Monday, 29 May 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 156: Tue Jun 6

The Report (Kiarostami, 1977): Close-Up Cinema, 7.30pm

This screening is part of the Close-Up Cinema Abbas Kiarostami season. Click here for all the movies in the season concentrating on the great director's early works. The film is also being shown on June 19th. Full details here.

Close-Up review:
Produced by Iranian New Wave cinema director and producer Bahman Farmanara (making this Kiarostami’s first break with Kanoon), The Report centres on an unhappy marriage and offers viewers a time-capsule of middle class life in Tehran in the 70s. Starring Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo, and a major influence on many Iranian directors of the post-revolutionary era (including the two-time Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi), this deftly crafted, semi-autobiographical domestic drama was Kiarostami’s first work to feature professional actors. All copies of the film are believed to be lost or destroyed, with the digital copy presented being the sole surviving film element.
Ehsan Khoshbakht

Here (and above) is an extract.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 155: Mon Jun 5

Little Big Man (Penn, 1970): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.10pm

This screening is part of the Dustin Hoffman season and you can find all the details of the season here. This film is also being shown on June 11th and 30th. Full details here.

Time Out film review:
Arthur Penn's adaptation of Thomas Berger's novel is an epic post-Western that sets out to demythologise its subject-matter through the eyes of Jack Crabb (Hoffman), either a 121-year-old hero who's seen it all or a phenomenal liar. Ambiguity, both towards fact and character, is the keynote, as Hoffman's protagonist is orphaned, adopted by Indians, returned to the whites as a conman, and finally acclaimed as the sole white survivor of Custer's downfall at Little Big Horn. It's a shaggy, picaresque tale, laden with off-beat but pertinent observations as Crabb exchanges cultures and bears witness to the white man's genocidal treatment of 'the human beings'. Parallels with Vietnam naturally abound, but finally it's a wryly ironic rewriting of American history that makes up for its occasionally facile debunking of heroic targets by means of vivid direction and effortless performances. Funny, humane, and a work of brave intelligence.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 154: Sun Jun 4

Pickpocket (Bresson, 1959): Close Up Cinema, 6.30pm

This 35mm screening is part of a Take-Two double-bill presentation with Jean-Luc Godard's Vivre Sa Vie. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Robert Bresson made this short electrifying study in 1959; it's one of his greatest and purest films, full of hushed transgression and sudden grace. A petty thief (Martin Lasalle) becomes addicted to the art and thrill of picking pockets. He loses his friends and fiancee, and begins to live like a monk, concentrating his entire being on his obsessional, increasingly devotional acts of theft. If the film seems familiar, that's because Paul Schrader recycled great chunks of it in his scripts for Taxi Driver, American Gigolo, and Raging Bull. But the original retains its awesome, austere power. With Pierre Leymarie and Marika Green. In French with subtitles.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 153: Sat Jun 3

Me And You and Everyone We Know (July, 2005): Picturehouse Central, 1.15pm

This 35mm presentation is part of the Sundance Film Festival season at Picturehouse Central. You can find all the details of the season here. This film is part of the excellent Robert Redford Recommends strand. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Fresh, likable, and stylishly low-key, this wistful and sexy romantic comedy marks the feature-directing debut of conceptual artist Miranda July. There are a lot of strong performances by relative unknowns, but what really holds things together is a certain sustained pitch of feeling about loneliness. July plays a shy video artist, supporting herself as a cabdriver for the elderly, who becomes interested in a recently separated shoe clerk (John Hawkes) with two sons. The movie's flirtatious roundelay also includes the clerk's coworker, an art curator, and a couple of teenage girls.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 152: Fri Jun 2

In The Cut (Campion, 2003): Curzon Soho, 6.25pm

Misc. Films is a London-based programming collective dedicated to showcasing unreleased, under-screened or under-appreciated films. This 35mm presentation will be followed by a Q&A with director Jane Campion.

