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Showing posts with label Otel.lo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Otel.lo. Show all posts

Saturday, 2 January 2016

The Replicated Screenplay : A Fable

The Replicated Screenplay : A Fable

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2015 (3 to 13 September)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


2 January

The Replicated Screenplay : A Fable

In thanks to Thurber for the pleasure given by his Fables for Our Time


In the hush-hush days of Hollywood, it is well past the point of no return before what has somehow happened comes to light. Through some staggering implausibility, the screenplay that has been developed in one studio is, word for word, identical with that worked on by another*, and they each had gone into production with it.

When the studio heads eventually come to believe (which is not easy for them to do) that this is truly not the result of espionage or collusion, and that litigating the matter will not get them nowhere, they accept the situation for whatever cosmic quirk it is. They agree different names for each film, and that they will battle it out at the box office, relying on the distinction brought to the screenplay of their producers, directors, stars, directors of photography, film editors, wardrobe, make-up, hair, set-design...

When the films are released, though, what amazes them most is that no one includes both films in their reviews, let alone praising one over the other : seemingly, no one has noticed.

From then on, as other studios watched in surprise, Hollywood learnt a lesson, realizing that they had been giving cinema-goers and critics too much credit. They have never looked back.


End-notes

* Many will not be unaware that one is, of course, also indebted here to Jorge Luis Borges, for his story (in essay form) that re-creates the writings of Miguel de Cervantes, 'Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote’ (‘Pierre Menard, autor del Quijote’) (and for having had the opportunity to refer to it a preview, for Cambridge Film Festival 2014 (#CamFF), of Othello (Otel.lo) (2012)).




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

Saturday, 22 August 2015

A historically informed and painterly work of cinema

This is a review of Born (2014) for the ICA's #CatalanAvantGarde series

More views of or before Cambridge Film Festival 2015 (3 to 13 September)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


22 August

This is a review of Born (2014) for the #CatalanAvantGarde series
at The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)

Tickets can be booked here


Note on the title of the film* :

Born is nothing to do with birth, but denotes an area of Barcelona known as El Born (or El Bornet), sometimes conflated with that of La Ribera (meaning ‘the bank’ (of the coastal variety)) in such a way as to denote both areas by the term ‘Born’.

A late-nineteenth-century building survives, called the Mercat del Born (constructed from iron, and formerly a public market), and on its site, when development was planned there (in 2002), extensive remains of the mediaeval city were discovered. Amongst other people, Albert Garcia Espuche has written about this area’s history, and his La Ciutat del Born was an inspiration for this film.


Two years ago, at Cambridge Film Festival (2013) [@camfilmfest / #CamFF], there were two screenings of Eyes on the Sky (Mirant al Cel) (2008) in the Catalan strand (Camera Catalonia) :



That film centred on memories of, and one’s present relationship to, the time when the Italian Air Force was helping Franco’s fascist forces by bombing Barcelona (16 to 18 March 1938), and is described in What is Catalan cinema ? as Movingly mixing documentary, acting, and faux-documentary to dig into past pain. Born evokes that period in Catalan history by observations that one of the characters makes in tidying up the wreckage, and whatever can be salvaged, during the city’s bombardment in the War of [the Spanish] Succession (17011714) :

First time was ten years ago. Then it was the French. Now the British. And they will do it again. And every time it will be worse. And us, the poor… the people who only want to earn an honest living, will always be under the bombs. Until we say enough.


In this one way, the writers of the screenplay [credited as including Albert Garcia Espuche (please see the note on the film’s title (above)), and director Claudio Zulian] momentarily step outside the period, making a reference that necessarily reaches forward in time to those both attacking, and trying to defend, Barcelona more than 220 years later [and, in turn in Eyes on the Sky, to the lives of combatants, on each side, 70 years later].


