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Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Julian Joseph Trio at Herts Jazz Festival : Playing out to us from the inside

This is a review of a single set by The Julian Joseph Trio for Herts Jazz Festival

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


19 September


This is a review of a one-set performance that was given by The Julian Joseph Trio for Herts Jazz Festival, on Sunday 18 September 2016 at 5.00 p.m.




From the start, Julian Joseph led with clarity and luminosity, both in directing and drawing in his sidesmen (Mark Hodgson on bass, and drummer Mark Mondesir), and through the style and quality of his playing.

Once master of ceremonies Clark Tracey had introduced the individual players in the trio – and joked how, in an educational encounter, he had taught his fellow practitioner on the drums 'all that he knows' – Joseph tagged onto what Tracey had said, and commented that ‘Julian’ would be joining the two Marks in the rhythm section : for, although there was no shortage to be found of the fluent, or lyrical, in his pianism, he could equally be heard at times to give us patternings of a recurring or repeating kind.



Julian Joseph


As the set proceeded, Joseph’s need seemingly diminished¹ for an introductory piano solo - with its material and treatment of a highly exploratory or expansive nature - and, by the fourth number (of five), it had wholly gone. This proved to be the last of three of his original compositions², ‘Loyalty and insight’, which took flight straightaway, but later spent time over nursing a dissonance (a semi-tone ?), and then contrasting it with the relative reassurance to be found when the interval changed to a reiterated concord (a third ?).

As the set worked through, so communication and conversation with Mondesir became more focal, and so, at the end of numbers four and five, resulted in highly extended sections : it was as if the world of solo introductory rumination had become translated or transmuted into communion with another in the common measure of rhythm², just as Joseph had suggested at the outset...



Note on the auditorium / sound set-up :


Preferring an aisle-seat, and not knowing The Hawthorne Theatre (at Campus West, Welwyn Garden City), choosing five rows back in the flat stalls, as available, had seemed a good idea. It was not an acoustic set (though it could / should have been ?), and, in this location, that fact proved to make it work less well in the auditorium :

Visually, of course, it was fine, with sight-lines across to Joseph at the keyboard, to Mondesir at the opposite side of the stage (and with a good view of his sticks and kit), and to Hodgson centre stage. However, in terms of sound via the speakers as well as directly from the stage, there was a gap where Hodgson should have been. One could see him playing, but it took one to make a conscious realization that his sound did not come through, within the ensemble, so that one could hear it as part of it without an effort – whereas, once one ‘listened for him’ (partly guided by where his hand was on the finger-board), the double-bass came across.



End-notes :

¹ Or that may just be how he customarily approaches what, on this occasion, had been chosen as the earlier numbers in the set ? In any case, many initial sets start with a tune or song that serves as much as a loosener for the ears of the audience as for an opportunity for the ensemble to ease itself in - working out who and where it is in relation to those listening.

² The first two numbers in the set had also been original compositions, and the others were standards, ‘Just one of those things’, and, to close, George Gershwin :

In the latter, ‘Nice work, if you can get it’, Joseph got right inside Gerswhin’s melody, with Mondesir amidships – undoing all the nuts and bolts, even more than his introductory solos had done, and then slowing things right down to a quiet pulse, before whizzing it dramatically back together again !




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Why¹ do we say, John and Ruth are having a new kitchen ?

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


21 September

The Tweets that follow are actually, of course, a hook (in disguise) for a treatment² :

A film all about couples, where each cannot understand the other's decorating shorthand...








End-notes :

¹ Meaning, by way of answer to the question, We say that, because it is true, and we wish others to know it - or, perhaps as reasonably, We say that, because we believe that it is true, and we wish others to know it. (Or, less reasonably (but, depending on our motivation, perhaps rationally ?), We say that, [knowing / believing] that it is untrue, but we wish others to believe it...)

² One challenges the reader not to agree that thinner conceits have been used as the basis for what is allegedly filmed entertainment that runs to 100-120 minutes.




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Monday, 19 September 2016

Trust me, I'm a doctor [or dentist, solicitor, landscape gardener...] ~ Charging what the market will bear ?

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


20 September

In fact will anyone, asked to cost a job, or when drawing up an invoice, not have an eye to whether the figures will cause a splutter - or, more desirably, be accepted without batting an eye-lid ?








In Lady Windemere’s Fan [sic], Oscar Wilde had Lord Darlington quip that a cynic was ‘a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing'.


