Monday, 1 September 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 271: Mon Sep 29

Manila in the Claws of Light (Brocka, 1975): Barbican Cinema, 6.20pm

This screening is part of the City Visions season at the Barbican. Follow the link for full details.

Here is the Barbican introduction:
The story of a young provincial arriving to take on – or be engulfed by – the big city is an archetypal one. The greenhorn here is 21-year-old fisherman Julio, who arrives in the Filipino capital looking for his girlfriend. Immediately robbed of what little cash he has, he scrabbles to survive, drifting through a number of temporary jobs – from black market construction worker to gay prostitute – while wandering the city in search of his beloved. Routinely cited as the best film ever produced by the Philippines, this is a fascinating portrait of life in Manila’s corrupt, teeming and polluted urban jungle.

Time Out review:
Widely (and understandably) considered one of the pinnacles of Filipino cinema, Lino Brocka’s devastating, recently restored 1975 melodrama opens with several stunning, grainy black-and-white shots of Manila, striking a beautiful balance between on-the-ground verisimilitude and fable-like eeriness. As the images morph into color (very urban Wizard of Oz), we meet 21-year-old Julio (Bembol Roco), a fisherman who has traveled from his coastal idyll in pursuit of Ligaya (Hilda Koronel), the woman he loves. She was taken from her home with promises of a better life, but Julio has learned that she was actually sold into the employ of a Chinese pimp.

Julio’s search for Ligaya makes up the story’s overall arc, but for much of the movie, Brocka is more interested in putting his protagonist through the anything-to-survive wringer. He procures jobs as an underpaid construction worker and as a reluctant gay prostitute. People he befriends either vanish when the going gets tough or die under dreadful circumstances. And always there’s the oppressiveness of the big city, with its overpopulated streets, lurid neon signs and a stench that seems to waft off the screen.

It’s almost too much, this parade of indignities. Some skeptics, like Philippines-based critic Noel Vera, have pointed out that Brocka considerably softened Julio from his portrayal in Edgardo Reyes’s 1967 serial novel, which inspired the movie. Indeed, the character often comes off as a tragic innocent, more symbol-of-a-debased-nation than flesh-and-blood person. None of that, however, mitigates the power of the final third, in which Julio’s quest comes to a head and the metropolis where he has tried desperately to survive bares its unforgiving talons.
Keith Ulich

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 270: Sun Sep 28

Head (Rafelson, 1968): Genesis Cinema, 11am

This screening is part of the Scalarama season which runs throughout September. Full details here.

Head will be shown at the Genesis Cinema on Sunday 28 September along with 'Easy Rider', 'Five Easy Pieces', 'Drive, He Said', 'A Safe Place', 'The Last Picture Show' and 'The King of Marvin Gardens' in a BBS All-Dayer event.

Here is the Criterion Collection introduction to this great screening:
Like the rest of America, Hollywood was ripe for revolution in the late sixties. Cinema attendance was down; what had once worked seemed broken. Enter Bob Rafelson, Bert Schneider, and Steve Blauner, who knew that what Hollywood needed was new audiences—namely, young people—and that meant cultivating new talent and new ideas. Fueled by money from their invention of the superstar TV pop group the Monkees, they set off on a film-industry journey that would lead them to form BBS Productions, a company that was also a community. The innovative films produced by this team between 1968 and 1972 are collected here —works that now range from the iconic (Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, The Last Picture Show) to the acclaimed (The King of Marvin Gardens) to the obscure (Head; Drive, He Said; A Safe Place), all created within the studio system but lifted right out of the countercultural id.

Chicago Reader review:
After NBC canceled the innovative sitcom The Monkees, the band and their TV brain trust, Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider, hatched this big-screen psychedelic freak-out (1968), a narrative cul-de-sac of genre parodies, musical numbers, smug antiwar statements, and bilious McLuhan-esque satire. Scripted by Rafelson and Jack Nicholson (who would next collaborate on Five Easy Pieces), it's uneven but mostly a blast, with great tunes like Harry Nilsson's "Daddy's Song," Michael Nesmith's barn burner "Circle Sky," and Gerry Goffin and Carole King's grandiose "Porpoise Song." Rafelson directed; with cameos by Nicholson, Dennis Hopper, Frank Zappa, Annette Funicello, Sonny Liston, Teri Garr, and Victor Mature.