The cover of Albert Garcia Espuche's publication


Not that concerns such as whom to trust, borrowing money to feed one’s family, and being subject to external forces, influences and events are not, now as then, what we will recognize as part of life, but in every other respect than this passing allusion Born does what it can to keep closely to its period : the approach of Claudio Zuliano, with which both his cast and crew show themselves to be quite in accord, seems to be not to convince us that the action is in the early 1700s, but for them to believe it themselves. So, not for the first time with Catalan film-making, one finds oneself referencing a piece by Borges (previously, it was with Hammudi Al-Rahmoun Font’s Otel.lo (2012) (@otel_lo), from this blog's review of which this is quoted) :

The Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges, composing a story, in essay form, that touches on the life of the Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes (Pierre Menard, ‘Author of the Quixote’ (‘Pierre Menard, autor del Quijote’)), imagined how someone (in this case, the fictional Pierre Menard) becomes as Cervantes, partly, at first, by living in exactly the same circumstances as Cervantes and then ends up recreating, word for word, parts of his most famous oeuvre (so, maybe, Borges mocking - amongst literary and intellectual fashions and factions the Laplacean theory of determinism (as well as the writer(s) whom academics consider the model(s) for Menard) ?)


Not method acting as such necessarily, but, as one looks at these locations and how the actors are deporting themselves, one never has in mind that stagey character of, say, some BBC adaptations of Dickens, where one just senses that a street of Georgian properties has been doctored to look as if it is now being occupied in Victorian times [sometimes, one recognizes the Inns of Court in disguise, as they have been well preserved by the legal profession]. Much more, one thinks of how Ralph Fiennes’ The Invisible Woman (2013) looked and felt, and because it was so beautifully lit: Born has a painterly regard for how its scenes are composed, and in the use of light and dark*** (another point of contact with Otel.lo (and also El Cafè de la Marina, which screened earlier in the #CatalanAvantGarde series please also see below).

The film falls into three sections, named after Bonaventura (Bonaventura Alberni : Marc Martínez), his sister Marianna (Vicky Luengo), and Vicenç (Josep Julien), an ambitious businessman, who is one of the former’s creditors : in this respect, as well as in the interconnectedness of people who live in proximity to one another, one is reminded of Marcel Pagnol’s Marseille trilogy (on which there is more information here in relation to El Cafè de la Marina (2014) (another film in #CatalanAvantGarde)) : the first two parts, in Daniel Auteuil’s version, screened at Cambridge Film Festival in 2013, Marius (2013) and Fanny (2013).


Unlike, though, Auteuil’s films of gorgeous technical clarity of image, this film resembles Otel.lo, by making good use of an edgy, documentary style, which really first comes into its own after fifteen minutes : we track Bonaventura, following a confrontation with his landlord, and the immediacy involves us in his inner workings, through the language of demeanour and expression, as he walks the streets.

As we will see both Marianna and Vicenç do, we are with Bonaventura when, after refreshing himself with water from the spring, he makes an important realization / decision in his life, and not conveyed in speech no moment of soliloquy, but in his look, and then in his movements and gestures, until his purpose becomes clear with what the Notary announces a couple of minutes later. For those who like this sort of approach, and realize that a really good piece of cinema may have been made with dialogue not in English, Born has great dramatic quality, and all the rootedness in how ships and trade govern people’s lives and fortunes that we esteem in a play such as The Merchant of Venice.


Tickets can be booked here


End-notes

* Derived from the Wiki articles http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercat_del_Born and http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrio_de_La_Ribera.

** Essentially, to see whether Charles III or Philip V would rule Spain (amongst other countries).

*** The director of photography and art director are, respectively, Jimmy Gimferrer and Lali Canosa. One is reminded of the use of darkness in masterpieces by Caravaggio, such as The Supper at Emmaus :





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

Monday, 10 August 2015

A historically informed and painterly work of cinema

This is a pre-Festival review of Born (2014) (for Cambridge Film Festival 2015)

More views of or before Cambridge Film Festival 2015 (3 to 13 September)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


This is a pre-Festival review of Born (2014) (for Cambridge Film Festival 2015)


Note on the title of the film* :

Born is nothing to do with birth, but denotes an area of Barcelona known as El Born (or El Bornet), sometimes conflated with that of La Ribera (meaning ‘the bank’ (of the coastal variety)) in such a way as to denote both areas by the term ‘Born’.

