Melancholia (Engel, 1989): Curzon Soho, 3pm
This is the second Enthusiasm season screening devoted to showing movies from prints at the Curzon. As part of Curzon Artificial Eye's 40th anniversary celebrations here's a rare chance to see Curzon founder Andi Engel directing this intriguing 1989 film on 35mm. You can find all the details of this superb programme, which includes Engel's favourite film, Vertov's 1931 short 'Enthusiasm: Symphony of the Donbass', here.
Time Out review:
Like writer/director Engel, the hero (or anti-hero) of this elegant
existential/political thriller - successful art critic David Keller
(Jeroen Krabbé) - is a product of the radical '60s, a German now living in
Britain. But his success is hollow: Dürer's engraving 'Melancholia' on
his upmarket apartment wall, vodka on his desk, abandoned relationships
(most notably with old flame Susannah York), angst and melancholy in his heart.
This moral inertia is catalysed by an unexpected phone call: a voice
from the German past tells him he has been chosen as the assassin of a
Chilean ex-torturer, coming to London for a conference. Can he stay true
to the ideals of his youth? Could he, should he, kill? Krabbe, rugged
and taciturn (the clipped dialogue of the opening sounds echoes of the B
thriller) gives an excellent performance, personalising moral and
political issues with facial sensitivity, a palpable intellect, and
physical restraint. There is much to enjoy: Hitchcockian tension and
invention in the action sequences, a contemplative but fluid visual
style and an evocative use of music. Good, too, to see London and
Hamburg filmed as expressively as they are here by cameraman Denis Crossan.
Here is the trailer.