Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 100: Tue Apr 12

An-Magritt (Skouen, 1969): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.40pm

This 35mm presentation, also being shown on April 20th, is part of the Liv Ullmann season at BFI Southbank. You can find the full details here.

BFI introduction: Working with legendary Norwegian director Arne Skouen, Liv Ullmann is outstanding in the title role in this adaptation of Johan Falkberget’s 17th-century-set novel series. Born out of trauma, but unwilling to be defined by it, An-Magritt is a hard-working survivor who defies the expectations of her gender and social class. Sven Nykvist’s honest cinematography magnificently captures the hardscrabble of early industrial rural life.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 99: Mon Apr 11

Quatermass and the Pit (Ward Baker, 1967): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 2pm

This screening is free for seniors.

Time Out review:

'The third and most interesting of Nigel Kneale's Quatermass parables, scripted without interference by Kneale himself from his original TV series, so that his richly allusive web of occult, anthropological, religious and extraterrestrial speculation emerges intact as excavations at a London underground station turn up what appears to be an unexploded Nazi bomb, but proves to be a mysterious space craft.'
David Pirie

Here (and above) is the trailer 

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 98: Sun Apr 10

Opening Night (Cassavetes, 1977): Close-Up Cinema, 8pm

This film, part of a John Cassavetes season at Close-Up Cinema (details here), is also being screened on April 2nd and 23rd (all the dates and films can be found here).

Chicago Reader review:
For all of John Cassavetes's concern with acting, this 1977 film is the only one of his features that takes it on as a subject; it also boasts his most impressive cast. During the New Haven tryouts for a new play, an aging star (Gena Rowlands), already distressed that she's playing a woman older than herself, is traumatized further by the accidental death of an adoring teenage fan (Laura Johnson). Fantasizing the continued existence of this girl as a younger version of herself, she repeatedly changes her lines onstage and addresses the audience directly, while the other members of the company—the director (Ben Gazzara), playwright (Joan Blondell), costar (Cassavetes), and producer (Paul Stewart)—try to help end her distress. Juggling onstage and offstage action, Cassavetes makes this a fascinating look at some of the internal mechanisms and conflicts that create theatrical fiction, and his wonderful cast—which also includes Zohra Lampert as the director's wife, assorted Cassavetes regulars, and cameos by Peter Falk and Peter Bogdanovich as themselves—never lets him down.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is an extraordinary sequence from a TV interview in which Cassavetes implores people to go and see Opening Night.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 97: Sat Apr 9

Chinatown (Polanski, 1974): Screen on the Green, 10.30pm

This 35mm screening is part of a 70s season screening from prints. Chinatown also screens on April 12th at 10.30am. Details here.

Time Out review:
'The hard-boiled private eye coolly strolls a few steps ahead of the audience. The slapstick detective gets everything wrong and then pratfalls first over the finish line anyway. Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is neither - instead he's a hard-boiled private eye who gets everything wrong. Jake snaps tabloid-ready photos of an adulterous love nest that's no such thing. He spies a distressed young woman through a window and mistakes her for a hostage. He finds bifocals in a pond and calls them Exhibit A of marital murder, only the glasses don't belong to the victim and the wife hasn't killed anyone. Yet when he confronts ostensible black widow Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway) with the spectacular evidence, the cigarette between his teeth lends his voice an authoritative Bogie hiss. Throughout, Gittes sexes up mediocre snooping with blithe arrogance and sarcastic machismo. It's the actor's default mode, sure, but in 1974 it hadn't yet calcified into Schtickolson, and in 1974 a director (Roman Polanski), a screenwriter (Robert Towne) and a producer (Robert Evans) could decide to beat a genre senseless and dump it in the wilds of Greek tragedy. 'You see, Mr Gits,' depravity incarnate Noah Cross (John Huston) famously explains, 'most people never have to face the fact that, at the right time and the right place, they're capable of anything.' As is Chinatown. The last gunshot here is the sound of the gate slamming on the Paramount lot of Evans' halcyon reign, and as the camera rears back to catch Jake's expression, the dolly lists and shivers - an almost imperceptible sob of grief and recognition, but not a tear is shed.'
Jessica Winter

Here (and above) is the trailer. 

