Sunday, 30 June 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 190: Tue Jul 9

Inherent Vice (Anderson, 2014): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.30pm


This film will screen from a 35mm print.

Chicago Reader review:
Inherent Vice would be a landmark in movie history even if it weren't good. More than just an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's 2009 novel—indeed the first official Pynchon adaptation, period—the film engages with the author's literature on the whole, attempting a filmic analogue to his virtuosic prose. Arguably the James Joyce of postmodern American fiction, Pynchon created a new kind of epic novel with V. (1963) and Gravity's Rainbow (1973), combining literary references high and low, probing considerations of postwar history, goofy counterculture humor (frequently about drugs and sex), and flights of formal experimentation. His books can be overwhelming on a first read, as they feature dozens (sometimes even hundreds) of characters and interweave multiple conspiracy plots, some of which touch on real historic events. How could one make a movie that conveys the depth of Pynchon's literature, to say nothing of his polyphonous language?
Ben Sachs ... continue reading the review here ...

Here (and above) is the trailer.


Saturday, 29 June 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 189: Mon Jul 8

I Can’t Sleep (Denis, 1994): Close-Up Cinema, 8.15pm


This 35mm presentation, also being screened on July 30th, is part of the Claire Denis season at Close-Up Cinema. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
This characteristic walk on the wild side from writer-director Claire Denis attracted my interest mainly for its cunning portrait of a particular Paris quartier, the 18th arrondissement, through its diverse assortment of neighbors; others may be drawn to the movie because it's about serial killers. Based on a true story about a gay couple—one a West Indian with a wife, the other a female impersonator—who murdered more than 20 elderly women in Paris in late 1987, this 1994 film has a Hitchcockian sense of crisscrossing lives and festering compulsions that recalls Rear Window and Frenzy, though it isn't a thriller in any ordinary sense. The killers are probably more interesting than anyone else here (other characters include a female karate teacher and a recent immigrant from Lithuania). But the subject is too tired to generate all the interest the film assumes we'll have, and the depiction of the murders is unvarnished.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 188: Sun Jul 7

Nostalgia (Tarkovsky, 1983): Prince Charles Cinema, 6pm


The films of Andrei Tarkovsky have been a regular feature of the London repertory cinema scene for the last few years. Now the Prince Charles Cinema are showing a season of his great movies from 35mm prints. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
The subject of Andrei Tarkovsky's 1983 film, his first made outside the USSR, is his longing to return to the USSR—a return portrayed as a recapturing of spiritual, moral, and emotional values. Oleg Yankovsky, who appeared in Tarkovsky's 1975 The Mirror, plays a Russian poet visiting Italy to research the life of an 18th-century composer. His translator (the radiant Dominziana Giordano) appears to be in love with him, but he is more intrigued by a local madman (Erland Josephson) who has become obsessed with the idea of carrying a lighted candle the windy length of a hot spring bath once used by Saint Catherine. The film is lovely but punishingly slow, packed with imagery that seems at once hopelessly obscure and crushingly obvious (Yankovsky's yearning for spiritual companionship is expressed by the specter of a dog). It aims for a hushed, hypnotic, incantatory effect, and it does succeed in inducing some kind of trance.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 28 June 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 187 : Sat Jul 6

safe (Haynes, 1995): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.40pm


This 35mm presentation, also being screened on July 18th and 26th, is part of the Nineties season at BFI Southbank. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
An unsettling work (1995) by subversive American independent Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven), his first film in 35-millimeter and best film overall. It's been described as a movie about "environmental illness," but don't let that fool you: the alienation of one suburban housewife in southern California, effectively captured by Julianne Moore, may take physical form, but its sources are clearly spiritual and ideological. Haynes does a powerful job of conveying his hatred for the character's Sherman Oaks milieu (where he himself grew up) through his crafty and at times almost hallucinatory layering of sound and image. (Though Haynes's methodology is his own, you may be reminded at times of Michelangelo Antonioni and Chantal Akerman.) He also offers a scathing (if poker-faced) satire on New Age notions of healing. This creepy art movie will stay with you.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 186 : Fri Jul 5

Don't Look Now (Roeg,1973): BFI Southbank, NFT2 2.30pm & 6.10pm; NFT1 8.50pm


This classic British chiller starts an extended run at BFI Southbank tonight. Details here.

