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Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Some Tweets about My Favorite Brunette (1947)

Some Tweets about My Favorite Brunette (1947)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

9 November

Some Tweets about My Favorite Brunette (1947)





End-notes :







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

Monday, 9 November 2020

More #Spoonerisms than you can stake a shit* at

More #Spoonerisms than you can stake a shit at

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

9 November

More #Spoonerisms than you can stake a shit at



End-notes :

* Which, obviously, does not quite work as a Spoonerism...





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

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Street-art ready-mades - an accreting series

Street-art ready-mades - an accreting series

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

25 October

Street-art ready-mades - an accreting series


Original source-image, at #UCFF's request and direction, by Brent M. [perSIStently PERishING No.1 (Foundation)
(work in progress, photograph in bytes, 2020)*]



[...]


End-notes :

* From which Brent M. has, in turn, freely derived the assemblage perSIStently PERishING No.1 (Metastatic) (work in progress, photograph in bytes, 2020) :






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

Sunday, 25 October 2020

'Magic Eye' rides again ?

'Magic Eye' rides again ?

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

26 October

'Magic Eye' rides again ?





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

Sunday, 18 October 2020

#UCFF's reactions, by Tweet, to I Am Greta (2020)

#UCFF's reactions, by Tweet, to I Am Greta (2020)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

18 October

#UCFF's reactions, by Tweet, to I Am Greta (2020)









Postlude :


Regarding the question of hope, do colleagues, reviewing the film at TAKE ONE, seem to have missed the point of what Greta Thunberg is doing and why ?







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

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

The Lies and The Mockery : The Cheaters (1930) at BFI London Film Festival

This is a first-blush response (work in progress) to The Cheaters (1930), streamed during London Film Festival 2020, on BFI Player

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

14 October

This is a first-blush response (work in progress) to The Cheaters (1930),
streamed during London Film Festival 2020, in a new digital restoration, on BFI Player






[...]



In common with not being able to fathom what those who commit deeds in Chess of The Wind (1976) meant them, even if their plans proceeded uninterrupted, to achieve, The Cheaters (1930) left one wondering what could have benefited Richard Marsh in what he last required Paula to do. (To some, this will not matter, but, when the real unfolding of the escapade with 'Lady Worth' was visible a mile off*, one cannot even look back and say what Marsh envisaged, if his intentions had been fulfilled.)

Apparently (?), Paula's meeting Lee Travers at Hotel Plaza had been accidental, rather than plotted**, but why did it matter to Marsh to have her do one last job, when everything suggested that anyone could have attempted it, and what was its purpose*** that would actually have make it 'the last job', not, as for Prospero and Ariel, just some further postponement ? :

At any rate, if Marsh previously resembles Prospero (with Paula as much his Ariel as his Miranda ?), he becomes a more fallible figure, and blesses a union by breaking his staft, and drowning his book, in the form of his own person.


Hast thou, which art but air, a touch, a feeling
Of their afflictions, and shall not myself,
One of their kind, that relish all as sharply,
Passion as they, be kindlier moved than thou art ?

The Tempest, Act V, Scene 1


It is, in a way, better to try to take a broader sweep, in that the dialogue (i.e. the inter-titles, if lip-reading is not a strength) had already - after Paula returns to Marsh 'empty handed' - caused her to reflect on what she had been doing and then both of them on what they think that life is about :

Sometimes, Daddy, I wonder if it's all worthwhile

It was therefore an indication to us, in turn, to reflect on the moving tableau with which the film opened, which, although the account that it gave of The Fates (Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos) was not exactly orthodox, is being invoked when Marsh summons Travers, both in what he tells him and in what happens next. Life, and Marsh's fate, is seen to be beyond his control, except Travers generally has been seen to have no compunction about disputing others' motives (we may imagine how he treated Manion), and, learning what he does from Marsh, can benefit from it and yet is not lacking reasons to denounce Marsh.

Despite which, we must apparently assume that Marsh believes that no such thing will happen, yet the film is nonetheless given an unending that is untrammelled by him (and, as he evidently does, Travers, is perhaps more easily able to straighten things out, as a man of influence and wealth, than Marsh envisaged ?).


