British cinema in the early 1950s appears to have been fond of experimenting with other art forms. Powell and Pressburger were transplanting opera and dance into the form in their colour zoetrope Offenbach amalgamation, The Tales Of Hoffmann (1951) (and slightly earlier in The Red Shoes (1948)) whilst Laurence Olivier was continuing his melding of Shakespearean theatre with celluloid in Richard III (1955). The great … Continue reading Murder In The Cathedral (1952) – George Hoellering (BFI).
On the sleeves notes of the new release of the BBC’s 1964-65 series of Sherlock Holmes adventures, it is suggested that the series is “Regarded by many to be the best incarnation of the Baker Street sleuth…”. Within further, more detailed essays in the accompanying booklet, the opinion seems to be one that is shared; that in spite of the great technical set-backs the series … Continue reading Sherlock Holmes (1964-65) – BFI.
Best New Releases. 2014 has been a year that I’ve genuinely struggled to keep up with in terms of new releases. The sheer wealth of material out there and the incessant obsession of online reviewers to desperately be up-to-date has been an interesting but ultimately fruitless exercise to try and mimic. Luckily, I’ve watched a good number of excellent films from all around the world … Continue reading 2014 Review and Top 10s.
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).
The late 1970s and early 1980s occupy a strange realm in our current affections of nostalgia. While openly acknowledged as a problematic era for politics, riots and race/police relations being at an all time low, there has been a steady but gradual yearning for the age’s art. This isn’t just in the traditional sense of nostalgia but quite a specific relationship; the era is currently … Continue reading That Sinking Feeling (Bill Forsyth, 1979) – BFI Flipside.
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)
From its opening declarations, John Akomfrah’s documentary on Stuart Hall, The Stuart Hall Project (2013) explicitly acknowledges that it is going to be condensing fifty years of complex history and ideology into its relatively short running time. Akomfrah achieves this in an unusual but extraordinary way by linking the ideas and history of the public intellectual with his passion for the music of Miles Davis. … Continue reading The Stuart Hall Project – John Akomfrah (BFI).
In contrast to other cineastes that I follow online, I really don’t get out that much. While so many excellent film writers seem to be able to see every relevant new release as it comes (even before if they’re lucky enough to have time and money to get thoroughly into the festival circuit), it’s actually a rarity for me to be able to get into … Continue reading 2013 in Film.
Mythological Introduction by Philip Larkin. A white girl lay on the grass With her arms held out for love; her goldbrown hair fell down her face, And her two lips move: See, I am the whitest cloud that strays Through a deep sky: I am your senses’ crossroads, where the four seasons lie. She rose up in the middle of the lawn And spread her … Continue reading Village Green Repression in Film, Television and Philip Larkin.