Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 201: Fri Jul 21

The Master (Anderson, 2012): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.35pm

I caught the 70mm screening of this movie at the Leicester Square Odeon on release and it's highly recommended, being shown in the same format at the Prince Charles tonight and from July 10th to August 1st. Full 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.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 200: Thu Jul 20

The Land (Chahine, 1969): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6pm

This is a 35mm screening and is part of the Youssef Chahine season at BFI Southbank.

BFI introduction:
The Land is among Chahine’s most rewarding films, playing to his strengths as a filmmaker. This rural epic takes place in an Egyptian village in the early 1930s, a time when Egypt was theoretically independent but still entangled with serving British interests. The inciting incident is the news that the already overstretched farmers will have the water supply for their crops halved – a move that will destroy their livelihoods and their community. Placing their trust in the wrong people to help them, the community finds themselves under further threat from corruption and urbanisation. Chahine’s film has extraordinary complexity, both in depicting the huge number of competing influences on Egyptian society and the way the social dynamics play out between each character, with each relationship fully realised. Chahine is able to inspire, by showing the villagers standing side by side, but also admits that political oppression will not always unite the dispossessed. With wonderful performances from Hamdy Ahmed, Mahmoud Al Meleji, Ezzat El Alaili and Nagwa Ibrahim, each character is fascinating but flawed. Chahine affords these rural citizens the full focus and dignity of humanity.

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 199: Wed Jul 19

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (Lang, 1956): Cinema Museum, 7.30pm

Fritz Lang’s final American film will be screened on 35mm.

Chicago Reader review:
Fritz Lang’s last American film, shot in a stripped-down, almost anonymous style that seems to befit its bitterness and disillusion. Reporter Dana Andrews has himself framed for the murder of a stripper in order to expose the incompetence of the police and the fallacy of capital punishment. But after he’s sentenced, the evidence that will clear him is lost when his editor is killed in an accident. Once he’s raised the standard social issues, Lang destroys them all with a shatteringly nihilistic conclusion. Joan Fontaine is the Lang heroine to end (literally) all Lang heroines, at least in Hollywood.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 198: Tue Jul 18

Cross of Iron (Peckinpah, 1977): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm

This film also screens on July 31st. Full details here.

Time Out review:
Sam Peckinpah's only war film, based on a novel by Willi Heinrich, displays his familiar preoccupation with the individual confronted by events beyond his control. Dealing with a German platoon involved in the 1943 retreat on the Russian front, the film reveals a special feeling for the universalities of war: lives in the balance, the single-suppression of emotion. Sombre and claustrophobic photography, an intelligent script, and Peckinpah's clear understanding of a working platoon of men, are all far removed from the monotonous simplicity of most big-budget war films.
Chris Peachment

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 197: Mon Jul 17

The War of the Worlds (Haskin, 1953): Prince Charles Cinema, 6pm

This 35mm presentation also screens on July 30th. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
The archetypal 50s science fiction film, with science and the military teaming up to repel an alien invasion (though ultimately it’s God who saves the day). As the perfect crystallization of 50s ideology the film would be fascinating enough, but the special effects in this 1953 George Pal production also achieve a kind of dark, burnished apocalyptic beauty. Director Byron Haskin handles the live-action material—featuring Gene Barry as America’s most photogenic astronomer and Ann Robinson as his plucky girlfriend—with speed and concision.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 196: Sun Jul 16

Le Trou (Becker, 1960): Cine Lumiere, 1.50pm

This screening will be introduced by film critic and programmer Roberto Oggiano while you can also catch the film on July 18th and 21st. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Released alongside Breathless and The 400 Blows, Jacques Becker’s 1960 film was the last great flowering of French classicism; the “tradition of quality” here goes out with a masterpiece. It’s a prison-break film, based on a true story, that follows the dictates of the genre almost every step of the way but makes the conventions shine with new life and meaning. The suspense is built slowly and carefully, through finely perceived physical details and quirks of character. The obvious comparison is to Bresson’s A Man Escaped, but Becker has none of Bresson’s taste for abstraction; his film is rooted in the immediate, the concrete, the human.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 195: Sat Jul 15

Decision at Sundown (Boetticher, 1957): Prince Charles Cinema, 12.15pm

Ths film, part of the Ranown Series: Westerns of Budd Boetticher season at the Prince Charles, also screens on August 4th. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
This 1957 feature, the third of Budd Boetticher’s remarkable Randolph Scott westerns, finds Scott as a man obsessed with revenging the suicide of his wife on her former lover. Boetticher’s westerns seem to exist apart from history; they are highly stylized, almost abstract moral studies, compressed and analytical. Unique in the genre, they are essential viewing.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 194: Fri Jul 14

The Return of the Prodigal Son (Chahine, 1976): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6pm

This screening is part of the Youssef Chahine season at BFI Southbank. The film will also be screened on July 22nd. Details here.