Chicago Reader review:
One can easily pick apart this Jane Campion adaptation of a thriller by Susanna Moore: it isn't very satisfying as a thriller, and certain details—like the heroine assigning Virginia Woolf's 
To the Lighthouse to her inner-city high school students—come across as just plain silly. But I still consider this the best (which also means the sexiest) Campion feature since The Piano, featuring Meg Ryan's finest performance to date and an impressive one by Mark Ruffalo. Scripted by Moore and Campion, it takes on the unfashionable question of what sex means for a single woman drifting into middle age, and what it says on the subject veers from the obvious to the novel. Campion is better with moods than with plot, and her capable handling of some actors (including Jennifer Jason Leigh and an uncredited Kevin Bacon) ameliorates the hyperbolic characters they're asked to play.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Misc. Films is a London-based programming collective dedicated to showcasing unreleased, under-screened or under-appreciated films. - See more at:

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 151: Thu Jun 1

Inland Empire (Lynch, 2006): Genesis Cinema, 8.30pm

This 35mm presentation is part of the David Lynch season at the Genesis Cinema. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
David Lynch's first digital video (2006) is his best and most experimental feature since Eraserhead (1978). Shot piecemeal over at least a year and without a script, this 179-minute meditation builds on Lynch's Mulholland Drive (2001) as a sinister and critical portrait of Hollywood. But it resists any narrative paraphrase, with several overlapping premises rather than a single consecutive plot. Laura Dern plays an actress who's been cast in a new feature, as well as a battered housewife and a hooker; there are also Polish characters and a sitcom with giant rabbits in human clothes. The visual qualities include impressionistic soft-focus colors, expressionistic lighting, and disquietingly huge close-ups. With Justin Theroux, Jeremy Irons, Karolina Gruszka, Harry Dean Stanton, and Grace Zabriskie.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 150: Wed May 31

Ichi The Killer (Miike, 2001): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm

This event is part of the '35mm Presentations' season at the Prince Charles Cinema. You can find the full details here.

Time Out film review:
'All events and characters in the film are entirely sick, any resemblance to persons living or dead is a sad coincidence.' As disclaimers go, that's on the nail: Miike's adaptation of Hideo Yamamoto's notorious manga is alarmingly faithful. Which means that these two hours of extreme violence, sadism and masochism are calculated to challenge every censor in the world: no part of the male or female body is left unsliced, and no bodily fluid is left unsplattered. The yakuza Kakihara (Tadanubo Asano, flinching from nothing) mobilises his gang to track down the legendary killer Ichi, suspected murderer of their boss; Kakihara is also searching for a sadist who can torture him with the same love he used to get from the dead man. No one suspects that Ichi (Nao Omori, son of butoh legend Akaji Maro) is a helpless cry-baby who becomes the ultimate killer in a superhero costume only when under hypnosis from the vengeful Jijii (Tsukamoto), whose secret agenda is to stir up a gang-war. Funny, absurd, nightmarishly visceral and - of course - deeply serious.
Tony Rayns 

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 149: Tue May 30

The Exiles (MacKenzie, 1961): Deptford Cinema, 7pm

Chicago reader review:
Written, produced, and directed by Kent Mackenzie, this low-budget independent feature (1961) deserves to be ranked with John Cassavetes's Shadows, but it languished unseen for nearly four decades until Thom Andersen celebrated it in his 2003 video essay Los Angeles Plays Itself. Pitched somewhere between fiction and documentary, with nonprofessional actors improvising postsynced dialogue and internal monologues, it follows a few uprooted Native Americans from Friday night to Saturday morning in the Bunker Hill district of Los Angeles. Its moving portraiture is refreshingly free of cliches and moralizing platitudes, and the high-contrast black-and-white photography and dense, highly creative sound track are equally impressive (even the occasional imprecise lip sync seems justified). Mackenzie lived only long enough to make one other feature—Saturday Morning (1971), which I haven't seen—but this film's lowercase urban poetry suggests a major talent.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 148: Mon May 29

Bonnie and Clyde (Penn, 1967): Moth Club, Old Trades Hall, Valette St, London E9, 7.30pm

The Cine-Real movie club is back with another 16mm presentation, this one of a classic from director Arthur Penn.