End-notes :

* Though director Paulette McDonagh tries to maintain the pretence, in the moment when Paula and Lady Worth 'return to base', it is one one that cannot work for anyone but the audience (if we had not rumbled it).

** At any rate, Paula returns to Marsh apologetic for not carrying out what he asked, which could only have been one of two things (although he does not ask - as if he knows ? - whose belief in her she did not wish to dash). (One concerned Mrs Hugh Nash and her intrigued daughter.)

*** Completed or not, Marsh's 'revenge' could only ever be in what he contrived twenty years earlier (how he did so, we cannot, and need not, imagine), not very obviously anything now, but the film's ending seems to have no alternative in mind to what we see : here, too, news of a disruption goes in a very different direction from the announcement 'our revels now are ended' in The Tempest.




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

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

A compendium of Tweets from the launch-event for The British Psychological Society's report Understanding Depression

Tweets from the launch-event for The British Psychological Society's report Understanding Depression


More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

9 October

A compendium of Tweets from the launch-event for The British Psychological Society's report Understanding Depression (from its Division of Clinical Psychology)






Tweets to come...




End-notes :

* As the Society says, 'You will need to create an account / log in as a web-user to access it', but this is straightforward.



Light, glass, dust : Aesychlus meets Strindberg in Chess of The Wind* (1976) (work in progress)

This is a response (work in progress) to Chess of The Wind** (1976), streamed during London Film Festival 2020

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

13 October

This is a first-blush response (work in progress) to Chess of The Wind (1976),
streamed during London Film Festival 2020**, in a 4K restoration, on BFI Player



Not, as one might have predicted from the title, a re-run of Victor Sjõstrõm, but equally not nearly as Bergmanesque as seeing people's comments in passing had led one to believe :


Yes, the finery was gorgeous, and the shots of the house*** are almost too exquisitely set up, but that is only to expose a contrasting brutality in self-interest and settling scores that smacks of ancient origins in works such as The Oresteia. Thematically, Bergman did employ such primal sources, but this film does not try to reproduce either his feel for doing so, or his look - if Bergman makes things appear staged and / or unrelaxed, he does so for other purposes.


Lady Aghdas, with her cat and acquired 'flail' (a miniature ball and chain), is perhaps a little too much like a Bond villain, and Shaban, one of her stepfather's adoptive sons, seems modelled on Marcel Proust (for looks), but this is a film where two or three major characters each have a held (i.e. deliberate) moment of looking straight to camera, so it would be unrealistic to try to construe the film-making as naturalism, or in any way an unknowing enterprise. Therefore, without explicitly saying that the figures depicted have archetypal qualities or might have populated Mt Olympus, there are folkloric or fairy-tale elements (such as of djinns or Bluebeard's castle), and Chess also has us flirt with the notion of Lady Macbeth's mental lability, or of Dostoyevsky's Raskolnikov, cracking under investigative pressure from Porphyry.


For some, a film such as this, and the finding of the negatives and making a 4K restoration, will be wonderful in their own terms ; for others, who think it good, it may stand more as an artefact of history, not in seeming 'dated' as such, but in pointing to the work of others who may have seen it in some degraded form (or just heard tell of it) in between, and to other cinemas (The Handmaiden (2016), for example, shares ground with it - as did, before it, The Wicker Man (1973) ?)



[...]



End-notes :

* Or The Chess-Game of The Wind ?

** An artefact of the streaming, on #UCFF's set-up, was to introduce a hiccup at what seemed one-second intervals (built-in thinking time, or an involuntary Verfremdungseffekt, for a reviewer ?) :



*** Whose exterior we finally see properly at the end, before the camera lifts off, and pointedly surveys the sky-line, which is clearly contemporary to the film's being made. (Arguably, after a disappearance into the hinterground of a character in whose look A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) seems rooted, the shot could have been more effective with an elevation to take in the façade, but without the pan (less is more ?) ?)




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

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Pigfoot in Cambridge : A strippers' band ? (work in progress)

This is a review (work in progress) of Pigfoot's gig in Cambridge, hosted by Listen!