A late-nineteenth-century building survives, called the Mercat del Born (constructed from iron, and formerly a public market), and on its site, when development was planned there (in 2002), extensive remains of the mediaeval city were discovered. Amongst other people, Albert Garcia Espuche has written about this area’s history, and his La Ciutat del Born was an inspiration for this film.


Two years ago, at Cambridge Film Festival (2013) [@camfilmfest / #CamFF], there were two screenings of Eyes on the Sky (Mirant al Cel) (2008) in the Catalan strand (Camera Catalonia) :



That film centred on memories of, and one’s present relationship to, the time when the Italian Air Force was helping Franco’s fascist forces by bombing Barcelona (16 to 18 March 1938), and is described in What is Catalan cinema ? as Movingly mixing documentary, acting, and faux-documentary to dig into past pain. Born evokes that period in Catalan history by observations that one of the characters makes in tidying up the wreckage, and whatever can be salvaged, during the city’s bombardment in the War of [the Spanish] Succession (17011714) :

First time was ten years ago. Then it was the French. Now the British. And they will do it again. And every time it will be worse. And us, the poor… the people who only want to earn an honest living, will always be under the bombs. Until we say enough.


In this one way, the writers of the screenplay [credited as including Albert Garcia Espuche (please see the note on the film’s title (above)), and director Claudio Zulian] momentarily step outside the period, making a reference that necessarily reaches forward in time to those both attacking, and trying to defend, Barcelona more than 220 years later [and, in turn in Eyes on the Sky, to the lives of combatants, on each side, 70 years later].


The cover of Albert Garcia Espuche's publication


Not that concerns such as whom to trust, borrowing money to feed one’s family, and being subject to external forces, influences and events are not, now as then, what we will recognize as part of life, but in every other respect than this passing allusion Born does what it can to keep closely to its period : the approach of Claudio Zuliano, with which both his cast and crew show themselves to be quite in accord, seems to be not to convince us that the action is in the early 1700s, but for them to believe it themselves. So, not for the first time with Catalan film-making, one finds oneself referencing a piece by Borges (previously, it was with Hammudi Al-Rahmoun Font’s Otel.lo (2012) (@otel_lo), from this blog's review of which this is quoted) :

The Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges, composing a story, in essay form, that touches on the life of the Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes (Pierre Menard, ‘Author of the Quixote’ (‘Pierre Menard, autor del Quijote’)), imagined how someone (in this case, the fictional Pierre Menard) becomes as Cervantes, partly, at first, by living in exactly the same circumstances as Cervantes and then ends up recreating, word for word, parts of his most famous oeuvre (so, maybe, Borges mocking - amongst literary and intellectual fashions and factions the Laplacean theory of determinism (as well as the writer(s) whom academics consider the model(s) for Menard) ?)


Not method acting as such necessarily, but, as one looks at these locations and how the actors are deporting themselves, one never has in mind that stagey character of, say, some BBC adaptations of Dickens, where one just senses that a street of Georgian properties has been doctored to look as if it is now being occupied in Victorian times [sometimes, one recognizes the Inns of Court in disguise, as they have been well preserved by the legal profession]. Much more, one thinks of how Ralph Fiennes’ The Invisible Woman (2013) looked and felt, and because it was so beautifully lit: Born has a painterly regard for how its scenes are composed, and in the use of light and dark*** (another point of contact with Otel.lo (and also El Cafè de la Marina please see below)).

