Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 13: Thu Jan 13

Hoffman (Rakoff, 1970): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.15pm

This fascinating film, the highlight of the January picks on the blog, is part of the Projecting the Archive season at BFI Southbank, and will be introduced by director Alvin Rakoff.

BFI review:
Hoffman is a film without much of a reputation, which is a shame because it contains one of Peter Sellers’ most interesting performances. Famously, he considered the end result to be too revealing of his own personality and offered to buy back the negative from EMI. This in itself is fascinating because Hoffman is a troubled, dark character, a man who becomes obsessed with the woman he imprisons in his flat for a weekend for the purposes of blackmail. It’s a complex and enlightening turn, with Sellers appearing gaunt and grim, spitting out misogyny and simmering with suppressed rage. The film falls apart after the first half and never becomes the battle of wills that it promises to be – no reflection on Sinead Cusack’s excellent performance – but it’s full of interesting things. It shows a demon inside Sellers which we now know to have been ever-present in his life and it’s not comfortable to watch.
Mike Sutton

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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