Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 348: Sat Dec 14

No1 The Silence Before Bach (Portabella, 2007): Close-Up Cinema 8pm

This is part of the most complete and ambitious retrospective of radical Catalan filmmaker Pere Portabella’s work. You can find the full details here. Poet and writer Irene SolĂ  who will introduce the two films by Pere PortabellaPoetes Catalan and Die Stille Vor Bach.

Chicago Reader review:
Though Pere Portabella is a major talent in experimental narrative film, working atypically in 35-millimeter, he's still relatively unknown because his early features could be shown only clandestinely in Franco's Spain and none is commercially distributed. 
The Silence Before Bach is his most pleasurable and accessible film to date, above all for its diverse performances of the title composer's work. Gracefully leapfrogging between fact and fiction in at least two centuries and several countries, it recalls some playful aspects of his Warsaw Bridge
 (1989) while juxtaposing past and present as if they were attractions in a theme park.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer


No 2 The Magnificent Ambersons (Welles, 1942): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 4.10pm

This 35mm screening, in the Big Screen Classics strand, is also being shown at BFI Southbank on December 15th. You can find the details here.

Personally, this is my favourite film by Orson Welles and my appreciation and understanding of its richness has been aided in no small part by two great books, This Is Orson Welles by Orson Welles and Peter Bogdanovich, which contains a condensed version of the original script, and the BFI Film Classics monograph The Magnificent Ambersons by VF Perkins. The website Frequently Asked Questions About Orson Welles is well worth a look if you want to find out more about this film and the legends that have grown up around it.

Chicago Reader review:
Orson Welles's second completed feature (1942) and arguably his greatest film (partisans of Citizen Kane notwithstanding). By far his most personal creation, this lovingly crafted, hauntingly nostalgic portrait of a midwestern town losing its Victorian innocence to the machine age contains some of Welles's most beautiful and formidable imagery, not to mention his narration, a glorious expression of the pain of memory. A masterpiece in every way (but ignore the awkward ending the studio tacked on without Welles's approval).

Here (and above) is the famous snow ride scene.

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