The film falls into three sections, named after Bonaventura (Bonaventura Alberni : Marc Martínez), his sister Marianna (Vicky Luengo), and Vicenç (Josep Julien), an ambitious businessman, who is one of the former’s creditors : in this respect, as well as in the interconnectedness of people who live in proximity to one another, one is reminded of Marcel Pagnol’s Marseille trilogy (on which there is more information here in relation to El Cafè de la Marina (2014) (another film in Camera Catalonia 2015)) : the first two parts, in Daniel Auteuil’s version, screened at Cambridge Film Festival in 2013, Marius (2013) and Fanny (2013).


Vicky Luengo as Marianna


Unlike, though, Auteuil’s films of gorgeous technical clarity of image, this film resembles Otel.lo, by making good use of an edgy, documentary style, which really first comes into its own after fifteen minutes : we track Bonaventura, following a confrontation with his landlord, and the immediacy involves us in his inner workings, through the language of demeanour and expression, as he walks the streets.

As we will see both Marianna and Vicenç do, we are with Bonaventura when, after refreshing himself with water from the spring, he makes an important realization / decision in his life, and not conveyed in speech no moment of soliloquy, but in his look, and then in his movements and gestures, until his purpose becomes clear with what the Notary announces a couple of minutes later. For those who like this sort of approach, and realize that a really good piece of cinema may have been made with dialogue not in English, Born has great dramatic quality, and all the rootedness in how ships and trade govern people’s lives and fortunes that we esteem in a play such as The Merchant of Venice.


End-notes

* Derived from the Wiki articles http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercat_del_Born and http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrio_de_La_Ribera.

** Essentially, to see whether Charles III or Philip V would rule Spain (amongst other countries).

*** The director of photography and art director are, respectively, Jimmy Gimferrer and Lali Canosa. One is reminded of the use of darkness in masterpieces by Caravaggio, such as The Supper at Emmaus :





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

Sunday, 2 August 2015

For posting 1111, a portal-page to the TAKE ONE interviews...

More views of or before Cambridge Film Festival 2015 (3 to 13 September)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


17 October

Interviews conducted for, and published by, TAKE ONE, a Cambridge-Film-Festival-based and mainly on-line (http://takeonecinema.net / @TakeOneCinema [formerly www.takeonecff.com]) publication [except at the time of Cambridge Film Festival (@camfilmfest / #CamFF)]




An accreting series of links, by order of interviewee's name (date of publication is in square-brackets, and the film-title links to the IMDb (@IMDb) web-page for the film) :


Claudio Zulian [23 September 2015] :
Interview with Claudio Zulian Anthony Davis spoke to Claudio Zulian, the creator of the film BORN, which screened at this year’s Cambridge Film Festival. [BORN follows the 18th century adventures of coppersmith Bonaventura, his sister Marianna and the rich merchant Vicenç, in the disappeared neighbourhood of El Bornet in Barcelona.]





Daisy Hudson [14 January 2017] :
Half Way We spoke to Daisy Hudson whose documentary chronicles her family’s devastation when they find themselves at the mercy of the housing crisis. [HALF WAY chronicles the experience of a family of three women trapped in a homeless limbo.]






Desiree Akhavan [20 September 2018] :
Interview with Desiree Akhavan Anthony Davis spoke to Desiree Akhavan at the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse recently after the screening of her film THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST. He began by asking whether she had been influenced by ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST or GIRL, INTERRUPTED






Dunstan Bruce [17 October 2014] :
A curious life We spoke to Dunstan Bruce at Cambridge Film Festival this year about his documentary A CURIOUS LIFE, which follows the winsome Jeremy 'The Levellers' [@the_levellers] Cunningham on a trip down memory lane via squids, folk-punk festival mayhem and the Battle of the Beanfield






Hammudi Al-Rahmoun Font [9 January 2015] :
Font's Othello Anthony Davis spoke to Hammudi Al-Rahmoun Font about his entertaining and provocative Catalan adaptation of OTHELLO, screened at CFF2014




