Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 85: Sun Mar 26

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. 
Wally Hammond

Here is the trailer.

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