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 96: Fri Apr 8

Heat (Mann, 1995): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.15pm

This is a 35mm presentation.

Time Out review:
Investigating a bold armed robbery which has left three security guards dead, LA cop Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino), whose devotion to work is threatening his third marriage, follows a trail that leads him to suspect a gang of thieves headed by Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro). Trouble is, McCauley's cunning is at least equal to Hanna's, and that makes him a hard man to nail. Still, unknown to Hanna, McCauley's gang have their own troubles: one of their number is a volatile psychopath, while the businessman whose bonds they've stolen is not above some rough stuff himself. Such a synopsis barely scratches the surface of Mann's masterly crime epic. Painstakingly detailed, with enough characters, subplots and telling nuances to fill out half a dozen conventional thrillers, this is simply the best American crime movie - and indeed, one of the finest movies, period - in over a decade. The action scenes are better than anything produced by John Woo or Quentin Tarantino; the characterisation has a depth most American film-makers only dream of; the use of location, decor and music is inspired; Dante Spinotti's camerawork is superb; and the large, imaginatively chosen cast gives terrific support to the two leads, both back on glorious form.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer. 

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 95: Thu Apr 7

The Passion of Anna (Bergman, 1969): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.15pm

This film is part of the Liv Ullmann season and is also being screend on April 14th (with an introduction by Geoff Andrew) and April 23rd (details here).

Chicago Reader review:
'Ingmar Bergman's 1970 film about the impossibility of purity and consistency in a world where to live is to contradict yourself. The passion of the title is not sexual, but the ability to live with the contradictions of life and to bear them without resignation. A tentative, plotless film that pulses with the rhythms of life rather than the rhythms of drama'
Don Druker

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 94: Wed Apr 6

American Gigolo (Schrader, 1980): Prince Charles Cinema, 6pm

This 35mm screening is part of a Paul Schrader season. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Paul Schrader makes a habit of struggling with the most recondite of theological themes in the most lurid of commercial contexts. The subject of this 1980 prostitution saga is grace, and it's certainly amazing. Richard Gere, as the top hired stud of Beverly Hills, achieves salvation through the right balance of innocence and victimization—though ultimately it's the unselfish and unmotivated love of a good woman (Lauren Hutton) that clinches his election. And you thought it was about sex? Most critics have cited Robert Bresson's Pickpocket as Schrader's inspiration (as it was for Taxi Driver), but the Gere character's oblivious journey toward sainthood reminded me mainly of Bresson's put-upon mule in Au hasard Balthazar. The drawback here is an alienating, overelaborate visual style that forestalls any involvement with the characters.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 93: Tue Apr 5

Little Friend (Viertel, 1934): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.30pm

This 35mm screening is part of the Projecting the Archive strand at BFI Southbank and will be introduced by Rosie Taylor.

BFI introduction:
After a spell in Hollywood, Austrian director Berthold Viertel came to Britain to make this psychological drama about a young girl pushed to the brink amid the scandal and chaos of her parents’ bitter divorce. Expressionistic and surrealist visual sequences punctuate the narrative, depicting the confusion and nightmares of a child, and perfectly illustrating her traumatic psychological state. The talents of cinematographer Günther Krampf (The Student of Prague, Pandora’s Box) and art director Alfred Junge (I Know Where I’m Going, Black Narcissus) perfectly complement the film’s mood, which has echoes of a classic Hitchcock thriller.

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 92: Mon Apr 4

 Belladonna of Sadness (Yamamoto, 1973): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.30pm

New York Times review:
To summarize this film is to present a solid argument that it’s one of the most unusual ever made: “Belladonna of Sadness,” is a 1973 Japanese erotic animated musical inspired by the 19th-century French historian Jules Michelet’s account of witchery in the Middle Ages. The reality of the movie, directed by Eiichi Yamamoto, is odder still. Opening with a jazz-rock song and lyrical, static imagery of attractive Western figures in watercolor, it features narration telling of Jean and Jeanne, young French provincial marrieds “smiled upon by God.” 

