Saturday, 30 November 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 340: Fri Dec 6

World on A Wire (Fassbinder, 1973): Close-Up Cinema, 7pm


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

Chicago Reader review:
Though it sometimes seems repetitive or predictable, Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 205-minute exploitation of SF and hard-boiled-detective cliches (1973) is so affecting it could induce a sense of existential crisis. It's based on a novel by Daniel Galouye, and its tale of an artificial-intelligence expert (Klaus Lowitsch) investigating the death of a colleague with whom he developed some cutting-edge technology makes the subsequent Blade Runner seem redundant. The cinematography (by Michael Ballhaus), production design, sound effects, and music are eerie, convincing, yet campy; their combination demonstrates a control of tone that's nothing short of miraculous. Numerous minor characters' perspectives swirl in and out of a consciousness attributed, almost by default, to the main character who must deal with the deepest, darkest questions about the nature of identity and existence.
Lisa Alspector

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 339: Thu Dec 5

The Shop Around the Corner (Lubitsch, 1940): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.25pm


This 35mm screening is also being shown at the Prince Charles on November 30th. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
There are no Art Deco nightclubs, shimmering silk gowns, or slamming bedroom doors to be seen, but this 1940 film is one of Ernst Lubitsch's finest and most enduring works, a romantic comedy of dazzling range that takes place almost entirely within the four walls of a leather-goods store in prewar Budapest. James Stewart is the earnest, slightly awkward young manager; Margaret Sullavan is the new sales clerk who gets on his nerves—and neither realizes that they are partners in a passionate romance being carried out through the mails. Interwoven with subplots centered on the other members of the shop's little family, the romance proceeds through Lubitsch's brilliant deployment of point of view, allowing the audience to enter the perceptions of each individual character at exactly the right moment to develop maximum sympathy and suspense. With Frank Morgan, Joseph Schildkraut, Sara Haden, and Felix Bressart.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 338: Wed Dec 4

Under the Sun of Satan (Pialat, 1987): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.45pm


This presentation, which is also being screened on December 30this part of the ‘Maurice Pialat and the New French Realism’ season. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Maurice Pialat's high-powered adaptation of Georges Bernanos (whose fiction has previously provided the basis for two Bresson films) won the best film award at the Cannes film festival in 1987, which occasioned a great deal of controversy. A dark film both literally and figuratively, it follows the spiritual crisis of Father Donissan (Gerard Depardieu) and his curious relation to a young woman named Mouchette (Sandrine Bonnaire); Pialat himself plays the father superior. Uncompromisingly rigorous and harsh, Pialat's remarkable film isn't for every taste—acceptance of Bernanos' world isn't an easy matter—but it is certainly a major work by a major filmmaker, with one of Depardieu's strongest performances.
Jonathan Rosenbaum 

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Monday, 25 November 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 337: Tue Dec 3

Soleil O (Honda, 1967): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.30pm


An assured feature debut by Med Hondo, displaying a bravura exploration of form and theme, this is part of the ‘Africa from the Seine’ season (full details here) and can also be seen on December 6th (full information here). Tonight’s screening is introduced by Kunle Olulode of VOICE4CHANGE.

New York Times review:
The Mauritanian director Med Hondo’s bitterly insightful, artistically freewheeling 1970 film begins with an antic sketch of the European colonization that subjugated and impoverished Africans. It depicts, with sardonic fury, the adventures of an unnamed young African man (Robert Liensol) who arrives in Paris and, with naïve optimism, seeks his fortune among his colonizers. He considers himself at home in France, but soon discovers the extent of his exclusion from French society. Facing blatant discrimination in employment and housing, he and other African workers organize a union, to little effect; seeking help from African officials in Paris, he finds them utterly corrupt and unsympathetic. Making friends among France’s white population, he finds their empathy condescending and oblivious, and his sense of isolation and persecution raises his identity crisis to a frenzied pitch. Hondo offers a stylistic collage to reflect the protagonist’s extremes of experience, from docudrama and musical numbers to slapstick absurdity, from dream sequences and bourgeois melodrama to political analyses. Hondo’s passionate, wide-ranging voice-over commentary, addressing the hero in the second person, blends confession and observation, aspiration and despair, societal and personal conflicts.
Richard Brody

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 336: Mon Dec 2

It’s Magic [aka Romance on the High Seas] (Curtiz, 1948):
BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.10pm


This 35mm presentation is part of the BFI musicals season (details here). The screening on a 35mm Technicolor dye transfer print from the BFI National Archive, and will also be shown on December 13th (details here).