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

10 October

This is a review (by Tweet) (work in progress) of Pigfoot's gig in Cambridge on Saturday 10 October 2020 at The Unitarian Church, Emmanuel Road, hosted by Listen!


Some people have said that we sound like a strippers' band ~ Chris Batchelor




Batchelor and Allsopp are very different (musical) personalities, with dissimilar playing-styles. However, bass clarinet, breathed as finely and beautifully as the latter does the sax, is also a good tonal-match for Batchelor on flugelhorn or cornet*.



As well as with Noble's prominent and recurrent use of a 'toy piano' timbre (or that of a de- or differently tuned piano), along with many a Monk-like dissonance, and Clarvis' highly amenable and adaptive percussion (on what seemed, just physically, a 'cut down' kit**), there was, often enough, a sparseness in the texture that not unreasonably might connote the functional instruments of a small seedy house-band, accompanying the acts : just think, maybe, of Michael Winterbottom's The Look of Love (2013), a tune that Pigfoot gave us in the second (?) set ?




[...]


End-notes :

* Batchelor's trumpet and cornet both have a silver-band finish, and all three are shiny to behold on their stands. (Allsopp just lays his alternative instrument, when not in use, on the deck.)

** Chosen, again, to fit both the space and an acoustic affected by the reduced number of sound-absorbing bodies that would allow for a fuller dynamic (as well as being eminently portable) ?

*** Which sounds not a little Arts Council funded... ?





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

Monday, 28 September 2020

Darkness at Noon : A review (work in progress, allegedly) of Rebuilding Paradise (2020)

Darkness at Noon : A review (work in progress, allegedly) of Rebuilding Paradise (2020)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


Darkness at Noon : A review (work in progress, allegedly) of Rebuilding Paradise (2020)



We see the arch-heresiarch #Frump, and hear him saying (before declaring how terrible it is) We have just left Pleasure [sic], and one of his entourage swiftly correcting him, but - as throughout - there is no comment, no overlaid assertion from director Ron Howard, who has constructed ths film so that nothing is needed, only a chronology by inter-title [i.e. Three months after the fire, etc.].



As Howard well knows, given when and how we are presently watching, being able to choose to offer hugs rather than handshakes [on which Woody Culleton (or another ?) specifically remarks] is now a proximity and a possibility from which we are undesirably kept distant - we will even see people expressing their feelings, and, having been accustomed to these times, at least think that they are behaving rashly, if we do not, for that reason, shudder in recognition of what we have lost.




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

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

I'd give them all to you : #UCFF on Christopher Nolan in Tenet (2020) (work in progress)

I'd give them all to you : #UCFF on Christopher Nolan in Tenet (2020) (work in progress)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October) (Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

21 September

I'd give them all to you : #UCFF on Christopher Nolan in Tenet (2020) (work in progress)


Tenet. n. A belief by which one lives, or which guides one's thinking



Prelude :

If I can't have x, no one else will

Whether expressed in the proverbial form of Dog in the manger, or, from military tactics, Burning one's bridges [behind one], or even - back to proverbial language, if more colourfully - Cutting off one's nose to spite one's face, none of it is far removed from the stuff of legend, literature, or works for the opera-house or cinema, because it is, or can be, a human impulse.

Darren Aronofsky might thinly disguise rooting a film in such soil, whereas Christopher Nolan constructs yet another maze around it, so that we do not immediately perceive what is at its centre, and does so with enough brash stage-business of spectacle built around it (detonation, collision or combustion) that he broadly keeps our attention from wandering back to it.



The main event :

Christopher Nolan's Tenet could be seen as a mass of red herrings - or, if one prefers, a couple of diamonds (maybe more ?) in the dust :

What we least need to know, or to follow the ins and outs of it (as the general direction suffices), he gives us by darting around, from country to country, in the style of (early) Bond films (except that there is no (rigged) game of Vingt-et-un, poker or Baccarat in sight).


