Saturday, 21 October 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 303: Thu Nov 2

Floating Clouds (Naruse, 1955): BFI Southbank, NFT, 6.05pm

This 35mm screening, which is also being shown on November 5th, is part of the 'Women in Japanese Melodrama' at BFI Southbank. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Mikio Naruse belongs with Ozu and Mizoguchi in the great classical tradition of Japanese cinema, though he remains almost unknown to American audiences. Like his famous colleagues, he specialized in melodrama, but his work rigorously denies both the spiritual transcendence of Mizoguchi and the human connections of Ozu, moving instead toward a sense of defeat and futility. Floating Clouds (1955), which was a huge popular success in Japan and remains his best-loved film today, tells of a young woman's determined love for a man she knows to be worthless; the film piles betrayal upon betrayal, but her hope is never shaken. Naruse's visual style is austere to the point of invisibility; his meanings are contained in his actors' faces and in his distinctive dovetailing of dramatic incidents, a narrative pattern that allows his characters no rest, but affords a strange peace in its constancy.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is an extract.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 302: Wed Nov 1

People in the Slum (Chang-ho, 1982): Close-Up Cinema, 7.30pm

This film plays in the Bae Chang-ho retrospective at Close-Up Cinema, which is part of the Korean Film Festival. Full details here. The film will be introduced by Mark Morris and feature a director Q&A.

Close-Up preview:
A shantytown miles south of Seoul has collected poor people and misfits from all over the country into its twisting alleyways and scruffy landscape. Myeong-suk, a fading beauty among the tough women there, is known as ëblack gloveí for the one on her hand badly burnt in saving her baby boy. Myeong-suk tries to raise her son, keep one step ahead of her dodgy husband and run a small grocery shop. But her ex-husband is out of jail, again, and drives his nice green taxi cab right back into her already complicated life.

Here (and above) is an extract.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 301: Tue Oct 31

Ghostwatch (Manning, 1992): Genesis Cinema,

Genesis Cinema introduction:
On October 31st 1992, at 9.25pm, a BBC television show aired that shocked and mentally scarred millions of viewers for life. This iconic show was an originator of ‘alternative news’ in its most sinister form and its first broadcast lead to 30,000 calls logged to the BBC within 1 hour, the show being banned for around a decade and sleepless nights across the country. This show was Ghostwatch.
Through its genius cast of national treasure Sir Michael Parkinson and other known celebrities such as Craig Charles, Sarah Greene, Mike Smith and Gillian Bevan in combination with its masterful writing and direction, Ghostwatch lured a whole nation into terror as the innocent ghost hunting folly they assumed they were watching turned into a nightmarish experience live on television right in front of them. Following the airing of the show national newspapers were packed with stories of the outrage and trauma that the 90 min horror drama caused in the UK. On October 31st, exactly 25 years on from its initial airing, Pilot Light TV Festival will be paying homage to the controversial show by screening the entire first episode and inviting key creators and cast members to discuss their work on the show, the traumatic impact it had across the country and its place in Television history. Joining Pilot Light at this very special event for a Q&A will be creator Stephen Volk, director Lesley Manning, actress Gillian Bevan and the writer/director of Ghostwatch: Behind the Curtains, Rich Lawden.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 300: Mon Oct 30

Rage (Aduaka, 1999): Ritzy Cinema, 6.30pm

This film is in the 'Lost Classics' strand in the Film Africa season. You can find all the detailsof the season by clicking here.

Time Out review:
'Tell me about your reality.' Rage (or Jamie to his mum) dreams of cutting a rap record with his friends Thomas (a DJ), and Godwin, a talented pianist. They're each struggling in their own way to grapple with questions of identity and race on the streets of south London. Rage, the most rebellious, is also walking a moral knife-edge, trying to help an elderly mentor out of his drug debts, but feeling the pressure to cross the law himself. Aduaka's independent, improvised feature isn't a smooth ride ('This ain't no Hollywood movie'), but it feels real, and it has something important to say about where young people are at right now. It's made with sincerity, but more than that, with integrity.
Tom Charity

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 299: Sun Oct 29

La Baie Des Anges (Demy, 1963): Cine Lumiere, 2pm

This film is part of the Jeanne Moreau season at the Cine Lumiere Full details here.