Chicago Reader review:
When Fritz Lang filmed it in 1938 (as You Only Live Once), the story had a metaphysical thrust. When Nicholas Ray filmed it in 1948 (They Live by Night), it was romantic and doom laden. But by the time Arthur Penn got to it in 1967, it was pure myth, the distillation of dozens of drive-in movies about rebellious kids and their defeat at the hands of the establishment. It's by far the least controlled of Penn's films (the tone wobbles between hick satire and noble social portraiture, and the issue of violence is displayed more than it's examined), but the pieces work wonderfully well, propelled by what was then a very original acting style. With Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman, Estelle Parsons, Michael J. Pollard, and Gene Wilder.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 147: Sun May 28

Spartacus (Kubrick, 1960): Close-Up Cinema, 7pm

This 35mm screening is part of the Stanley Kubrick season at Close-Up. You can find the full details here.

Time Out review:
Stanley Kubrick’s Oscar-winning Technicolor ’Scope sandal saga – centred on a Roman slave revolt headed by Kirk Douglas’s titular folklore hero – has aged amazingly well. If there are any reservations, it’s Douglas himself, who trades mostly on his chiselled, dimpled jawline and well-built pecs. That said, his stiltedness eases when in the company of Jean Simmons’s coy slave girl; their short moments of laughter are touching and naturally conveyed. Needless to say, the film’s big Brit hitters – Peter Ustinov, Laurence Olivier and especially Charles Laughton – all make exceptional work of Dalton Trumbo’s reflective screenplay, while Kubrick himself handles the film’s mechanics of corruption with skill. This is widescreen, epic filmmaking on a massive scale: the final battle scene – punctuated by Alex North’s quaint but occasionally overwrought score – stretches as far as the eye can see, and its choreography from afar is remarkable given the lack of communication technology back then. To see it once again on the big screen, in all its expansive glory, is a treat.
Derek Adams

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 146: Sat May 27

Ginger & Rosa (Potter, 2012): Curzon Aldgate, 3.20pm

Curzon and Bechdel Test Fest present a double-bill of Stella Corradi's award-winning short film Little Soldier and Sally Potter's Ginger & Rosa at Curzon Aldgate. Stella Corradi and Zawe Ashton will join feminist film festival Bechdel Test Fest for a post-screening Q&A.

Chicago Reader review:
Sally Potter's semi-autobiographical period piece follows two teenaged best friends as they drift apart in 1962 London. Ginger (Elle Fanning), the daughter of a famous bohemian writer, takes inspiration from poetry and the antinuclear movement, while working-class Rosa (Alice Englert, daughter of director Jane Campion) loses herself in nightlife and irresponsible sex. The coming-of-age narrative may be familiar, but Potter is so accomplished in her handling of period and subjective experience that she creates a unique mood. Like Terence Davies's work, this is less about storytelling than immersing viewers in the minute details of an era—what one of the film's characters describes as "the poetry of confinement." The excellent supporting cast includes Timothy Spall, Christina Hendricks, Oliver Platt, and an unrecognizable Annette Bening.
Ben Sachs

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 145: Fri May 26

Veronika Voss (Fassbinder, 1982): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.40pm

The excellent Rainer Werner Fassbinder season continues at the BFI Southbank with this 35mm screening. Full details of the season can be found here. This film is also being screened on May 29th and you can find all the details here.

Little White Lies review:
This is representative of Fassbinder’s astounding “BDR trilogy”, made right at the tail end of his career (including 1979’s The Marriage of Maria Braun and 1981’s Lola). Veronika Voss, his penultimate film, appears to foretell his own demise as it follows a sports journalist who begins to snoop into the life of a mysterious cabaret singer (Rosel Zech) who once performed for the Nazis and even, allegedly, got physical with Goebbels. This is like Fassbinder’s twist on Billy Wilder’s Sunset Blvd, but instead of focusing on a laughable grotesque, it’s about a glamorous ghost attempting and failing to live a frazzled duel existence. The glistening black-and-white photography lends this deeply sombre tale a nostalgic visual counterpoint – like its tragic heroine, its trapped and torn between changing times.