Otel.lo (Othello) (2012) ~ otello.cat ~ @otel_lo



Ken Loach [6 June 2014] :
In conversation with Ken Loach Ken Loach visited the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse with his new film JIMMY’S HALL; Anthony Davis spoke to him about journalistic vitriol and corporate propaganda







Laura Rossi [17 October 2014] :
Interview with Laura Rossi Anthony Davis spoke to composer Laura Rossi about her experience writing music for BFI Silent Film JANE SHORE (1915), currently touring the UK








Magali Pettier [28 August 2015] :
Addicted to Sheep Anthony Davis spoke to Magali Pettier, farmer’s daughter and director of ADDICTED TO SHEEP, which follows a year in the lives of two sheep farmers.





Mar Coll [27 September 2014] :
[Appended to Rebecca Naghten's] review of We All Want What's Best For Her (2013)
Anthony Davis spoke to director Mar Coll after the screening, focusing on the mental-health-related themes in the film. (An extract of the interview follows.)





Marc Quinn / Gerry Fox [23 July 2015] :
Interview with Marc Quinn & Gerry Fox [Although there is now a link to the full interview] On 23 July the Arts Picturehouse screened MAKING WAVES, a documentary in which Gerry Fox records one year in the life of Marc Quinn. The film delves into the nature of creativity, following Quinn across the globe. Shortly before the post-screening Q&A we spoke to director Fox and subject/artist Quinn about his notorious “shit-head”, his bromance with Fox and the film’s examination of Quinn’s Warhol style “assembly line of art workers”.





Raf V. [11 February 2018] :
Vlogumentary joy with Rafael V. In his 2017 documentary JOY, vlogumentary maker Rafael V. asks what it means to be happy – where can we find joy ? A few months on from the film’s release, Anthony Davis caught up with Rafael to discuss his personal approach to cinéma vérité, reflect on what he learned from making this film, and find out about his next project.





Toby Amies [6 November 2013] :
Interview with Toby Amies Filmed predominantly in his cave, haven, call it what you will, of a council flat, Toby Amies’ touching portrait follows ageing maverick Drak [self-styled Drako Zarharzar] as he goes about his everyday life, or rather his every second. Anthony Davis spoke to Toby Amies following the screening at Cambridge Film Festival.





William Fowler [12 October 2012] :
Interview with William Fowler Following the collection of works, featuring or directed by Bruce Lacey, that he brought to the 2012 Cambridge Film Festival, I spoke to William Fowler, who is Curator of Artists’ Moving Image at the BFI (British Film Institute [@BFI])






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

Friday, 3 October 2014

Camera Catalonia at Cambridge Film Festival 2014 Part IV : Punting lesson with Hammudi al-Rahmoun Pont*, director of Othello (Otel.lo) (2012)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2014 (28 August to 7 September)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


3 October

Camera Catalonia at Cambridge Film Festival 2014 Part IV : Punting lesson with Hammudi al-Rahmoun Pont*, director of Othello (Otel.lo) (2012)


* NB contains spoilers (but only about punting) *

Principles of punting

* Stand stably on the back-board of the punt – unfortunately, climbing up and down from there in the first place is one thing that makes the punt most unsteady (as does anyone moving position, unless they keep low)


Balance is crucial, but not difficult to achieve


* Be aware, at all times, of overhanging trees (however decorative)


This is where the Cam turns a literal corner between St John's and Trinity


* Likewise, have regard for people in the way, especially those who clearly have no idea how to punt, and steer out of harm’s way


The punt behind is the danger here - unless it changes course, the only way is down, or into, the left-hand side of ours



Adjustment of our position averts the likelihood of being knocked on the side


* Drop the pole, into the water by the side of the punt, as vertically and quickly as possible


To begin with, dropping the pole in its optimal position will feel awkward, and require care and concentration





