Pithy half-hour documentary concerning New German Cinema (when it was on fire), focusing on and featuring interviews with “the big five”: Werner Herzog, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders, Volker Schlöndorff & Hans-Jürgen Syberberg
Most notable being the rare interview with a young Herzog, and behind-the-scenes footage of him at work.
Making its debut with Romeo and Juliet on 3 December 1978, and concluding nearly seven years later with Titus Andronicus on 27 April 1985, the BBC Television Shakespeare project was the single most ambitious attempt at bringing the Bard of Avon to the small screen, both at the time and to date.
Producer Cedric Messina was already an experienced producer of one-off television Shakespeare presentations, and was thus ideally qualified to present the BBC with a daunting but nonetheless enticingly simple proposition: a series of adaptations, staged specifically for television, of all 36 First Folio plays, plus Pericles (The Two Noble Kinsmen was considered primarily John Fletcher’s work, and the legitimacy of Edward III was still being debated). Continue reading
Complete 7-part, 290-minute BBC miniseries plus BBC interview – John Le Carre – The Secret Centre
Complex but compelling, this miniseries is based upon one of John Le Carré’s greatest works and serves as a grand summing-up for the late Sir Alec Guinness, one of Britain’s greatest actors. Guinness literally is Smiley: Le Carré said that Guinness served as a template for the character’s cunning and mournful rectitude. In anyone else’s hands, Smiley might have seemed a blank and lifeless character, but Guinness’ matchless ability to play within a scene while seeming to think well beyond it is magnetic. Guinness was the great everyman and underplayer of the generation that gave us such great British Shakespearean actors as Olivier, Richardson, and Gielgud. He’s helped, too, by sharp dialogue lifted almost word-for-word from the book and terrific supporting performances (particularly an entirely silent but amazingly communicative Patrick Stewart, who has a cameo as Karla), which almost entirely obscure the fact that the miniseries largely consists of people sitting in rooms talking. It’s a literate treat that brings to life the gray morality and conflicting loyalties of the Cold War. Be advised: viewers can get lost in the intricate plot if they don’t pay close attention.
— Nick Sambides, Jr. Continue reading
The 1967 ‘Six-Day’ war ended with Israel’s decisive victory; conquering Jerusalem, Gaza, Sinai and the West Bank. It is a war portrayed, to this day, as a righteous undertaking – a radiant emblem of Jewish pride. One week after the war, a group of young kibbutzniks, led by renowned author Amos Oz, recorded intimate conversations with soldiers returning from the battlefield. The recording revealed an honest look at the moment Israel turned from David to Goliath. The Israeli army censored the recordings, allowing the kibbutzniks to publish only a fragment of the conversations. ‘Censored Voices’ reveals the original recordings for the first time. Continue reading
The first major profile of the great British film director Nicolas Roeg, examining his very personal vision of cinema as in such films as Don’t Look Now, Performance, Walkabout and The Man Who Fell to Earth. Roeg reflects on his career, which began as a leading cinematographer, and on the themes that have obsessed him, such as our perception of time and the difficulty of human relationships. With contributions from key collaborators, including Julie Christie, Jenny Agutter and Theresa Russell, and directors he has inspired such as Danny Boyle, Mike Figgis, Bernard Rose and Ben Wheatley. Continue reading
BBC documentaries on 3 existentialist philosophers – Neitzsche, Heidegger and Satre. The rip quality is not great, but highly watchable and the standard of the documentaries is top notch featuring a number of highly respected academics plus Will Self. Continue reading
The 50 Year Argument is Martin Scorsese’s latest film, co-directed with his longtime documentary collaborator David Tedeschi. It charts literary, political and cultural history as per the New York Review of Books, America’s leading journal of ideas since 1963. The film weaves rare archive material, interviews and writing by icons such as James Baldwin and Gore Vidal into original verite footage, filmed in the Review’s Greenwich Village offices with longtime editor Robert Silvers. Continue reading