David Jenkins

This review is from a Fassbinder top ten films article in Little White Lies that places this movie at No1 in the director's work. You can read the full piece here.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 144: Thu May 25

Viy (Ptushko/Ershov,/Kropachev, 1967): Barbican Cinema, 8.45pm

This 35mm screening from the excellent Cigarette Burns crew is part of their 'Into The Woods' season. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Russian director Alexander Ptushko is known for his special effects, which have an appropriately low-tech charm in this 1967 folktale. Three traveling seminarians, needing a place to stay, stop at the home of an old woman. After one of them angers their hostess, she reveals herself to be a witch and compels him to pray over the corpse of a young woman for three nights in a row, beset by increasingly monstrous demons. The imagery resembles animated children's book illustrations, and while it's not particularly innovative as cinema, it works well here. Ptushko shares the directing credit with Konstantin Ershov and Giorgi Kropachyov.
Fred Camper

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 143: Wed May 24

Lili Marleen (Fassbinder, 1981): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.20pm

The excellent Rainer Werner Fassbinder season continues at the BFI Southbank with this 35mm screening. Full details of the season can be found here. This film is also being screened on May 19th and you can find all the details here.

Time Out review: 
Fassbinder's determinedly 'tasteless' brew of sentiment and swastikas annexes the original two-way forces' favourite to a totally apocryphal cloak-and-dagger romance, camped up into a one-song musical comedy. Its basic joke is that Hanna Schygulla, required to sing 'Lili Marlene' umpteen times, can't sing; but when a variation on that has her Jewish lover (Giancarlo Giannini) tortured with the song by his German gaolers, one's incredulous guffaws just keep rolling. Elaborate proof that the devil really does have all the best tunes.
Paul Taylor

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 142: Tue May 23

Dishonored (Von Sternberg, 1931): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.45pm

Josef Von Sternberg's erotically charged espionage romance is being screened (35mm) in the BFI Southbank Big Screen Classics season, which this month consist of films which were influential on the work of Reiner Werner Fassbinder. You can find the full list here. Dishonored will aslo be shown on Sunday May 28th. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
It's possible to look at this 1931 Josef von Sternberg film and see nothing but camp (it stars Marlene Dietrich as secret agent X-27, working behind the lines in World War I), but give it an ounce of respect and you'll discover a remarkable aesthetic object—an exercise in mise-en-scene of an awesome, glacial beauty. Audiences always howl during the final scene, in which Dietrich carefully retouches her makeup before facing a firing squad, but it is perhaps the purest expression of Sternberg's belief in the triumph of aesthetics over mortality. With Victor McLaglen, Lew Cody, and Warner Oland. Cited by Jean-Luc Godard as one of the greatest American movies since the coming of sound.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 141: Mon May 22

Lola (Fassbinder, 1981): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.45pm

The excellent Rainer Werner Fassbinder season continues at the BFI Southbank with this screening. Full details of the season can be found here. This film is also being screened on May 24th and 27th and you can find all the details here. (Tonight's screening and the one on the 27th will be screened in 4k in NFT1).

Time Out film review:
A wonderfully upfront narrative rendered in garish primary colours, this discursive update of The Blue Angel poses Lola (Barbara Sukowa) and the blue-eyed trembling-pillar-of-rectitude building commissioner who helplessly falls for her (Armin Mueller-Stahl) as barometers of the moral bankruptcy at the heart of Germany's post-war 'economic miracle'. Lola (owned, like most of the city, by Mario Adorf's bluffly sleazy building profiteer) threads sinuously through the civic corruption of reconstruction, accruing sufficient manipulative credit to buy a slice of the status quo, seductively scuttling several shades of idealism with the oldest of come-on currencies. Business as usual. The prostitution metaphors come undiluted from early Godard, the poster-art visuals from the magnificent melodramas of Sirk and Minnelli; the provocations are all Fassbinder's own.
Paul Taylor

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 140: Sun May 21

Berlin Alexanderplatz (Fassbinder, 1980): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 12.30-10.20pm


The excellent Rainer Werner Fassbinder season continues at the BFI Southbank with this legendary German TV series, which starts on Saturday May 20th. Full details of the season can be found here. The full programme for the two-day screening of this epic 15 hour-plus masterwork can be found on the BFI Southbank website here.