JR Jones

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 269: Sat Sep 27

Two or Three Things I Know About Her (Godard, 1967): Barbican Cinema, 4pm

This screening is part of both the Desperate Housewives and City Visions seasons at the Barbican. Follow the respective links for full details.

Chicago Reader review:
The most intellectually heroic of Jean-Luc Godard's early features (1966) was inspired by his reading an article about suburban housewives day-tripping into Paris to turn tricks for spending money. Marina Vlady plays one such woman, followed over a single day in a slender narrative with many documentary and documentarylike digressions. But the central figure is Godard himself, who whispers his poetic and provocative ruminations over monumentally composed color 'Scope images and, like James Agee in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, continually interrogates his own methods and responses. Among the more memorable images are extreme close-ups of a cup of coffee, while another remarkable sequence deconstructs the operations of a car wash. Few features of the period capture the world with as much passion and insight.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 268: Fri Sep 26

Now Voyager (Rapper, 1942): Ealing Classic Cinema Club, Ealing Town Hall, 7.30pm

Chicago Reader review:
Repressed spinster Bette Davis awakens to the joys of life and Paul Henreid in Irving Rapper's classic 1942 study in schmaltz. Not great filmmaking, but indispensable to students of 40s pop culture. This is the one in which Henreid lights two cigarettes at once, a show of dexterity that his subsequent career never equaled. The aggressive score is by Max Steiner; with Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper, Bonita Granville, and John Loder.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is an extract.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 267: Thu Sep 25

La Grande Illusion (Renoir, 1939):
The Russett, 17 Amhurst Terrace, London, E8. 7.45pm

CINÉ-REAL is a non-for-profit film club with the aim of bringing together film makers, actors, writers, directors, producers, photographers, cinephiles etc, to enjoy classic films as film and share their passion for filmmaking.. The films shown are all 16mm prints.

Chicago Reader review:
For many years this 1937 tale of brotherhood and escape, set in a World War I German prison camp, was considered Jean Renoir's official masterpiece. It's an excellent film, with Renoir's usual looping line and deft shifts of tone, though today the balance of critical opinion has shifted in favor of the greater darkness and filigree of The Rules of the Game. Francois Truffaut described it as"the least eccentric of all of Renoir's French movies," and for that reason it has long been the most popular. But to imagine this same material in the hands of any of the cinema's more naive, more didactic humanists—a Capra or a Stevens, say—is to appreciate the measure of Renoir's genius and honesty.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 266: Wed Sep 24

All the Colors of the Dark (Martino, 1972): The Horse Hospital, 7pm

This screening is part of the Scalarama season which runs throughout September. Full details here.

Here is the Horse Hospital introduction:
Hallucinatory satanists infest swinging London in this hard-to-find psychedelic Giallo from one of its boldest proponents, Sergio Martino (The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh, Torso, Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I have the Key). All the necessary ingredients are here, including giallo queen Edwige Fenech as the troubled victim of a psychopathic stalker, exotic West London locations and a psyched-out sitar heavy theme from Bruno Nicolai.

Here (and above) is the trailer. 

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 265: Tue Sep 23

The Last Impresario (Otto, 2013): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.40pm

This screening is part of the Scalarama season which runs throughout September. Full details here.

Here is the BFI introduction:
Director Gracie Otto pays a vibrant tribute to a fascinating entertainer – possibly the most famous person you’ve never heard of! Notorious London theatre and film impresario Michael White produced over 300 shows and movies over the last 50 years, including risqué productions of Oh! Calcutta!, The Rocky Horror Show and Monty Python’s The Holy Grail. This intimate documentary introduces us to this playboy, gambler, bon vivant and friend of the rich and famous via interviews with Naomi Watts, Kate Moss, John Waters, Barry Humphries and more.