BFI introduction:
Returning home after a decade in prison, Ali (Ahmed Mehrez) is confronted both with a changed country and the manifold expectations placed upon him during his absence. A political musical about a family torn apart by very different social perspectives, the film plays out in bright Technicolor while serving as a pointed allegory for the tragedy of regional disintegration.

Here (and above) is an inreview with director Youssef Chahine by Mark Cousins.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 193: Thu Jul 13

Boxcar Bertha (Scorsese, 1972): Prince Charles Cinema, 3.55pm

This 35mm presentation also screens on July 5th (information here) and is part of Scorsese 80s season at the Prince Charles (details here).

Time Out review:
Superior formula stuff, injected with a rare degree of life by enthusiastic direction that occasionally tries for virtuosity and succeeds, and by a neat performance from Barabara Hershey that avoids the yawning traps in the script (built-in sex sequences, the she-loved-her-man theme in general). She plays Bertha, the Arkansas farm girl who hits the road, with the right degree of matter-of-factness and a lot of humour. The film traces the alienation of Bertha, a trade unionist she meets, a black friend of his, and a small-time Yankee conman - slipping into crime, stealing from the railroad bosses, and sending part of the haul back to the railway union. Produced by Cormans Roger and Julie, from the memoirs of the real Bertha Thompson.
Verina Glaessner

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 192: Wed Jul 12

Daddy Amin (Chahine, 1950): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.30pm

This screening is part of the Youssef Chahine season at BFI Southbank. The film will also be screened on July 1st. Details here.

BFI introduction:
In Chahine’s charming feature debut – a moving tribute to his father – Amin’s ghost returns from the afterlife to witness his family suffering the consequences of a shady business deal he was involved in. The film marked Faten Hamamah’s dazzling screen debut and foregrounds the socio-political undercurrents that would run through much of Chahine’s subsequent work.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 191: Tue Jul 11

Son of a Stranger (Morris, 1957): BFI Southbank, NFT. 6.15pm

This 35mm presentation is part of the 'Projecting the Archive' strand at BFI Southbank. The film will be introduced by Josephine Botting, BFI Curator.

BFI introduction:
The rise of the teen brought perils, as starkly portrayed in this vintage tale of a young tearaway hell-bent on becoming rich. American producers the Danziger brothers were the kings of low-budget film and TV during the 1950s and 60s, making a fortune selling their wares across the pond. This B-movie stars James ‘Cosh Boy’ Kenney as a young delinquent frustrated with his lot and determined to track down his absent father.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 190: Mon Jul 10

The Sparrow (Chahine, 1972): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.15pm

This 35mm screening, introduced by poet and essayist Momtaza Mehri, is part of the Youssef Chahine season at BFI Southbank. The film will also be screened on July 20th. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
The characters in this 1972 allegorical comedy drama, set in Egypt just before the Six Day War, deliberately invoke movie cliches with their courtship behavior and adroit manipulation of cigarettes. Obsessively composed shots subvert realism by being marvels of technique even as they advance the story of a young policeman, the adopted son of a military official, who learns his biological father is a legendary activist.
Lisa Alspector

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 189: Sun Jul 9

To Sleep so as to Dream (Hayashi, 1986): ICA Cinema, 6.30pm

This 16mm presentation is part of the Celluloid Sunday strand at ICA Cinema.