From Paul Bernal's blog [paulbernal.wordpress.com]




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Reflecting on Markéta Popelková's MA show in Fine Art at The Cass (@TheCassArt)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


13 September


Images of Marketa's in situ works (acrylic on board and also on canvas, mounted on the board) at the private viewing, on the evening of Tuesday 13 September




In mid-June 2015, one had been delighted to come, hot foot from Sheffield Doc / Fest (@sheffdocfest), to be with Markéta for the equivalent viewing for her magnificently curatorial and inviting installation at the BA show in Fine Art, also at (to give it its full title) The Sir John Cass Art, Architecture and Design Faculty (@TheCassArt).



Quite an insightful difference in the practice and range, in the intervening fifteen months, of this Czech artist (and former Cambridge resident)...




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Cold Comfort Terms

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


6 September












The above strand of Tweets relates to what is set out in A new formulation of the moral superiority inherent in what 'a good reason' is to be depressed




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Friday, 2 September 2016

Live each day like it’s your last – and, some day, you’ll be right ! ~ Rose Dorfman

This is a response to, more than a review of, Café Society (2016)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


2 September

This is more of a response to, than a review of, Woody Allen's latest cinematic release, Café Society (2016)



There are, in Café Society (2016), quite a few familiar Allen(esque) themes (or concerns - a non-exhaustive list is assembling below), but is this a summation of them, and could it even (but one hopes that it does not !) serve as a swansong – in the way that, although Midnight in Paris (2011) was Woody Allen’s tribute to that city (and its past literary, artistic and social life), it was excessively lauded, and would hardly be a fit note to go out on… ?



After all, Midnight in Paris is not a film that dreams this much, with Gil’s (Owen Wilson’s) entry into another world proving as easy as waiting for an old cab with T. S. Eliot in it¹, and its ending, which settles for finding love in the ‘here and now’, not with a former lover of – was it ? – Picasso’s, who herself hankers for an earlier time still. Rather, it is a direction that was perhaps indicated by Magic in the Moonlight (2014), an Allen film that was unnecessarily disesteemed, and wrongly criticized for what is also an element here – even though that is what happened in the films’ common era – i.e. a younger woman marrying a man at least twice her age².


(Though equally, in Blue Jasmine, both Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) and Ginger (Sally Hawkins) retreat into – whilst they last – blissful forms of dreaming impossibly for, respectively, what cannot be sustained, and what is too good to be true, or there are the brothers³ in Cassandra’s Dream (2007) (Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor), who realise a dream at the start, but one whose consequences almost inexorably take them further and further from it.)


However, reading a summation of a career in film into Café Society is based on what... - as if Allen were the fictional director Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel), in Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth (La giovinezza) (2015), but envisaging, if not desiring leaving, his testament in making film-within-a-film Life’s Last Day ? Apart, of course, from the allusiveness⁴ of the line, quoted from Bobby's mother in the title to this posting, Live each day like it’s your last – and, some day, you’ll be right !, nothing more than the work itself, and its feel. (Yet, at the same time, Allen just cannot resist telling us – alongside the film’s ambiguous interpretations of the observation that Dreams are… dreams – about dreams as we know that he sees them, putting in a plug for those centred on NYC (East Coast ‘chic’) over ones about LA (a West Coast illusion, which Bobby, unimpressed by its film industry, describes as a ‘boring, nasty, dog-eat-dog’ existence).



Interlude - An alphabetical selection (some spoilery ?) of concerns (or themes) familiar from the Allen filmography :


* Affairs: many examples, from the hilarious parody of ‘The Kreutzer Sonata’ in Love and Death (1975), to Husbands and Wives (1992) or Deconstructing Harry (1997)

* Central Park : Passim, but not least Manhattan (1979), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

* Confession being overheard by someone who should not know : Another Woman (1988), Everyone Says I Love You (1996)

* Dodgy relatives : Crimes and Misdemeanours (1989), Cassandra’s Dream (2007) [by no means the only point of contact between Cassandra and Crimes (sadly, via Match Point (2005))]

* Family : Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Radio Days (1987)

* Financial advice, (possibly) untrustworthy : Celebrity (1998) [as well as the funniest scene ever with a banana !], Blue Jasmine (2013)

* Gangsters : Broadway Danny Rose (1984), Bullets Over Broadway (1994)

* Jewish gangsters : John Turturro’s Fading Gigolo (2013), in which Allen plays opposite Turturro - though, with Jewish gangsters, the primary reference must be Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

* Jewishness : Stardust Memories (1980) , Oedipus Wrecks (in New York Stories (1989), with Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola)

* Night-clubs : Stardust Memories (1980), Radio Days (1987)

* Religious conversion : Love and Death (1975), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)





Just as in Broadway Danny Rose (1984), and the tales told around the table about Danny (Allen himself) that frame it (or in Radio Days (1987), in which - as in other cases - Allen narrates, but does not appear), an infectious dream of life inhabits Café Society, i.e. the film itself and in its microcosm in the night-club that Bobby (Jesse Eisenberg) agrees to help [Ben] run as its manager (but is somehow guilelessly unaware of how it is run⁵ (NB possible spoiler in the end-note), until he comes to be able to change its name from Hangover to Les Tropiques).