But not for long. Jeanne is subjected to a brutal, surrealistically rendered gang rape by the village lord and his claque. The film then lays out an imaginative, and sometimes overwrought, narrative exegesis, positing that the power of feminine sexuality is essentially demonic. While weaving thread one afternoon, post-trauma, Jeanne is visited by a small, phallus-shaped imp.

“Are you the Devil?” she asks.“I am you,” he replies. Thus begins Jeanne’s triumph and ruin. “Belladonna of Sadness” is compulsively watchable, even at its most disturbing: The imagery is frequently graphic, and still, after over 40 years, it has the power to shock. The narrative, however implausible, is seductive. And the meticulously executed visual freakouts are awe-inspiring: The Black Death, which, of course, spices up the story line, gets its own four-minute production number. The variety of graphic modes — with references to fashion magazines, pop art, psychedelia, underground comics, arty pornography and much more — is dizzying.

“Belladonna of Sadness” is undoubtedly a landmark of animated film, and arguably a masterpiece. But it’s a very disquieting one. After experiencing the picture, you are left with the nagging suspicion that its retrograde ideology and its ravishing imagery are not contradictory attributes but are, rather, inextricably codependent.
Glen Kenny

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 91: Sun Apr 3

Forbidden Paradise (Lubitsch, 1924): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 3pm

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 90: Sat Apr 2

The Last Picture Show (Bogdanovich, 1971): Prince Charles Cinema, 12.25pm

This is now a digital presentation.

It was the music that got me the first time I saw this film, back in the days when BBC2 were showing films worth watching on a Sunday evening. The soundtrack to this achingly sad drama set in 1950s American small-town wasteland, coming out of cars and home radios, is the country music that was prevalent pre-rock and roll in the States.

The music elicits the mood of stultifying lives the characters lead; the only escape is the army, an affair or the picturehouse. The last film screened at the cinema, symbol of a dying town and of an era, is Howard Hawks' Red River. Impossible, naturally, but a romantic gesture from cinephile director Peter Bogdanovich and one of the many memorable scenes in this key 1970s movie.

The acting from Timothy Bottoms, Ben Johnson as Sam the Lion, Cybill Shepherd and Jeff Bridges, here in his first Hollywood role, is uniformly excellent in a film made with real passion and commitment. Geoffrey Macnab writes here in the Independent about the film's lasting impact.

And here (and above) is Sam the Lion's famous monologue.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 89: Fri Apr 1

Out of the Blue (Hopper, 1980): Prince Charles Cinema, 12.25pm

This 35mm presentation is also being shown on April 7th. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Dennis Hopper described
Out of the Blue as a follow-up to Easy Rider, even though it contains none of the same characters or that film's fascination with motorcycle culture; rather, the connection is spiritual and stylistic. As Reader emeritus Jonathan Rosenbaum once wrote, the movie is defined by "the Hopper flavor: relentlessly raunchy and downbeat, and informed throughout by the kind of generational anguish and sense of doom that characterizes both of his earlier films [Rider and The Last Movie]." It's unmistakably a downer, beginning and ending with scenes of violent death and featuring numerous depictions of drug abuse and emotional violence along the way. It's also a haunting portrait of juvenile delinquency that ranks among the most powerful in American cinema.
Ben Sachs

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 88: Thu Mar 31

Di Cierta Manera (Gomez, 1974): Barbican Cinema, 6pm

This film is part of the ‘Other Modernisms’ season at the Barbican. Full details here.