Time Out review:
Jacques Demy's second feature has a ravishing Jeanne Moreau, ash-blonde for the occasion and dressed all in white, as a compulsive gambler who doesn't care what happens to her so long as she has a chip to start her on the roulette tables. Ostensibly the subject is gambling, but the real theme is seduction - with Moreau casting a spell on Mann that turns him every which way - and this is above all a visually seductive film. Shot mainly inside the casinos and on the sunstruck promenades of Nice and Monte Carlo, it is conceived as a dazzling symphony in black and white. Moreau's performance is magnificent, but it's really Jean Rabier's camera which turns the whole film into an expression of sheer joy - not only in life and love, but things. Iron bedsteads make arabesques against white walls; a little jeweller's shop becomes a paradise of strange ornamental clocks; a series of angled mirrors echo the heroine as she runs down a corridor into her lover's arms; roulette wheels spin to a triumphant musical accompaniment; and over it all hangs an aura of brilliant sunshine.Tom Milne

Here (and above) is the brilliant opening to the movie.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 298: Sat Oct 28

Suspiria (Argento, 1977):  Regent Street Cinema, 11pm

Josh Saco, the man behind the Cigarette Burns film screenings, is giving you the chance to see Dario Argento horror classic Suspiria from a 35mm print. Don't pass up the opportunity ... plus ...

... this is part of a Halloween all-nighter which will also include Filipino lunacy in Killing of Satan; classic 80s slasher The Boogey Man; a rare screening of an imported Sony archive print of 70s Satanic panic shocker The Brotherhood of Satan and 80s schlock Re-Animator. All films will play from 35mm. Musical accompaniment will be provided by Pentagram Home Video.

London Film Festival preview extract for Suspiria: 
Four decades ago, Italian genre master Dario Argento brazenly subverted expectations by abandoning the giallo tradition upon which he had built his reputation, launching headlong into a fantastical tale of the supernatural. The resulting film remains not just one of the director’s most celebrated works, but a defining classic of horror cinema. American ballerina Suzy Bannion arrives in Germany to study at the prestigious Tanz Dance Academy. But as a series of murders and a variety of other inexplicable events begin to pile up, Suzy realises her new school houses a terrifying secret. Dripping in dark imagination, Suspiria ranks as one of Argento’s most visionary works – its garish colour palette and bravura set pieces adding to a frenzied sense of dread.
Michael Blyth

Here (and above) is the original trailer. 

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 297: Fri Oct 27

Halloween (Carpenter, 1978): Prince Charles Cinema, 2.15pm

This classic groundbreaking horror film is on an extended run at the Prince Charles Cinema until November 2nd. You can find the full details here.

Please Note: All weekday matinee performances will screen digitally. All other performances will screen from an original 35mm print! Due to the age of the print, there is a bit of colour fade; but overall is lovely for its age.

Time Out review:
A superb essay in Hitchcockian suspense, which puts all its sleazy Friday the 13th imitators to shame with its dazzling skills and mocking wit. Rarely have the remoter corners of the screen been used to such good effect as shifting volumes of darkness and light reveal the presence of a sinister something. We know, and Carpenter knows we know, that it's all a game as his psycho starts decimating teenagers observed in the sexual act; and he delights in being one step ahead of expectation, revealing nothing when there should be something, and something - as in the subtle reframing of the girl sobbing in the doorway after she finally manages to kill the killer, showing the corpse suddenly sitting up again behind her - long after there should be nothing. Perhaps not quite so resonant as Psycho to which it pays due homage, but it breathes the same air.
Tom Milne

Here (and above) is the original trailer.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 296: Thu Oct 26

October (Eisenstein, 1928): Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

Here is the Barbican introduction to this special Kino Klassika screening:
26th October 2017 is the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, one of the most important events in 20th-century history, and one whose consequences are still being felt to this day. To mark the date, the Kino Klassika Foundation presents a screening of Sergei Eisenstein’s cinematic masterpiece October (1928). This is one of the most iconic films of the 20th century, and is screened with a live score performed by the London Symphony Orchestra.

Eisenstein’s October is an epic recreation of the events that led to the storming of the Winter Palace in October 1917. On the basis of the success of Battleship Potemkin (1924), the film was commissioned by the Soviet government to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Revolution. The film occupies a unique place in Eisenstein’s work: its powerful, highly personal and controversial propagandist images led to widespread banning, with the first screenings in Britain only in 1935.
This is an extraordinary opportunity for London audiences to see a newly restored version of the film screened at the Berlin Film Festival in 2012, alongside the British premiere of a new restoration Edmund Meisel's original 1928 score.

