Follow by e-mail

Monday, 3 September 2018

An Arts Picturehouse Special Screening of Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing (1989)

Following an Arts Picturehouse Special Screening of Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing (1989)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


3 September


Following an Arts Picturehouse Special Screening of Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing (1989)





Samuel L. Jackson as Mister Señor Love Daddy








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

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

First impressions of Paris When it Sizzles (1964)

First impressions of Paris When it Sizzles (1964)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


29 August


First impressions of Paris When it Sizzles (1964)







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

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Some Tweets about The Lady Vanishes (1938)

Some Tweets about The Lady Vanishes (1938)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)



26 August


Some Tweets about The Lady Vanishes (1938)


Sally Stewart, Margaret Lockwood, Alfred Hitchcock, and Googie Withers







Alfred Hitchcock and Margaret Lockwood







From the interviews that François Truffaut boldly asked for, and Alfred Hitchcock graciously granted (to both men's credit*), one can click here to listen to Hitchcock-Truffaut Episode 7 : ‘Young and Innocent’, 1937, ‘The Lady Vanishes’, 1938 and ‘Vertigo’.





End-notes :

* A story told in Hitchock / Truffaut (2015) :






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

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Three Tweets about The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018)

Three #UCFF Tweets about The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


22 August

Three #UCFF Tweets about The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018)*




Sasha Lane and Chloë Grace Moretz






Desiree Akhavan, Chloë Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane, John Gallagher, and Jennifer Ehle





End-notes :

* As viewed at The Little Theatre cinema [@LittleTheatreUK], Bath :






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

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

I swear that there are cracks that weren’t there before ~ A review of Julia Bolden's Alternate Slices

This is a review of Twisted Willow Theatre in Julia Bolden's Alternate Slices

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


24 July

This is a first-night review of Julia Bolden's Alternate Slices, as performed by Twisted Willow Theatre at Corpus Playroom, St Edward’s Passage, Cambridge, on Tuesday 24 July at 7.45 p.m.


Julia Bolden's play Alternate Slices, which premiered this evening at Cambridge's cosy Corpus Playroom (@corpusplayroom), runs until Saturday 28 July.




Without saying so, Julia Bolden deliberately evokes a tennis-court, and umpire's chair :




Plays are fully as referential as films are expected (or wrongly uniquely imagined ?) to be¹, so Alternate Slices is suitably infused with other works of theatre, such as Michael Frayn’s masterly Copenhagen, Christopher Hampton’s Treats, Stoppard’s Arcadia or The Real Thing, or Ian Rickson's fascinating production(s) of Pinter's Betrayal and Old Times². [Which is to say that, with the last of these, #UCFF had 'to watch both ways'³, i.e. with KST (Kristin Scott Thomas) as Kate and Lia Williams as Anna, then vice versa].



Those predecessor plays are named, in case they help to understand what to expect of the scope and nature of Bolden's prescribed and circumscribed universe, and by no means to daunt, but encourage, the general reader by introducing them as and for company⁴ - since they are not quite bed-fellows (except in that limited sense of ‘Ishmael’ and Queequeg in Moby Dick).


Not precisely off duty, the cast (L to R)
Steven Kitson (Matt), Ashley Harris (Nick), Jenny Scudamore (Finola)


Still, one might ask, why all this cleverness (from #UCFF) ? Well, for one, because the play itself talks about post-graduate life, so that is the other-worldly realm to which Matt, Finola and Nick still partly relate (because drawn to academically), when not having to plan how to go about decorating (filling, rather than painting (or even papering) over, the cracks), or kite-surfing at Hunstanton : do they, as some will claim that the phrase has it, Live in their heads still, and not [in amongst] the physicality of the world... ?

The Happy End of Franz Kafka's 'Amerika' (1994) ~ Martin Kippenberger


And yet, for example, although all three of Matt, Finola and Nick are very and almost equally talkative, superficially covering - when not spikily alluding to - their common hurts and gripes (passing hints of Sartre and Huis clos ?), does Matt riff a little on the more morbid / saturnine parts of Deeley in Old Times, and Nick on his ostensibly more gregarious Pinteresque cover-up for envy, menace, and unacknowledged fear / insecurity ?