BFI introduction:
In this musical of mistaken identities, Day takes a cruise to Rio and finds herself falling in love with the private eye sent to follow her. Day was already a singing sensation when she made her big-screen debut, but the transition feels effortless. And look out for the great turn from African-American Broadway star, Avon Long, during a stop-off in Cuba.
Robin Baker

Here (and above) is the trailer.


Saturday, 23 November 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 335: Sun Dec 1

Police (Pialat, 1985): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.30pm


This presentation, which is also being screened in NFT1 on December 13this part of the ‘Maurice Pialat and the New French Realism’ season. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
When Andrew Sarris suggested that watching Gerard Depardieu read the telephone directory would be worth the price of admission, some wag riposted that Maurice Pialat's Police was the place to test the theory. Well, it is and it isn't—the longueurs are there, but to insist on them too strongly is to miss the subtle penetration of Pialat's approach. Depardieu plays a French cop whose sense of legality roughly mirrors the criminals he hounds, and Pialat follows him around with unflappable resolve (the tremor in the tracking suggests a life perpetually on edge), exposing the links between criminality and police work without conventional moralizing, also minus the cynicism of the typical French policier (e.g., My New Partner, which wears its corruption like a badge). As the cop given to underworld longing, Depardieu's a study in shifting attitudes, and Richard Anconina's lawyer is simply shifty; both are excellent without a phone book, as is the rest of the cast: Sophie Marceau, Pascale Rocard, Sandrine Bonnaire (1985).
Pat Graham

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 22 November 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 334: Sat Nov 30

Nocturno 29 (Portabella, 1968): ICA Cinema, 4pm


This is part of the most complete and ambitious retrospective of radical Catalan filmmaker Pere Portabella’s work. You can find the full details hereThis screening is introduced by scholar Ona Balló Pedragosa. A recorded interview with actress Lucia Bosé accompanies the introduction.

Chicago Reader review:
This is the first feature of Pere Portabella, the remarkable Barcelona-based Catalan filmmaker. He started out as a producer of art films by Carlos Saura, Marco Ferreri, and Luis Buñuel, and Buñuel's first Spanish feature, Viridiana, so angered the Spanish government that it took away Portabella's passport for many years. Nocturno 29 is a narrative film that refuses to tell a story and an underground anti-Franco film that was most often shown clandestinely (its title refers to the number of years Franco had then been in power), and it evokes both European art films of this period (its star is Lucia Bosé, an actress associated with Antonioni and Bardem) and the bolder experimental cinema Portabella would embark on soon afterward. Coscripted by poet Joan Brossa, it has the kind of moody provocation that captures its period indelibly.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 333: Fri Nov 29

Eyes Wide Shut (Kubrick, 1999): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.30pm


Here's one of the great films set during Christmas, and an opportunity to see Stanley Kubrick's much-underrated final movie re-released for the 20th anniversary by Park Circus and Warner Brothers on an extended run at BFI Southbank. This screening includes a discussion with Katharina Kubrick, composer Jocelyn Pook and director of the short film Never Just a Dream: Stanley Kubrick and Eyes Wide Shut, Matt Wells, which is being shown at all the screenings of the film.

If you're interested in reading more about this film I can recommend two BFI publications - Michel Chion's Modern Classics monograph on Eyes Wide Shut and the chapter on the film in James Naremore's book titled On Kubrick.