Allen very deliberately gives us the fiction of the film itself, both how it is told to us visually (such that we know that it must all be there – all that information about the family, and who is who – for a reason, as yet unrevealed), and in the manner and style of his own narration, casual and urbane, and which even seems to make light of state or informal executions as if ‘one of those things’ that happen in life (the camera also does not dwell). (By contrast, Irrational Man (2015) had been in a different place altogether, and employed voice-overs by its interlocked principals, Emma Stone (Jill Pollard) and Joaquin Phoenix (Abe Lucas).)



Left to right : Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey, Dianne Wiest


One can instructively look back to the effect of Allen’s voice-overs as Mickey in Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), partly when narrating his existential crisis (and how, by happenstance, The Marx Brothers came to resolve it) to Holly (Dianne Wiest) - with whom former relations, as one of Hannah’s said sisters, had been stormy and unpromising : because they had been, both of them (as here), where they were, and who they were, at the time. In Café Society, Allen uses the voice-over as our relation to a cinematic world that allows us to enter into the sheer dramatic contrivance that a man can choose to unburden himself to his younger relative about what, initially unbeknownst to either, also touches him the other – which feels awkward enough in itself, and yet it is only when, artlessly, the other passes on that story (although told in confidence) that the set-up fully unfolds, and, as a situation that it is to be repeated, we see a fight to maintain composure…


Ellen Page and Jesse Eisenberg in To Rome with Love


Quite apart from letting us see him use the cast as an ensemble (please see below), a more recent film, To Rome With Love (2012), is another that deserves more attention than it received, not just for being very good fun (and good natured, as Café Society is, and not Irrational Man (2015)), but also to be credited for being what it is – the work of a director who had the versatility, after Annie Hall (1977), to make Interiors (1978) (with all the brickbats that Allen got for it), and then make Manhattan, but also Stardust Memories (1980) (again, unjustly criticized). (To Rome with Love came before Blue Jasmine (2013) took people’s attention again (after Allen, for some reason, had it with Midnight in Paris).)


Alec Baldwin and Jesse Eisenberg in To Rome with Love


In To Rome with Love, Allen has Alec Baldwin maybe trying to help the younger man that he once was (again, Jesse Eisenberg) not make, amongst other mistakes, that of being seduced when he thought that he was seducing : it is one strand, amongst four, of wonder, which are presented with a tacitly agreed impossibility, but with none on its own asking us to credit it with the whole film. Nor exactly does Café Society, but not likewise, because it coheres around its elements in the way that Hannah and Her Sisters does (though with a different note on which to finish...).



As The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) did [which was claimed by Allen, at the time of the first edition of Woody Allen on Woody Allen, to be the film of his with which he was most pleased], Café Society revolves the question of the connectedness of image and substance – as well as the related one, both seen here and in others of his films (especially Blue Jasmine), of looking the other way as to where wealth comes from⁵ (NB possible spoiler in the end-note), or regarding the person from whom one wishes to acquire it.

Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin in Blue Jasmine



Perhaps the main sense, in Café Society, of a summation (if not of a conclusion) of a career inheres in a characteristic that it shares with that then-disliked film from 1980, Stardust Memories ? A strong sense of Allenesque couples who, though not exactly feeling regret, wonder What if... ?


And cause us to wonder deeply - when we might, instead, wonder about ourselves ?


Time passes… Life moves on… People change…



End-notes :

¹ Of course, on another level, dream is transmuted literally into wish-fulfilment for Gil, presenting as real the history that helped bring him to Paris – and overlook Inez’ own infidelity – until he realizes that he is chasing rainbows.

² It was there in Manhattan (1979) – which people usually forget was co-written with Marshall Brickman (as was Annie Hall (1977), not to omit the hilarity and foresight that is Sleeper (1973)) – and, from there (via Husbands and Wives (1992)), right up to Irrational Man (2015).

