICA introduction:
Eighteen year-old Cumali kills his sister in accordance with traditional honour codes, Ali loses his professional boxing license because of his involvement in illegal street fights, Figen works in a sweatshop in an Istanbul slum, İzzet works at the immigration office as a senior superintendent, and Anna has come to Turkey with dreams of finding a job and peace of mind but is now a sex worker.  

Hasan Tolga Pulat's powerful Antalya Festival multi-award winner chronicles a single day in Istanbul during which these five characters cross paths and affect each other’s lives in some way.

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 56: Mon Feb 25

Three Crowns of the Sailor (Ruiz, 1983): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.10pm
This screening is part of the Passport to Cinema season at BFI Southbank and is introduced by Independent on Sunday film critic, Jonathan Romney.

Chicago Reader review:
Raul Ruiz's compendium of old sea stories, drawn from Dinesen, Andersen, Stevenson, and Conrad, and knitted together into a tale of wonderful complexity. Ruiz plays a game with the audience, challenging us to find the patterns within the film's apparently arbitrary events, and then asking us to find the patterns that unite the patterns. Paradoxes build on paradoxes and logic on illogic, and yet the game has a serious end, building toward a world stripped of substance, in which everything signifies but nothing means. The visual style, based on Welles but with its own surprising directions, is just as imaginative.
Dave Kehr

Here is an extract from the film.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 55: Sun Feb 24

In the Name of God (Patwardhan, 1992): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 3.40pm
This is screening as part of a short Anand Patwardhan season at the BFI. Full details here.

Here is an introduction to the season by former Daily Telegraph film critic Sukhdev Sandhu:
Anand Patwardhan, born in 1950, is the leading Indian documentary filmmaker of his generation. If Bollywood, ever gaudier and more mechanical in its productions, trades in faux-populism, Patwardhan offers a cinema, at once humanistic and radical, dedicated to chronicling the struggles of real people – fishermen, millworkers, slum dwellers, untouchables – who are marginal, almost ghostly presences across the contemporary Indian mediascape. Fiercely independent, and never afraid to take on the television networks and governmental bodies that have sought to censor him, he has always operated outside the mainstream, not just writing and editing his own films, but finding alternative distribution networks for them.

India is the subject of Patwardhan’s films, but his political formation was international. He was deeply affected by the Civil Rights struggles and anti-Vietnam war protests he witnessed at first hand as a student at Brandeis University, Massachussetts, in the early 1970s. He was also drawn to militant cinema of the period, notably the ‘imperfect cinema’ and ‘Third Cinema’ movements of Latin America which saw the camera as a crucial weapon in the service of revolutionary activism. The turbulent India of the 1970s, placed in lockdown following Indira Gandhi’s declaration of a State of Emergency in 1975, intensified his desire to provide a corrective to the lies of ideologues and their lackeys in the press and on television.

Patwardhan’s films are distinguished by their patience: he does not cut fast, nor does he treat his subjects as mere talking heads or purveyors of vivid soundbites; he allows his interlocutors space and time to express themselves. Discursive rather than agenda-driven, edited in a manner that is patient and inquisitive rather than finger-poking or sloganeering, they can also be viewed as first-rate examples of a genre more typically associated with European or American artists: the cine-essay. They can usefully be viewed alongside the recent burgeoning of India-focussed reportage exemplified by writers such as Aman Sethi, Sudeep Chakravarti and Katharine Boo. This is a rare opportunity to watch a body of work that is passionate and probing, timely and timeless.

Here is the BFI introduction to tonight's screening:
A heartfelt cri de coeur against India’s growing betrayal of first principles and its turn away from secularism, this is a beautifully constructed examination of the events leading up to the demolition by Hindu nationalists of a sixteenth-century mosque in Ayodha. It investigates the role played by upper-class Hindus who appear to have renounced ascetism in favour of materialism, but also pays homage to Hindu liberation theologians who hold more radical visions of their religion. Plus We Are Not Your Monkeys (1996, 5min): a short music video, co-written by Patwardhan with Dalit poets Daya Pawar and Sambhaji Bhagat, that deploys images of Hindu deities with contemporary street-theatre footage to reappraise critically the conservative gender politics of the Ramayana epic.

The film will be introduced by the director.

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 54: Sat Feb 23

Night of Silence (Celik, 2012): Ro Cinema, 6.15pm
This film is screening as part of the London Turkish Film Festival, which opens on February 21. You can find details of the full season, which runs until March 3, here.