Chicago Reader review:
Initial viewings of Stanley Kubrick's movies can be deceptive because his films all tend to be emotionally convoluted in some way; one has to follow them as if through a maze. A character that Kubrick might seem to treat cruelly the first time around (e.g., Elisha Cook Jr.'s fall guy in The Killing) can appear the object of tender compassion on a subsequent viewing. The director's desire to avoid sentimentality at all costs doesn't preclude feeling, as some critics have claimed, but it does create ambiguity and a distanced relationship to the central characters. Kubrick's final feature very skillfully portrays the dark side of desire in a successful marriage; since the 60s he'd been thinking about filming Arthur Schnitzler's brilliant novella "Traumnovelle," and working with
Frederic Raphael, he's adapted it faithfully--at least if one allows for all the differences between Viennese Jews in the 20s and New York WASPs in the 90s. Schnitzler's tale, about a young doctor contemplating various forms of adultery and debauchery after discovering that his wife has entertained comparable fantasies, has a somewhat Kafkaesque ambiguity, wavering between dream and waking fantasy (hence Kubrick's title), and all the actors do a fine job of traversing this delicate territory. Yet the story has been altered to make the successful doctor (Tom Cruise) more of a hypocrite and his wife (powerfully played by Nicole Kidman) a little feistier; Kubrick's also added a Zeus-like tycoon (played to perfection by Sydney Pollack) who pretends to explain the plot shortly before the end but in fact only summarizes the various mysteries, his cynicism and chilly access to power revealing that Kubrick is more of a moralist than Schnitzler. To accept the premises and experiences of this movie, you have to be open to an expressionist version of New York with scant relation to the 90s (apart from cellular phones and AIDS) and a complex reading of a marriage that assumes the relations between men and women haven't essentially changed in the past 70-odd years. This is a remarkably gripping, suggestive, and inventive piece of storytelling that, like Kubrick's other work, is likely to grow in mystery and intensity over time.
Jonathan Rosenbaum


Here (and above) is the new 20th anniversary trailer.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 332: Thu Nov 28

The House with Laughing Windows (Avati, 1976): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.30pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Terror Vision strand at BFI Southbank — you can find all the details of the regular programme strands at the cinema here.

Eye For Film review:
The House with Laughing Windows makes for a classic giallo, with its psychosexual intrigues, brutal slayings and imaginative twists - but, apart from the film's blood-soaked opening, Pupi Avati largely dispenses with giallo's usual baroque grand guignol (typified in the lurid works of Mario Bava, Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci). Rather, his slow build-up of paranoid tension is more akin to the Tenant-era heyday of Roman Polanski, with the horror playing itself out more in the mind than on the screen. The unnerving results are a cut above your average giallo - and a million miles from giallo's poor Hollywood relation, the slasher. In short, Avati puts the art back into murder.
Anton Bitel

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 331: Wed Nov 27

DuBarry Was a Lady (Del Ruth, 1943): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.50pm


This 35mm presentation is part of the BFI musicals season (details here). The screening on a 35mm Technicolor dye transfer print from the BFI National Archive.

Chicago Reader review:
Cole Porter's 1930 Broadway hit as filmed in 1943 by MGM, with Red Skelton and Lucille Ball taking over for Bert Lahr and Ethel Merman. Porter had his usual Hollywood bad luck, with many of his songs cut or turned into background music, but Roy Del Ruth's direction has a sloppy, burlesque vitality and the Technicolor photography (by the great Karl Freund) is good, garish fun. With Gene Kelly, Virginia O'Brien, Donald Meek, and, in his first film, Zero Mostel; the dance numbers were directed by Charles Walters.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Monday, 18 November 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 330: Tue Nov 26

Vampir Cuadecuc (Portabella, 1970): ICA Cinema, 8.15pm


This is the opening night of the most complete and ambitious retrospective of radical Catalan filmmaker Pere Portabella’s work. You can find the full details here.

This screening is introduced by filmmakers Albert Serra and Ben Rivers, who will discuss the importance of Pere Portabella’s work in relation to their own practices.