The first Cuban feature film directed by a woman and the last directed by Sara Gómez (1942-1974). Shot in the early 1970s in an outlying neighbourhood of Havana, the movie is more of a docudrama than a fiction film, combining elements of educational, ethnographic and investigative cinema. The movie revolves around the love story between Yolanda and Mario, who come from different socio-economic backgrounds and meet during the height of the transformations triggered by the Cuban Revolution. Standards of living – work, housing, nutrition and education – were just a few of the complex issues the new regime had to deal with. In De cierta manera, as in all of her work, Gómez explores other problems, including dismantling the legacy of a racist, sexist and “underdeveloped” colonial society (to use the words of Gutiérrez Alea) as a necessary condition for making the new man a reality. The 1970s were not an easy period for Cuban culture. The regime’s Sovietization and the advent of the quinquenio gris engendered censorship and purges that especially affected institutions such as the Casa de las Américas and the Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industrias Cinematográficos (ICAIC). Gómez did not live long enough to see the end of the decade nor to finish her film; she died suddenly in 1974, while De cierta manera was being edited. The film was completed with the technical supervision of Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Julio García Espinosa, who also co-wrote the screenplay.
Judith Silva Cruzatt

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 87: Wed Mar 30

Incendies (Villeneuve, 2010): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm

This 35mm presentation is part of the Denis Villeneuve season at the Prince Charles Cinema. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
In this harrowing Canadian drama, a civil war that consumed a Middle Eastern country decades earlier has devastating repercussions for a survivor and her children in Montreal. Lubna Azabal (Paradise Now) is outstanding as a single mother who fled the troubled region with her infant twins; after she dies, her grown son and daughter (Maxim Gaudette and Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin) are instructed by her will to locate the father they’d thought was dead and the brother they never knew existed. Back in their ancestral homeland the twins gradually uncover their mother’s shameful history as the narrative leaps nightmarishly between present and past. By the end they’ve acquired a measure of self-knowledge at a cost dearer than they expected, which reminds us that what we think we know can be just the beginning of an existential journey. Denis Villeneuve wrote and directed, adapting a play by Wajdi Mouawad.
Andrea Gronvall

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 86: Tue Mar 29

Lourdes (Hausner, 2009): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.50pm

This 35mm screening (also being shown on April 7th and 20th) is part of the Big Screen Classics season. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
In this austere but often wry French drama (2009), a woman with multiple sclerosis (Sylvie Testud) makes a religious pilgrimage to the title town, where millions have journeyed since the Virgin Mary was reportedly seen there in 1858. The protagonist isn’t particularly devout, going more for social contact than for any hope of a miracle, but when she rises from her wheelchair one day, cured, the incident provokes envy and spite among others in her tour group. Austrian writer-director Jessica Hausner uses rigorously formal compositions to echo Christian iconography, though her script focuses on the vexing nature of miracles: are they divine signs, proving that life has meaning, or merely random events, further testing the limits of human endurance?
Andrea Gronvall

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 85: Mon Mar 28

Casablanca (Curtiz, 1942): Prince Charles Cinema, 6pm

This 35mm screening is part of the Classic Film Season at the Prince Charles. Details here.

Time Out review:
Half the world can repeat half the dialogue of Michael Curtiz’s great wartime (anti-)romance and half of Hollywood’s scriptwriters worked on it. If Peter Bogdanovich is right to say the Humphrey Bogart persona was generally defined by his work for Howard Hawks, his Rick, master of the incredibly ritzy Moroccan gin-joint into which old Paris flame Ingrid Bergman walks, just as importantly marked his transition from near-psychopathetic bad guy to idiosyncratic romantic hero.
Sixty-odd years on, the film still works beautifully: its complex propagandist subtexts and vision of a reluctantly martial America’s ‘stumbling’ morality still intrigue, just as Bogart’s cult reputation among younger viewers still obtains. Claude Rains is superb as the pragmatic French chief of police, himself a complex doppelgänger of Bogart; Paul Henreid is credible and self-effacing as the film’s nominal hero; Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre give great colour; and Bergman literally shines. Arguably, cinema’s greatest ‘accidental masterpiece’, it still amounts to some hill of beans.

Wally Hammond

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 84: Sun Mar 27

Letter From an Unknown Woman (Ophüls, 1948): Castle Cinema, 2pm

This 16mm screening is presented by the Cine-Real team.