Here is the London Turkish Film Festival introduction: Reis Çelik's lyrical and intense 2012 Berlin Film Festival prize-winner is an unforgettable piece of cinema. In a remote Anatolian village an ancient blood feud between two families has been finally put to rest and a marriage arranged to seal the union. The groom has spent many years in prison and has never met his teenage bride. On their wedding night there are customs and rituals to be observed but the events in this bridal chamber become ever stranger as the claustrophobic night reaches a shattering conclusion. A sensitively told tale with two brilliant performances at its heart.

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 53: Fri Feb 22

Jin (Erdem, 2012): ICA Cinema, 7.30pm
This film is screening as part of the London Turkish Film Festival, which opens on February 21. You can find details of the full season, which runs until March 3, here.

Here is the ICA introduction: The new film from Reha Erdem, Turkish cinema's great maverick movie-maker and director of Times and Winds and Kosmos, is an existential thriller with touches of magic realism. 17 year old Jin is on the run through dangerous forests and mountains, choosing to rebel in order to live; but both man and nature conspire to make her journey a treacherous one. The riveting juxtaposition of beauty and savagery is just one of the film's ambiguities, but when they combine in the final sequence the effect is truly breathtaking.

A Q&A with director Reha Erdem will follow the screening. 

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 52: Thu Feb 21

The Keep (Mann, 1983): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.30pm
Some of us have been waiting years for this to be shown on the big screen, and in 35mm. Trust the Cigarette Burns film club team to come up trumps. More details on their Facebook here.

Forget what you know about Michael Mann's film-making. This is a complete one-off.

Here is the Cigarette Burns introduction:
Screw your VHS.
Sod Laserdisc.
Smash your TV.
And bollocks to streaming.

We got THIRTY FIVE MILLIMETRES of celluloid, jam packed with THE KEEP! Deep within the borders of Romania lie mountains that were once home to folklore of the most terrifying nature, from dragons to werewolves to vampires, creatures of our nightmares have always called these mountains' peaks and passes home.

In Michael Mann's "lost" 2nd feature, a Nazi unit have unwittingly awaken an ancient evil, Molasar. Nestled in his Keep for years, he has risen and is hungry. Ian MacKellen, playing a Jewish theologian, is freed from a concentration camp to help send Molasar back from whence he came.

Cigarette Burns have teamed up with Electric Sheep Magazine to bring a very special and rare screening of a film never released on DVD making it nearly as mythical as Molasar himself.
Come join us as we wander through The Keep on 35mm, the way it's meant to be seen. 

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 51: Wed Feb 20

There Will Be Blood (Anderson, 2007): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.30pm
This is screening as part of the Paul Thomas Anderson retrospective at the Prince Charles Cinema. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Paul Thomas Anderson's fifth feature (2007), a striking piece of American self-loathing loosely derived from Upton Sinclair's Oil!, is lively as bombastic period storytelling but limited as allegory. The cynical shallowness of both the characters and the overall conception—American success as an unholy alliance between a turn-of-the-century capitalist (Daniel Day-Lewis) and a faith healer (Paul Dano), both hypocrites—can't quite sustain the film's visionary airs, even with good expressionist acting and a percussive score by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood. Day-Lewis, borrowing heavily from Walter and John Huston, offers a demonic hero halfway between Thomas Sutpen in Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! and James Dean's hate-driven tycoon in Giant (shot on the same location as this movie), but Kevin J. O'Connor in a slimmer part offers a much more interesting and suggestive character. This has loads of swagger, but for stylistic audacity I prefer Anderson's more scattershot Magnolia.Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 50: Tue Feb 19

The Young Lions (Dmytryk, 1958): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 7.50pm
This film, screened as part of the Montgomery Clift season at BFI Southbank, is also being shown on February 23 at 4.50pm. Details here.

Time Out review:
'This version of Irwin Shaw's lengthy WWII novel, adapted by Edward Anhalt, is three movies for the price of one. We follow idealistic German Brando, American soldier Clift and crooner Martin from the time of enlistment until their paths eventually cross outside a concentration camp towards the end of the war. Clift, who accused Brando of turning the character of Diestl into a 'fucking Nazi pacifist', blocked his fellow Method actor from dying with his arms outstretched as if on the Cross; and director Dmytryk dissuaded Brando from delivering an improvised speech about the plight of American blacks. Clift gave his deliberately unattractive Jewish GI, Noah Ackerman, a shuddering intensity. Perhaps wisely, Clift and Brando, shared no scenes together. Motivation, Dean Martin observed, is a lot of crap. "Hell, I just played myself. A likeable coward."'
Brian Case

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 49: Mon Feb 18

The Influence Machine (Ousler, 2000): Tate Modern, 6pm
This 'event' is also being presented at the Tate on Feb, 15th, 16th & 19th. Details here.