There's very little in cinema quite like this movie. Made in Spain during General Franco’s rule, Pere Portabella’s extraordinary Vampir Cuadecuc was filmed on the set of Jess Franco’s shocker El Conde Dracula, starring Christopher LeeHerbert London and the exquisite Soledad Miranda. Filmed in stark, heavily grained black and white, this atmospheric and experimental "making of" documentary transforms the myth of the vampire into a powerful metaphor for bloodthirsty fascism epitomised by Franco and tyrants like him, a witty allegory with Dracula as the dictator who feeds on his people, yet whose demise is certain. Dispensing almost entirely with dialogue, Portabella relies on an abstract, fabulously idiosyncratic soundscape created by renowned Catalan artist and musician Carles Santos for its unearthly effect. Banned after completion, Vampir Cuadecuc remains a provocative, subversive and surreal experience. 

In a 2011 issue of Sight & Sound there's an appraisal of Pere Portabella's oeuvre by film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum in which he counts tonight's film as his favourite work by the Catalan filmmaker. The movie itself consists of a black and white film of Jesus Franco's "very conventional colour movie Count Dracula (1970), starring Christopher Lee," writes Rosenbaum. "The material is submitted to a great deal of processing in visual textures and accompanied by a kind of musique concrete by Carlos Santos, consisting of such elements as jet planes, drills, operatic arias, kitschy muzak and sinister electronic drones."

Rosenbaum first saw Vampir Cuadecuc at the Cannes Film Festival in 1971 and reckoned it the highlight of that year's crop. "Vampir was my favorite of all the films I saw at Cannes that year. I returned to it several times, and described it afterwards in the Village Voice  as 'at once the most original movie at the festival and the most sophisticated in its audacious modernism', says Rosenbaum in this essay on his website.


Here (and above) is an extract.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 329: Mon Nov 25

I Love Melvin (Weis, 1953): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.15pm


This 35mm presentation is part of the BFI musicals season (details here).

Time Out review:
Really attractive little musical, with Donald O'Connor as a magazine photographer's gofer pretending to make a cover girl of a chorine (Debbie Reynolds) in order to impress her, then heading for disaster as he tries to make good his empty promises. The family scenes have a touch of Meet Me in St Louis, and the numbers choreographed by Robert Alton - including a football ballet (with Reynolds as the football) and a roller-skating dance for O'Connor - are bright and breezily inventive.
Tom Milne

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 328: Sun Nov 24

Margot at the Wedding (Baumbach, 2007): ICA Cinema, 12.30pm


To tie in with the release of Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, the ICA presents a screening of the director’s 2007 film Margot at the Wedding on 35mm.

Chicago Reader review:
After his charmingly painful Kicking and Screaming(1995) and Mr. Jealousy (1998) and his more painfully autobiographical The Squid and the Whale(2005), writer-director Noah Baumbach announces “No more Mr. Nice Guy” in this hysterically hyperbolic and unpleasant if still witty dissection of family traumas. The neurotically judgmental title heroine (Nicole Kidman), a successful fiction writer, takes her son (Zane Pais) to the country to attend the wedding of her estranged, New Agey sister (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to a confused slacker she's recently met (Jack Black). Apart from John Turturro in a cameo, all the characters are monsters and/or basket cases (and the next-door neighbors are a nightmare projection of the family's class and ethnic fears). Though no family on earth is likely to be as dysfunctional as this one, realism is no longer Baumbach's register. It's almost as if Woody Allen had shifted his allegiance from Bergman to Strindberg while tripling his skill in handling actors.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 15 November 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 327: Sat Nov 23



This 35mm presentation, part of the Shirley Clarke season at BFI Southbank, is also being screened on November 25th. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
I haven't seen this striking independent feature by Shirley Clarke since it came out in 1964, so I'm wary of evaluating it on the basis of my memories. Adapted by Clarke and Carl Lee from a novel by Warren Miller and a play by Miller and Robert Rossen, and shot mainly on location in Harlem, it certainly had a visceral impact when it first appeared, helped enormously by Baird Bryant's cinematography and Dizzy Gillespie's score. But critics were divided at the time about the film's meaning and impact as social protest. As a trip by a white woman filmmaker into what amounted to a third-world country, it was and probably is something of a shocker; the plot concerns the efforts of a 14-year-old boy (Hampton Clanton) to get a gun from a racketeer (Lee) so he can be the leader of his gang. Frederick Wiseman produced the picture, and Gloria Foster and Clarence Williams III also figure in the cast. This was Shirley Clarke's second feature (The Connection was her first), and some critics still consider it her best.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 326: Fri Nov 22