Time Out review: 
A superbly chilling essay in the supernatural, adapted from Daphne du Maurier's short story about a couple, shattered by the death of their small daughter, who go to Venice to forget. There, amid the hostile silences of an off-season resort, they are approached by a blind woman with a message of warning from the dead child; and half- hoping, half-resisting, they are sucked into a terrifying vortex of time where disaster may be foretold but not forestalled. Conceived in Nicolas Roeg's usual imagistic style and predicated upon a series of ominous associations (water, darkness, red, shattering glass), it's hypnotically brilliant as it works remorselessly toward a sense of dislocation in time; an undermining of all the senses, in fact, perfectly exemplified by Donald Sutherland's marvellous Hitchcockian walk through a dark alley where a banging shutter, a hoarse cry, a light extinguished at a window, all recur as in a dream, escalating into terror the second time round because a hint of something seen, a mere shadow, may have been the dead child.

Tom Milne

Here is Mark Cousins’ introduction to the film in his Videodrome series from BBC TV.

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 185 : Thu Jul 4

Les Enfants Terribles (Melville, 1950): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6pm


This 35mm presentation, also being screened on July 21st and 25th, is part of the Big Screen Classics strand at BFI Southbank. Full details here.

Time Out review:
One of Cocteau's most satisfying contributions to the cinema, largely because of Melville's lucid interpretation of the writer's poetic vision. Essence and myth lie at the centre of Cocteau's story of a young sister (a startling performance from Nicole Stéphane) and brother who retreat into their private world to play out their erotically charged games. It is easy to see why the film was so influential with subsequent French film-makers, especially in the way it anticipates the self-obsessiveness of an adolescent culture that grew up in the '50s. How Melville achieved its lightness of touch - a quality much admired by Cocteau - remains a small mystery, given Cocteau's constant interference and a wooden male lead (Cocteau's protégé, not Melville's choice).

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 184: Wed Jul 3

Shutter Island (Scorsese, 2010): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


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

Chicago Reader review:
Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo star as federal marshals summoned to an island hospital for the criminally insane; a patient has gone missing, but the more they question the doctors and staff, the more they suspect something fishy is going on. With its period setting (the early 50s) and mystery plot (adapted from a novel by Dennis Lehane), this might sound like another genre romp for director Martin Scorsese, along the lines of his Oscar-winning 
The Departed (2006). But the claustrophobic interiors, the abrasive modern-classical score, and the ugly mental labyrinths of the story combine to make this his grimmest movie since Taxi Driver (1976). It begins as a variation on Samuel Fuller's Shock Corridor (without the laughs) and eventually turns into something more like Hitchcock's Vertigo (without the glamour); what Scorsese brings to the table, having created more than his share of rascally villains, is a renewed sense of horror and despair at the power of evil.

JR Jones

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 183: Tue Jul 2

Gun Crazy (Lewis, 1950): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.50pm


This 35mm presentation, also being screened on July 7th and 29th, is part of the Big Screen Classics strand at BFI Southbank. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
One of the most distinguished works of art to emerge from the B movie swamp, Joseph H. Lewis's 1949 film is a proto-
Bonnie and Clyde tale of an outlaw couple on the run. Lewis's long takes and sure command of film noir staples (shadows, fog, rain-soaked streets) make this a stunning technical achievement, but it's something more--a gangster film that explores the limits of the form with feeling and responsibility.
Dave Kehr


Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 182: Mon Jul 1

Point Blank (Boorman, 1967): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.50pm

 

This 35mm presentation, also being screened on July 11th, 23rd and 27th, is part of the Big Screen Classics strand at BFI Southbank. Full details here.


