Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 262: Wednesday Sept 21

Aguirre, Wrath of God (Herzog, 1972) & Woyzeck (Herzog, 1979):
Roxy Bar and Screen, 7pm

This is part of the Scala Forever season, a programme of 111 films and events at 26 venues through to October 2 that will celebrate the wonderful Scala cinema at King's Cross which closed in 1993. Here is an article I wrote in the Guardian on the history of the cinema and the season and here are the details of all the movies and special events on offer, via the Scala Forever website.

Time Out review of Aguirre:

'As in Even Dwarfs Started Small, the exposition of Herzog's film about the crazy, megalomaniac dream of the Spanish Conquistadors is both functional and extremely concentrated: each scene and each detail is honed down to its salient features. On this level, the film effectively pre-empts analysis by analysing itself as it proceeds, admitting no ambiguity. Yet at the same time, Herzog's flair for charged explosive imagery has never had freer rein, and the film is rich in oneiric moments. The extraordinary, beautiful opening scene illustrates the ambivalence. In long shot, the image of the conquistadors descending the Andes pass brims with poetic resonances: the men are situated between the peaks and the valleys, between conquered land and unexplored forests, between 'heaven' and 'earth', shrouded in mists. In close-up, the procession picking its way down the narrow path is presented and defined with specific accuracy: all the leading characters are introduced, the social hierarchy is sketched (the slave porters in chains, the women carried in chairs), and the twin poles of the expedition's ideology are signified through the loads it carries (a large Madonna figure and an even larger cannon). Neither 'reading' of the action contradicts the other: they are, rather, mutually illuminating.' Tony Rayns

Here is the trailer.

Time Out review of Woyzeck:

'An anarchist's morality play; the tale of an army private tormented in private by visions of apocalypse, in public by the unbearable weight of social and sexual oppression; he flips. Herzog's harsh vision of human suffering beyond despair, adapted from the Georg B├╝chner play, casts Woyzeck as a proletarian King Lear (Kinski, extraordinary once again), but there are echoes, too, of Beckett and Brecht. A sharp parable on social oppression and dormant rebellion, made with a dispassionate, deliberate formality that some may find hard to take.' Chris Auty


Here is the trailer.

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