Tommy (Rusell, 1975): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.15 & 8.50pm


This great re-release is part of the BFI musicals season (details here). The film is on an extended run at BFI Southbank - full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Ken Russell projects the religious frenzy of 
The Devils and the aesthetic paroxysms of The Music Lovers onto the Who's rock opera, and the results are somewhere between the apocalypse and Andy Warhol. This 1975 film's inventiveness begins to flag about halfway through, but by then it's a relief. If only Wagner could have lived to see this. With Ann-Margret, Oliver Reed, Elton John, and Eric Clapton.

Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the new BFI trailer.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 325: Thu Nov 21

Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958): Cinema Museum, 7pm


What I love about this screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece is that it’s a Film School special run by film studies teacher Gareth Evans. Here’s his introduction:

Join us to explore issues of authorship in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958), a film many consider to be the greatest in cinema history. But who (or what) is the film’s true author? Hitchcock as the director has a strong claim of course, but what about the influence of the classical Hollywood system itself? I will outline some of the key debates in authorship theory before the screening, then afterwards (in the museum bar of course), we’ll discuss them in relation to the film. 
Chicago Reader review of Vertigo:
One of the landmarks—not merely of the movies, but of 20th-century art. Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 film extends the theme of Rear Window—the relationship of creator and creation—into the realm of love and sexuality, focusing on an isolated, inspired romantic (James Stewart) who pursues the spirit of a woman (the powerfully carnal Kim Novak). The film's dynamics of chase, capture, and escape parallel the artist's struggle with his work; the enraptured gaze of the Stewart character before the phantom he has created parallels the spectator's position in front of the movie screen. The famous motif of the fall is presented in horizontal rather than vertical space, so that it becomes not a satanic fall from grace, but a modernist fall into the image, into the artwork—a total absorption of the creator by his creation, which in the end is shown as synonymous with death. But a thematic analysis can only scratch the surface of this extraordinarily dense and commanding film, perhaps the most intensely personal movie to emerge from the Hollywood cinema.

Dave Kehr

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 324: Wed Nov 20

Raging Bull (Scorsese, 1980): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6pm


This film is being shown as part of the Big Screen Classics strand (details here) at BFI Southbank and  will be introduced tonight by BFI programmer-at-large Geoff Andrew.

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.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 323: Tue Nov 19

Cabaret (Fosse, 1972): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.40pm


This 35mm presentation of Bob Fosse’s film is part of the BFI musicals season (details here). The movie will also be shown on November 16th, 22nd and 24th. The 19th and 24th screenings are sold out at present — you could either queue up on the day for returns or catch this movie on the other days. You can find the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Bob Fosse pretends to be doing a Brecht-Weill while actually further sentimentalizing and glamorizing Christopher Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin—adapted by Jay Presson Allen, and apparently closer to the play I Am a Camera than to the Broadway show. Whatever this 1972 feature is, it's entertaining and stylish, though maybe not quite as serious as it wants to be. Liza Minnelli stars at her near best, and Joel Grey is the caustic nightclub emcee; both won Oscars along with Fosse, cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth, and music director Ralph Burns. With Michael York, Marisa Berenson, Helmut Griem, and Fritz Wepper; John Kander and Fred Ebb wrote the salty songs.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 322: Mon Nov 18

Deep Cover (Duke, 1992): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


This film is part of the 35mm presentations season at the Prince Charles. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Larry Fishburne plays a cop who poses as a Hollywood drug dealer to infiltrate and destroy a cocaine cartel, but gradually discovers that the U.S. State Department has another agenda. Amply fulfilling the promise shown in A Rage in Harlem, director Bill Duke does a terrific job in spelling out the grim implications of this exceptionally violent 1992 picture, scripted by Henry Bean and Michael Tolkin (The Rapture). What emerges is a powerhouse thriller full of surprises, original touches, and rare political lucidity, including an impressive performance by Jeff Goldblum as a Jewish yuppie gangster.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 321: Sun Nov 17