Chicago Reader review:
Sergei Eisenstein was given a free hand and a mammoth budget to re-create the October Revolution for its tenth anniversary (1927), but the results displeased the authorities—for reasons both political (Trotsky, suddenly banished from the Soviet Union, had to be hurriedly eliminated from the final cut) and aesthetic (Eisenstein's extreme formalism, here at its most abstract and theoretical). Much of the montage plays better in analytical retrospect than it does on the screen, but much of the film is genuinely stirring—when he wasn't theorizing, the man really could cut film.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the Kino Klassika trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 295: Wed Oct 25

Dawson City: Frozen Time (Morrison, 2016): Curzon Soho, 6.15pm

At this DocDays screening, director Bill Morrison be on hand for a Q&A following a rare theatrical screening of his acclaimed documentary. His short film Dawson City: Postscript will follow the Q&A - this will be the short's international premiere.

Chicago Reader review:

Bill Morrison, whose extraordinary documentary Decasia (2002) turned decomposing film stock into the stuff of avante-garde reverie, returns with another staggering journey into the past. In 1978 a construction crew in Dawson City, Yukon, uncovered hundreds of reels of silent film that were used as landfill after a local theater switched over to talkies in the 1930s. Drawing on these materials as well as archival photos and other movie clips, Morrison reconstructs the history of the frontier town from its gold-rush heyday to the present, even as he connects it to the emergence of the American cinema. The movie honors the silent-film aesthetic with a majestic score and the narration in onscreen titles, though composer Alex Somers cuts loose with a little electronic noise whenever Morrison presents one of his abstract studies in peeling emulsion. Included is rare footage of the Chicago "Black Sox" playing the infamous 1919 World Series.

JR Jones

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 294: Tue Oct 24

Lights in the Dusk (Kaurismäki, 2006): Close-Up Cinema, 7.30pm

This 35mm screening is psr of the Aki Kaurismäki season at Close-Up Cinema. You can find the full details of the season here.

Time Out review:
The predictably rewarding final instalment of Aki Kaurismäki’s ‘Loser Trilogy’ follows its predecessors’ themes of unemployment (‘Drifting Clouds’) and homelessness (‘The Man Without a Past’) with that of loneliness. Shy nightwatchman Koistinen (Janne Hyytiäinen) is virtually ostracised by his fellow security guards and lives alone in a modest apartment… until he meets blonde-bombshell-of-his-dreams Mirja (Maria Järvenhelmi), who seems to respond to his slightly old-fashioned, even gentlemanly manner. Sadly, however, Koistinen’s sense of honour is no longer the norm in a world brutishly devoted to the advancement of social standing, political power and material wealth … Kaurismäki’s delightfully delicate cautionary fable charts his unassuming hero’s descent into an unforeseen nightmare of deceit and violence with a characteristically low-key blend of humane compassion and deadpan mordant humour. The distinctively bitter-sweet tone is deftly maintained not only by the pleasingly laconic performances but by cinematographer Timo Salminen’s superb evocation of nocturnal Helsinki; there’s also a beautifully judged music track that juxtaposes Puccini with the tangos of both Carlos (‘Volver’) Gardel and Finland’s Olavi Virta. The film may not offer the exquisite formal perfection and comic genius of ‘Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatjana’, and churlish critics might justifiably insist that it offers no significant advance on its two predecessors. That said, it’s a very poignant reminder of the bleak lot of the emotional ‘have-nots’ in our world. A dark jewel of a movie, it glows with warmth and, finally, a small but enriching glimmer of hope.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 293: Mon Oct 23

The Hills Have Eyes (Craven, 1977): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.10pm

This is part of the Prince Charles Cinema's HorrOctober season. Full details here. 