Time Out review:
A red herring-strewn mystery, shot in black-and-white and almost silent, Hayashi's debut is something like a Japanese Tintin adventure made by Alain Resnais. It concerns a silent swashbuckler film that combusts before its finale, a trio of magicians, and the venerable Madame Cherry-Blossom, whose daughter has been abducted by the shady consortium 'M Pathé and Co'. To Sleep, So As to Dream prospects the borders between film and reality, dream and wakefulness, but it's also a larky pastiche of the '20s sleuth genre, with detective heroes Uotsuka (Shiro) and Kobayashi (Koji) as intrepid stout-hearts in the Sexton Blake and Tinker tradition. Hayashi lays on surreal humour with flair, but the movie is above all a disquisition on film conventions, Japanese and Western, antique and modern. Most audaciously, Hayashi punctures the silence with ringing phones and the spoken interventions of a benshi, the traditional commentator of silent cinema. Although it doesn't quite approach the magic of Circus Boys, it's a wonderfully inventive, genuinely eerie narrative experiment.
Jonathan Romney

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 188: Sat Jul 8

Mysterious Skin (Araki, 2004): Picturehouse Central, 6pm

This 35mm presentation, featuring a Q&A with director Gregg Araki, is part of the Picturehouse Central's Sundance Film Festival Weekend. You can find the full details here.

Time out review:
A compelling story marred somewhat by uneven storytelling, Araki leads us through the early lives of two Kansas boys, Brian (Brady Corbet) and Neil (Joseph Gordon Levitt), from their experiences as eight-year-old schoolchildren through to their late teenage years when, finally, they both come to terms with defining events in their early lives. For Neil, who has become a self-destructive rent boy, that event is serious sexual abuse at the hands of his baseball coach (Bill Sage). Although Araki struggles to find a consistent tone, his film remains powerful and unnerving.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 187: Fri Jul 7

The Doom Generation (Araki, 1995): Picturehouse Central, 9.35pm

This 4k presentation, featuring a Q&A with Gregg Araki, is part of the Picturehouse Central's Sundance Film Festival Weekend. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:

More in-your-face aggression from American independent Gregg Araki (The Living End)—a road movie, a romantic triangle (James Duval, Rose McGowan, and Johnathon Schaech playing three goof-offs on the run), and loads of stylized violence (1995). Describing itself in the opening credits as “a heterosexual movie”—mainly because the three lead characters at least profess to be straight, unlike those in Araki's preceding features—this is still very much about homoerotic desire, often given a hysterical edge by the pop expressionism of Araki's visual style. Striking to look at, though often offensively opportunistic, this mainly comes across as a throwaway shocker with energy to spare. There's not much thought in evidence though.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 186: Thu Jul 6

The Apple (1998): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.10pm

This 35mm presentation is part of the 'Woman with a Movie Camera' season and will be introduced by programmer Jelena Milosavljevic.

Time Out review:
Directed by the 18-year-old daughter of Mohsen Makhmalbaf (who wrote and edited this film), this tells the story of two gauche, innocent girls suddenly let loose on the streets of Tehran (by a pleasingly determined social worker) after being kept locked indoors for twelve years by their impoverished, elderly father and their blind, deeply insecure mother. Like so many Iranian films about children, it's simplicity itself in terms of its narrative, but cute charm is effectively offset by the harsh, unsentimental portrait of family life based on inflexibly strict, finally self-serving traditions. It's a witty, gentle but often surprisingly acerbic little movie, slowly working its way towards a quite devastating final shot which underlines the need for an open heart and mind.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 185: Wed Jul 5

News from Home (Akerman, 1977): Prince Charles Cinema, 3.45pm

This presentation is part of a short Chantal Akerman season (details here) and is also being screened on July 24th (information here).

Time Out review:
Chantal Akerman explores the disjunction between European myths about New York - with its monumental cityscapes and cinematic glamour - and the reality, a place of hopeless ghettos and monotonous suburbs. In counterpoint to cinema-photographer Babette Mangolte's powerful images of the city, the soundtrack consists of banal letters from a petit bourgeois Belgian mother to her daughter in New York. A considerable contribution to the hinterland area between narrative cinema and the avant-garde.

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 184: Tue Jul 4

The Howl (Brass, 1970): Chiswick Cinema, 7.30pm

In The Howl a young bride escapes from her wedding with a stranger. They encounter talking animals, journey through a surrealist's psychedelic hotel, instigate a prison riot, and escape from naked cannibals living in a tree.

Simon Matthews' latest book 'Free Your Mind! Giovanni 'Tinto' Brass, 'Swinging London' and the 60s Pop Culture Scene' is the focus of this screening at Chiswick Cinema. The presentation will feature a screening of Brass's film Howl followed by a Q&A with the author.