³ As it happens, Ginger and Jasmine are sisters by adoption, but not Cassandra's Terry (Farrell) and Ian (McGregor) - who, in Tom Wilkinson, have an Uncle Howard - with his line in calling in family favours...

⁴ Although, naturally one cannot go far in Allen's canon without hearing words that echo our mortality – even here, with Bobby's sister Evelyn's husband Leonard (Stephen Kunken), i.e. his brother-in-law, also talking - in the puzzled, but semi-humorous, way that his characters do - about Socrates and 'the life examined'…

⁵ Put another way, as in Cassandra’s Dream (2007) (or Match Point (2005)), getting what one wants - but at what cost ?

NB Possible spoiler : And one could ask – and will ask on a re-watching – why again, exactly, was it that Bobby went to see his uncle, Phil Stern, in LA (given that, back in NYC, Bobby is given a warning that Ben should consider disappear to Florida – which maybe Bobby 'forgot' to pass on ?)… Florida is also where Ben (Corey Stoll) was also heard urging Bobby's and his parents to go, just after Bobby has arrived in LA : as if form's sake, his mother, Rose Dorfman (Jeannie Berlin), superficially is concerned where Ben's money comes from, but then seems satisfied with some casual excuse ?




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Monday, 22 August 2016

So-called mental-health services : A Venn diagram with three principal, but barely overlapping, sets ?

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


23 August







Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Some remarks about Mulholland Drive (2001) (and Mulholland Dr. (1999))

Some remarks about Mulholland Drive (2001) (and Mulholland Dr. (1999))

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


19 August

Some remarks arising from a screening of Mulholland Drive (2001) at The Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge, on Thursday 18 August at 9.00 p.m. (and about Mulholland Dr. (1999))


Nowadays, Nicolas Winding Refn¹ seems to want to go by the cypher above (which, one learns, one may not rightly call a monogram)...




However, is he, by curating some films that have influenced him, for participating Picturehouses (@picturehouses), showing that he is not a worthy heir to Igor Stravinsky... ?


Whoever’s work they really were (or were then thought to have been), it seems that Sergei Diaghilev commissioned Stravinsky to turn some libretti and scores that he had from Naples and London, and which had been attributed to Pergolesi, into a ballet for his Ballets Russes. Again, whoever’s music Stravinsky’s Pulcinella (1920) was then thought to have been (or based on – and, not surprisingly, it does not appear that Stravinsky said otherwise), it has been known for at least the last forty years to be his adaptive reworking / re-composition of those originals (as well as being considered the first work of what is usually called his neo-classical period).









The relevance of alluding to Stravinsky above lies in a sentiment that, it seems (and in mutated forms), has been ascribed to, or adopted by, many since before T. S. Eliot, but which is here quoted of Stravinsky :

Igor Stravinsky said to me of his 'Three Songs by William Shakespeare', in which he epitomized his discovery of Webern’s music : ‘A good composer does not imitate ; he steals.’

Twentieth Century Music²



In fact, does NWR, commending films to us such as Mulholland Drive (2001) (which is arguably Lynch stealing from his own t.v. film and other antecedents), really just show that he has not dared to steal, only to imitate ?

In other words, is the faulty notion behind Nicolas Winding Refn Presents... this one ? That it is as if Stravinsky had not only done very little with the Pergolesi materials to re-embody them as his own, but had also, and without good reason, allowed those facts to be known before their time.

Whereas Stravinsky himself was too good a self-publicist¹ for that, and, first allowed the Pergolesi name ‘to stick’ by arranging the work (in collaboration with Paul Kochanski) for violin and piano, publishing Suite d'après des thèmes, fragments et morceaux de Giambattista Pergolesi (1925)³...



Postlude :










End-notes

¹ Interviewed by Danny Leigh (@dannytheleigh) for The Guardian’s Film section (@guardianfilm), in Nicolas Winding Refn: 'I bring the singular, the narcissistic, the high art', NWR told Leigh – seemingly inconsequentially, as Leigh’s next paragraph is about meeting him next in London, a year later – about a young man whom he found bleeding nightmarishly in urban Los Angeles, and whom, along with another man (already there), he attempted to help, but the man died (and He had never seen anyone die before) :

He told me this story a few weeks later, still in LA. I asked if he had felt emotional. ‘No,’ he said. Nothing ? ‘Strangely nothing.’ The next morning ? ‘Nuh-uh.’ He sipped juice through a straw. ‘But later,’ he said, ‘I was happy. Because I got a fucking great idea for a scene.’