Time Out review:
A baby cries, granddaddy is crucified, cannibals with CB radios stalk a land where even the hills have eyes. Somewhere in the desert a clean WASP family of six are stranded; there are murmurs of atomic tests, and at the local gas station, an old man talks of a monster mutant son he abandoned in the wilds. To little avail: the Carters are besieged in their trailer and the nightmare begins. The baby is kidnapped (for supper), half the family die. From there, it's a question of the 'civilised' family acquiring the same cunning as their cannibal counterparts in a fight to the death. Parallel families, Lassie-style pet dogs who turn hunter-killers, savage Nature: exploitation themes are used to maximum effect, and despite occasional errors (the cannibal girl who protects the 'human' baby), the sense of pace never errs. A heady mix of ironic allegory and seat-edge tension.
Chris Auty

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 292: Sun Oct 22

Alice in the Cities (Wenders, 1974): BFI Southbank, 5pm

BFI introduction:
This screening includes a Q&A with director Wim Eenders. A German writer leaving the USA finds himself unwittingly responsible for an eight-year-old girl and embarks on a cross country road trip with her. Photographed in black and white by Robby Müller, this early work by Wenders still looks exceptional today, and is timely in its exploration of the US and Europe. Photographed in black and white by Robby Muller, this early work by Wenders looks exceptional and is timely today in its exploration of the US and Europe. This event will focus on the role that photography, and the Polaroid in particular, plays in Wenders’ work looking both at this film and his new exhibition ‘Instant Stories: Wim Wenders’ Polaroids’ at The Photographers Gallery (20 October – 11 February,

Chicago Reader review: 
Wim Wenders's roughly styled but sensitive 1974 film about fading cultural identities. Long-faced Rüdiger Vogler, a Wenders favorite, is a German photojournalist in search of the Real America. While in New York, he reluctantly accepts responsibility for Alice, a nine-year-old German girl abandoned by her mother. Together they return to Europe in search of the girl's grandmother, remembered, dimly, as living in a small village. Which one, they don't know. Without a place to stop, the characters continue to move—restlessly, desperately, the end point always out of sight.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 291: Sat Oct 21

 No1: The Wages of Fear (Clouzot, 1953): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.10pm

BFI introduction:
This white-knuckle masterpiece wrings every last drop of tension from its ingeniously simple premise. Opening in a fetid South American town where tough, unshaven men drink and fight until their next job, Clouzot’s film simmers with slow-building tension until the ratchet is dialled up to breaking point as four of those men take on a potentially suicidal assignment – driving trucks loaded with explosive nitroglycerin over a treacherous mountain path. When every bump could blow them to the heavens, the men’s nerve is tested to the limit, as is the audience’s. Christopher Nolan admitted studying the film for his recent war thriller Dunkirk, and it’s clear why: this is among the most purely suspenseful, gripping thrillers ever made. This is the new 4K restoration of the original French theatrical cut that premiered at Cannes Classics earlier this year.

James Bell

Chicago Reader review:
In Henri-Georges Clouzot's 1953 suspense classic, four out-of-work Europeans (Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Folco Lulli, Peter Van Eyck), trapped in a squalid South American village that's exploited by a U.S. oil company, agree to drive two truckloads of nitroglycerine over 300 miles of primitive roads in exchange for $2,000 each—if they survive. When this existentialist shocker opened in the U.S., 43 minutes had been hacked away, but the gripping adventure elements left intact were still enough to turn the film into a hit. (This restored and at least semicomplete version of the film, 148 minutes long, was released in the early 90s.) A significant influence on Peckinpah's
The Wild Bunch, this grueling pile driver of a movie will keep you on the edge of your seat, though it reeks of French 50s attitude, which includes misogyny, snobbishness, and borderline racism. It's also clearly a love story between two men (Montand and Vanel).

Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.


No2: The Parallax View (Pakula, 1974): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 5.50pm

This 35mm screening, which is also being shown on November 22nd,  is part of the Alan Pakula Paranoia Trilogy season at BFI Southbank. Full details here.

Time Out review:
'A thriller about a journalist, alerted to the mysterious deaths of witnesses to the assassination of a presidential candidate, who embarks on an investigation that reveals a nebulous conspiracy of gigantic and all-embracing scope. It sounds familiar, and refers to or overlaps a good handful of similar films, but is most relevantly tied to Klute. Where Klute was an exploration of claustrophobic anxiety, The Parallax View is inexorably agoraphobic. Its visual organisation is stunning as the journalist (Beatty) is drawn into an increasingly nightmarish world characterised by impenetrably opaque structures, a screen whited out from time to time, or meshed over with visually deceptive patterns. It is some indication of the area the film explores that in place of the self-revealing session with the analyst in Klute, The Parallax View presents us with the more insecurity-inducing questionnaire used by the mysterious Parallax Corporation for personality-testing prospective employees. Excellent performances; fascinating film.' 
Verina Glaessner

Here (and above) is the original trailer.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 290: Fri Oct 20

North by Northwest (Hitchcock, 1959): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.10pm

This film, perhaps Alfred Hitchcock's most perfectly realised Hollywood movie, is on an extended re-release at BFI Southbank. (Note the 4K restoration will only be shown in NFT1 and NFT3).