* Push through the pole as straight as possible, using the side of the punt to push along – it is effective, even if it makes a rough-sounding noise


In this position, the vagaries of not pushing straight, and then ending up having to adjust, mean that bumping against the side-wall is not unlikely (unless a conscious move is made towards the centre of the river)




* Except when avoiding a hazard, steer once the pole has been dropped in and pushed through, using it like a rudder, which simply needs to become second nature – for a large adjustment, pulling the pole through the water from side to back steers it one way, whereas lifting it out from the side, dropping it at the back, and moving it around to the front brings it the other way


Being in a good position to begin with (nothing behind, ahead clear) make being able to push and make any adjustment afterwards much easier



* NB Be aware that, at some points, the river is very deep, so one will have almost no push once the pole comes in contact with the bottom

* At other points, the end of the pole will engage with mud – unless it comes free on a first pull, and with a twist, leave it, as going back for the pole is what the paddle is for




* Other than having a brilliant teacher (four pupils, no dunkings) and admiring the view (when safe to do so), there are no other rules of punting - except getting through a gap in the traffic safely when one can (rather than the niceties of being on one side of the river, not least when scenic willow boughs are less lovely to punt through, and some spots are always deep or muddy)


It's tough teaching - you just need to relax, amongst the detritus of someone else's enjoyment, and relish your pupil's moves



The Wren Library, Trinity College


One can testify that Cambridge's Pint Shop provided a very acceptable alternative to Guinness®, for our Catalan punter, as a reward for his studious efforts on the Cam !


End-notes

* OK, the name is Hammudi al-Rahmoun Font, but it is fun for the Freudian slip to evoke 'bridge' and 'punt'...




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

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Inside his mind : Iago in the midst

This is a review of Othello (Otel.lo) (2012)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2014 (28 August to 7 September)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


19 August (corrected 20 August)


This is a review of Othello (Otel.lo) (2012)

Chances to see during Cambridge Film Festival (#CamFF) 2014:

Only one screening presently scheduled (please see the note on screenings below), at 1.00 p.m. on Sunday 7 September (Screen 2)


The Moor is of a free and open nature
That thinks men honest that but seem to be so;
And will as tenderly be led by th’nose
As asses are.



Act I, Scene iii, 390–393


Sometimes the strength of a film lies in the resonance with which it reminds you of your other viewing – and reading.

The Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges, composing a story, in essay form, that touches on the life of the Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes (Pierre Menard, ‘Author of the Quixote’ (‘Pierre Menard, autor del Quijote’)), imagined how someone (in this case, the fictional Pierre Menard) becomes as Cervantes, partly, at first, by living in exactly the same circumstances as Cervantes and then ends up recreating, word for word, parts of his most famous oeuvre (so, maybe, Borges mocking - amongst literary and intellectual fashions and factions - the Laplacean theory of determinism (as well as the writer(s) whom academics consider the model(s) for Menard) ?) :

In a similar way, this film invites us to consider whether Othello is a flawed tragic character, distant from our lives as a character in a play by Shakespeare (whose fictionality is celebratedly emphasized by claims that it relies too heavily on a stolen handkerchief*) – or whether the pressures that cause Othello to believe Desdemona unfaithful (and kill her) can be made to act on a Moroccan amateur actor (Youcef), who has been cast in that role for the film that we see being shot (though nothing explains the manner of the direction).

Yet it is no mere framing device, nor no piece of Brechtian alienation technique (Verfremdungseffekt, in the original German), to have cast and crew alike visible to us, but, rather, something that enables us to feel inside the depths of the Shakespeare story : seeing what happens to Ann (Desdemona) and Youcef, a real-life couple for two years, as they play the lead roles is enhanced by seeing how constructed film is as a medium, where, say, the people who hold the sound-booms must also play their part, and this approach is at the centre of why the film has been made. (Otherwise, it would be a much longer Othello, shot on the black, curtained stage-set, and looking like a filmed play (please see below).)

