British cinema is obsessed with the effect of location upon the individual. In fact, it wouldn’t be so sweeping to suggest that large swaths of culture born on these isles stems from the idea that the individual can be deeply molded by their surroundings and any fictional drama from Albion will be bare the aesthetics of its areas as far more than a setting. While … Continue reading Fear And Loathing In The Countryside – Withnail And I (1987).
In last month’s issue of Sight & Sound (November, 2015) Nick James details his relationship with the cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky in line with the season of films he’s curated for the BFI. Though the article is chiefly surrounding Tarkovsky’s (vast) legacy, one aspect in particular caught my attention whilst reading. He refers to a scene from Tarkovsky’s 1975 film, Mirror, which partly accounted for … Continue reading The Breeze In The Grass – Elemental Realisation in Tarkovsky’s Mirror (1975).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It feels odd to finally be able to say that Holloway is finished. This oddness derives not just from the fact that it has been the longest planned film that I’ve produced so far (starting all the way back from Robert Macfarlane’s first email to me in February 2014) but because the subject of the film itself is never-ending. The holloways of Dorset do not … Continue reading Short Film – Holloway (Robert Macfarlane).
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).
Richard Lester’s film collaboration with The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night (1964), has been attributed many aspects of foreshadowing modern culture. From the almost accidental invention of the surrealism-infused music video to the defining of pre-counter-culture 1960s Britain and London, the film acts as both a periodical bubble and an innovative audio-visual experience that is as prescient today as it was then. One segment in … Continue reading Ringo’s Dérive in A Hard Day’s Night (1964).