Extract of BFI review of Brass's Swinging London trilogy:
Milanese director Tinto Brass tends to be either reviled as the man who made Caligula and Salon Kitty or appreciated by cultists who see him as Italy's answer to Russ Meyer, albeit with more posterior than anterior interests. However, there is a third Tinto Brass, the young maverick whose early work includes what might be classified as a 'Swinging London' trilogy. Brass tells a remarkable story of how he persuaded Dino de Laurentiis to produce The Howl by writing what amounted to a political manifesto rather than a screen treatment, declaring: “The time has come to blow up the screen!” His intention, he says, was to make a liberated film that would capture the bucking electrical energy of the times, not 'about' 1968 but 'of' 1968 – the year when the idealism of Flower Power came nose to nose with political consciousness, Hippie to Yippie.

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 183: Mon Jul 3

The Blazing Sun (Chahine, 1954): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.20pm

This screening, introduced by season curator Elhum Shakerifar, is part of the
Youssef Chahine season at BFI Southbank. The film will also be screened on July 15th. Details here.

BFI introduction:
This tale of conflict sees a progressive engineer come up against a powerful Pasha. An epic tragedy of honour and greed, intertwined with the passion of star-crossed lovers, played by Faten Hamamah and Omar Sharif, the latter in his screen debut.

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 182: Sun Jul 2

1941 (Spielberg, 1979): Prince Charles Cinema, 3pm

This film is part of the 'Underscreened Spielberg' season. Details here.

Time Out review:
Steven Spielberg's extravagant folie de grandeur, a madcap comedy recreation of an allegedly true story, with Hollywood suffering from mass panic when it's thought that a Japanese submarine is about to lead an invasion force into California. The period sets are wonderful, the cast full of bright talent, and Spielberg's expertly choreographed slapstick is wondrous to behold. There is a problem, however, in that it isn't actually very funny: one feels that Spielberg was concentrating his powers so much on the mechanics of timing, cause and effect, that he forgot that what makes the best comedies funny is human reaction. Here the characters are too cartoon-like ever to win our attention (though Stack's military bigwig obsessed with Disney's Dumbo is the touching exception who proves the rule).
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 181: Sat Jul 1

Birth (Glazer, 2004): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.15pm

This 35mm presentation is part of the Jonathan Glazer season at the Prince Charles Cinema. You can find all the details of the season here.

What screening on celluloid first blew your mind or one that’s meant something to you recently? One of the first prints we screened as The Badlands Collective still stands out as a special moment, and that was Jonathan Glazer’s showprint of Birth, developed on silver nitrate. It was in perfect condition, and had a real shimmering quality.
(Ian Mantgani, Badlands Collective)

Chicago Reader review:
In this eerily tranquil psychological thriller, Nicole Kidman's placid countenance is like a Rorschach: you'll project onto it what you want to see. A widow on the verge of remarrying, she's troubled by the arrival of a ten-year-old boy (Cameron Bright) who claims to be the reincarnation of her dead husband. In extreme close-ups, Kidman stares impassively at nothing. Does she believe the kid? Is he crazy? Is she? Director Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast) unnerves us with an almost sleepy tone, helped by Alexandre Desplat's lush score. The atmosphere is really the point, though I wish the script weren't quite so elliptical.
Hank Sartin

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 180: Fri June 30

The Color of Money (Scorsese, 1986): Prince Charles Cinema, 12noon

This 35mm presentation also screens on June 20th (information here) and is part of Scorsese 80s season at the Prince Charles (details here).

Time Out review:
25 years on, Fast Eddie Felson (Newman, repeating his role in 
The Hustler) is a part-time liquor salesman who keeps his interest in pool and hustling alive by staking players of promise. Enter Vince (Cruise), whose talents Eddie persuasively harnesses to his own experience en route to a nine-ball tournament in Atlantic City. Vince is likeable but arrogant, skilful but naïve, and what's more he's accompanied by a precocious girl-friend (Mastrantonio) who spreads her time between flirting with Eddie and massaging young Vince's cue (Babushka or otherwise). Anyone looking for a repeat of the immortal The Hustler will not only be disappointed but downright stupid: The Color of Money is a film for the '80s with many of that decade's strongest preoccupations. The mixture of mutual need and mistrust in the relationship between Vince and Eddie is only one of the motors in a film that sees Scorsese's direction at its most downmarket and upbeat - never have pool tables, balls and cues looked so rich and strange - and has one of the most protean and compelling music soundtracks (Clapton, Charlie Parker, Warren Zevon, Bo Diddley) in ages. As Eddie tells Vince, 'Pool excellence is not about excellent pool'; and in a scene in which Newman recoils from the thought that he is a Frankenstein, trying to recreate his own youth in the person of another, the whole meaning of the hustle, the game of life, becomes spectacularly clear.
Steve Grant

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 179: Thu June 29

East Palace, West Palace (Yuan, 1996): Barbican Cinema, 6.30pm

This film is part of the Barbican's Queer 90s season. Full details here.

