Tag Archives: Movie

Movie Masterclass Revisited – Stray Dog

On June 13 2013, we posted an introduction to Kurosawa’s STRAY DOG at the National Film & Television School.
At the time the question of the use of clips was not clear and we chose not to risk infringing copyright.

We now include clips under the conditions of ‘Fair Dealing’ in the UK, or ‘Fair Use’ in the US.

So we are here with the first, ‘Revisit’ to Movie Masterclass introductions.

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A few views of ‘A Closer Look – The Apu Trilogy’

Although it has been a while since the release of the magnificent Criterion box set of ‘The World of Apu Trilogy’, it is worth reflecting on some of the the responses to the ‘extra’ Mamoun contributed to the set.

The Criterion forum  Chris Galloway wrote: ‘We next get a piece on the trilogy, featuring the former head of the BFI, Mamoun Hassan. Entitled The Apu Trilogy: A Closer Look, it features Hassan offering a rather thorough examination of the trilogy as a whole, giving detailed analysis of Ray’s framing, how he introduces characters, the flow of editing, and how the visual language of the films can be broken down into “sentences and paragraphs.” He goes through each film, talking about particular scenes and sequences. It’s lengthy at 43-minutes but found it a very strong scholarly supplement that does make up somewhat for the lack of commentaries, an item that I’m surprised is missing from the set.’

Brian Tallerico on RogerEbert.com : “”This is Ray’s first film, and it is amazing.” So says Mamoun Hassan in a fantastic, detailed examination of “The Apu Trilogy” included in the amazing array of special features on the Criterion release. Hassan, the former head of the British Film Institute, breaks down the movies beat by beat, with such attention to detail that you further appreciate the filmmaking in new ways.”

Peggy Earle of HamptonRoads.com cited Mamoun’s extra as the ‘best extra’ in the collection. “Mamoun Hassan, former head of the British Film Institute, gives a fine overview of the trilogy, Ray’s directorial style, and the significance of the three films. He points to Ray’s ability to show emotions with no dialogue, and urges viewers to “give themselves up” to the films. “Ray had ambiguity. And that’s why we participate in his films. He’s given us room to interpret.””

Jake Cole for Slant magazine“For a deeper dive into the films themselves, a 43-minute analysis from filmmaker Mamoun Hassan is so minutely observed that even actors’ body language and orientation to the camera is fodder for discussion.”

It is always nice to be appreciated, and we must acknowledge the work of Abbey Lustgarten of Criterion, who worked with Mamoun on the extra with amazing focus, crafting it into the final product.

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Babylon – a Conversation at Theatre Utopia with Lee Fairweather

We are pleased to be able to share the conversation about Babylon from the event at Theatre Utopia in December 3rd 2015.

Despite the loud live music that was being played in the same building, the conversation was lively, and covered not just the film but also the issue of positive discrimination and the politics of race in cinema and society.

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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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Babylon at Theatre Utopia – afterword

babylonThere was a vigorous discussion following the screening of BABYLON at Theatre Utopia in Croydon.  Apart from the social references, a recurring question was whether BABYLON would have been financed and made today – whether the political and financial barriers are too great.  Strong views were expressed. BABYLON is still relevant; BABYLON is still alive.

Mamoun wrote an article in 2008 to accompany the DVD release by ICON FILMS. Things had changed between 1980 and 2008, and more dramatically since then. It is not the same country anymore. The generation in BABYLON are now parents, even grandparents.  We are now suffering the birth pangs of a multicultural Britain. It is more tumultuous in every way. I hope to see the new BABYLON soon.

Thank you Lee Fairweather.

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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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The Apu Trilogy on Blu-Ray from Criterion – 17 Nov 2015

The Apu TrilogyWe are pleased to be able to announce that the major new Criterion restoration of Satyajit Ray’s Apu Trilogy is to be released on 17 November 2015.

There is so much to see in this set, including a rare interview with Ray, and it promises to be a remarkable restoration with the level of expertise, time and resources that have been lavished upon it. As the films were scanned and restored in 4K, they are also going to have an extended life in the movie theatres around the world.

Mamoun is happy to have been invited to take part in this release with his own supplement to the films: The Apu Trilogy – A Closer Look. The other supplements include a video essay by definitive Ray biographer Andrew Robinson, with a contribution from Martin Scorsese.

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