Chicago Reader review:
Cary Grant, a martini-sodden advertising director, awakes from a middle-class daydream into an underworld nightmare when he's mistaken for a secret agent (1959). A great film, and certainly one of the most entertaining movies ever made, directed by Alfred Hitchcock at his peak. With Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, and Leo G. Carroll.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the original trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 289: Thu Oct 19

Body Heat (Kasdan, 1991): BFI Southbank, 8.40pm

This 35mm is part of the 'Can You Trust Her?' season at BFI Southbank and also screens on October 22nd. Full details here.

Time Out review:
Hot and sticky, though never less than sumptuously deodorised, this is a neon-shaded contemporary noir 
romance: all lust, greed, murder, duplicity and betrayal. As credulously myopic lawyer Ned and slinky femme fatale Matty progress from dirty talk to dirty deeds (a disposable husband, a contestable will), there's the pleasure of unravelling a confidently dense yarn for its own sake, alongside the incongruous experience of finding yellowing pulp fiction classily rebound, or hearing a '40s standard of romantic unease re-recorded with digital precision. Whether the movie-movie cleverness becomes as stifling as the atmosphere Lawrence Kasdan casts over his sunstruck night people is all down to personal taste, but there's no denying the narrative confidence that brings the film to its unfashionably certain double-whammy conclusion.
Paul Taylor

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 288: Wed Oct 18

The Hunger (Scott, 1983): Prince Charles Cinema, 9pm

This screening is part of the 'HorrOctober' season at the Prince Charles Cinema. You can find all the details of the season here.

Time Out film review: 
Catherine Deneuve is the ageless, possibly final survivor of an ancient immortal race dependent on humans for both sustenance and companionship. Her superior blood allows her lovers a triple lifetime until they ultimately succumb to instant decline. Not all of this is apparent in the film, where style rules at the expense of coherence. But that style is often glorious, from a bloody sun sinking over a gothic hi-tech Manhattan skyline to living quarters that are sumptuous. Neat touches of grim humour also: Deneuve and David Bowie manhunt in a disco as Bauhaus sing 'Bela Lugosi's Dead'; and Bowie rots away in a hospital waiting room where the 20 minutes wait becomes a subjective century of ageing. Visual sensualities will have a feast, but you'll have to read Whitley Strieber's novel if you don't want to emerge with a badly scratched head.
Giovanni Dadomo

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 287: Tue Oct 17

The House That Screamed (Serrador, 1970): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.30pm

This film, part of the Cult strand at BFI Southbank, also screens on October 20th. You can find the full details here.

BFI introduction:
In 19th-century France, strict headmistress Señora Fourneau (a riotous Lilli Palmer) runs her boarding school for troubled girls with an iron fist, but the students have a nasty habit of going missing. Euro-exploitation at its most sophisticated, Serrador’s arresting debut comes dripping in gothic elegance and Oedipal excess, clearly laying the foundations for Dario Argento’s Suspiria a decade later.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 286: Mon Oct 16

Sorcerer (Friedkin, 1977): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.35pm

This 4K restoration of William Friedkin's classic film, part of the 'Who Can You Trust?' season, also screens on October 19th at BFI Southbank. You can find all the details here.

BFI introduction:
Four wanted men embark on a hazardous mission starting in a small South American town. If they transport some chronically unstable nitroglycerine across country for about 200 miles then they will be given money and citizenship. But they underestimate the dangers as they negotiate treacherous terrain and unwanted attention from outsiders. While William Friedkin’s film draws on Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear, Sorcerer stands alone as a truly great and heart-stopping thriller.
Justin Johnson

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 285: Sun Oct 15

Funeral Parade of Roses (Matsumoto, 1969): Haymarket Cinema, 8.30pm

61st LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (4th-15th October 2017) DAY 11

Every day (from October 4th to October 15th) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is all the information you need about the best way to get tickets.

