Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 232: Thu Aug 20

45 Years (Davies, 2015): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.10pm

One of the most anticipated films of the year. This is a special preview screening with director Andrew Haigh and stars Tom Courtneay and Charlotte Rampling on hand to discuss the film afterwards. The event is a sell-out but BFI Southbank will get returns so try calling the box office or going along on the night to see if you can get in.

Here is the BFI introduction:
Geoff and Kate Mercer (Courtenay and Rampling) are planning a reception to duplicate their wedding 45 years ago when a letter addressed to Geoff brings back memories of a previous relationship. A study in regret, this Norfolk-set drama from director Andrew Haigh (Weekend) delivers an emotional fragility and tension that wowed critics at its Berlin International Film Festival premiere.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 231: Wed Aug 19

High Hopes (Leigh, 1988): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6pm

This is part of the London on Film season at BFI Southbank. The film also screens on August 16th and 22nd. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Mike Leigh's very watchable up-to-the-minute bulletin from Thatcher England centers on a posthippie working-class couple in London named Cyril (Philip Davis) and Shirley (Ruth Sheen), who are beautifully conceived and realized, as well as on Cyril's mother (Edna Dore), his middle-class sister (Heather Tobias) and brother-in-law (Philip Jackson), and his mother's yuppie next-door neighbors (Leslie Manville and David Bamber), most of whom live around King's Cross. The texture of everyday life in contemporary London is precisely rendered. Leigh, a household name in England because of his extensive theater and TV work and one previous feature (the 1971 Bleak Moments), tends to satirize and even caricature the upper-class characters, but the jabs are generally accurate, and the overall construction of this episodic movie is deft and ingenious, pointing up parallels and contrasts in the sexual habits of his three couples and making interesting connections between other characters as well. Alternately bleak and hilarious, saddening and refreshing, this very political reflection on the state of England today is not to be missed. 
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 230: Tue Aug 18

Billy Liar (Schlesinger, 1963): Close-Up Film Centre, 8pm

This 35mm screening is part of the Close-Up Film Centre's August season and also screens on 8th August. You can find the details here.

Time Out review:
Released in the wake of the early social realist films of Karel Reisz and Tony Richardson, John Schlesinger’s physical world is the same – northern and working-class – but his approach to social commentary and storytelling, as adapted from Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall’s book and play, is more playful and less concerned with realism than films like ‘Taste of Honey’ and ‘Saturday Night, Sunday Morning’. Schlesinger’s Billy (Tom Courtenay) is a confused young man with too much imagination for considering kitchen sinks: nominally he’s an undertaker’s clerk, but his real job is to carve a parallel, fantasy world for himself, whether leading men to war in a state called Ambrosia or forging himself a career in showbiz. Billy’s endless lies feel less like deceptions and more like an expression of the conflicts within a young man who’s uneasy in a fast-changing world. Funny and unexpectedly poignant.
Dave Calhoun

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 229: Mon Aug 17

They Live (Carpenter, 1988): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.35pm

Chicago Reader review:
John Carpenter's 1988 SF action-thriller about aliens taking over the earth through the hypnotic use of TV. The explicit anti-Reagan satire—the aliens are developers who regard human beings as cattle, aided by yuppies who are all too willing to cooperate for business reasons—is strangely undercut and confused by a xenophobic treatment of the aliens that also makes them virtual stand-ins for the Vietcong. Carpenter's wit and storytelling craft make this fun and watchable, although the script takes a number of unfortunate shortcuts, and the possibilities inherent in the movie's central conceit are explored only cursorily. All in all, an entertaining (if ideologically incoherent) response to the valorization of greed in our midst, with lots of Rambo-esque violence thrown in, as well as an unusually protracted slugfest between ex-wrestler Roddy Piper and costar Keith David.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 228: Sun Aug 16

The Servant (Losey, 1963): Close-Up Film Centre, 8pm

This 35mm screening is part of the Close-Up Film Centre's August season and also screens on 11th August. You can find the details here.

If you want to read an excellent article on this Joseph Losey film I can recommend John Patterson's in the Guardian Guide here.  

He writes: 'Joseph Losey kicked off the 1960s proper with The Servant, an absolutely pivotal movie that exactly caught the spirit of the age as the country shook itself awake after the long frigid winter of 1962-3 and emerged, blinking and disoriented, into the torpid hothouse atmosphere surrounding the Profumo affair.

'The story of an aristocrat (James Fox) taken in by his machiavellian manservant (Dirk Bogarde), its themes of working-class insurgency, upper-class degeneracy and mutually destructive, sexually-driven power-games – already hallmarks of the stage work of first-time screenwriter, Harold Pinter – not to mention a notorious scene that seems to depict incest between a supposed brother and sister, dovetailed in the popular mind with the emerging sex-and-spy scandal whose fumes would finally waft the Conservative party out of power in 1964.

'The Servant was also perhaps the most baroquely stylised movie made in the United Kingdom since the heyday of Powell & Pressburger a decade earlier, but with Powell's optimistic high-Tory stylistic flourishes replaced by Losey's avowedly pessimistic Marxist mannerisms, or, as I prefer to think of them, his mise-in-sane.'

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 227: Sat Aug 15

Sparrows Can't Sing (Littlewood, 1962): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 3.30pm

This is part of the London on Film season and the screening includes a Q&A with stars Barbara Windsor and Murray Melvin. Full details here.

BFI Southbank preview:
Joan Littlewood’s only feature paints a vivid picture of London’s East End and its larger-than-life characters (so vivid that it was subtitled for American audiences). When Charlie (James Booth) returns from two years at sea he finds his wife (a terrific performance by Barbara Windsor) has traded in their two-up, two-down for a highrise, and him for a bus driver.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 226: Fri Aug 14

Terence Davies Trilogy (Davies, 1976-1983): Close-Up Film Centre, 8pm

This is part of the Close-Up Film Centre's August season and also screens on 6th and 27th August. You can find the details here.

Time Out review:
Not so much an 'I had it tough' catalogue of economic and physical hardships as a strangely stirring account of human dignity triumphing over emotional and spiritual confusion. And indeed, the form reflects this, transforming Liverpudlian Robert Tucker's development - from victimised schoolboy, through a Catholic closet-gay middle-age, to death in a hospital - into a rich, resonant tapestry of impressionistic detail. There is plenty to enjoy: a bleak, wry wit and an imaginative use of music undercutting the grim but beautiful imagery; flashes of surrealism; and superb performances throughout (none more so than Brambell as the 80-year-old Tucker, wordlessly struggling the last few steps to meet his Maker). But what really elevates the films into their own timeless realm is the luminous attention to faces in close-up: a stylish strategy that turns an otherwise chastening look at a lonely man's life into an uplifting experience. (The film is in three parts: Children, 1974; Madonna and Child, 1980; Death and Transfiguration, 1983.)
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is an extract.