Thursday, 23 March 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 96: Fri Apr 7

Vivre sa Vie (Godard, 1962): BFI Southbank, Studio, 8.50pm


This film is part of the Big Screen Classics season at BFI Southbank (details here). This movie also screens on 11th, 21st and 24th April. You can find all the information here.

Time Out review:
Twelve Brechtian tableaux chronicle the life and death of a whore, starting out as a documentary on prostitution, ending as a Monogram B movie. In retrospect, Godard expressed doubts about the cheap gangster pyrotechnics as being merely a nod to cinephilia. But like the highly stylised prostitution scenes, they are in fact a distantiating device forcing a more direct confrontation with the film's true subject: the enigmatic beauty and troubling presence of Karina, and the mystery of Godard's own passionate involvement with her. This film, as Godard has noted, was the first stage in the inevitable dissolution of their marriage, as described in Pierrot le Fou; and every scene in the film obliquely pinpoints that crisis as originating in the awareness that, as director to star actress, he found himself rapturously but humiliatingly playing client to her prostitute. 
Tom Milne

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 96: Thu Apr 6

Whity (Fassbinder, 1971): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.40pm


The excellent Rainer Werner Fassbinder season continues at the BFI Southbank with this 35mm screening. Full details here. Tonight's film can also be seen at BFI Southbank on April 15th. More information here.

Chicago Reader review:  
Despite the entreaties of his white prostitute lover, Whity, the black illegitimate son and servant of a wealthy white landowner, is reluctant to abandon his dysfunctional family. Günther Kaufmann endows Whity with a persuasively human combination of subservience and entitlement. In a role that straddles fiction and reality, writer-director Rainer Werner Fassbinder plays a vicious cowboy who taunts and tortures Whity: though the intensity of the blows may be exaggerated by sound effects, they're definitely landing on Kaufmann's body. Fassbinder's provocative 1970 meditation on race and class costars Hanna Schygulla and Ron Randell.
Lisa Alspector 

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 95: Wed Apr 5

Sweet Smell of Success (Mackendrick, 1957): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.30pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Cinematic Jukebox season at the Prince Charles Cinema, You can find the full details here.

Time Out review:
A film noir from the Ealing funny man? But Mackendrick's involvement with cosy British humour was always less innocent than it looked: remember the anti-social wit of The Man in the White Suit, or the cruel cynicism of The Ladykillers? Sweet Smell of Success was the director's American debut, a rat trap of a film in which a vicious NY gossip hustler (Curtis) grovels for his 'Mr Big' (Lancaster), a monster newspaper columnist who is incestuously obsessed with destroying his kid sister's romance... and a figure as evil and memorable as Orson Welles in The Third Man or Mitchum in The Night of the Hunter. The dark streets gleam with the sweat of fear; Elmer Bernstein's limpid jazz score (courtesy of Chico Hamilton) whispers corruption in the Big City. The screen was rarely so dark or cruel.
Chris Auty

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 94: Tue Apr 4

35 Shots of Rum (Denis, 2008): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Cinematic Jukebox season at the Prince Charles Cinema, You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
A handsome black widower (Alex Descas) and his lovely college-age daughter (Mati Diop) inhabit a self-contained world of tranquil domesticity and affection in a gray suburban high-rise outside of Paris. A goodhearted but insecure woman down the hall (Nicole Dogué) lives in the abject hope of winning the widower's heart, and a sweetly melancholic young man upstairs (Grégoire Colin) harbors similar feelings for the young woman. It's a given that the father-daughter bubble must eventually burst, but the smart writer-director Claire Denis (Beau Travail) has other, subtler things on her mind than Electra-complex melodrama. This 2008 feature is beautiful but very quietly so, and definitely not for the ADHD set.
Cliff Doerksen

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 93: Mon Apr 3

Brainstorm (Trumbull, 1983): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


Cigarette Burns Cinema introduction to this 70mm screening:
BRAINSTORM was the plaything of special effects wizard Douglas Trumbull, who wanted to maximise the screen and push cinema to new places, shot on 35mm and 70mm. Trumbull’s second and final feature, after having worked on some of the finest science fiction films of all time, 2001, Silent Running, Blade Runner, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Andromeda Strain. Sadly, his masterpiece was overshadowed by the death of its co-star Natlie Wood, rather than the ground breaking over the top special effects he employed.
Brainstorm is the first film Cigarette Burns thought of when the Prince Charles Cinema mentioned 70mm.


Chicago Reader review:
Douglas Trumbull's stab at science fiction for adults (1983) turns out to be an unconscious remake of Roger Corman's classic cheapie X—The Man With the X-Ray Eyes, though refitted with a sappy, spiritual ending. A group of research scientists construct a machine capable of recording and playing back every human sensory stimulus; as in the Corman film, the device becomes a metaphor for the privileged vision of the movies. Though the film finally succumbs to a trite and uncertainly constructed thriller plot (military nasties are trying to turn the project to their own evil ends), Trumbull deserves credit for trying to tie his special-effects extravaganza to some complex character relationships. With Christopher Walken, Natalie Wood, Louise Fletcher, and Cliff Robertson.
Dave Kehr


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 92: Sun Apr 2

The American Soldier (Fassbinder, 1970): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 4.15pm



The excellent Rainer Werner Fassbinder season continues at the BFI Southbank with this 35mm screening. Full details here. Tonight's film can also be seen at BFI Southbank on April 5th. You can find all the information here.

Chicago Reader review:
Director Rainer Werner Fassbinder described this 1970 film as “what's left in the minds of the German people who see a lot of American gangster films.” What's left, apparently, is some of the seediest mise-en-scene I've ever encountered—flat, grainy, spatially incomprehensible, and way too dark. And naturally, it's fascinating. This is Fassbinder before he froze up as a Douglas Sirk impersonator: a real punk movie, full of wonderfully half-baked ideas.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 91: Sat Apr 1

Lolita (Kubrick, 1962): Prince Charles Cinema, 2.40pm


This 35mm presentation is part of the Prince Charles Cinema's 'Stanley Kubrick on Film' season covering the movies he made from 1962 to 1999. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Keeping his misanthropic tendencies somewhat in check, Stanley Kubrick made a solid film (1962) out of Vladimir Nabokov's notorious and brilliant novel. James Mason is the pederastic representative of Old Europe, yearning after the 14-year-old flower of American girlhood, Lolita (Sue Lyon). Where Nabokov was witty, Kubrick is sometimes merely snide, but fine performances (particularly from Peter Sellers, as the ominous Clare Quilty) cover most of the rough spots. With Shelley Winters.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.