Tony Ousler is perhaps best known currently for his video to accompany David Bowie's latest song, Where Are We Now.

Here is the Tate Modern's introduction to Ousler's 2000 work: Ghostly presences haunt Tate Modern’s riverfront landscape in an immersive installation entitled The Influence Machine by American artist Tony Oursler, presented in collaboration with Artangel. This large-scale multimedia séance, which explores the deep history of virtual image production, was recently donated to Tate, along with several other works from the Artangel Collection.

Oursler conceived The Influence Machine as a kind of ‘psycho-landscape’, which traces the growth of telecommunication, from the telegraph to the radio, the television and the Internet, with each technological leap accompanied by a struggle to define its usage. Delving deep into the history of media, Oursler created a historic sound and light show which invokes the spirit of the phantasmagorias of the late eighteenth century to investigate what he called ‘the dark side of the light’ - an alternative history of disembodied communication.

The work consists of monologues written by Oursler and performed by several ethereal figures which are projected onto trees, walls and clouds of smoke. Key names from media history are referenced, such as Kate Fox, purveyor of the spiritual telegraph, the television pioneer John Logie Baird and Etienne Gaspard Robertson, who used automatons and magic lanterns to create pre-cinematic performances in a Paris crypt in 1763. The haunting soundtrack, played on a glass harmonica, was composed by musician and expanded cinema pioneer Tony Conrad in collaboration with Oursler.

Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 48: Sun Feb 17

The Life Story of David Lloyd George (Elvey, 1918): Barbican, 4pm

Here is the Barbican introduction to what sounds a remarkable find: Maurice Elvey's remarkable chronicle of the life of the great Welsh politician was suppressed under mysterious circumstances in 1918 and never shown. It disappeared for 76 yearsbefore its rediscovery by the Wales Film and Television Archive. Norman Page delivers a masterly performance as Lloyd George, as he moves from his early school and working life towards the pinnacle of his political career.

With live piano accompaniment by Neil Brand and introduced by film historian Ian Christie.

You can read more here about the fascinating background to this film from Neil Brand at the Silent London website.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 47: Sat Feb 16

Witchfinder General (Reeves, 1968): Rio Cinema, 11.30pm
A rare chance to see this British horror classic on the big screen- and in 35mm. This is a Cigarette Burns film club production so expect plenty of extras. Details here.

Time Out review:
'Filmed on location in the countryside of Norfolk and Suffolk on a modest budget, this portrait of backwoods violence - set in 1645, it deals with the infamous witchhunter Matthew Hopkins, and the barbarities he practised during the turmoils of the Civil War - remains one of the most personal and mature statements in the history of British cinema. In the hands of the late Michael Reeves (this was his last film, made at the age of 23), a fairly ordinary but interestingly researched novel by Ronald Bassett, with a lot of phony Freudian motivation, is transformed into a highly ornate, evocative, and poetic study of violence, where the political disorganisation and confusion of the war is mirrored by the chaos and superstition in men's minds. The performances are generally excellent, and no film before or since has used the British countryside in quite the same way.'
David Pirie

Here is the trailer.

You can read critic Robin Wood's famous  1970 Movie article on director Michael Reeves here.

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 46: Fri Feb 15

Madame De (Ophuls, 1953): BFI Southbank, NFT 3, 2.30, 6.20 & 8.50pm
This Max Ophuls classic, perhaps the highlight of the year on the London repertory circuit, is on an extened run at BFI Southbank through February. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
'Certainly one of the crowning achievements in film (1953). Max Ophuls's gliding camera follows Danielle Darrieux, Charles Boyer, and Vittorio De Sica through a circle of flirtation, passion, and disappointment, a tour that embraces both sophisticated comedy and high tragedy. Ophuls's camera style is famous for its physicalization of time, in which every fleeting moment is recorded and made palpable by the ceaseless tracking shots, yet his delineation of space is also sublime and highly charged: no director has better understood the emotional territory that exists offscreen.'
Dave Kehr

Here is an extract.