Tag Archives: Dominic Power

L’Avventura at the BFI Southbank


Mamoun introduced L’Avventura at the BFI Southbank on 14th December to a packed NFT3. It was the last ‘Passport to Cinema’ curated by Dominic Power as Head of Screen Arts at the NFTS.

Mamoun did not have enough time to talk about many aspects of Antonioni’s work, so there will be a follow up soon: Antonioni and what the Eye can See.

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Passport to Cinema: The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974) by Werner Herzog

51EjuEKAvULMamoun would like to thank Dominic Power of the NFTS for inviting him to introduce Werner Herzog’s landmark movie, The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser on Monday 2nd November at the BFI Southbank in NFT2.

Mamoun has this to say about the New German Cinema:

It is a mystery how and why a country suddenly finds a distinct cinematic voice and creates a ‘new’ cinema. Political, social and economic factors provide only partial insights. In Europe, the ‘new’ cinema moved from Italy to France, to the UK (culturally colonised by Hollywood, we preferred ‘free’ over ‘new’) to Poland to Czechoslovakia and, in the 70s, to Germany, or, more significantly, West Germany.

600full-ali--fear-eats-the-soul-posterThe creators of the New German Cinema – Werner Herzog, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Margarethe von Trotta, Volker Schlöndorff , Werner Schröter and Wim Wenders, had diverse styles but collectively they were all radical-left/anarchist. At one end, Fassbinder was hostile to all institutions – and individuals as part of institutions – past and present; at the other end, Herzog focused on individuals whose obsessions, delusions, dreams, fantasies, aspirations made them impossible to assimilate – and led them to destruction.

urlThe question that is rarely addressed is how the filmmakers were supported and financed: public funding from the Länder, the federal government and private sector support from television, film distributors and exhibitors ensured the flowering of the talents of the New German Cinema.

Die_BlechtrommelHerzog has to date written and directed 18 features, including epics shot in the Amazon. Fassbinder made 41 films, intimate in scale, in 14 years – 41 ‘personal’ films, while Lindsay Anderson, Tony Richardson and Karel Reisz together made only some 30 feature films in their entire careers. But then our investors didn’t like politics (still don’t) – they followed Sam Goldwyn, who said: ‘If you want to send a message use Western Union’. Commercial viability was (and is) their only criterion. And we know how certain that is…

 

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An introduction to Ozu’s ‘Late Spring’ at the BFI South Bank, Dec 8th

Late SpringAccording to the lists of 10 and 100 best films the world is a small place consisting primarily of the US and Western Europe. It seems only a small number of films have ever been made as the same ones appear over and over again. Convergence is the first step to entropy. It comes as a surprise to find that Japan exists – thanks to Kurosawa, Mizoguchi and to Ozu whose TOKYO STORY occasionally makes it to the top of the pile. Ozu’s LATE SPRING got to 17 and was called the ‘perfect’ film. It is more important than that.

LATE SPRING is Ozu’s first film with Setsuko Hara as Noriko – and she carries that name, but not the character, in the following two films EARLY SUMMER and TOKYO STORY. The three films are sometimes referred to, somewhat arbitrarily, as the Noriko trilogy.

Ozu is an elusive director. His films appear to be straightforward domestic dramas; the stories are not very different; the characters are played by a repertory of the same actors. In recollection, a scene or a moment from Ozu could come from a number of his films, rather like a Beethoven or Mozart theme when you have to think hard about its context. Soaps work through scattering plotlines outwards; Ozu digs inwards and downwards. LATE SPRING started a process which ended with the sublime AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON.

Mamoun will be introducing LATE SPRING (Banshun) at the BFI South Bank, Screen NFT2, December 8th, 6.10pm.

Mamoun would like to thank Dominic Power, Head of Screen Arts at the National Film and Television School for inviting him to introduce this classic of world cinema.

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Introduction to Bergman’s ‘Persona’ at the NFT

Bibi Andersson and Live Ullman in Persona

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.

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An introduction to Stray Dog filmed at National Film and Television School

Mamoun Hassan and Dominic Power I paid a visit to the National Film Television School in Beaconsfield last week where I introduced Kurosawa’s Stray Dog‘  to students as part of the Screen Arts course led by Dominic Power (pictured left with me). The movie genre is ‘Gendai Geki’ – which means modern (i.e. set in post-1868 Japan). It deals with crime and social issues in post-war Tokyo under American occupation.

In particular I wanted to highlight composer Hayazaka’s  unusual working relationship with Kurosawa and alert the students to how his use of sound contributes to story-telling.   You can watch a film of the introduction here:

Mamoun’s introduction to Stray Dog, 1949, Dir. Akira Kurosawa –   recorded at the National Film and Television School.

Stray Dog, Censorship and the Occupation of Japan (1945 – 1952)

Still from Stray Dog titles showing censor's number

Stray Dog title sequence

In the title sequence of Stray Dog, the opening shot of a dog’s head, open mouthed and panting, is superimposed by the censor’s number as having been approved. It is important to know that the American Censor forbade any reference whatsoever, good or bad, to the Allied Occupation of Japan. I have written about its particular relevance to the film in an article published in The Final Cut –  the Yearbook of the European Film College in 2005. You can read it here.

With Dominic Power at NFTVSA while ago Dominic invited me to  introduce Kurosawa’s The Bad Sleep Well‘, another Gendai Geki film, as part of Passport to Cinema – the NFTS joint programme with the National Fim Theatre. (The story has references to Hamlet, played by Toshiro Mifune, and  centres on corporate corruption.)

I’d also like to thank Lee Evans for his video and stills photographic services at the event.

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by | June 24, 2013 · 9:51 pm

Introduction to Kurosawa’s ‘Stray Dog’ at NFTS

Stray Dog DVD CoverDominic Power,  the  Head of Screen Arts at the world- leading National Film and Television School (NFTS) has asked Mamoun Hassan to introduce Stray Dog – directed by Akira Kurosawa – to NFTS students on Monday 17 June.

The Japanese police thriller is set in the gangster underworld of 1940’s Occupied Tokyo.  It was the film that catapulted the dynamic Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune to world fame. 

Kurosawa’s contemporary subjects (including Stray Dog, Ikiru and High and Low) have been shaded by his Samurai films although they stand comparison. Stray Dog influenced Dirty Harry in which Clint Eastwood’s character also has his gun stolen and used for murder.

Mamoun has previously introduced Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood at British Film Institute (BFI), and led his Movie Masterclass on The Seven Samurai at films schools around the world.

View the movie details online at the BFI Shop.

  

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