Chicago Reader review:
John Boorman's modernist, noirish thriller (1967) is still his best and funniest effort (despite the well-phrased demurrals of filmmaker Thom Andersen regarding its cavalier treatment of Los Angeles). Lee Marvin, betrayed by his wife and best friend, finds revenge when he emerges from prison. He recovers stolen money and fights his way to the top of a multiconglomerate—only to find absurdity and chaos. Boorman's treatment of cold violence and colder technology has lots of irony and visual flash—the way objects are often substituted for people is especially brilliant, while the influence of pop art makes for some lively 'Scope compositions—and the Resnais-like experiments with time and editing are still fresh and inventive. The accompanying cast (and iconography) includes Angie Dickinson, John Vernon, and Carroll O'Connor; an appropriate alternate title might be "Tarzan Versus IBM," a working title Jean-Luc Godard had for his Alphaville.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Monday, 24 June 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 181: Sun Jun 30

The Last Metro (Truffaut, 1980): Cine Lumiere, 2pm


This film is part of the ‘Stage on Screen’ season at Cine Lumiere. You can find the full details of the season here.

Chicago Reader review:
On the surface, a tepid, shallow, but slickly mounted 1981 entertainment by Francois Truffaut, set during the German occupation of Paris, where a theatrical troupe is struggling to mount a new production while the director, a fugitive (Heinz Bennent), hides in the theater basement. Meanwhile, his wife and leading lady (Catherine Deneuve) enters timorously into an affair with the new leading man (Gerard Depardieu). Truffaut coaxes only familiar meanings from the material, and even seems to back away from the emotional possibilities, yet the accumulation of metaphors of containment and concealment gradually comes to suggest another subject—the withdrawal, the silence, the impotency of the artist. At times, the film seems to be about the reasons for its own emptiness.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 180: Sat Jun 29

La Grande Bouffe (Ferreri, 1973): Cine Lumiere, 4pm


Chicago Reader review:
Hilarious, stomach-turning, morbid, breezy, funny, and sad fable about four men (Marcello Mastroianni, Ugo Tognazzi, Philippe Noiret, and Michel Piccoli) who shut themselves up in a Parisian villa and gorge themselves to death on gourmet delights, pausing only to sample the charms of three negligible whores and the simple affections of Andrea Ferreol before expiring disgustingly one by one. Marco Ferreri directed this 1973 black comedy, which satirizes two of France's most cherished institutions: dining and whoring. The fun begins when you realize that each actor is using his or her own real name. Be certain to have dinner at least an hour before you see it. Also known as Blow-Out.
JR Jones

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 179: Fri Jun 28

La Ceremonie (Chabrol, 1995): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.10pm


This sscreening is part of the 'Playing the Bitch' season at the NFT. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Not to be confused with films of the same title by Nagisa Oshima and Laurence Harvey, this expertly contrived and ultimately shocking 1995 psychological thriller is still probably the best feature by New Wave filmmaker Claude Chabrol since 
Just Before Nightfall (1971). It's a mysterious, haunting tale about a sullen if dutiful maid (Sandrine Bonnaire), a postal worker who becomes her best friend (Isabelle Huppert), and a likable bourgeois family that the two women are fated to despise. Adapted from Ruth Rendell's novel A Judgment in Stone and coscripted by psychoanalyst Caroline Eliacheff, this film unfolds with the rigor of a dream. With Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Virginie Ledoyen, and Valentin Merlet.

Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 178: Thu Jun 27

A Real Young Girl (Breillat, 1976): Barbican Cinema, 7pm


This 35mm presentation is part of the ‘After the Wave: Young French Cinema in the 70s’ season. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
The theories about sexuality and trauma artfully advanced in this previously unreleased 1975 debut of director Catherine Breillat (RomanceFat Girl) are more nuanced and intuitive than those of most schools of psychology. Alice (Charlotte Alexandra) is as fixated on her genitals as are the men who expose theirs to her, in fantastic and realist sequences that blur the line between what she desperately wants, what repulses her, and what she actually experiences. While her mother aggressively does housework, complaining all the while about her life, Alice sunbathes and flirts—or more—with her father, who's having an affair. It's as if she's biding her time until she manages to seduce one of his dreamier employees or, better yet, escapes by returning to school at the end of the summer vacation. Periodically she takes flight in her imagination or on her bike, where she's always removing her underwear so she or someone else can insert something into her vagina. “Disgust makes me lucid,” she says in voice-over after vomiting on herself. “It was at that very moment that I decided to write my diary because I couldn't sleep—that would have meant giving in; it would have meant obeying.” Breillat wrote the screenplay based on her novel Le soupirail.
Lisa Alspector

Here (and above) is an extract.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 177: Wed Jun 26

Bonnie and Clyde (Penn, 1967): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.10pm


This screening will be introduced by Observer film critic Simran Hans.

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.
Dave Kehr


Here (and above) is the trailer


Sunday, 16 June 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 176: Tue Jun 25

Bastards (Denis, 2013): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.50pm


This film, which also screens on June 22nd, is part of the Claire Denis season at BFI Southbank. You can find the full details here.

Time Out review:
It’s almost certain you’ll be lost during French writer-director Claire Denis’s obscured, bracingly angry portrait of a French family undone by its failures and perversities. However, that is the point, and it makes for a difficult yet rewarding experience. Vincent Lindon plays a ship’s captain who abandons his post to seek revenge on the person who destroyed his family, though his motives aren’t laid out so much as abstractly implied. Working with her usual cinematographer, Agnès Godard, Denis (‘Beau Travail’, ‘35 Shots of Rum’) conjures a mesmerisingly morbid atmosphere (rain-slicked city streets, a dingy barn in which something terrible went down) and populates the film with all number of noir types, from a richer-than-God businessman (Michel Subor) to a catatonically damaged young woman (Lola Créton) with a secret. It all builds to an unforgettably lurid finale that snaps this punch-drunk nightmare into fearsome focus.
Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 175: Mon Jun 24

The Master (Anderson, 2012):  Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Seymour Hoffman season at the Prince Charles Cinema. You can find more details here.

The Master was the best film of 2012 and if you read one lengthy article on this movie make it J Hoberman's in the Guardian which you can find here.

Chicago Reader review:
'A self-destructive loner (Joaquin Phoenix), discharged from the navy after serving in the Pacific in World War II, flounders back in the States before coming under the wing of a charismatic religious leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman) transparently based on L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. This challenging, psychologically fraught drama is Paul Thomas Anderson's first feature since the commanding There Will Be Blood (2007), and like that movie it chronicles a contest of wills between an older man and a younger one, as the troubled, sexually obsessed, and often violent young disciple tries to fit in with the flock that's already gathered around the master. This time, however, the clashing social forces aren't religion and capitalism but, in keeping with the era, community and personal freedom—including the freedom to fail miserably at life. The stellar cast includes Amy Adams, Laura Dern, and Jesse Plemons.'  
JR Jones
                                            
Here (and above) is the trailer. 

