Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 247: Wed Sep 6

Petulia (Lester, 1968): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.30pm

Melanie Williams, Reader in Film and Television Studies at the University of East Anglia, and a member of the project team for ‘Transformation and Tradition in 1960s British Cinema’, which is holding its conference at BFI Southbank 6-7 Sept 2017, will introduce the 35mm screening of one of the best films of the 1960s.

Chicago Reader review:
One of the finest films of and about the 60s, Richard Lester's romantic comedy tells the story of the relationship between a recently divorced surgeon (George C. Scott) and an unhappily married San Francisco socialite (Julie Christie) and takes deft, unexpected turns into the tragic and terrifying. Lester's volatile, quick-cut style finds its most expressive application in his description of a world fatally fragmented into rich and poor, past and present, compassion and indifference. Scott has never been more powerful or so subtle: his weary but still hopeful physician is a Shakespearean figure, cloaked in a majestic sadness. But the film belongs to Christie, who earns the Oscar she won for Darling with a plangent portrayal of a woman struggling to transcend her own shallowness. With Richard Chamberlain, Shirley Knight, Arthur Hill, and Joseph Cotten; the excellent screenplay is the work of Lawrence Marcus, and Nicolas Roeg did the cinematography (1968). 105 min.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 246: Tue Sep 5

The Dead Zone (Carpenter, 1983): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.20pm

This film is part of the Stephen King season at BFI Southbank and you can find the full details of the season here. David Cronenberg's movie will also be screened on September 10th. Full details here.

Time Out review:
After a long coma, school teacher Christopher Walken wakes up with psychic powers (but no girlfriend). Depending on your point of view, this is either Cronenberg's most progressive, humanist movie (pace Robin Wood), or one of his least personal, most conventional pictures. Adapted from a Stephen King novel, and produced by Dino De Laurentiis, it's well crafted and atmospheric, with an arresting central character (Walken in one of his most sympathetic and controlled performances), but the episodic plot strands don't really mesh. In the most striking, the teacher unmasks a serial killer; in another he prevents a young boy from drowning; and in yet another his path crosses with a single-minded politician (Martin Sheen). Cronenberg pulls it off, but you can't help feeling it's a movie in search of a TV series.
Tom Charity

Here (and above) are the opening titles.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 245: Mon Sep 4

L'Aine des Ferchaux (Melville, 1963): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.45pm

This 35mm screening, part of the Jean-Pierre Melville season at BFI Southbank, is also being shown on September 9th. Details here. This film has been almost impossible to see on the big screen for many years owing to disputes over the rights.

BFI introduction:
Very loosely adapted from a Georges Simenon novel, this film chronicles the geographical and emotional odyssey undertaken by an elderly embezzler (Vanel) and the young boxer (Belmondo) he hires as his assistant when he flees with his fortune to America. Inevitably, suspicion takes its toll in what becomes a strange, intense love-hate relationship. The two stars bring great charisma and intelligence to a psychologically complex film.

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 244: Sun Sep 3

Night of the Demon (Tourneur, 1957): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 4.30pm

This film, part of the Stephen King Picks strand at BFI Southbank, is also being screened on September 7th. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
A major work in that minor genre, horror movies. Intelligent, delicate, and actually frightening (no kidding), this 1957 feaure was directed by Jacques Tourneur, author of many of the best of Val Lewton's famous series of B-budget shockers. A shot or two of a cheesy monster (insisted upon by the producer) are the only violations of the film's sublime allusiveness, through which the unseen acquires a palpitating presence. Tourneur is attempting a rational apprehension of the irrational, examining not so much the supernatural itself but the insecurities it springs from and the uses it may be put to. With Dana Andrews, Peggy Cummins (of Gun Crazy), and Niall MacGinnis in a witty, Hitchcockian performance as an urbane warlock.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is a video essay on the film by Chris Fujiwara.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 243: Sat Sep 2

Salem's Lot (Hooper, 1979): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 7.30pm

The 35mm screening of this TV miniseries is part of the Stephen King season at BFI Southbank and you can find the full details of the season here. The presentation will be introduced by Stace Abott from the University of Roehampton.

BFI introduction:
The small screen proved the perfect vessel for King’s story of a sleepy Maine town infiltrated by vampires (humorously described by King himself as ‘Peyton Place meets Dracula’), with the mini-series format allowing ample space for multiple narratives to develop. A heavily edited two-hour cut was released theatrically in Europe, but the full-length version most effectively captures the spirit of the original text.

Here (and above) is an extract.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 242: Fri Sep 1

Le Samourai (Melville, 1967): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.30pm

This 35mm screening, part of the Jean-Pierre Melville season at BFI Southbank, is also being shown on September 3rd and 5th. Details here.

Time Out review:
Jean-Pierre Melville's hombres don't talk a lot, they just move in and out of the shadows, their trenchcoats lined with guilt and their hats hiding their eyes. This is a great movie, an austere masterpiece, with Alain Delon as a cold, enigmatic contract killer who lives by a personal code of bushido. Essentially, the plot is about an alibi, yet Melville turns this into a mythical revenge story, with Cathy Rosier as Delon's black, piano-playing nemesis who might just as easily have stepped from the pages of Cocteau or Sophocles as Vogue. Similarly, if Delon is Death, Francois PĂ©rier's cop is a date with Destiny. Melville's film had a major influence in Hollywood: Delon lying on his bed is echoed in Taxi Driver, and Paul Schrader might have remade Le Samourai as American Gigolo. Another remake is The Driver, despite Walter Hill's insistence that he'd never seen it: someone on that movie had to have seen it.
Adrian Turner

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 241: Thu Aug 31

Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces (Lynch, 2014): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm

This collection of unseen footage and scenes from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is part of the 'Films of David Lynch' seaon at the Prince Charles. Full details here.

Buzzfeed review:
Missing Pieces may not pull back the curtain on the larger mysteries of Twin Peaks or give us a definitive look at what happens to Dale Cooper after his possession (other than his presence in the Black Lodge and him comforting Laura, whose spirit has arrived there — more time shifts!), but what these deleted and extended scenes do is give us a deeper appreciation both for what David Lynch's maligned film set out to do and for the incredibly nuanced and powerful performance achieved by Sheryl Lee here. Laura Palmer isn't a character in Twin Peaks, but rather an emblem. Here, Lee gives television's most famous dead girl a profound sense of vulnerability, exploring both her flaws and her strength in the face of a harrowing experience. Twin Peaks might best be summed up in a sentence uttered by Lara Flynn Boyle's Donna in the show — "It's like I'm having the most beautiful dream and the most terrible nightmare all at once." — and Fire Walk With Me turns up the temperature on that whole statement, resulting in a film that pulses with Hitchcockian tension but also a strange and ineffable humanity.
Jace Lacob (you can read the full review here).

Here is Lynch introducing the film before the world premiere.