One of the first films from China to explore gay experience, East Palace, West Palace is named after the gay slang in Beijing for the two public toilets either side of the Forbidden City, a popular cruising ground. The drama crackles with tension from the moment young gay writer A-Lan (Si Han) is arrested for cruising and put under the guard of Xiao Shi (Hu Jun). As A-Lan begins to tell his life story, which reflects China’s repressive attitude towards homosexuality, a quasi-masochistic bond develops between the two men.

Controversial upon its release, East Palace, West Palace features excellent performances and evokes the spirit of Jean Genet in its complex, provocative expression of gay sexuality.

Hayley Scanlon, who introduces the film, is a freelance film writer and editor of East Asian cinema website Windows on Worlds.

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 178: Wed June 28

Toute une Nuit (Akerman, 1982): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.15pm

This presentation is part of a short Chantal Akerman season (details here) and is also being screened on July 17th and August 3rd (information here).

Time Out review:
Chantal Akerman, the mistress of minimalism, has made her own midsummer night's sex comedy, with a superabundance of stories and a cast of (almost) thousands. The film shows an endless series of brief encounters that take place in Brussels in the course of one delirious, torrid June night, with the twist that each relationship is condensed into a single moment of high melodrama - the coup de foudre, the climax of passion, the end of an affair - with the spectator left to fill in the fictional spaces between scenes. Each couple compulsively plays through the same gestures, each mating rite is a variation on the same theme: repetitions which Akerman uses both as a rich source of comedy and as a device to show erotic desire as a pattern of codes and conventions. Marrying the pleasure of narrative to the purism of the avant-garde, this is her most accessible film to date.
Steve Jenkins

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 177: Tue June 27

Pusher II: With Blood on my Hands (Refn, 2004): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.10pm

This film is part of thre Pusher Trilogy screenng at the Prince Charles. Full details here.

Time Out review:
‘I don’t have any interest in crime or drugs whatsoever,’ says Refn. ‘Pusher II’ is full of guns, knives, car chases, fisticuffs and narcotics, but watching it you see exactly what he means. For the interesting thing about this sequel to his impressive 1996 debut is what’s going on behind the eyes of dopey lead character Tonny (Mads Mikkelsen, a supporting player in the first movie). Just out of jail, he’s keen to impress his crimelord father, but he just can’t stop messing up, a fact of which everyone loves to make him aware. Tall, muscular, shaven-headed and heavily tattooed, Tonny’s an intimidating sight, but as the fuck-ups, mental bullying and new paternal responsibilities rack up, initial cockiness is soon displaced by doubt, bemusement, vulnerability and despair. Mikkelsen puts in a skilfully taciturn performance, while Refn’s direction is no less controlled; with ‘Pusher III’ imminent and a second English-language film (after 2002’s ‘Fear X’) apparently in the pipeline, he’s gradually cementing a reputation as a prolific and intriguing talent.
Nigel Floyd

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 176: Mon June 26

Brassed Off (Herman, 1996): Genesis Cinema, 6.20pm

A season of films celebrating the diverse experience of working class lives, with four landmark movies in the “Social Realism” tradition starts tonight at the Genesis with this underrated British movie.

There will be a post-screening Q&A with director Mark Herman

Time Out review:
This is an angry, tragic film, which softens you up with a few off-the-peg stereotypes and colloquial laughs and then rams them back down your throat. Pete Postlethwaite is Danny, the devoted leader of the Grimley Colliery Band. Music is so important to him, he barely notices that the pit's on the verge of closure, and can't begin to understand why members like Andy (Ewan McGregor), Harry (Jim Carter) and even his own son, Phil (Stephen Tompkinson), are finding it hard to cough up their subs. Matters come to a head with the band competing in the national championships and the miners voting for voluntary redundancy. Writer/director Herman pulls off a popular, proletarian comedy which might actually appeal to the people it's about. He uses comic shorthand - not all the relationships are as developed as they might be - but captures a credible sense of the tensions within the community at large, and the devastating impact of the pit closures. He's not shy about laying the blame, either. Tompkinson, Postlethwaite and Carter are stand-outs in an impressive ensemble cast, but for many, the brass band music will come as the real revelation.
Tom Charity

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 175: Sun June 25

The Spirit of the Beehive (Erice, 1973): Castle Cinema, 4.15pm

This 16mm presentation from the great Cine-Real also screens on June 7th. Full details here.