This is the BFI introduction:
Described by Andrew Sarris as ‘the Mount Everest of modern cinema’, this epic TV series was the result of Fassbinder’s lifelong obsession with Alfred Döblin’s great city novel, bringing to life the twilight years of the Weimar Republic. Günter Lamprecht gives a stupendous performance as Franz Biberkopf, released from jail into a Berlin blighted by mass unemployment. Determined to live an honest life, he is helped and hindered by fellow Berliners, including Reinhold, his sinister best friend, and Mieze, the love of his life. Fassbinder’s masterpiece offers a complex, credible account of the circumstances which led ordinary Germans to embrace National Socialism. Absorbing and addictive, this is long-form drama at its most ambitious. Tickets available to book online for each programme £11, concs £8.80 (Members pay £2 less). Day tickets available £24, concs £19.20 (Members pay £2 less) or whole programme available £40, concs £34 (Members pay £2 less) by phone or in person from the BFI box office on 0207 928 3232 (open 11.30am to 8.30pm daily).

Chicago Reader review:
Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 15 hours-plus adaptation of Doblin's novel is perhaps the capstone of his career (1981), a work of unprecedented narrative density that revolves around a single character. Franz Biberkopf is a pudgy, affable ex-con, determined to achieve some kind of decency in a world—the Berlin of the Weimar Republic—that will not tolerate it. Fassbinder discards the mannerism of his late films in favor of a noble simplicity, concentrating on a single point of view as it operates across a wide range of experiences and environments. All of the usual distancing effects drop out, leaving the wrenching spectacle of one man grappling with his life in perfect candor.
Dave Kehr

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 139: Sat May 20

Blow-Up (Antonioi, 1966): Curzon Soho, 3pm

This is the latest screening in the Curzon Soho Enthusiasm season, dedicated to screening from prints. Here is the cinema's introduction to the event (full details here):
We're delighted to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the UK release of Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up with a special screening of the film on 35mm. Blow-Up remains a fascinating portrait of Swinging London seen through an ex–pat’s lens, and one of the seminal tales of 1960s drug­–infused paranoia. Preceding the feature film we are excited to present a rare screening of Peter Tscherkassky’s astonishing 1999 short found–footage thriller Outer Space on 35mm. Reappropriating footage from an unremarkable B-movie from the 1950s, Tscherkassky reprocesses, distorts and cross-prints every single frame to create a delirious audiovisual nightmare where the very substance of celluloid film becomes the protagonist in this visceral horror vignette, lurking with chemical malice.

Chicago Reader review:
Michelangelo Antonioni's sexy art-house hit of 1966, which played a substantial role in putting "swinging London" on the map, follows a day in the life of a young fashion photographer (David Hemmings) who discovers, after blowing up his photos of a couple glimpsed in a park, that he may have inadvertently uncovered a murder. Part erotic thriller (with significant glamorous roles played by Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles, Verushka, and Jane Birkin), part exotic travelogue (featuring a Yardbirds concert, antiwar demonstrations, street mimes, one exuberant orgy, and a certain amount of pot), this is so ravishing to look at (the colors all seem newly minted) and pleasurable to follow (the enigmas are usually more teasing than worrying) that you're likely to excuse the metaphysical pretensions—which become prevalent only at the very end—and go with the 60s flow, just as the original audiences did.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 138: Fri May 19

Lost in Translation (Coppola, 2003): Prince Charles Cinema, 9pm

This 35mm screening is part of the Sofia Coppola season at the Prince Charles Cinema. You can find all the deatils of the season here.