'Funeral Parade of Roses' also screens at ICA Cinema on October 13th. Details here.

Time Out review:
Like Nagisa Oshima's contemporary Diary of a Shinjuku Thief, this still extraordinary film was a response to the 1968 student riots. But Toshio Matsumoto goes further than Oshima - into Shinjuku 2-chome, Tokyo's gay ghetto, to enact a queer revamp of the Oedipus myth. Popular young trannie Eddie (Peter, later the Fool in Ran) throws himself into affairs with a black GI and a Japanese hippie to drown out his memories of killing his mother when he caught her inflagrante with a stranger. Then he shacks up with Gonda, manager of the gay bar Genet, only to find out that the man is his long-lost father. Matsumoto splinters the story's time-frame, splashes captions across the frame and cuts in bits of ciné vérité and interviews with the cast - making it one of the most formally advanced films of the psychedelic decade.

Tony Rayns

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 284: Sat Oct 14

Scarface (Hawks, 1932):  BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.20pm

61st LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (4th-15th October 2017) DAY 10

Every day (from October 4th to October 15th) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is all the information you need about the best way to get tickets.

'Scarface' also screens at Cine Lumiere on October 16th. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Howard Hawks's 1932 masterpiece is a dark, brutal, exhilaratingly violent film, blending comedy and horror in a manner that suggests Chico Marx let loose with a live machine gun. Paul Muni gives his best performance as the simian hood Tony Camonte, whose one redeeming virtue is that he loves his sister (Ann Dvorak, of the limpid eyes and jutting limbs). Hawks reverses the usual structure of the gangster tragedy: Camonte doesn't hubristically challenge his world so much as go with the flow of its natural chaos and violence. The supporting actors—Osgood Perkins, Karen Morely, Boris Karloff, Vince Barnett, George Raft (flipping his coin)—seem to have been chosen for their geometric qualities; the film is a symphony of body shapes and gestures, functioning dynamically as well as dramatically.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 283: Fri Oct 13

Faces, Places (Varda, 2017): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 3.20pm

61st LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (4th-15th October 2017) DAY 9

Every day (from October 4th to October 15th) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is all the information you need about the best way to get tickets.

'Faces Places' also screens at Curzon Mayfair on October 12th. Details here.

London Film Festival preview:
Arriving in town in a van that doubles up as a giant camera, Agnès Varda and JR make quite an impression. For all the initial odd-couple thrills of seeing the revered French filmmaker rolling her eyes at the younger artist’s exuberance, a deep connection is quickly forged between two creative souls, who are fuelled by the desire to see their imaginations realised on a grand scale. Photographing people at home or work and pasting the huge images in public spaces, the pair use this art practice as a pretext to listen to working class French people reflect upon their lives. Deceptively simple in structure, the film’s socialist feminist politics are expertly folded into a moving humanism, exemplified in a moment where JR recreates the world as viewed through Varda’s blurring vision. And the film’s final act? A pilgrimage to visit old friend and notorious recluse – Jean-Luc Godard.

Kate Taylor

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 282: Thu Oct 12

A Matter of Life and Death (Powell/Pressburger): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.10pm

61st LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (4th-15th October 2017) DAY 8

Every day (from October 4th to October 15th) I will be selecting the London Film Festival choices you have a chance to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go to see them at the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out by the time you read this as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is all the information you need about the best way to get tickets.

'A Matter of Life and Death' also screens on October 15th at BFI Southbank. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
This enduring 1946 Technicolor fantasy by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger began as a propaganda piece meant to cement wobbly British-American postwar relations, and some of that theme survives, notably in the climactic trial scene set in heaven. But the rest is given over to a delirious romanticism, tinged with morbidity, mysticism, and humor. David Niven is the British fighter pilot who misses his appointment with death, falling in love with a Wac (Kim Hunter) on his borrowed time. Powell had more and bigger ideas than any other postwar British director: his use of color and bold graphic images is startling and exhilarating, as is his willingness to explore the subsidiary themes of Pressburger's screenplay, never sacrificing creative excitement to linear plot. And yet, for all its abstraction, the film remains emotionally specific and affecting. With Roger Livesey and Marius Goring.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the opening to the film.