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Fleischer, 1954): Prince Charles Cinema, 3.25pm


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

Chicago Reader review:
Grandly entertaining 1954 film of the Jules Verne novel, produced by Walt Disney and directed by the tireless Richard Fleischer (who, 30 years later, was still tossing off odd pleasures like Red Sonja and Conan the Destroyer). James Mason is a monomaniacal Captain Nemo; Kirk Douglas and Paul Lukas are his reluctant guests aboard the Nautilus. With Peter Lorre and Carlton Young.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 320: Sat Nov 16

Eraserhead (Lynch, 1976): Rio Cinema, 11.30pm



This film takes me back to an era before video, DVD and social media when print and word-of-mouth were the main forms of communication where a film was concerned. Lynch's debut was a must-see back in the late 1970s and it was fitting that the movie had its premiere at a midnight screening at the Cinema Village in New York as the midnight-movie circuit was responsible for popularising this indefinable work.

Eraserhead is a seminal work in the history of independent film and is as much a must-see now for anyone interested in what film can achieve.

Ranjit S. Ruprai of the Supakino film club will be introducing the movie, which is part of the Midnight Excess season at the Rio (full details here). There is a promise of some Lynch extras for those arriving in good time.

Chicago Reader review:
David Lynch describes his first feature (1977) as “a dream of dark and troubling things,” and that's about as close as anyone could get to the essence of this obdurate blend of nightmare imagery, Grand Guignol, and camp humor. Some of it is disturbing, some of it is embarrassingly flat, but all of it shows a degree of technical accomplishment far beyond anything else on the midnight-show circuit. With Jack Nance and Charlotte Stewart.'
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the original trailer.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 319: Fri Nov 15

A Single Girl (Jacquot, 1995): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.30pm


This 35mm presentation, which is also being screened on November 26this part of the ‘Maurice Pialat and the New French Realism’ season. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Just as she's about to start a job with room service at a luxury hotel in Paris, a young woman (Virginie Ledoyen) tells her boyfriend that she's pregnant and wants to keep their child. They quarrel but arrange to meet an hour later; the film then follows her at work for that hour in real time. This segment of Benoit Jacquot's compelling 1995 feature, written with Jerome Beaujour, is a stunning demonstration of moral and existential suspense in relation to duration, much like Agnes Varda's 1961 Cleo From 5 to 7. Later the excitement dissipates somewhat, and when the film abandons real time to make room for an epilogue it becomes ordinary. But until then it's an essential piece of filmmaking—not simply as a stylistic exercise, but as a fascinating look at a hotel in operation.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 318: Thu Nov 14

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Ford, 1962): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.10pm


This John Ford masterpiece, which is also being screened on November 16th, is part of the Big Screen Classics season at BFI Southbank. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
A great film, rich in thought and feeling, composed in rhythms that vary from the elegiac to the spontaneous. This 1962 western flaunts its artificiality, both in its use of studio interiors and in the casting of an aging James Stewart as a young, idealistic lawyer who comes to the frontier. For some, the stylization is a crippling flaw, but I find it sublime: the film takes place, through elegant flashbacks, in a past that is remembered more than lived; essences are projected over particulars. With John Wayne, his tragic qualities movingly unveiled; Lee Marvin; Woody Strode; Vera Miles; and key members of the Ford stock company.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is an extract.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 317: Wed Nov 13

Legend of the Witches (Leigh, 1970): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.15pm


The screening of this cult documentary is presented by The Final Girls and will be followed by a Q&A after the film.

Prince Charles Cinema introduction:
The originally X-rated film documentary which looks in detail at previously hidden magic rites and rituals. Sharing the secrets of initiation into a coven, divination through animal sacrifice, ritual scrying, the casting of a 'death spell', and the chilling intimacy of a Black Mass. It also explores Britain's hidden pagan heritage and its continued influence on our lives today. An absolute capsule of the witch-craze that shook Britain in the seventies, which we will discuss in depth in a post-screening panel discussion.

