Capital Celluloid 2024 — Day 72: Tue Mar 12

The Mozart Brothers (Osten, 1986): ICA Cinema, 6.30pm

This is the fifth night in the exciting 'Last Movies' season at the ICA Cinema. Full details of all the screenings in the five-month long repertoire can be found here.

Last Movies remaps the first century of cinema according to what a selection of its key cultural icons saw just before dying. Conceived and created by Stanley Schtinter to enable an audience ‘to see what those who see no longer saw last,’ the ICA hosts a five-month programme to coincide with the publication of his book of the same title, described by Alan Moore as ‘Profound and riveting . . . a remarkable achievement,’ and by Laura Mulvey as ‘deeply thought-provoking.’

According to Erika Balsom, Last Movies ‘abandons all those calcified criteria most frequently used to organise cinema programmes ... period, nation, genre, director, star, theme: nothing internal to these films motivates their inclusion, their ‘quality’ least of all ... Last Movies embraces chance.’

Introduction to tonight’s screening:
In 1986, CM von Hausswolff travelled to the depths of Iran to visit the ruins of Alamut castle, the famed residence of Persian emperor Hassan I-Sabbah, master of the Ismaili sect known as the ‘assassins’. Only on returning to Tehran did Hausswolff discover that the prime minister of Sweden, his home, had been assassinated leaving the cinema. The killer remains at large. When Hausswolff told Schtinter this story, he immediately asked: ‘But what had he just seen?’ This was fundamental to the birth of the Last Movies project. Hausswolff will join Schtinter on this, the final instalment of Last Movies at the ICA, with the two artists discussing occult Islam, the recording of ghosts, and trips to ‘nowhere’.

Chicago Reader review:
Like Borges and Bioy-Casares’s no less questionable Chronicles of Bustos Domecq, this satirical look at the presumptions of the avant-garde is apt to be funnier to people who dislike most of the avant-garde on principle than to those with more sympathy–who maybe in for a bumpy ride. Either way, Suzanne Osten’s Swedish comedy certainly has its laughs, although a certain rhythmic monotony and sameness in the scenes prevents it from building as much as it should (in the sense that, say, Mel Brooks’s The Producers and Albert Brooks’s Real Life do, to cite two other celebrations of eccentric theatrical excess). A typical scene begins with the director of an avant-garde production of Don Giovanni asking members of his company to do something outrageous (“Do something erotic with objects”), and ends with a musician grumbling or making threats (“If you say I’m antagonistic once again, I’ll hit you with my shoe”).
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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