Time Out film review:
Contemporary Tokyo, and Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is having an out-of-body experience. Nothing says disconnection so much as giant billboards of yourself commending Suntory whisky to a foreign audience when the shoot behind the ads leaves you stranded in a sterile hotel bar nursing your loneliness over several glasses of the same. That's when he meets Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), a soul-searching young New Yorker idling time while her photographer husband disappears on assignment. She recognises a fellow castaway, and soon the two are trading quips and confidences. A comedy of dislocation framing a love story bound up in an expression of existential melancholy, Sofia Coppola's film is a deft, manifold delight. Johansson again impresses as an old head on young shoulders, but it's Murray's infinitely modulated performance that underpins the film. Riffing on his own image, he gives a sweet-sad study of a man lost inside himself, resigned to the likelihood that it's for life. Certainly the film has the ring of experience. The anomie of international living, the push-pull of shirking home. Admittedly it makes life easier on itself by camping up Japan's way-out culture (an irrepressible chat show host and a voluble photo director are particular standouts), but that's in keeping with its alienation principle. So far as the central relationship goes, the film is almost European in its subtlety and nuance. Cinematic cherry blossom.
Nick Bradshaw

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 137: Thu May 18

The Asphalt Jungle (Huston, 1950): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.30pm

This 35mm screening is part of the Cinematic Jukebox season at the Prince Charles Cinema. You can find full details of the season here.

Chicago Reader review:
John Huston's bleak, semidocumentary account of a jewel heist and its moral consequences. One of the first big caper films, this 1950 feature contributed much to the essence of the genre in its meticulous observation of planning and execution. But Huston's interest remains with his characters, who dissolve as tragically as the prospectors of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and the adventurers of The Man Who Would Be King. The film has been remade at least three times, as The Badlanders, Cairo, and Cool Breeze.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 136: Wed May 17

In A Year with 13 Moons (Fassbinder, 1978): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 5.20pm

The excellent Rainer Werner Fassbinder season continues at the BFI Southbank with this screening. Full details of the season can be found here. This film is also being screened on May 14th you can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:Rainer Werner Fassbinder's distant, episodic study of the sad, turgid last days of an unhappy transsexual. There's none of the allegorical cushioning he provided in The Marriage of Maria Braun: Elvira (seamlessly played by Volker Spengler) is irreducibly, ineluctably him/herself, and her problems are not social, political, or moral, but exclusively those of her grotesque condition—the unloved lover. The subject invites easy compassion and pity, but Fassbinder's icy camera style keeps us at arm's length, calling up a much more complex response.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) id the opening.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 135: Tue May 16

The Straight Story (Lynch, 1999): Genesis Cinema, 7pm

To mark the return of Lynch's landmark series Twin Peaks, the Genesis Cinema are screening a season of the great director's finest works, many of them including this in 35mm.

Chicago Reader review:
A welcome change of pace (1999) from David Lynch, based on the true story of Alvin Straight, a midwestern septuagenarian who rode 240 miles on a lawn mower to visit his estranged brother after the latter suffered a stroke. The wonderful Richard Farnsworth plays the lead, and he was clearly born for the part; the script is by John Roach and Lynch's editor and coproducer, Mary Sweeney. Lynch's imaginative and heartfelt direction falters only when he tries for some of his relatively familiar weirdo effects. Otherwise this is a highly affecting and suggestive spiritual odyssey with plenty of all-American trimmings and reflections about old age. If some of the imagery suggests very-high-level calendar art, Lynch's use of the 'Scope frame is even more attractive than inBlue Velvet, and the film's reflective rhythms are haunting. With Sissy Spacek.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer. 

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 134: Mon May 15

Rita, Sue and Bob Too (Clarke, 1987): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.15pm

BFI introduction to this special screening:
Newly remastered and reissued, Rita, Sue and Bob Too is a controversial comic drama about two adolescent school girls who start seeing a married man with no initial concern for the consequences. Directed by Alan Clarke and written by playwright Andrea Dunbar, the film has 1980s Britain running through it, and boasted the strapline ‘Thatcher’s Britain with her knickers down’. For some it was uncomfortable, and for others joyful, but either way, it’s a striking piece of writing and filmmaking. We will be joined by some of the people who made it all possible as we re-evaluate its importance as a great British film.

