Ritual And Identity in Penda’s Fen (1974) – Alan Clarke.

The relationship between myth and ritual has been often debated within anthropology ever since its Victoriana days of enlightened scientific thinking through the prism of evolution and the birth of mechanisation and industrial blight.  The idea of returning to the “primacy of ritual”, where whole belief systems stem as a result from repeated actions or events, is a common theme of exploration in Folk Horror as … Continue reading Ritual And Identity in Penda’s Fen (1974) – Alan Clarke.

Trailer – Salthouse Marshes.

Above is the trailer for my last film of the year, Salthouse Marshes.  Continuing on from last year’s theme in a trend I hope to continue with on a yearly basis, the film is a short, landscape obsessed ghost story.  With the BBC seeming reluctant to bother with a ghost story for Christmas any more, it feels necessary to in some way plug the gap … Continue reading Trailer – Salthouse Marshes.

Emerson’s Nature and Sleep Furiously (2008) – Gideon Koppel.

Nature is always present or at the very least contrasted against something in Gideon Koppel’s nostalgia portrait, Sleep Furiously (2008).  In spite of the film being a very clear ethnographic postcard from the director’s past, having lived previously in the Welsh town of Trefeurig, it manages to underline its gentle portraiture with a sense of pervading nature and landscape; where even the most concrete of … Continue reading Emerson’s Nature and Sleep Furiously (2008) – Gideon Koppel.

Mirrors, Donald Cammell and Jorge Luis Borges.

More so than his relationship with painting, film, drugs or threesomes, Donald Cammell’s life and work seems to have been directly linked with mirrors.  While all of the former aspects played huge roles and allowed access to knowledge of his obsessions in the first place through his work, it is the mirror and its hidden powers that seem to haunt Cammell as an artist and … Continue reading Mirrors, Donald Cammell and Jorge Luis Borges.

Isolation And Madness In Cul-De-Sac (1966) – Roman Polanski.

Few films are as explicit in their depiction of character relationships that are at the mercy of the fluctuating landscape than Roman Polanski’s 1966 film, Cul-De-Sac.  Polanski had been to both ends of the environmental spectrum within his previous two films – the open waters of Knife In The Water (1962) and the cramped, claustrophobic London of Repulsion (1965) – and Cul-De-Sac sees him returning … Continue reading Isolation And Madness In Cul-De-Sac (1966) – Roman Polanski.

Cinematic Identity Crises And Francis Bacon – Part 3 (Herostratus).

Part 1. Part 2. Herostratus (1967) Expanding upon the ideas of screaming in The Shout, the analysis of Francis Bacon’s influence on counterculture British cinema can conclude with Don Levy’s 1967 film Herostratus.  The film and its obsessions with textures and urban landscapes has already been discussed in other articles but Herostratus is full of other forms of terrain; the morphed and emotionally tortured form … Continue reading Cinematic Identity Crises And Francis Bacon – Part 3 (Herostratus).

Repetition And Occultism Of Invocation Of My Demon Brother (1969) – Kenneth Anger.

There exist volumes of academic research and work surrounding the role of repetition in religious and cultural practices.  Repeated actions of any type, creating an easily recognisable mimesis, seems almost an aesthetic by-word for a normalised analytical framework of cultural activities, especially musically.  From prayer to mantra, the idea of repetition is stretched to form (or conform) belief patterns, as if deliberately signposting theological culture … Continue reading Repetition And Occultism Of Invocation Of My Demon Brother (1969) – Kenneth Anger.

Analogue Ghosts of the 1970s And Hauntology.

There seems to be an overt connection between analogue recording technology (of both the visual and aural varieties) and the narratives surrounding paranormal activity in 1970s British fantasy television.  Of course, there are no doubt connections between the interest in such activity (with the genuine events surrounding the Enfield Haunting for example, recently made into a drama on Sky) and the technological means of the … Continue reading Analogue Ghosts of the 1970s And Hauntology.

Cinematic Identity Crises and Francis Bacon – Part 2 (The Shout).

Part 1. The Shout (1978) “I’ve always desired to be able to paint the mouth like Monet could paint the sunset.” – Francis Bacon (1966, interview with David Sylvester). Though Jerzy Skolimowski’s The Shout (1978) is equally as complex as Performance in terms of narrative linearity (or lack of it), Skolimowski’s film and its complexity derives not from the identity crisis surrounding individual characters within … Continue reading Cinematic Identity Crises and Francis Bacon – Part 2 (The Shout).

Fugitive Refuge In The Landscape – (A Cottage On Dartmoor, The 39 Steps, Hunted, Rogue Male).

Within the British tradition of the “Chase and Pursuit” drama, there are several reoccurring themes.  The idea of a lone individual being chased through different topographies by a group seems to have been popularised in Britain by the Second World War but was around far before then.  The basic impetuous seems to be that an individual is wanted for some crime or misdemeanour (sometimes falsely) … Continue reading Fugitive Refuge In The Landscape – (A Cottage On Dartmoor, The 39 Steps, Hunted, Rogue Male).