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 174: Sun Jun 23

Strangers on a Train (Hitchcock, 1951): Castle Cinema, 2pm


This 16mm presentation by the CineReal team is also being shown on June 19th. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Alfred Hitchcock's famous 1951 thriller, centered on a classic Catholic theme—that there is no difference between thinking a sin and committing it. When Guy (Farley Granger) daydreams the murder of his wife, black, neurotic Bruno (Robert Walker) materializes as if in answer to his prayers: Bruno will kill Guy's wife if Guy, in turn, will kill Bruno's father. Some critics (famously Robin Wood) have claimed that the film cops out by relieving Guy of his end of the deal, but something else is going on here, particularly when Bruno's father—elevated, unseen, all-powerful—is clearly more than a father. Perhaps Strangers on a Train still hasn't yielded all its secrets. With Ruth Roman and Leo G. Carroll; a disgruntled Raymond Chandler worked on the screenplay.
Dave Kehr


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 173: Sat Jun 22

Liebelei (Ophuls, 1933): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.35pm


Do not miss the 35mm screenings of this heartbreaking and superbly directed early work by Max Ophuls. The film also screens on June 29th and is part of the Weimar season at BFI Southbank. You can find all the details of the season here.

Time Out review:
'What is eternity?' a young girl asks her soldier lover. What indeed? As in Ophüls' Lola Montès, La Ronde and Madame de... this early German melodrama - which treats the passionate, whirlwind love affair between a young lieutenant and a shy sensitive fräulein - acknowledges both the liberating joy of love and its sad transience. For humans are never entirely free of their past, and young Fritz has a skeleton in his closet that makes a mockery of the pair's vows of undying love. Most similar to Madame de..., the film may be a little slow and ragged at times, but its final emotional power is undeniably immense.
EA

Here (and above) is an extract.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 172: Fri Jun 21

Life Begins Tomorrow (Hochbaum, 1933): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.25pm


This 35mm presentation, whihc is also being screened on June 18th, is part of the Weimar season at BFI Southbank. Full details here.

BFI Southbank introduction:
On his release from a Berlin prison, a young man embarks on an urban odyssey in search of his wife. His growing anxiety and overwhelming sensory impressions are evoked through a panoply of experimental techniques. Made shortly after the Nazi takeover, this is arguably the masterpiece of neglected director Werner Hochbaum; its creative energy is purest Weimar.

Here (and above) is an extract.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 171: Thu Jun 20

The Departed (Scorsese, 2006): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.30pm


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

Chicago Reader review:
After a pair of expensive historical epics (Gangs of New YorkThe Aviator) Martin Scorsese returns to the well for this blistering crime thriller (2006) about cops and robbers in South Boston. A remake of the Hong Kong hit Infernal Affairs, it stars Jack Nicholson as a ruthless mobster, Martin Sheen as captain of an undercover police unit, and Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio as the young men they send to spy on each other. Neither spy knows the other's identity, and their cover is so deep each runs the risk of being stranded in his new life. It's a classic doppelganger setup, reminiscent of Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train, though it may be the least moral story Scorsese has ever taken on, functioning simultaneously as a thrill ride and a coldly cerebral Skinnerian exercise.
J.R. Jones

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 170: Wed Jun 19

Out of the Past (Tourneur, 1947): Regent Street Cinema, 12.05 & 3.30pm


Two 35mm screenings of the archetypal film noir. Not to be missed.


Chicago Reader review:
The most delicate and nuanced of film noirs (1947), graced with a reflective lyricism that almost lifts it out of the genre. Robert Mitchum, a former private eye, has taken refuge from life as the owner of a small-town gas station. A gangster (Kirk Douglas) presses him back into service to search for his wandering mistress (Jane Greer). This is no expressionist thunderstorm of guilt and fate, but a film of small, finely textured effects, centered on subtle grades of morality. The cool, feathery photography is by Nicholas Musuraca; the director is Jacques Tourneur. With Rhonda Fleming, Steve Brodie, and Richard Webb.
Dave Kehr


Here (and above) is an extract. 

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 169: Tue Jun 18

La Regle du Jeu (Renoir, 1939): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 9pm



If forced to make a choice this would count as my favourite film, one which has appeared in Sight & Sound's top 10 list since its inception in 1952. This 35mm presentation, also being screened on June 24th and 27th, is part of the Big Screen Classics season. Full details here.