² Twentieth Century Music : Its Evolution from the End of the Harmonic Era into the Present Era of Sound, Peter Yates. Random House, New York (1967). Pantheon Books, p. 41.

³ Later, as well as an eight-movement Pulcinella Suite (revised in 1965), he produced arrangements, in collaboration with Gregor Piatigorsky and Samuel Dushkin, respectively, called Suite italienne for cello and piano (1932-1933) and violin and piano (1933).




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Beginning, not with the birds and the bees, but the psychiatrists and the psychoanalysts…

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


16 August

An article in The Guardian (@guardian) sets out to tell us something that its writer thought of serious import, about, despite the elapse of seven decades, the static representation of ‘female shrinks'…



Perhaps, in its tag-line, the description ‘female shrinks’ might just have left it ambiguous whether psychiatry per se is what was really meant here.



However, the words below the tag-line, which introduce the piece, and its opening words (both as quoted*), plainly use the word ‘psychiatrist’ : yet Dr Constance Petersen, in the person of Ingrid Bergman**, is repeatedly and consistently defined by reference to the professional term ‘psychoanalyst’.

So, sadly, referring to 'psychiatry', in this article now, is not exactly interchangeable with talking about psychoanalysis – even if it might once have been in the mid-1940s, with a lesser emphasis on medication ? – and is probably almost on a similar level to calling an astrologer an astronomer (or vice versa)… ?


More to come, where we may actually review the film, or come onto the question whether films ever really represent – or set out to represent – psychiatric practice…








When Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote Good Will Hunting (1997) (and both appeared in, the latter as ‘Chuckie’ Sullivan), can we any more just take at face value that Dr Sean Maguire (Robin Williams) really is literally to be taken to represent even some sort of maverick psychologist ?


Can we do so any more than view Dr Constance Petersen (Ingrid Bergman) in Spellbound (1945) as really being a practising psychoanalyst of whatever age, who has never been in love before, but falls for John Ballantyne (then in the mistaken guise of Dr Edwardes) within a matter of hours ?




[...]


End-notes :

* Respectively, Seventy years separates the Hitchcock’s film with [sic - on both counts] the DC blockbuster, but the social attitudes towards women psychiatrists they exhibit have barely altered, and A sexless female psychiatrist, devoted to her work, encounters a fascinating mentally ill man. Suddenly, she is awakened to the joys of love and devotes herself to her patient, abandoning her profession in a sensual ecstasy of criminality. Women psychiatrists : they’re driven mad by love.

** If, just if, Alfred Hitchcock had ever meant us to forget for a second that this was Ingrid Bergman on screen, would he have cast her – and not someone relatively anonymous – to be utterly convincing as this psychoanalyst, who breaks (as far as one can judge, but somehow actually gets away with it) all the professional rules in the book ? !




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Monday, 8 August 2016

Tale of Tales (2015) [Il racconto dei racconti] : A few Tweets from Saffron Screen...

Tale of Tales (2015) [Il racconto dei racconti] : A few Tweets from Saffron Screen...

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


8 August

Tale of Tales (2015) [Il racconto dei racconti] :
A few Tweets from Saffron Screen (@Saffronscreen)...






Salma Hayek as The Queen of Longtrellis [an unnecessarily literal translation, from her title in Basile's Neapolitan text ? - which we never hear]










Post-script :













Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Watching Carlo Gesualdo, who is the transgressor ? : Breaking the Rules

The Marian Consort, Gerald Kydd, and Carlo Gesualdo at Jesus College

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


3 August


An evening with The Marian Consort, Gerald Kydd, and Carlo Gesualdo (Prince of Venosa), in the chapel of Jesus College on Monday 18 July at 7.30 p.m.

This piece of writing – by way of an account or review of Breaking The Rules, a gig / event at Cambridge Summer Music Festival 2016 (#CSMF16) – should have been fully written up far more closely to the time, and so would have been more detailed* (and less impressionistic), but it is what it is…


With Breaking The Rules, it took no more than a flick-through of the promotional booklet for Cambridge Summer Music Festival (@cambridgemusic) to establish that The Marian Consort (@marianconsort) were, as a creditable ensemble, working in tandem with an actor (Gerald Kydd), and that their collaboration was likely to provide an unusual experience, with a college chapel as the back-drop :


After all, Cambridge Summer Music Festival has a tradition of such interpretations of composers in relation to their lives and works, one example being a one-man show around a decade ago where, in the chapel of Clare College (@ClareCollege)), we heard a performer embodying Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (C. P. E. Bach), and playing his work, and - to close and as the light faded - that of his father Johnann Sebastian (J. S. Bach), in the Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, BWV 903.



