Peter Greenaway – The Belly of an Architect (1987)


An American architect arrives in Italy, supervising an expedition for a French architect, Boullée, who is famous for his oval structures. Through the course of 9 months he becomes obsessed with his belly, suffers severe stomach pains, loses his wife, his unborn child and finally his own expedition. Continue reading

Adam Curtis – HyperNormalisation (2016)


HyperNormalisation tells the extraordinary story of how we got to this strange time of great uncertainty and confusion – where those who are supposed to be in power are paralysed – and have no idea what to do. And, where events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control – from Donald Trump to Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless migrant crisis, and random bomb attacks. It explains not only why these chaotic events are happening – but also why we, and our politicians, cannot understand them.

‘The film shows that what has happened is that all of us in the West – not just the politicians and the journalists and the experts, but we ourselves – have retreated into a simplified, and often completely fake version of the world. But because it is all around us, we accept it as normal. Continue reading

Wayne Ewing – When I Die – The Gonzo Monument (2005)


IMDB: “When I Die” is about the making of the Gonzo Monument to Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, and the blasting of his ashes into the heavens. The infamous outlaw journalist described his funeral plans in a clip from a 1978 BBC documentary which opens “When I Die.”. Hunter wanted a 150 foot obelisk built in his backyard from which his ashes would be shot five hundred feet into the air and explode over his beloved Owl Farm in Woody Creek, Colorado. That is exactly what happened in August, 2005, six months after Dr. Thompson committed suicide. In “When I Die” the trials, tribulations and triumphs of this elaborate funeral production are inter cut with 35mm time-lapse photography and the final pyrotechnics are in breath-taking high speed 35mm. Continue reading

Ben Rivers – The Sky Trembles and the Earth Is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers (2015)


Shooting against the staggering beauty of the Moroccan landscape, from the rugged terrain of the Atlas Mountains to the stark and surreal emptiness of the desert, with its encroaching sands and abandoned film sets, a director abandons his own film set and descends into a hallucinatory, perilous adventure of cruelty, madness and malevolence. A Paul Bowles story combined with observational footage forms a multi-layered excavation into the illusion of cinema itself. Continue reading

Bryony Dixon, Jane Giles, Becci Jones – Play On! Shakespeare in Silent Film (2016)


From King John in 1899, film adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays proved popular with early filmmakers and audiences. By the end of the silent era, around 300 films had been produced. This feature-length celebration draws together a delightful selection of thrilling, dramatic, iconic and humorous scenes from two dozen different titles, many of which have been unseen for decades.

See Hamlet addressing Yorick’s skull, King Lear battling a raging storm at Stonehenge, The Merchant of Venice in vibrant stencil colour, the fairy magic of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and what was probably John Gielgud’s first appearance on film, in the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. These treasures from the BFI National Archive have been newly digitised and are brought to life by the composers and musicians of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Continue reading

Peter Whitehead – The Fall (1969)


“I ran upstairs to the top floor and took the film out of my cine-camera, put it into a tin and sealed it with tape before dropping it from a window into the bushes below, unseen by the ranks of armed police waiting to free the university from the pagan forces of anarchy. Soon I was walking through the splintered wooden doors with the other students, to be arrested. Eagerly the cops opened my camera (I had been warned) to expose the incriminating film to the light. No film. I collected it the following day. A week later I was flying back to England with twenty hours of film which would later become “The Fall”, and be shown for the first time at the Edinburgh Festival, the last film I would make about the so-called Swinging Sixties; TIME magazine having given the era its belittling name.”

-Peter Whitehead Continue reading