Chicago Reader review:
'One of Max Ophuls's four Hollywood films, this masterpiece nearly defines the film melodrama, complete with the genre's often implausible twists--the lover who fails to remember a former flame, the child a father never knew was his, the train compartment contaminated with typhus. But Ophuls brings to life this story of the tragically selfless love of Lisa (Joan Fontaine) for Stefan (Louis Jourdan), a dissolute pianist in turn-of-the-century Vienna, with imagery that's at once convincingly rapturous and humorously down-to-earth. A key moment in an army officer's courtship of Lisa is interrupted by a marching band--but with the precise choreography of ballet; a romantic "ride" in a fake train car with painted panoramic views is twice interrupted by the changing of backdrops. More deeply, while Ophuls uses camera movements and written narratives to convey love's delirium, the baroque architecture of his frames also imprisons the characters, denying them transcendence, even happiness. Watch for a shot of Lisa waiting on a stairway for Stefan's return: the camera films his entry with a giggling woman from Lisa's point of view, panning right as they enter his apartment. When the same shot is repeated (but from no character's point of view, the stairway now being empty), this time as Stefan enters with Lisa, we understand that their fate is foredoomed both by the artifices of melodrama and by the cycles of human fallibility and misunderstanding, which the form at its best so devastatingly expresses. I for one am always brought to tears.'
Fred Camper

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 83: Sat Mar 26

Dakan (Camara, 1997): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 3.40pm

This presentation is part of the BFI Flare season. Full details of the programme here.

BFI Flare introduction:
The scene opens with a bright red sports car and two boys furiously kissing on the front seat. Immediately there are complications. Although Manga faces pressure from his middle-class father to ditch working-class Sory, the relationship between the two boys is known to many. There is even playful reverence for them among the female students. Both attempt to lead new lives, with Sory courting an unusual new lover in a different town and Manga joining his father’s business. But youthful infatuation is difficult to forget. Defunded by the Guinean government and the target of protests during its production, Dakan is a heartfelt, lo-fi first in the canon of queer African cinema.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 82: Fri Mar 25

Made in Hong Kong (Chan, 1997): Genesis Cinema, 8.50pm

This film is part of the Hong Kong Film Festival. Full details of the season here.

Time Out review:
Bad things start happening to Moon, a kid from a housing estate, when he comes into possession of two bloodstained letters left behind by a schoolgirl suicide: his mother walks out, he starts having pesky wet dreams, his mentally handicapped best friend gets into trouble - and he falls for a girl who turns out to be seriously ill. The irresistibly named Fruit Chan, a long-serving assistant director in the film industry, got this indie feature made on a wing and a prayer: various industry figures (notably Andy Lau) helped out, hardly anyone got paid and the non-pro cast was recruited on the street. Much of it is fresh, truthfully observed and touching in its honesty, but the climactic escalation into triad melodrama and the several false endings suggest that old industry habits die hard. None the less, a striking achievement.
Tony Rayns

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 81: Thu Mar 24

The Hurt Locker (Bigelow, 2008): Genesis Cinema, 8.55pm

This is a 35mm presentation.

Chicago Readert review:
Kathryn Bigelow’s heart-stopping Iraq war drama (2009) follows a U.S. army bomb squad around Baghdad as it defuses IEDs, a job that places the men in potentially deadly situations a dozen times a day. After the squad’s explosives expert is killed in action, he’s replaced by a shameless cowboy (Jeremy Renner) whose needless risk-taking infuriates his two partners (Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty). He’s a true warrior, but Bigelow defines that in terms of addiction; as one of the other soldiers points out, he doesn’t mind endangering them to get his daily “adrenaline fix.” The war has already produced some excellent fiction films (The Lucky Ones, In the Valley of Elah), but this is the first to dispense with the controversy surrounding the invasion and focus on the timeless subject of men in combat. It’s the best war movie since Full Metal Jacket.
JR Jones

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 80: Wed Mar 23

The Godfather Part II (Coppola, 1974): Screen on the Green, 10.30am

This 35mm screening is part of a 70s season screening from prints. The Godfather Part II also screens on March 19th at 10.30pm. Details here.
Here is an excellent article by John Patterson in the Guardian on the movie. 

