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Saturday, 29 February 2020

What a treat, what a surprise ! : Pembroke Festival of Voice, with Ruby Hughes and Joseph Middleton (work in progress)

This is a review of Pembroke Festival of Voice, with Ruby Hughes and Joseph Middleton

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


29 February

This is a review (work in progress) of Pembroke Festival of Voice,
with Ruby Hughes and Joseph Middleton, in a recital given in The Old Library, Pembroke College, Cambridge, on Friday 29 February 2020 at 8.00 p.m.

When one had paid on the door, expecting Kitty Whately (accompanied by Joseph Middleton), but put right by known others there who were in the know, how could one possibly not be delighted - with no disrespect whatever to Whately ! - to find that Ruby Hughes was performing in her stead (with Middleton) ? !

Love them or loathe them, but the wonted place - though there is also The Cambridge Concert Calendar for every term - to find a music-event is 'the railings : Middleton and Whately, with Mahler's Rückertlieder (in The Old Library at Pembroke), had fitted the bill, so Middleton with Hughes was certainly no disappointment.


The directness of Ruby Hughes, and the concomitant sincerity that it expresses, is palpable - it is through the former that we feel and read the latter


[...]


With Frauenliebe und -leben (i.e. Frauenliebe und Frauenleben), Schumann's Opus 47 song-cycle on the bill of fare, however, who could be dissatisfied at the thoughtful arc with which Hughes and Middleton traversed these eight numbers, from the - very much as it were - infatuation of 'Seit ich ihn gesehen' to the stark realizations of 'Nun hast du mir den ersten Schmerz getan' : not in any way even needing (as some do) to be apologetic for the milieu and import of Chamisso's poems, let alone limit them by or to their time. As the Purcell texts should have shown us, human-beings are and have been over the centuries, for all their differing trappings, creatures with and moulded by the same needs, desires and weaknesses as the heroines of Shakespearean drama, or the novels of The Brontës.

[...]





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

Friday, 28 February 2020

Pixiedust joins Good Rain : Solveig Slettahjell and The Slow Motion Quintet

A first-blush mini-review of Solveig Slettahjell and The Slow Motion Quintet in Pixiedust

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


28 February

A first-blush mini-review by Tweet of Solveig Slettahjell and The Slow Motion Quintet in Pixiedust









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

Monday, 24 February 2020

The 13 Rules, perhaps, of Making Documentary Films* (work in progress)

The 13 Rules*, perhaps, of Making Documentary Films (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)


24 February

The 13 Rules*, perhaps, of Making Documentary Films (work in progress)

1. If some fact or experience is extraneous to the film, but the audience is expected to know it, it should have been in the film itself (not a Q&A, DVD extras, etc.)
2. Picking and choosing to whom to give a name (using a caption), when that person starts speaking from archive material or in interview, need not be defensible as such, but a discernible rationale might be beneficial

3. By all means let some viewers believe that all the ills of the world (or all its goodness) are located in some place, practice or person, but you could ‘nod’, a little, to others who will watch more sceptically (please see Rule 5 (below) et seq.)?

4. Equally, some viewers will - surreptitiously - drown under an undifferentiated mix of : (illustrative) clips from feature films of the time ; home ciné and / or video ; generic archival footage ; date-specific footage and / or capture of t.v., etc., broadcasts ; other documentary material ; any re-enactments / re-creations, etc., etc.

5. Again, those viewers who happily absorb a message such as hinted at in Rule 3 (above) will not notice, but, even if you are determined just to tell a story that ‘enough’ people will buy wholesale (especially if only adding detail to an accepted narrative), watch out for ‘flak’, from some who expect more

6. Such flak will necessarily come from those who ask what similarities there are to other countries in the territory in which the film (if only in a specific edit or version) is targeted, and which your film largely serves some viewers as a convenient emotional and / or intellectual distraction from acknowledging (or maybe as little more than self-satisying entertainment that such things happen elsewhere ?)

7. Art can hold up the mirror to life, but it can also do us a dis-service, if it does not truthfully answer the Snow White Question asked by those who could, and should, see all that the mirror reflects

8. Some see film as having a pedagogic purpose, whereas some see documentary - when it more closely resembles 'an essay**' - as more free :

Well, there are those who teach who claim that they should tell their students what they are going to teach them, teach it, and tell them that they were taught it, and, although cinema really does not need to be that ‘heavy-handed’, film-makers might pay regard, when they have somehow decided on an intended story (or one of its 'strands'), and know it so well, that – in the edit, etc. – the film omits to tell all of its essential parts


More to come...


End-notes :

* So, for #UCFF (at least), it 'does it', if adherence is made to more than seven or eight of them…

** Though who says where, say, Tarkovsky’s Mirror (Zerkalo [Зеркало]) (1975) begins and Godard’s The Image Book (Le Livre d'image) (2018) ends ?




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