Lacking any other name than in the credits, The Protagonist (John David Washington) is principled, but he is not answerable to an M, or armed by a Q, etc., etc., and so has only the crudest notion overall what he is trying to do - such that he makes errors. [In this, he resembles a less humorous take on Frank Capra's earnest Clarence (Henry Travers)]. However, whether it be a Connery or a Moore, Washington has and employs the charm and bluff of a Bond, and also has the resourceful Neil (Robert Pattinson) as his running-mate* (as well as a few other assistants).




Even if Tenet were to feel as if it needs to re-watched for something that one missed, one is as likely to gain very little new (and only benefit the film's box-office figures) - or not to be able to concentrate sufficiently to glean whatever was thought important. Whether it is what happens here, or Cobb (Leonardo Di Caprio), trying to change Fischer's (Cillian Murphy's) mind undetected in Inception (2010), the basic thrust can be easily enough perceived, although doing so is despite all the elements of distraction.

For example, neither Kat (Elizabeth Debicki), nor Andrei Sator (Kenneth Branagh), narrates an incident in their past without our being fed visual snippets, which, by being intermittent**, only serve to stop us weighing the truth of what they say. (Except that, although it is not obviously going to be so, we prove to have no reason to doubt what is said, and it seems that Nolan just wanted to embed the images ?)




[...]




[...]






[...]


By the end of the film proper [not the coda that deals with a couple of loose ends], we will have no more idea why (if we were to stop to think and ask) :

* Kat (Elizabeth Debicki), any more than any mother would (Aronofsky's entrée), obsesses about her son to the extent of enquiring, somewhat idiotically in context, Not even my son ?

* The Protagonist (John David Washington) cares about her and her son's freedom and survival, to an extent that is, very often, beyond the point of what we can judge reason dictates

* He is, for so long, so much on his own, and, with only some information, skills in bluffing and fight, he is out on a limb, albeit with trusted personnel, given what he is trying to do


Only on the level of the similar anonymity and agency of a Pertwee, where a Nicholas Courtney (Lethbridge-Stewart) provides the (usually meagre, but sufficient) fire-power towards the end, or of Baker, realizing, with clues from conveniently available allies, what is at stake, and, with their assistance, defeating The Master (or some other nemesis), does Tenet pretend to cohere : the answers to what, as set out, we do not know, and will only know extrinsically, may and should matter, but they have been subjugated to the overall arc, whose matters of import (hidden in all the pseudo-technical 'huff and puff') are themselves a tiny fraction of what we see in 150 minutes.

For a headlong dash into the stuff of an unseen world, the comparison of G. K. Chesterton's 'Nightmare' The Man who was Thursday (1908) is worth making.






Postlude (NB Spoiler alert) :



End-notes :

* Much as Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Arthur) is to Leonardo DiCaprio (Cobb) in Inception (2010).

** Versus pure narration, or PoV that takes us through the whole of what is told.




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

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Three Tweets about Moonstruck (1987)

Three Tweets about Moonstruck (1987)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


16 September


Three Tweets about Moonstruck (1987)


Postlude :





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

Comments on Pinter : Landscape (1968 / 1969) (work in progress)

Comments on Pinter : Landscape (1968 / 1969) (work in progress)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


15 September

Comments on Pinter : Landscape (1968 / 1969) (work in progress)

1. A woman (Beth) is being reflective about both the past, and herself and her qualities, in relation to it.

2. Pinter may not have intended this play for radio, but it was first given there by the BBC¹. Has that earlier identity as - one might think of it - 'a play for voices' been subsumed since Peter Hall, within months of that first production, directed it (alongside Silence) at the RSC ?

3. Peggy Ashcroft played Beth in both productions, Dorothy Tutin in the BBC production directed by Kenneth Ives in 1983 (with Colin Blakely as Duff).

4. The title evokes :

(i) The outside, which the man (Duff) and she largely 'live in' while speaking ;

(ii) The 'landscape of their lives' as a terrain (minefield ?) that they physically, and mentally, occupy ; and

(iii) Who they are (or were) in relation to it - and, through it, to each other.


5. It is also a clue to the word 'rape', which is not at all far from the surface - here, in the short Night¹, or in The Collection (1961 / 1962²).

