Monday, 20 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 72: Mon Mar 13

The Conversation (Coppola, 1974): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.20pm

This 35mm presentation is part of the Prince Charles Cinema's Cinematic Jukebox season. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review: 
Gene Hackman excels in Francis Ford Coppola's tasteful, incisive 1974 study of the awakening of conscience in an “electronic surveillance technician.” Coppola manages to turn an expert thriller into a portrayal of the conflict between ritual and responsibility without ever letting the levels of tension subside or the complicated plot get muddled. Fine support from Allen Garfield as an alternately amiable and desperately envious colleague, plus a superb sound track (vital to the action) by Walter Murch—all this and a fine, melancholy piano score by David Shire. 
Don Druker

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 71: Sun Mar 12

Lola Montes (Olphus, 1955): Genesis Cinema, 6pm

This film, a masterpiece by any standards, is part of the '10th Anniversary Fashion in Film Festival'. There will be more details on the format for the screening and about tickets on the Genesis website soon. You can find full details of the Fashion In Film Festival here. This screening will be introduced by the artist and curator Cathy Haynes.

Chicago Reader review:
A baroque masterpiece by Max Ophuls, his last film (1955) and his only work in color and wide-screen. The producers were expecting a routine melodrama with Martine Carol (a bland French star of the period); when they saw what Ophuls had made—with its exquisite stylization, elaborate flashbacks, and infinite subtlety—they cut it to ribbons. The film was restored in the 60s and impressed some critics, including Andrew Sarris, as "the greatest film ever made," and certainly this story of a courtesan's life is among the most emotionally plangent, visually ravishing works the cinema has to offer. With Peter Ustinov, Anton Walbrook, Ivan Desny, and Oskar Werner.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 70: Sat Mar 11

Opening Night (Cassavetes, 1977): Curzon Soho, 8.30pm

This 35mm screening is part of the '10th Anniversary Fashion in Film Festival'. Full details 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 a trailer.
s event is part of the 10th Anniversary Fashion in Film Festival, ‘Wearing Time: Past, Present, Future, Dream’. - See more at:
This event is part of the 10th Anniversary Fashion in Film Festival, ‘Wearing Time: Past, Present, Future, Dream’. - See more at:

Friday, 17 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 69: Fri Mar 10

The Love Witch (Biller, 2016): Rio Cinema, 11.30pm

Chicago Reader review:
This spellbinding ode to exploitation films of the 1960s and '70s is impressive not only for its mock-Technicolor hues and period mise-en-scène but also for what lies beneath: a creepy and cunning examination of female fantasy. A widowed witch (Samantha Robinson), heartbroken by the neglect of her late husband, moves to a small town and seduces a string of men with love potions as a way to feel adored. Director Anna Biller—who also wrote, produced, and edited the film, and created by hand many of its vivid costumes and set decorations—embraces the melodrama and vampy camp of ’60s horror while also considering the easy conflation of love, desire, and narcissism. Robert Frost once wrote that “love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired,” and Biller’s witch, both liberated in exploiting her sexuality and repressed by her white-knight fantasies, embodies the idea.
Leah Pickett

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 68: Thu Mar 9

Celine and Julie Go Boating (Rivette, 1974): Picturehouse Central, 6pm

A personal favourite. This is a long movie and I took a hip flask in when I went to see this on a date at Notting Hill's Electric Cinema back in the day. That worked wonderfully as this is a meandering film, probably best seen under some sort of influence.

Chicago Reader review:
Jacques Rivette's 193-minute comic feminist extravaganza is as scary and unsettling in its narrative high jinks as it is exhilarating in its uninhibited slapstick (1974). Its slow, sensual beginning stages a meeting between a librarian (Dominique Labourier) and a nightclub magician (Juliet Berto). Eventually, a plot within a plot magically takes shape—a somewhat sexist Victorian melodrama with Bulle Ogier, Marie-France Pisier, Barbet Schroeder (the film's producer), and a little girl—as each character, on successive days, visits an old dark house and the same events take place. The elaborate Hitchcockian doublings are so beautifully worked out that this movie steadily grows in resonance and power. The four main actresses scripted their own dialogue with Eduardo de Gregorio and Rivette, and the film derives many of its euphoric effects from a wholesale ransacking of the cinema of pleasure (cartoons, musicals, thrillers, and serials).
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 67: Wed Mar 8

Beginning of An Unknown Century (Shepitko/Smirnov, 1967):
Regent Street Cinema, 7pm

This two-part omnibus film was commissioned to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Revolution. Deemed too dark by Brezhnev’s censors, the film was immediately shelved, and first shown only 20 years later in 1987.

This evening is part of Kino Klassika's 'World to Win' season. Bringing together provocative films by directors such as Sergei Eisenstein, Mikhail Kalatozov, Larisa Shepitko and Andrei Smirnov, Jean-Luc Godard, Gauber Rocha, Andrzej Wajda, Bernardo Bertolucci and Ken Loach, the season offers a touring programme to reach audiences across the UK and includes tonight's presentation, the  once-banned Soviet film commissioned to commemorate the 50th anniversary of 1917, Larisa Shepitko and Andrei Smirnov’s Beginning of an Unknown Century on March 8, International Womens Day. You can read the full details here.

Regent Street Cinema introduction:
Andrei Smirnov’s episode, Angel, is a story of everyday heroism and brutality during the Civil War years of the 1920s. It follows a group of refugees fleeing the conflict, whose train is derailed and captured by bandits. In Larisa Shepitko’s Homeland of Electricity a young mechanic is sent to a famine-stricken village in order to bring electricity to the people. The striking black-and-white visuals of the film are frequently compared to the works of Aleksandr Dovzhenko, Shepitko’s master.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 66: Tue Mar 7

Casque d'Or (Becker, 1952): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.20pm

This film is part of the Jacques Becker season at BFI Southbank. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
A radiant Simone Signoret dominates Jacques Becker's 1952 film, which is based on a Paris underworld incident of 1898 that is, in some ways, the French parallel to the legend of Frankie and Johnny. Becker emphasized atmospherics at the expense of psychology, which outraged the literary critics of the time and impressed the young Turks who later made up the New Wave. A turning point for French cinema, although it must be understood in context.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.