Chicago Reader review:
Its Paris opening in 1939 was a disaster: the film was withdrawn, recut, and eventually banned by the occupying forces for its “demoralizing” effects. It was not shown again in its complete form until 1965, when it became clear that here, perhaps, was the greatest film ever made. “The rules of the game,” said Jean Renoir, “are those which must be observed in society if one wishes to avoid being crushed.” His protagonist, a pilot (Roland Toutain), breaks the rules: he believes that his love for a wealthy married woman (Nora Gregor) is strong enough to lift him above society, above morality. At a weekend hunting party, he learns it is not—that nothing is.
Dave Kehr 

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 168: Mon Jun 17

Three Times (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 2005): Close-Up Centre, 8.15pm


In parallel to Aperture Asia & Pacific Film Festival's focus on Taiwanese cinema, Close-Up Cinema Is presenting a programme of thirteen films, by three masters of Taiwanese New Cinema, set in and around Taipei throughout the 20th and 21st Century. Full details here. This film, also being shown on June 29th, gets a 35mm screening.

Chicago Reader review:
The three episodes of Hou Hsiao-hsien's exquisite 2005 feature, his best in many years, are set achronologically in Taiwan, in 1966, 1911, and 2005; each is about 40 minutes long and stars Chang Chen and Shu Qi. The structure may make the film sound like Hou's greatest hits, echoing not only his trilogy about Taiwan in the 20th century (City of Sadness, The Puppet Master, and Good Men, Good Women) but the nostalgia about adolescence in A Time to Live and a Time to Die, the ritzy period bordello in Flowers of Shanghai, and the contemporary club scene in Millennium Mambo (which also starred Shu). But it's the intricate formal and thematic relation of the three parts that defines the film's beauty and makes it such a passionate meditation on youth, love, and freedom in relation to history. The ironic Chinese title translates as "The Best of Times."
Jonathan Rosenabum

Here is the sublime opening to the film.

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 167: Sun Jun 16

You Can Count on Me (Lonergan, 2000): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 2pm


This special 35mm screening will be introduced by star of the film, Matthew Broderick.

Time Out review:
This won best screenplay prize at Sundance, and justly so. The tone is a little uncertain at first, as writer/director Lonergan introduces his four characters: Linney's single mom, a Christian who still works in a bank in the town she grew up in; her young son (Culkin); her new boss, the smug and officious Broderick; and her tearaway brother, Ruffalo, who has never settled at anything with anyone. It's not long, though, before we discover that these people have much more in common than they imagine. Lonergan has the rare gift of allowing comic tribulation to deepen his characters, not degrade them (he also has a cameo as the local priest). Linney especially responds with a warm and sympathetic performance.
Tom Charity

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 166: Sat Jun 15

A City of Sadness (Hou, 1989): Close-Up Cinema, 7.30pm


In parallel to Aperture Asia & Pacific Film Festival's focus on Taiwanese cinema, Close-Up Cinema Is presenting a programme of thirteen films, by three masters of Taiwanese New Cinema, set in and around Taipei throughout the 20th and 21st Century. Full details here. This film, also being shown on June 24th, gets a 35mm screening.

Chicago Reader review:
This beautiful family saga by the great Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien begins in 1945, when Japan ended its 51-year colonial rule in Taiwan, and concludes in 1949, when mainland China became communist and Chiang Kai-shek's government retreated to Taipei. Perceiving these historical upheavals through the varied lives of a single family, Hou proves himself a master of long takes and complex framing, with a great talent for passionate (though elliptical and distanced) storytelling. Given the diverse languages and dialects spoken here (including the language of a deaf-mute, rendered in intertitles), this 1989 drama is largely a meditation on communication itself, and appropriately enough it was the first Taiwanese film to use direct sound. It's also one of the supreme masterworks of the contemporary cinema, the first feature of Hou's magisterial trilogy (followed by The Puppet Master and Good Men, Good Women) about Taiwan during the 20th century.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.