Friday, 5 February 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 63: Thu Mar 3

Germany Year 90 Nine Zero (Godard, 1991): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.10pm


This film is part of the Jean-Luc Godard season at BFI Southbank. It is also being shown on March 4th. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Jean-Luc Godard's devastating 1991 film about the collapse of the Berlin wall is probably the most underrated and neglected of his major late films, perhaps because its 62-minute running time makes it difficult to program theatrically. The basic conceit is that Lemmy Caution, the American-style tough guy of Godard's Alphaville—Eddie Constantine in his last performance—has been working as a mole in East Berlin since the 60s; cast adrift in West Germany, he wanders through a puzzling post-cold war landscape littered with historical memories of various kinds. Sorrowful and funny, bittersweet and elegiac, Germany Year 90 Nine Zero has an emotional directness rare in Godard's work, and it's certainly the most accessible of his late films.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 62: Wed Mar 2

Hail the Conquering Hero (Sturges, 1944): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.40pm


This is part of the Preston Sturges season at BFI Southbank, the screening of this movie are on film and also being shown on March 5th. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Preston Sturges's last feature for Paramount (1944) takes on wartime patriotism with a brio and vengeance that may take your breath away. Woodrow Lafayette Pershing Truesmith (Eddie Bracken) gets discharged from the marines due to chronic hay fever, but some service buddies decide to present him to his hometown as if he's a returning war hero. As usual, Sturges's stock company of wonderful bit actors—including William Demarest, Franklin Pangborn, Raymond Walburn, and Jimmy Conlin—is orchestrated and conducted like a pop symphony, and Ella Raines does duty as the love interest. A scathing delight.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 61: Tue Mar 1

The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (Sturges, 1944): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.30pm


This is part of the Preston Sturges season at BFI Southbank, the screening of this movie are on film and also being shown on March 11th. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Preston Sturges's affably blasphemous version of the Nativity, with Betty Hutton as a World War II good-time girl who finds herself in the family way after a dimly remembered night with a soldier whose name may or may not have been Ignatz Ratzkiwatzki. The real miracle is that Sturges got all of this past the production-code office in 1944, particularly the arrival of Hutton's blessing, as scheduled on Christmas morning, in the form of sextuplets. Caustic and chaotic in the arch Sturges manner, it's probably his funniest and most smilingly malicious film. With Eddie Bracken and William Demarest.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 60: Mon Feb 29

Lawrence of Arabia (Lean, 1962): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.50pm


The Prince Charles are showing this classic movie from 70mm in a season that continues throughout March. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
David Lean's 1962 spectacle about T.E. Lawrence's military career between 1916 and '18, written by Robert Bolt and produced by Sam Spiegel, remains one of the most intelligent, handsome, and influential of all war epics. Combining the scenic splendor of De Mille with virtues of the English theater, Lean endeared himself to English professors and action buffs alike. The film won seven Oscars, including best picture and direction, yet the ideological crassness of De Mille and most war movies isn't so much transcended as given a high gloss: the film's subject is basically the White Man's Burden—despite ironic notations—with Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, and Omar Sharif called upon to represent the Arab soul, and Jose Ferrer embodying the savage Turks. The all-male cast helps make this one of the most homoerotic of all screen epics, though the characters' sexual experiences are at best only hinted at.
Jonathan Rosenabum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 59: Sun Feb 28

Le Corbeau (Clouzot, 1943): Cinema Museum, 2.30pm


In his fifth season of 'French Sundaes' at the Cinema Museum, Jon Davies tackles the fine tradition of the French thriller in four themed sessions. The theme for February’s event is ‘society’. In the 1943 film Le Corbeau (The Raven) a village doctor becomes target of poison-pen letters. As in many of the greatest thrillers, everyone is a suspect – a whole town in this case. A themed talk from Jon Davies will precede the screening.

Chicago Reader review:
Suffocatingly corrosive and misanthropic, this 1943 thriller was shot in occupied France by Henri-Georges Clouzot (The Wages of Fear), and its story of a small town terrorized by anonymous poison-pen letters so effectively captures the national paranoia that after the war Clouzot was unjustly persecuted as anti-French. The outstanding cast includes Pierre Fresnay and Ginette Leclerc. Otto Preminger remade this effectively in 1951 as The Thirteenth Letter, though his Quebec locations lack the earlier film's period interest.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 58: Sat Feb 27

Comment Ca Va (Godard, 1978): BFI Southbank, NFT2 8.45pm

 
This film (screened on 35mm) is part of the Jean-Luc Godard season at BFI Southbank. It is also being shown on February 29th. You can find the full details here.

Here is the BFI introduction:
This underrated film is informed by Godard’s activities in the left-wing press in the early 70s. It employs Claude Shannon’s information theory to examine the passage through the print media of a photograph depicting the 1974 Carnation Revolution in Portugal. Godard and MiĆ©ville’s conclusions: TV and the press are rotten, viewers and readers are infected by the rot, and journalists are ‘scum’...

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 57: Fri Feb 26

Carnival of Souls (Harvey, 1962): Close-Up Cinema, 6.15pm


Carnival of Souls is on a double-bill at Close-Up Cinema with Christian Petzold's Yella (2007). You can find all the details here.
Here is an excellent ICA introduction to the film: A low budget zombie horror delight, with a delirious organ score by Gene Moore and unforgettable monochrome images from cinematographer Maurice Prather. Lynchian before Lynch, Romeroesque before Romero.
Herk Harvey was a director and producer of industrial and educational films working for for the Centron Corporation in Kansas, who specialised in films about venereal disease. He took a career break to make this his first and only feature film. He cast Strasberg-trained Candace Hilligoss in the lead, and shot Carnival of Souls in three weeks on location in Lawrence and Salt Lake City. Carnival of Souls is a horror film, but a horror film unlike any other; it is an auteur film by another name.

Time Out review:
The only survivor when a car plunges into a river, Mary Henry (Hilligoss) emerges on to a sandbank like a sodden sleepwalker. Shortly afterwards, en route to Utah to take up a job as a church organist, Mary is frightened by a ghostly apparition, a white-faced man whose repeated appearances seem mysteriously connected with an abandoned carnival pavilion. Other strange episodes, during which Mary seems to become invisible and inaudible to those around her, exacerbate her feeling that she has no place in this world. With its striking black-and-white compositions, disorienting dream sequences and eerie atmosphere, this has the feel of a silent German expressionist movie. Unfortunately, so does some of the acting, which suffers from exaggerated facial expressions and bizarre gesturing. But the mesmerising power of the carnival and dance-hall sequences far outweighs the corniness of the awkward intimate scenes; and as Mary, caught in limbo between this world and the next, dances to the discordant carnival music of time, the subsequent work of George Romero and David Lynch comes constantly to mind.'

Nigel Floyd