Join me in March at the National Film Theatre, London to see two outstanding Italian films which knock the stuffing out of most of modern cinema.
3 March 2014: 18.10
National Film Theatre, BFI Southbank London:
Passport to Cinema Programme
Dominic Power, Head of Screen Arts at the National Film and Television School, has invited me to provide an introduction to Antonioni’s L’Eclisse as part of NFTS/NFT’s Passport to Cinema. The film is often seen as part of a trilogy of L’Avventura (which won a Special Prize at the Cannes 1960 ‘For a new movie language and the beauty of its images‘); followed by La Notte(1961) and culminating in L’Eclisse (1962). All three starred Monica Vitti, who was Antonioni’s inspiration, muse and, for a while, his companion. These films are more than fifty years old so qualify as antiques. But apart from the cars and clothes (fashion photography cannibalised L’Avventura and unconsciously feeds off it still) the films feel mint new.
ROME OPEN CITY
8 March 2014 13.00 – 17.00 (with breaks)
The Studio, National Film Theatre
BFI, Southbank London
I am pleased to be invited by David Somerset, BFI Education Programmer/ Curator to hold a masterclass on Rossellini’s ROME OPEN CITY .
A towering work which heralded Italian Neorealism. After nearly seventy years, Neorealism still inspires filmmakers. It is a strong seed that continues to find suitable soil somewhere in the world.
Tickets for both shows are available online from the BFI.
On 17 August 2013, I presented the long-awaited Masterclass on Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali at the British Film Institute (BFI) Southbank’s National Film Theatre.
As I explain in the introduction, I’ve never presented a Masterclass on Pather Panchali before. Maybe because the film is just too ‘big’ and too rich to digest in so short a time as four hours.
You can view the 10 minute introduction to the film here. We hope to have the opportunity to broadcast the full Masterclass to the wider public at some point in the near future.
The film and Masterclass were presented as part of the BFI’s continuing education programme curated by David Somerset, the Education Programmer and Curator at BFI Southbank (who also shot the introduction).
Bibi Andersson and Live Ullman in ‘Persona’
This week I was asked by Dominic Power, Head of Screen Arts at National Film and Television School (NFTS) to introduce a screening of Bergman’s Persona at the National Film Theatre Southbank, London.
It’s taking a liberty telling an audience how to view a film minutes before seeing it.
I prefer to give them a perspective, often by referring to the director’s other work. I talk primarily about form and style, sometimes about subjects that recur. I try to keep it simple. The film’s the thing.
Here is a recording of the event, montaged with a few slides:
The film was shown as part of the NFTS ‘Passport to Cinema’ season - a continuous and comprehensive overview of every facet of cinema, from its beginnings to the present day.
I recently took part in a panel discussion on Wojciech Smarzowski’s 2011 war drama ‘Rose’ which was screened as part of Refugee Week at BFI Southbank, London, June 18th.
The screening was organised by David Somerset of the BFI who invited me because I was a member of Human Rights Jury of the Cairo Film Festival that awarded ‘Rose’ the Tahrir Square Prize in December 2012. (How bitterly ironic the word “Tahrir” meaning “liberation” is now).
The other contributors, a Professor of History from LSE, and representatives of UNHCR and the Refugee Council, were seeing the film not only as a film but as reference to many other things.
Film does not exist in vacuum and certainly ROSE does not. This debate was well received at the Institute and shows how necessary it is to have public discussion about cinema.
We have edited a clip of the panel debate filmed by the BFI. It opens with an introduction to the film from the historian Anita Prażmowska.
Camera was Ace Ashun, who had to shoot from a poor position due to health and safety regulations at the National Film Theatre.
A number of audience contributions followed but sadly the sound quality was not good enough to include them.
‘A stunning film’ Film Journal International
‘Machuca’ the 2004 feature I co-wrote and co-produced with Andrés Wood has been selected for the CasAmerica, Madrid season of ‘Twenty great films of Latin American cinema” which celebrates the most notable films of the past 20 years.
I am delighted for Andrés because this lists him up there with the greatest Latin American directors of his generation.
Machuca was my first proper collaboration with Andrés – although I had helped him with the editing on his previous film Loco Fever. Working with Andres was very enjoyable, challenging and educative. Andrés’s next film, La Buena Vida, (my credits: screenplay and co-producer) was less straightforward and the film was affected by the limitations of the budget. Still, it won a Goya amongst many other awards. Our next collaboration has already started. La Lutte Continua:
Machuca will be shown at CasAmerica, Plaza de Cibeles, Madrid on Wednesday, 25 September. For the full listing visit the CasAmerica website. http://www.casamerica.es/cine/20-anos-de-cine-iberoamericano.
Buy Machuca on DVD
Machuca / Chile-Spain-United Kingdom-France 2004 / Directed by Andres Wood. Distributed in the UK by Artificial Eye.
I will be giving introductions to two great films at the National Film Theatre at the British Film Institute (BFI) Southbank next month:
La Ronde: Monday 2 September
Max Ophul’s masterpiece – an adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s controversial play Reigen.
Persona: Monday 23 September
Ingmar Bergman’s highly influential minimalist work. Considered by some as one of the 20th Century’s greatest works of art.
Passport to Cinema
The films appear as part of the National Film and Television School’s Autumn 2013 ‘Passport to Cinema’ season – the theme of which is Masquerade! Cinema and its Masks.
The screenings are open to the public and National Film and Television School students.
For current ticket prices, reservations and further information visit the BFI website – http://www.bfi.org.uk.
The Passport to Cinema schedule and accompanying essays are published on the NFTVS website.
Three of the most compelling films about childhood and adolescence – ever made – released for the first time on DVD by BFI.
Bill Douglas has always been appreciated in France but the enthusiastic response of the cinephile media to the DVD release two weeks ago of the Trilogy shows that his status is now higher than ever. He is spoken of as in the ‘pantheon’ of British directors.
It is particularly gratifying to read a glowing tribute to Bill’s work by Thomas Sotinel in Le Monde*. His piece also recognises the role the British Film Institute played in helping the young Scot get his first feature film off the ground in the early 1970′s – and contains a reference link to an account on this very website: Bill Douglas – his ain man – (as published by Sight and Sound in 1991)
It is my greatest regret that after I commissioned Bill to write a screenplay adaptation of James’ Hogg’s 19th Century Classic, Confessions of a Justified Sinner, no funding was forthcoming to make what I believe was a personal and inspired adaptation. I stand by what I said in the article more than 20 years ago:
I hope that when the film is made — and it will be — I can, in my mind at least, make peace with him.
* published at http://www.lemonde.fr/culture/article/2013/07/30/bill-douglas-une-enfance-en-ecosse_3455298_3246.html subscription only, but may be read in full if you put ‘Le Monde’ and ‘Bill Douglas’ into your search engine!
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