The direction that we see of Youcef, Ann and Kike (as Michael Cassio) on camera may not exactly be Peter Brook (or the play’s adaptation that of Steven Berkoff, or Charles Marowitz), but it is experimenting with the actors and their performances, seeking the life in the latter, trying to find engagement with the text (a word that we see so often in the sub-titles, signifying Action !) : unlike this dynamic process (which is also at the much lighter heart of another Catalan film shown at Cambridge Film Festival, V.O.S. (2009)), we are also reminded that, when we watch a film, it is a finished, duplicated artefact, which will be the same to-morrow as next week (if we choose to watch it again after this evening’s screening).

Otel.lo is, at times, painful to watch, because it goes beyond the stories that we hear about how directors get the take that they want (such as were circulating about the love-scenes had been shot in Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013)) and into the immoral manipulation and lies of Dangerous Liaisons (1988), yet it is worth doing so because of how immensely it enriches our sense of the operation of jealousy, flirtation, attraction – as real, living feelings and behaviours.

However, as the film develops, and the cast is being put upon, one is in mind of Gloucester, sightless on the heath in King Lear, saying ‘As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods; They kill us for their sport’ (Act IV, Scene i)**. Or of Samuel Beckettt’s ironic mimes Act Without Words I and II, with their characters being prompted from without, as well as tempted, seduced, and disappointed.

Linking with texts such as these, and entering into the world of the film, actually widens our appreciation of what happens on screen : scenes with the actors in character become as real as, or more real than, when Ann and Youcef talk singly to camera, with the director asking them questions. Here, unlike the effect of Polanski’s Venus in Furs (2013) (whose ‘staginess’ seemed to negate one’s interest, and to make one question the purpose of the film over the original play), laying bare the artifice heightens the drama.


It may be, as the title’s rendering suggests, a low-budget production that is depicted (for it is a modest team), but, as those who experiment with their cinema- or theatre-going will know, a big budget is not a guarantee of greater satisfaction. For example, another Catalan film that screened at last year’s Cambridge Film Festival, The Redemption of the Fish (La redempció dels peixos) (2013), was made on almost no budget, but the film is beautiful, using natural light wherever possible, and without no compromise over quality.

Though running at just over an hour, Otel.lo is complete in itself and not (unlike last year’s micro-budget film The Cherry Orchard (2013)) one that shows preparation for a performance that we do not see : performance and the production are integrated, at all levels, and one simply could not desire the intensity of Otel.lo for longer. As has been suggested, it is meta-textual in a way that is highly thoughtful, and it is sure both to arouse interest, and to provoke differences of opinions about what its core-values are.


Othello :
Will you, I pray, demand that demi-devil
Why he hath thus ensnared my soul and body ?



Iago :
Demand me nothing. What you know, you know.
From this time forth I never will speak word.



Act V, Scene ii, 297–300



This is just one of six Catalan films (Camera Catalonia) that can be seen at Cambridge Film Festival 2014 (@camfilmfest / #CamFF) - Thursday 28 August to Sunday 7 September (both inclusive). Three others are reviewed here, and What is Catalan cinema ? is also about the Catalan strand at the Festivals in 2012 and 2013...



Note on screenings, etc. :

NB The allocation of films between the three screens at Festival Central can always change (as can, if one is coming from a distance for a specific film, the programme as a whole) : if the audience for a film scheduled for Screen 3 (the smallest screen, around half the capacity of the largest, Screen 1) proves greater than expected, it may end up being swapped, so there could be a change in the exact time of the screening, too

In the programme (for which that is a link to the where the PDF file can be downloaded - printed copies are available at Festival Central and all good local outlets), some slots are also marked 'TBC', and popular screenings may be repeated : announcements are on Cambridge Film Festival 2014's (@camfilmfest's) web-site (please see link, above), as they are of alterations to the programme or the allocation between screens



End-notes

* E.g. Thomas Rymer, A Short View of Tragedy (1693).

