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

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

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)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

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)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

“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

Ken Russell – Women in Love (1969)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Ken Russell’s celebrated and controversial film is a lyrical take on love and death as experienced by a Britain ravaged by World War One. Based on D H Lawrence’s acclaimed novel, it tells the story of two couples trapped between the pressure to follow convention and the urge to explore a Bohemian lifestyle. Set against the lush English landscape, the protagonists engage with nature in a direct and sensuous way, each searching for love but unsure what it means. Featuring stunning performances by Alan Bates, Jennie Linden, Oliver Reed and Glenda Jackson (whose role earned her an Academy Award), Women in Love is opulently designed, beautifully shot and is an undisputed landmark of British cinema. Continue reading

Ross Lipman – Notfilm (2015)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

In 1964 author Samuel Beckett set out on one of the strangest ventures in cinematic history: his embattled collaboration with silent era genius Buster Keaton on the production of a short, titleless avant-garde film. Beckett was nearing the peak of his fame, which would culminate in his receiving a Nobel Prize five years later. Keaton, in his waning years, never lived to see Beckett’s canonization. The film they made along with director Alan Schneider, renegade publisher Barney Rosset, and Academy Award-winning cinematographer Boris Kaufman, has been the subject of praise, condemnation, and controversy for decades. Yet the eclectic participants are just one part of a story that stretches to the very birth of cinema, and spreads out to our understanding of human consciousness itself. Continue reading

Anthony Asquith – French Without Tears (1940)

http://cdn1.iofferphoto.com/img/item/168/005/615/5wxQBXpvV1k34KZ.jpg

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

IMDB review:
This amiable Ratigan Farce is based on Ratigans’ own experiences in a French tuition school in Normandy.It was brought to the stage in London featuring Rex Harrison,Trevor Howard,Kay Hammond and Roland Culver.It was purchased by Paramount initially as a vehicle for Marlene Dietrich!However they decided that the featured actors,Culver apart,were not sufficient box office and replaced them.Whilst Ray Milland is quite enjoyable as the main lead one can only conjecture what the film could have been if Harrison had reprised his role for the screen.I saw the original 86 minute version at the Museum of London in 1983.I have just seen the American version which is some 20 minutes shorter.I cannot remember what is missing.A number of matters of interest.Mantovanni is featured in the party scene.The release of this film coincided with the outbreak of war,when all places of entertainment were closed.The director was “Puffin”Asquith,the son of the World war 1 PM.His mother used her influence with cabinet Ministers to get the cinemas reopened,according to the biography of David Lean.Lean was the editor on this film.Cinemas reopened 3 days later and the film was a success at the box office. Continue reading