The opening-page, in a MS original [the 'Ellesmere' MS], of the tale told by The Knight in Chaucer’s 'The Canterbury Tales' : A story that effectively begins with Palamon and Arcite, who are cousins as well as imprisoned knights, and when Palamon, waking early one day in May, sees Emelye, a princess, from their shared tower-cell…


Pinter's play, of course, is a man and two women³, and vying - as if it is a final battle - for whose relationship with whom is rooted in the least assailable memory, which Alternate Slices arguably may not (or may ?) be found to be... ?




Postlude :

Which is where, to be a first-night review that might be seen by a second-night audience (and the rule of thumb, of course, is that the teething problems of opening night have been [insert whatever continues the analogy / metaphor] and the show is even better, this attempt has to end...

Oh, you'd really like to see that extra bit⁵ that didn't find a place (in time), would you ?



End-notes :

¹ Those whose milieu is as much cinematic as theatrical may not only find possibilities here for a screenplay (as already mentioned, in passing, to Julia Bolden afterwards), but also such film-references useful as - in no particular order – Sliding Doors (1998), About Time (2013) [NB Richard Curtis cannot 'do' time-travel], Lola rennt (Run, Lola, Run) (1998) [the link is to the IMDb web-page for the film]...



² And maybe, momentarily, Beckettt's Play ?

³ Although playing it both ways, where KST was Kate half the time (and even on the throw of a coin, for some performances), brought out both what Lia Williams and she were bringing to each role, and how that made Rufus Sewell, in each of their equivalent Deeleys, necessarily different and so not static either, even at the level of how the stage-business was blocked.



⁴ Thinking as much of Sondheim’s Company, as Bekettt’s late prose masterpiece of the same name.

NB Embedded links (below) are for illustrative purposes only, and not paid or any promotion, endorsement or recommendation of goods and / or services referred to therein or thereby :


You might lay bets, handle cancelled bookings and make them available again, or work as an ethically sourced wedding-planner – but living with uncertainty is part of the territory ~ McLuhan (paraphrasing Barthes)






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

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

For Ocean's Eight (2018), four Tweets

For Ocean's Eight (2018), as seen at The Light Cinema, Cambridge, four Tweets

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


18 July


For Ocean's Eight (2018), as seen at The Light Cinema, Cambridge, four Tweets









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

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Some notes from a viewing of Almodóvar's Live Flesh (1997)

Some notes from a viewing of Almodóvar's Live Flesh (Carne trémula) (1997)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


14 July

Some notes from a viewing, on DVD, of Almodóvar's Live Flesh (Carne trémula) (1997)



They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone,
Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow :
They rightly do inherit heaven's graces
And husband nature's riches from expense




Christmas Eve 1970 (Franco's Spain / excuses for repression)
Victor - Bus - Centro


A cast that is a close-knit quintet - in adapting Ruth Rendell, Pedro Almodóvar gives us the sort of love-circle of a play by Jean Racine, which (Samuel) Beckettt gently parodied at the start of Murphy, or we may know from (Arthur) Schnitzler and La Ronde... :

David ~ Javier Bardem
Elena ~ Francesca Neri
Victor ~ Liberto Rabal
Clara ~ Ángela Molina
Sancho ~ José Sancho


'We are two tear-drops
In a song'


Like a musical
Or an old film



David - re-enacting Rear Window (1954), with an immensely more mobile version of James Stewart (as L. B. 'Jeff' Jefferies)

Sancho - married 12yrs - hits wife
Victor - in reading the Book of Genesis, sees Moses referring to him

Bienvenido mat


'You need me more than he does'

'Yes, you're offensively honest'

'I'll keep exploiting your guilt complex'


Ends in 1996 - stopped being shitless




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

Cambridge Open Studios 2018 : Visiting Anna Pye (and Pepper)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


14 July

Cambridge Open Studios (July 2018) ~ The Open Studio of Anna Pye (and Pepper)





There are plenty of lino-cuts and mono-prints available to buy, or just to admire - on display, in a portfolio, or in several free-standing browsing-racks :




Upper : Breakfast (mono-print, 1 / 1) ; Lower : Portfolio, open to a puffin with sand-eels


As in previous years, Anna kindly allowed #UCFF to take photos in order to Tweet, etc., about her Open Studio, but cards and numerous items with her designs, from tea-towels to cushions and tote-bags, are on sale :




As Anna says, when purchased, prints can come in a variety of forms - to suit the buyer...