Time Out review:
Erice's remarkable one-off (he has made only one film since, the generally less well regarded El Sur) sees rural Spain soon after Franco's victory as a wasteland of inactivity, thrown into relief by the doomed industriousness of bees in their hives. The single, fragile spark of 'liberation' exists in the mind of little Ana, who dreams of meeting the gentle monster from James Whale's Frankenstein, and befriends a fugitive soldier just before he is caught and shot. A haunting mood-piece that dispenses with plot and works its spells through intricate patterns of sound and image.
Tony Rayns

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 175: Sat June 24

Answering the Sun (Kohlberger, 2022): ICA Cinema, 4.30pm

Sonic Cinema presents Rainer Kohlberger’s Answering the Sun – a maximal, stroboscopic colour odyssey to the limits of human perception. Riffing on the optical phenomenon that occurs when staring at the sun, Kohlberger’s first feature adeptly modernises avant garde cinema’s long tradition of visual music and flicker in a 60-minute bombardment of coloured fields, op art geometry, hallucinatory passages and a wall of sound.

Rainer Kohlberger’s work speaks of seduction, an overstimulation and deception of the senses, monochrome-pumping colour surfaces, powerful drones. Strong light signals create afterimages on the retina, while specific acoustic stimuli stimulate the ear to generate sounds on its own, and the entire body is affected with an implicit loss of control. And in all the dizzying flickering, throbbing, and pulsating, a sun appears, largely bathed in vibrant colors.’ 

– Regina Schlagnitweit

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Rainer Kohlberger hosted by Dr. Eleni Ikoniadou.

Here (and above) is another work by Kohlberger, White Light/White Heat from 2011.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 174: Fri June 23

A Woman Under the Influence (Cassavetes, 1974): Prince Charles Cinema, 3.15pm

This 35mm presentation, also screening on July 6th, is part of the John Casssavetes and Gena Rowlands season at the Prince Charles Cinema. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
John Cassavetes's 1974 masterpiece, and one of the best films of its decade. Cassavetes stretches the limits of his narrative—it's the story of a married couple, with the wife hedging into madness—to the point where it obliterates the narrator: it's one of those extremely rare movies that seem found rather than made, in which the internal dynamics of the drama are completely allowed to dictate the shape and structure of the film. The lurching, probing camera finds the same fascination in moments of high drama and utter triviality alike—and all of those moments are suspended painfully, endlessly. Still, Cassavetes makes the viewer's frustration work as part of the film's expressiveness; it has an emotional rhythm unlike anything else I've ever seen. With Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 173: Thu June 22

 The Hunger (Scott, 1983): Rio Cinema, 6.30pm

Through the Looking Glasses presents The Hunger + Q&A and book signing with Cathi Unsworth, author of Season of the Witch: The Book of Goth. This rare screening will be followed by a Q&A hosted by Travis Elborough with the acclaimed crime writer Cathi Unsworth, whose latest book, Season of the Witch is the unrivalled survey of Goth, the musical subculture that took the 1980s by storm and continues to thrive today. Cathi will be signing copies of the book after the screening.

Time Out film review: 
Catherine Deneuve is the ageless, possibly final survivor of an ancient immortal race dependent on humans for both sustenance and companionship. Her superior blood allows her lovers a triple lifetime until they ultimately succumb to instant decline. Not all of this is apparent in the film, where style rules at the expense of coherence. But that style is often glorious, from a bloody sun sinking over a gothic hi-tech Manhattan skyline to living quarters that are sumptuous. Neat touches of grim humour also: Deneuve and David Bowie manhunt in a disco as Bauhaus sing 'Bela Lugosi's Dead'; and Bowie rots away in a hospital waiting room where the 20 minutes wait becomes a subjective century of ageing. Visual sensualities will have a feast, but you'll have to read Whitley Strieber's novel if you don't want to emerge with a badly scratched head.
Giovanni Dadomo

Here (and above) is the trailer.