A shifting sense of time, space, and place can bring huge advantages to fantastical works of fiction. The feeling that time is a folded concept, repeating and resetting in a quasi-ritualistic ceremony of life adds a sheen of the monumental to even the smallest and most intimate of dramas. This sheen is the absolute embodiment of the work of writer, Alan Garner, and is never … Continue reading Red Shift (Play For Today, 1978) – John Mackenzie (BFI).
This review contains minor plot details. When a body of work is inherently made up of intricately layered themes and hidden caches of ideas, surmising the work as a whole can be extremely difficult. This is never more prescient than in the BFI’s release of six films by French film writer and director, Alain Robbe-Grillet; a seemingly missing link in French cinema of the 1960s … Continue reading Alain Robbe- Grillet: Six Films, 1963-1974 (BFI).
In spite of working wearily outside of the French New Wave movement, Claude Sautet’s debut feature, Classe Tous Risques (1960), cannot help but evoke the cinematic environment bursting forth around it. While it may seem crass to spend time discussing more well known work in an article about a director whose work has been largely ignored outside of his national audience, it should also aim … Continue reading Classe Tous Risques (1960) – Claude Sautet (BFI)
The notion of gothic is quite rightly taking over the BFI at the moment. Their gothic season is looking set to be its most all encompassing and vast seasonal retrospective for some time. The gothic tint has found its way into a number of avenues including its DVD range. The Flipside label always seemed fit for the sort of gothic releases still residing in the … Continue reading Schalcken The Painter – Leslie Megahey (BFI Flipside).
The BBC experienced a real golden age for television horror during the late 1960s and 1970s. Almost every year seems to have produced an array of horror delights, ranging from ghost stories of all types to full blown, psychological nightmares. Though now over half of the series is missing from the archives, 1972’s horror anthology Dead of Night and its surviving three episodes represent a … Continue reading BBC Dead of Night (1972) – BFI
This articles contains minor spoilers. Holding the record at the time for being the only play in the BBC Play For Today series to be repeated, James MacTaggart’s Robin Redbreast has an aptly cult aura surrounding it. First broadcast in the “spooky” slot (a December time tradition since Dickens’ era) in 1970, it manages to foreshadow a number of interesting movements in film and television … Continue reading Robin Redbreast – Play For Today (1970) – James MacTaggart (BFI).
M.R James’ ghost stories seem almost tailor-made for television and radio. They’ve taken on so many forms and guises over the years that, like their original forms read by the fireside at Christmas in Cambridge University, they have become a regular, traditional event. Though their presence has been somewhat thin on the ground of late (though soon to change with the fourth modern adaptation coming … Continue reading Classic Ghost Stories by M.R James with Robert Powell (BFI).
The latest release in the BFI Flipside series revels in the social satire of its era with glee. Though of course the main draw of the release will be Saxon Logan’s main feature, Sleepwalker (1984), the release itself is built up to make a whole package of potential double and even triple bills of viewing; some Logan themed, some nocturnal themed. The main feature simply … Continue reading Sleepwalker (1984) – Saxon Logan, BFI Flipside.
Though more famous and widely recognised for film restoration and archiving (for which he received an Academy Award for) Kevin Brownlow’s second shared feature film with Andrew Mollo, Winstanley (1975), is a masterpiece of traditional, historic cinema. It not only captures the feel of the era that produced an amalgamation of tradition-based horror cinema but showed that, through using a number of classical cinematic techniques, … Continue reading Winstanley (Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo) – Landscape Politics and Folk Aesthetics.