6. What Duff gives with one hand (That nice blue dress he [Mr Sykes] chose for you, for the house, that was very nice of him), he takes with the other³ (Of course it was in his own interests to see that you were attractively dressed about the house, to give a good impression to his guests) : in the latter, he is arguably as much trying to make facts suit him as needle Beth (again) about her worth.

7. Beth does not need, or does / can not benefit from, his version of encouragement (You should have a walk with me one day down to the pond, bring some bread. There's nothing to stop you.) or, more significantly, his of approbation :

Mr Sykes took to us from the very first interview, didn't he ?

Pause

He said I've got the feeling you'll make a very good team. Do you remember ? And that's what we proved to be. No question. [...]


8. [...]

9. When Beth sets out 'the basic principles of shadow and light' (Shadow is deprivation of light, etc.), we know, of course, that she means something else - as well as telling us, she is seeking comfort, by relating them to herself and to her past, to who she is :

But I always bore in mind the basic principles of drawing.

Pause

So that I never lost track. Or heart.

Pause



[...]



End-notes :

¹ On 25 April 1968 and 2 July 1969, according to the information in the Eyre Methuen edition Landscape and Silence (A Methuen Modern Play), which includes the text of Night, first performed on 9 April 1969.

² Another play that, again according to its Methuen edition, was first presented elsewhere than on the stage (on Associated Rediffusion Television on 11 May 1961).

³ Duff had done so, straightaway in the next sentence, with ?, but 'cannot let it lie' - he has to worry it, because, unspoken, it worries him.




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

Monday, 14 September 2020

Church of All Saints, Eyeworth, Diocese of St Albans : Field-notes

Church of All Saints, Eyeworth, Diocese of St Albans : Field-notes

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


13 September

Church of All Saints, Eyeworth, Diocese of St Albans : Field-notes



The north side of the chancel, and the priest's door






West end of the South aisle, and quatrefoil window




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

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Κυνόδοντας (Dogtooth) (2009) re-considered

Κυνόδοντας (Dogtooth) (2009) re-considered

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


8 September

Κυνόδοντας (Dogtooth) (2009) re-considered









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

Saturday, 5 September 2020

#AndyWarhol at Tate Modern

#AndyWarhol at Tate Modern

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


5 September

#AndyWarhol at Tate Modern

Andy Warhol produced art at a time of immense social, political and technological change.

This exhibition examines Warhol’s subject matter, his experiments in media
and the way he cultivated his public persona.

It draws attention to Warhol’s personal story and how his view of the world shaped his art.






One of the most significant wall-notes in the whole of the #Warhol show might not even be seen by many visitors (it is in Room 3, opposite the soup, and the Coke bottles)





Notes or observations on the dozen or so screen-tests (compiled and converted to video by ???, the Warhol museum in Pittsburgh, from around 150 in all) :

* Susan Sontag's weeping, and a tear falling down her face, and then from her chin

* From the lively intelligence, eyes twinkling and even cigar-smoking and smoke-blowing of Duchamp to the dullness of Dylan - in medium shot, and resolutely trying to rest his fingers on the right-hand side of his shades (as if even he thinks that he looks / will look good ?), and, all in all, an imposture of posture :

Using both arm-rests, right leg crossed over left, clothing dark (except light jacket), with the fingers of his left hand angled down to be partly hidden behind the base of his right thigh

left hand's * Little like Dylan (wooden, unregal, and as obedient as if 'looking into my light' at the opticians'), Duchamp is so animated that he leans both ways sideways, forwards, and can be seen actively looking, taking in what surrounds him

* Ginsberg is intense, and, but for blinking, a likeable living passport pose - he is shot almost full face, and lit mainly from his left (as the subject)

[...]




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

Friday, 4 September 2020

Live-Tweeting from The 2020 Proms : Anoushka Shankar with Gold Panda, Manu Delago, Jules Buckley and Britten Sinfonia

Live-Tweeting from The 2020 Proms : Anoushka Shankar, Gold Panda and others

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


4 September

Live-Tweeting from The 2020 Proms : Anoushka Shankar with Gold Panda,
Manu Delago, Jules Buckley and Britten Sinfonia































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