Or who can likewise forget I Fagiolini (@ifagiolini), with their theatrical Full Monteverdi, giving us the experience, right in the midst of us, of the love and passion of madrigals (this at a regular Festival venue, Emmanuel United Reformed Church (EURC) - read here about director John La Bouchardière's film, made with I Fagiolini and its music director, Robert Hollingworth) ? Or, in 2011, before presenting her programme Beloved Clara this year - with its insights into the lives of Robert and Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms - that Lucy Parham (@LucyParham) had brought us, amongst other things, a tea-time talk with Radio 3’s (@BBCRadio3’s) Sarah Walker (@drsarahwalker) about Liszt’s Women, also at EURC, and complete with an element of piano performance ?


[...]


Sometimes as a choir à 5, rather than the full à 6**, The Marian Consort (@marianconsort) was in a sharp and tightly defined relation to the words of actor Gerald Kydd (as to timing, ambience, etc.) and his demeanour as Carlo Gesualdo – or, at least, a version of him (or versions ?), as written by author Clare Norburn (please see below).

That said, one heard afterwards, from asking one of the members of the ensemble’s technical crew, that previous venues had been Lichfield and at Brighton Festival (@brightfest), and thus one gathered that – for all – the experience is accordingly a site-specific one : it had apparently been a joy to light the chapel of Jesus College (@JesusCollegeCam), the venue this night, and from whose nave one could see the colours and shades of the chapel, thus giving energy to the different parts of Gesualdo / Kydd’s story.

Therefore, one assumes, variations to moves and cues – and where and how to project the moving images that were also such a part of the evening – must also have been determined in situ to suit the architecture (or its layout at floor level), with cast and crew then practising and, as they had, making them cogent.

(To an extent true, of course, with any ensemble that is prepared to explore the physical and / or acoustic properties of a place, even if is not (when the ensemble still existed) The Hilliard Ensemble and Jan Garbarek, the latter wandering where he might around St Paul’s (@StPaulsLondon), or the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge (@Kings_College), and weaving magic between their vocal-lines with his alto sax (or tenor).)


Here, the script did not seem highly developed (i.e. 'too polished', since that way can lie slickness), and its raw humanity, and that of Kydd as Gesualdo (‘K/G’) - obliged to re-experience his music through his life, and his life through his music - fed each other : if search for parallels we must, there is an echoing of the structural inter-play of Beckettt’s work for radio Words and Music (Paroles et musique), as to the function and integration of the musical portion.

On another level, when in mid-speech (although we never did know when K/G might summon music - or, vice versa, it summon him away from us), he felt like a Becketttian imagining of one of the souls to whom his beloved Dante had assigned a role in the Inferno, except not the passive repetitive patterns of Beckettt at his most discernibly Dante-esque, in Play* (not least since Gesualdo was not, at this time in the evening, the adulterer), but in the narrative energy of his trilogy of novels, or that of Winnie in Happy Days (Oh les beaux jours). (Even just a very little of Hamm’s superficially self-contented story-telling style in Endgame (Fin de partie) ?)

Once K/G had accused The Marian Consort’s and his explicit audience, we might have thought, wrongly, that there was no easy scope for going back and re-creating an element of the so-called fourth wall (particularly inapt to regard it as one for performance that was, to all intents, in the round) : it may have seemed dramatically ‘unhelpful’ for him to ask, nigh at the outset, who we were to judge Carlo Gesualdo – except that [what we conveniently call] History does nothing but judge him (for ‘Murther’ ou des autres dissounances), and sometimes with the most unlikely accomplices :









More to follow...


















End-notes

* Which is to say, not relying overly on memories that had been meant to be recorded in words on the night, rather than becoming vague with time first...

As it was, it was always going to have these opening two or three paragraphs, which were roughed out then (although then used, in between, in reviewing Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon (2016) (@tnd_film)).

** Partly determined by the number of parts and / or getting in position for the effect of 'a voice off', from the choir. (The seating was in the nave and transepts.)




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Some bollocks about 'saving' the @BBC £150m...

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


3 August
















Postlude :






Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Poetry in a Tweet : Poem for The Dispossessed

Poetry in a Tweet : Poem for The Dispossessed

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


30 July





© Belston Night Works 2016




End-notes

* A companion-piece to 'You *tease* !' ~ 60-word story...




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)