All in all, plenty to inspire in Anna Pye's Open Studio 2018 - including that owl, and Pepper the Cat :





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

A few second-night Tweets about in situ:'s production of Woyzeck, by Georg Büchner

A few second-night Tweets about in situ:'s production of Woyzeck, by Georg Büchner

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


A few second-night Tweets about in situ:'s production of Woyzeck, by Georg Büchner







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

Friday, 13 July 2018

Pure review-notes : The Sixteen perform in York Minster during York Early Music Festival 2018

Pure review-notes : The Sixteen perform in York Minster during York Early Music Festival

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


For those for whom waiting for a fully written-out account is needless, because the review-notes suffice, here they are for The Sixteen's performance, in York Minster and as part of their Choral Pilgrimage and during York Early Music Festival, on Wednesday 11 July at 7.30 p.m.

The Sixteen

Britten ~ A Hymn
Serious, but not solemn - affecting, praise and celebration

Cornysh ~ My love
Just males
A work that subtly grows, and also through the element of hearing the refrain repeated

Britten ~ Hymn to
I - dramatic touches and harmonies

Use of the more restrained chorus

II - playfulness continues, with lightness of touch

Chorus - with greater gravitas, but transparent and joyous

III - the effect as of rain-drops
With a super solo, the scale and scope of what Britten creates
Fire - deep bass
'With fire' - emphasis

Cornysh ~ Salve Regina
A rich, layered setting, which, at times, seems rooted in plainsong
Full of beauty and gracefulness

II - Virgo mater section - timelessness
Soaring end with 'O pia'

III - Simple 'o dulcis Maria', but decorated
Boost on 'Salve'


* * * * *


Sixteen Part II

Britten ~ Advance Democracy
Paced and vigorous

Cornysh ~ Ave Maria
The melismatic, imitative lines were brought out in a coherent and robust ensemble

Cornysh ~ Woefully Array'd
A multi-entry opening to a piece whose premise reminded of Dietrich Buxtehude's Membra Jesu Nostri
High and low - then filling in in-between
Echo of opening with 'woefully'
II alto voice

Cornysh ~ Ah, Robin
At times, a round for three voices
Not complicated, but effective

Britten ~ Sacred and Profane
I - revisiting Sainte Marie x3
II - Interruptions
III - covering ground quickly (as VIII)
IV - Same theme in ll. 1-2
V - still point (Leiermann)
Tortured and painful
For the luve
Meditation
VI - Use of a chorus - chilling
VII - challenge to us

Assembly of the texts
Ending with the grave




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

Thursday, 28 June 2018

The memory of what was lost, between the speaker and the listener

This is a first-night response* to in situ:, performing in the ghost in me at Wandlebury

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


28 June

This is a first-night response (work in progress) to the ghost in me [haunted selves, lost sounds, old futures], by and as given by members of in situ: at Wandlebury Country Park on Thursday 28 June 2018 at 8.00 p.m.




What I carry in my heart
Brings us so close or so far apart
Only love can make love


That Voice Again' ~ Peter Gabriel (from the album So)



For those unfamiliar with in situ:’s approach to experimental drama (their tag-line calls it leading the way in environmental theatre), they do not drag members of the audience into the action – and the new show at Wandlebury does not require any prior knowledge. Ideal for those who like, as #UCFF does (with the medium of cinema), a film to speak for itself (and not to depend on extraneous material, or some explanation that should have been in the film).

It may feel odd, but, to have its effect, one does not even have to imagine that one can or has to take everything in [as demonstrated by a version of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, with one or more actors in different rooms of a building at the same time] – the show is one that builds and builds, in a way that one cannot quite explain** : precisely because, in the initial scene-setting (these are not, one suggests, tableaux), one is free to move perspective, one can follow one's impulse that the main action is to be seen / found elsewhere. (Amongst many, many others, a vague and maybe not consciously felt echo – from just being led into and through an orchard – is of The Garden of Eden : some gravity-waves that, at least, #UCFF felt are listed below.)


Such theatre, where it is grounded or rooted – avoid the words as one may – in the place where it is performed*** (work on it had taken place over three terms, the last of which was spent at Wandlebury), feels informed by other times (as if connected to them) : in this case, with frequent references in utterances to grandparents, one is certainly back to the start of the twentieth century in the minds of the actors' relatives, and therefore in quite a different age (in some ways).