Chicago Reader review:
Rita (Siobhan Finneran) and Sue (Michelle Holmes), two teenagers in the north of England who are the best of friends, lose their virginity to Bob (George Costigan), a suburban husband they sometimes baby-sit for, and before long their amicable three-way relationship is scandalizing the neighbors and members of their families, including Bob’s wife Michelle (Lesley Sharp). Shot in and around the town of Bradford in long, loping takes, this sprightly comedy, adapted by Andrea Dunbar from her own play, has some of the energy that one associates with the better exploitation films that used to be produced by Roger Corman. Television director Alan Clarke has a fine time showing how the working-class white and Pakistani communities rub shoulders with the middle class, and although the plot has curious omissions — we never discover, for instance, what Bob does for a living — the spirited acting and direction turn this into something of a lark.
Jonathan Rosenabum

Here (and above) are extracts.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 133: Sun May 14

Aaaaaaaah! (Oram, 2015): Rio Cinema, 2pm

A rare chance to see this cult horror film (in a double-bill with Alice Lowe's debut film Prevenge). Aaaaaaaah! director Steve Oram and Lowe will be at the screening for a Q&A.

Little White Lies review:
Let’s not mince words: Steve Oram is a master filmmaker. He’ll be known to British audiences for his co-starring role in Ben Wheatley’s 2012 comedy-horror hybrid, Sightseers, in which he played one half of an oddball twosome traversing the English countryside and who take a hatchet to the skull of anything or anyone that doesn’t chime with their quaint Midlands sensibilities. Aaaaaaaah! is his debut feature film as writer and director, a transgressive situationist comedy which is also one of the great British films of the new millennium. Explaining why is not going to be easy. ...

... the rest of the review is here if you want to read it ... the advice is just to go ...

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 132: Sat May 13

Le Havre (Kaurismaki, 2011): Curzon Soho, 2.30pm

Here is the Curzon Soho introduction to this special screening:
The Other Side of Hope is the latest film from Aki Kaurismäki (Lights in the Dusk, The Man Without a Past, I Hired a Contract Killer), for which he won the Silver Bear award for Best Director at the 2017 Berlin Film Festival. We preview this hotly anticipated film, showing exclusively at Curzon Soho on 35mm. This is also a unique chance to see The Other Side of Hope in a double bill with its companion piece, Kaurismäki’s 2011 Le Havre, also on 35mm. The Other Side of Hope tells the interlinked stories of Wikström, card-shark travelling salesman (Sakari Kuosmanen) and Khaled, a Syrian refugee (Sherwan Haji). The all-too timely film depicts Khaled’s struggle with authorities in Finland and abuse by white nationalists in his adopted land.The themes of the film are offset by rockabilly bands, buskers, some ill-advised cuisine and the clean precision of Kaurismäki’s trademark visual comedy. In Le Havre, an apt mirror to The Other Side of Hope, a self-imposed exile befriends and protects a young boy who has arrived illegally in the eponymous French maritime city.

Chicago Reader review of Le Havre:
In the Northern French port city of the title, an elderly shoe shiner calls on his circle of working-poor friends to help him protect a young African refugee from getting deported. Aki Kaurismaki, making his first French feature since La Vie de Boheme (1992), presents his story as a modern-day fairy tale: the people in the community all know each other and every character proves reliably compassionate in a crisis. The film is especially comforting if you love old movies, as Kaurismaki does: his deadpan humor and deliberately flattened images evoke silent comedy, as usual, and his rosy depiction of proletarian camaraderie recalls the 30s and 40s work of Marcel Carné (particularly Le Jour se Leve). Many of the music selections and character names allude to Carné too.
Ben Sachs

Here (and above) is the trailer.