Here (and above) is an extract.


Monday, 4 November 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 316: Tue Nov 12

Leoh Island (Kim ki-young, 1977): ICA Cinema, 6.15pm


This presentation is part of the 2019 Korean Film Festival. You can find full details here.


ICA Cinema introduction:
Kim Ki-young’s renowned supernatural horror from 1977 has been hailed as the most bizarre Korean film of all time. Following travel agent Hyun Sun-woo, the film’s complex narrative unfolds on Parang Island, where the men are cursed to die after their first son is born. As the audience learns through a series of intricate flashbacks (and often flashbacks within flashbacks), Sun-woo has been linked to the murder of journalist Cheon Nam-suk, committed en route to the mysterious Ioeh Island, which is said to beckon dead sailors. Laced with psychosexual drama and culminating in a legendary, still-shocking climax, Ieoh Island is rightfully praised as one of Kim Ki-young’s masterpieces.

This screening is introduced by Chris Berry, Professor of Film Studies at King's College London.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 315: Mon Nov 11

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (Powell/Pressburger, 1943): Cine Lumiere, 7.30pm


The restored release of this, perhaps the greatest British film ever made, will be screened from a new print. The film will be preceded by a free lecture from Ian Christie (full details here).

Chicago Reader review:
It's almost impossible to define this 1943 masterpiece by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. It was ostensibly based on a cartoon series that satirized the British military class, yet its attitude toward the main character is one of affection, respect, and sometimes awe; it was intended as a propaganda film, yet Churchill wanted to suppress it; it has the romantic sweep of a grand love story, yet none of the romantic relationships it presents is truly fulfilled, and the film's most lasting bond is one between the British colonel (Roger Livesey) and his Prussian counterpart (Anton Walbrook). Pressburger's screenplay covers 40 years in the colonel's life through a series of brilliantly constructed flashbacks, compressions, and ellipses; Powell's camera renders the winding plot through boldly deployed Technicolor hues and camera movements of exquisite design and expressivity. It stands as very possibly the finest film ever made in Britain. 
Dave Kehr 

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 314: Sun Nov 10

Three Friends (Yim Soon-rye, 1996): Rio Cinema, 3.30pm


This 35mm presentation is part of the 2019 Korean Film Festival. You can find full details here.

Korean Film Festival introduction:
The first feature from one of the most celebrated women directors from South Korea, Lim Soon-rye, is a melancholic and insightful coming-of-age tale which captures perfectly the lives of average twenty-year-olds living in Seoul in the late 1990s. Lim, whose most recent work Little Forest (2018) was presented at the LKFF last year, portrays the three boys with remarkable warmth and humour without falling into sentimentality. Although there are plenty of laughs to be had in Three Friends, the underlying uncertainty that these young men face in their transition to adulthood echoes the plight of many young people more than two decades on from the film’s release. This screening will be introduced by Hyun Jin Cho.

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 313: Sat Nov 9

A Flower in Hell (Shin Sang-ok, 1958): Rio Cinema, 3.30pm


This 35mm presentation is part of the 2019 Korean Film Festival. You can find full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
What's reportedly the first on-screen kiss in Korean cinema appears in this potent and grim 1958 melodrama by Shin Sang-ok, set in Seoul after the Korean war. A country rube turns up looking for his older brother, who by now has entered a life of crime, stealing from U.S. army warehouses and pimping for a prostitute (Choi Eun-hee—described as the Korean Mary Pickford and therefore shockingly cast against type) who services American soldiers. Frank about other forms of corruption, such as bribery of the police, this sordid tale is limited only by its simplistic characters. (The prostitute is a standard-issue femme fatale, seducing the innocent brother and snitching on her lover.) It culminates in an impressively staged action sequence involving a train heist, followed by a showdown in a muddy wasteland that reflects the probable influence of The Wages of Fear
Jonathan Rosenbaum