What does one experience here, in terms of generalities ? A troupe dressed ordinarily (if in some sort of spectrum of pastel or pastoral hues ?) ; birdsong ; people performing familiar actions, as much sometimes to reassure themselves as others [almost as ritualistic repetitions ?], but also standing or moving as a kind of phalanx [a rippling surge of advancing, and of retreat], and attempting to be careful of each other's needs ; dappled late-evening light high on the wall behind the main performance-area…

All of these (and other things that were noticed and noted), and, in a sense, none of them – when more aware of the birds, is one perhaps less aware of the sound-design, of that actor’s gesture or unheeded / unheard speech, or of sitting with leaves of an apple-tree on one’s shoulder ?




Led, as if Dante at the start of his Inferno (by necessity) or then by having to trust Virgil, we shadily saw figures in the woodland : those represented, but were not, skiis – so what might that be about [and could we see how painful and difficult it looked to walk in them ?], or what could a man be doing, seemingly trying to drop walnuts (or walnut shells ?) into the cuckoo-clock-like aperture of a box-like resonating chamber**** ?




[...]





Some cultural resonances and / or sympathies (a gathering list) :

* Samuel Beckettt’s Acte sans Paroles II***** ~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaGnKjla6pA

* Chumbawamba with some sentiments in their ‘Tubthumping’ ~ http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?lyrics=1909

* Franz Kafka’s Das Schloß (The Castle) and Der Prozeß (The Trial) ~ significantly, in the former, K.’s late-night chance meeting with Bürgel at the Herrenhof, and representatively, in the latter, Josef K., neglecting his advocate Huld in favour of seducing Huld’s mistress Leni, or being distracted from hearing Titorelli by the cries and presence of the school-girls

* Arthur Koestler’s The Ghost in The Machine [even if just as a title] ~ http://archive.org/details/TheGhostInTheMachine

* @TheUnthanks (= Rachel and Becky Unthank) with 'The Romantic Tees' ~ Diversions, Vol. 3 : Songs from the Shipyards




End-notes :

* But now with closing-night interpolations.

** Although, having said which, it may partly be that – with the performers not essentially ‘hiding behind’ a text (as they might in many a play (or opera)) – so much of our relation to them is in their physicality or presence, and so there is a greater effect of human attachment both to them and to our sense of their mortality / frailty (and, hence, of our own) ?

*** Afterwards, director Bella Stewart told us that a version of the piece, using film and other media from the Wandlebury performance-space, will be given at The Leper Chapel later in the year : The Chapel and Wandlebury are both owned / managed by the charity Cambridge Past, Present & Future. We also heard, from Richard Spaul (who is directing Woyzeck, at The Chapel, from 12 to 14 July inclusive), that he will be doing a single-player Hamlet (some will remember Bella’s and his eerie double-handed Macbeth).



**** It also had an elongated and flat piece of wood appended, which resembled a set-square – was it probably a home-crafted musical instrument, whose sound, without our seeing it being made, we heard later on ?

***** But, also (and more obviously), Mouth (in Not I), and Winnie (in Happy Days) - parts both written for Billie Whitelaw. (Even more clearly, the brief candle soliloquy of The Tragedy of Macbeth, and Jacques, taxonomizing 'seven ages' in his monologue in As You Like It [or What You Will] - but somehow exempting him (and us, with him ?) from it... ?




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

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Firms will have to justify pay gap between workers and bosses [reports BBC]


More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


9 June










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

Tweets from charities [i.e. fund-raisers] that assume that everyone can work

Tweets from charities [i.e. fund-raisers] that blithely assume that everyone can work, etc.

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


9 June


Tweets from charities [i.e. fund-raisers] that blithely assume that everyone can work, etc.

Less good, if the charity just should not make assumptions that those who read the Tweet(s) are in paid work or have financial fluidity... ?









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

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Tweets about The Breadwinner (2017) (starting from Day 2 of #CamFF 2017)

Tweets about The Breadwinner (2017) (starting from Day 2 of #CamFF 2017)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


7 June

Tweets about The Breadwinner (2017) (starting from Day 2 of #CamFF 2017)



[...]







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