** Yet, later in the play, Edgar (who had providentially met Gloucester) feigns other identities to lead his father to what the other thinks is the edge of the cliffs at Dover – Gloucester is persuaded to believe that he has survived pushing himself off the edge, and that his life thus has a meaning.




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

The Catalan strand 2014 : Parts I and II

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2014 (28 August to 7 September)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


19 August (updated 20 August, 4 September)

The author of What is Catalan cinema ?, otherwise known as @THEAGENTAPSLEY (reviewer of films, amongst other things), is now at liberty to share four links to reviews of films in the Catalan strand of this year's Cambridge Film Festival (@CamFilmFest), or #CamFF 2014 - please find below !


But, if you require less detail, read these paragraphs, for there is a quiet, gentle theme that meanders through all of these films, in their different ways :

* A woman who nearly died in a road-traffic accident last year (We All Want What's Best For Her (Tots volem el millor per a ella)

* Some amateur actors who have been invited to act together the main roles of Othello in a film (Otel.lo)

* A restaurant on which unrelated people converge for what is – for reasons not truly given – its last evening (Tasting Menu (Menú degustació)), and


* A teenage male devotes his energies to chess, but does his behaviour indicate that he needs a psychological intervention - and can one reach him through chess... ? (Son of Cain (Fill de Caín))

Respectively, she is married, they are a couple, there are at least three couples, and, lastly, we have 'a nuclear family', but the theme is only incidental to the couples, which is how the past informs where we are – and, more importantly, what we expect from the present.

For good or ill, the connections, decisions, mistakes and suspicions of the past come into view, or are brought there, and shape the immediate connections, decisions, mistakes and suspicions…


Othello (Otel.lo) (2012)

Showing as follows :

Only one screening presently scheduled (please see below), at 1.00 p.m. (Screen 2) on Sunday 7 September

Tasting Menu (Menú degustació) (2013)

Showing as follows :

On Wednesday 3 September only at Festival Central (please see next paragraph) and for general admission only at 9.00 p.m. (Screen 2), because the screening at 11.00 a.m. (Screen 3) that day is a Big Scream screening* - a sold-out screening on the night

Also screening (as are some other Festival films) at Abbeygate Cinema, 4 Hatter Street, Bury St Edmunds IP33 1NZ (abbeygatecinema.co.uk) : Tuesday 2 September at 6.45 p.m.

We All Want What's Best For Her (Tots volem el millor per a ella) (2013)

Showing as follows :

On Thursday 4 September at 6.15 p.m. (Screen 1), and on Friday 5 September at 1.00 p.m. (Screen 1)


Son of Cain (Fill de Caín) (2013)

Showing as follows :

On Friday 5 September at 7.50 p.m. (Screen 2)


Two more reviews to come... However, at least one (that of Fiction (Ficcion)) will not be until after the screening - on Saturday 6 September at 2.30 p.m. (Screen 3) - so you might like to read what TAKE ONE's (the Festival's in-house publication's) Rebecca Naughten has to say



Notes on screenings

NB The allocation of films between the three screens at Festival Central can always change (as can, if one is coming from a distance for a specific film, the programme as a whole) : if the audience for a film scheduled for Screen 3 (the smallest screen, around half the capacity of the largest, Screen 1) proves greater than expected, it may end up being swapped, so there could be a change in the exact time of the screening, too

In the programme (for which that is a link to the where the PDF file can be downloaded - printed copies are available at Festival Central and all good local outlets), some slots are also marked 'TBC', and popular screenings may be repeated : announcements are on Cambridge Film Festival 2014's (@camfilmfest's) web-site (please see link, above), as they are of alterations to the programme or the allocation between screens



End-notes

* The Arts Picturehouse's club exclusively for parents / carers accompanied by babies under one year old.




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