Monday 24th June – Sunday 30th June 2013
The films in this week’s selection either offer up distinctive forms of ‘realism’ or ask us to question the nature of reality itself and the multiple ways in which it can be mediated. Enjoy!
MONDAY 24th JUNE
Alain Resnais’s Private Fears in Public Places (2006), at Bfi Southbank, Waterloo, 6.10pm
An Alain Resnais film is always worth seeing – this French director offers strange narrative constructions typically focused on the ambiguities of memory. This one is based on a play by English dramatist Alan Ayckbourne, but nevertheless, as with many of the films Resnais made from others’ work feels distinctly his own. It’s probably not his best film, but I remember enjoying it when I saw it some years ago.
This film is also playing at the Bfi on 29th June, at 3.50pm
TUESDAY 25th JUNE
Roberto Rossellini’s Journey to Italy (1954), at Ritzy Picturehouse, Brixton, 6.35pm
In this Italian classic Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders play an English couple who have travelled to Naples in order to sell a recently inherited property, but whose marriage comes under strain, under the fierce Mediterranean sun. In praise of this film Francois Truffaut named director Roberto Rossellini the father of the French New Wave, which is most apparent in the understated naturalism of this film and the simplicity of its narrative structure. While the film’s underpinnings are in melodrama, it has a lightness of touch and engages at once both with the intimate minutiae of human relations and with the individual’s experience among the swarm of modern life.
This film is also showing at the Ritzy Picturehouse on Saturday 22nd June (Sold out), Sunday 23rd June, Wednesday 26th June and Thursday 27th June
WEDNESDAY 26th JUNE
Tony Richardson’s A Taste of Honey (1961), at Stratford East Picturehouse, Stratford, 6pm
Based on the novel of the same name by Shelagh Delaney and focusing on the trials of a working class schoolgirl who falls pregnant, this film is often seen as a classic of the British New Wave or ‘kitchen sink realism’.
Wim Wenders’s Alice in the Cities (1973), Goethe Institut, South Kensington, 7pm, FREE (requires booking)
In this delightful alternative road movie German journalist Philip Winter (Rüdiger Vogler) has become sick of the US and, intending to return home, befriends a German woman Lisa (Lisa Kreuzer) and her daughter Alice (Yella Rottländer) at the airport. When Lisa abandons Alice with Philip, the itinerant pair travel through various cities in Europe, taking practically every form of transport possible as they seek out her grandmother.
This film is perhaps director Wim Wenders’s most purely enjoyable one, as well as being one of his best.
FRIDAY 28th JUNE
Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell (2012), at Curzon Soho, at 11.45am, 2.05pm, 4.30pm, 6.55pm, 9.20pm
I remember Sarah Polley from her terrific performance as a young actor in Atom Egoyan’s The Sweet Hereafter in 1997, but since then she has acted in many films and has also become a director in her own right. Both of her narrative films, Away From Her (2006) and Take This Waltz (2011) were generally well-received, with some murmurs suggesting that at times she could veer into sentimentalism. However, Polley’s documentary Stories We Tell appears to be garnering universal admiration. In this film Polley interviews her family and friends in an attempt to understand her mother Diane Polley, who died when she was 11 and about whom she knows very little. Critics are saying that this is a mysterious film in which different accounts appear as a variety of conflicting stories, with some dark truths emerging in the process. It sounds fascinating and well worth catching if you can.
This film is also playing at the Curzon Soho at the same times on Saturday 29th June and at slightly different times on Sunday 30th June.
Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing (2012), Director’s Cut and Director Q & A with John Pilger, at Ritzy Picturehouse, Brixton, 6.45pm
This bizarre-sounding documentary focuses on the genocidal warlords Anwar Congo and Adi Zulkadry who, after Indonesia’s failed coup of 1965 took key roles in the execution of more than a million people, Anwar himself killing over a thousand. A decade ago director Oppenheimer had initially trained his camera on the families of the victims of this genocide, before they suggested to him that he instead interview its perpetrators, who remain national heroes and who were all too glad to meet with him. This is where things get strange, as Oppenheimer allows Anwar the chance to reenact these killings on film in a variety of cinematic genres, with a cast made up of his friends and family.
The Act of Killing was executive produced by Errol Morris and Werner Herzog and has won a number of awards, as well as receiving substantial critical acclaim.
This film is showing in a number of independent cinemas across London. The Director’s Cut with a Q & A with the director will be also showing at:
ICA, The Mall, off Trafalgar Square, Saturday 29th June – 7pm
Gate Picturehouse, Notting Hill, Sunday 30th June – 1.30pm
Hackney Picturehouse, Saturday 6th July – 12.00pm, 5.00pm
Phoenix Cinema, Sunday 7th July -1.30pm
SUNDAY 30th JUNE
Mostafa Sarwar Farooki’s Television (2012), at Rich Mix, Bethnal Green, 6pm
This comical Bangladeshi film about the coming of television to a small rural community and the arguments that arise from this is being shown as a part of the East End Film Festival. The film was given the honour of being the closing film at the Busan International Film Festival and, from the image above, appears to have a certain degree of surrealism to it. It looks like fun.
A number of other films are showing in various venues across the city for the East End Film Festival this month.