Time Out review:
It’s worrying that 1974’s ‘The Godfather Part II’ is now best known for being the film-lover’s kneejerk answer to the question ‘which sequel is superior to the original’? It’s a pointless discussion, because both films are damn close to perfect: two opposing but complementary sides of the same coin. If ‘The Godfather’ was a knife in the dark, its sequel is the long, slow death rattle; if the first film lusted after its bloodthirsty antiheroes, the second drowns itself in guilt and recrimination. Two stories run in parallel in ‘Part II’. In the first, a young Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) rises to power in New York, fuelled by vengeance and brute, old-world morality. In the second, set 50 years later, his son Michael (Al Pacino) struggles to reconcile his father’s ideals with an uncertain world, and finds himself beset on all sides by treachery and greed. This is quite simply one of the saddest movies ever made, a tale of loss, grief and absolute loneliness, an unflinching stare into the darkest moral abyss.
Tom Huddleston

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 79: Tue Mar 22

Birdman  (Inarritu, 2014): Genesis Cinema, 8.55pm

This film is part of the 'One and Done' season at the Genesis Cinema. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
A washed-up Hollywood star (Michael Keaton), famous for playing a winged superhero in a multimillion-dollar action franchise, tries to stage a comeback as a serious actor on Broadway, writing, directing, and starring in a stage adaptation of Raymond Carver's story "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love." Given Keaton's identification with the title character in Batman (1989), his role here might seem like the ultimate stunt casting. Yet before playing the Caped Crusader, he'd already distinguished himself in both comedy (Beetlejuice) and drama (Clean and Sober), and he more than holds his own in a cast that includes Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, Andrea Riseborough, and Zach Galifianakis. Alejandro González Iñárritu, director of such ethereal dramas as Babel and 21 Grams, counterbalances the wicked backstage comedy with surreal flights of fancy, pondering the gulf between dubious celebrity and artistic immortality.
JR Jones

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 78: Mon Mar 21

The Master (Anderson, 2012): Prince Charles Cinema, 2.50pm

70mm screenings of The Master are on an extended run at the Prince Charles. Details 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 is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 77: Sun Mar 20

Madame Sata (Ainouz, 2020): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 5.30pm

This 35mm presentation is part of the BFI Flare season. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Thirty or 40 years ago Brazilian films were as political as any in the world; today most carefully avoid social conflicts and contradictions. Of course there are exceptions, and Madame Sata
 is one. The story of an immensely strong drag queen in Rio in the 1930s—a legendary rebel, thief, and eventual murderer who was also generous and loyal to the limit—it describes more than an early South American Stonewall. Joao Francisco dos Santos, whose character is carefully built by director Karim Ainouz and wonderfully acted by Lazaro Ramos, is the incarnation of a certain ethic of resistance. Black, poor, and gay in a country that even today doesn’t acknowledge that racism is a dominant force, Madame Sata fights back, becoming a role model rather than an object of pity. This is an important film.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 76: Sat Mar 19

Diamonds Are Forever (Hamilton, 1971): Prince Charles Cinema, 2.25pm

The Prince Charles Cinema continues its full 007 Retrospective showing every James Bond movie over the coming months. You can see all the details of the screenings here.

The press reviews of the films don't normally capture the excitement of this retrospective for Bond fans and I have been recommending the Blogalongabond series by Neil Alcock (aka @theincrediblesuit on Twitter). Here is his take on tonight's movie.

Here's Xan Brooks with an excellent critique of Diamonds Are Forever for the Guardian series My Favourite Bond film:
No doubt each era gets the Bond it deserves. Cubby Broccoli's franchise started out in the early 60s fired by a sleek moral certitude, prowling a world of clearly defined good and evil before slipping into jokey self-parody during the mid-to-late 70s. Diamonds, though, is the missing link, the crucial transition; ideally placed at the turn of the decade and implicitly haunted by noises off in the nation at large. It's a Bond film in which the old glamour has lost its sparkle and the resolute hero has lost his way. It's jaded, uncertain and disillusioned. It's vicious, mordant, at times blackly comic. It's oddly brilliant, the best of the bunch: the perfect bleary Bond film for an imperfect bleary western world.
You can read the full article here.

The influential American critic Andrew Sarris also loved the film and wrote a most readable review which you can find here.

Here (and above) is the trailer.