Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Cinema Rediscovered launched in Bristol

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence and The Lion in Winter will be shown in Bristol as part Cinema Rediscovered, a new international archive film event.

Taking inspiration from the pioneering Il Cinema Ritrovato festival in Bologna, Italy, Cinema Rediscovered celebrates cinema-going as an event, giving audiences an opportunity to discover or indeed re-discover new digital restorations, film print rarities of early cinema and contemporary classics on the big screen in cinemas including Watershed and Curzon Clevedon Cinema & Arts, one of the oldest continuously-running cinemas in the UK.

“The South West may not have Bologna’s spectacular Piazza Maggiore or balmy weather, but we share a passion for great cinema, forward-thinking approach to the history of film and a taste for good local gastronomy,” says Mark Cosgrove, Watershed’s cinema curator. “Audiences have responded so positively to seeing classic films back on the cinema screen at Watershed that I thought it was about time that we had a festival dedicated to the history, preservation and presentation of this extraordinary art form.”

Il Cinema Ritrovato’s director Gianluca Farinelli comments:  “We're delighted to hear about this new British offspring of Il Cinema Ritrovato, on our 30th anniversary. We're particularly happy this is happening in Bristol, a city which already has a strong reputation of presenting the history of film.” 

Cinema Rediscovered, which takes place between 28-31 July, is being organised by Watershed in partnership with the Independent Cinema Office (ICO), South West Silents and 20th Century Flicks. It is being supported by Film Hub South West & West Midlands, part of the BFI Film Audience Network, awarding funds from the National Lottery.

Programme highlights include the world premiere of the new restoration of British historic drama The Lion in Winter (1968) ahead of its release later this year and the 4K restoration of Japanese auteur Nagisa Ôshima’s BAFTA-winning English language debut Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983), starring David Bowie in one of his finest acting roles.

The Lion in Winter forms the centrepiece of a tribute to the late cinematographer Douglas Slocombe running throughout the weekend. The screenings will be introduced by BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking and Sound of Cinema presenter Matthew Sweet, who says: “Earlier this year, cinema lost the world’s greatest Cinematographer, Douglas Slocombe, whose career spanned over 45 years, shooting some 80 films with a whole host of directors from Ken Russell to Steven Spielberg. Cinema Rediscovered is giving us an excellent opportunity to celebrate his work!”

The Lion in Winter
Film restoration and preservation is a great challenge as highlighted in the BFI’s recent Film is Fragile campaign. As part of a World Cinema Perspectives strand, the festival will present work from and about film archives across the globe including Pietra Brettkelly’s recent documentary A Flickering Truth (2015), which follows a group of dedicated Afghan cinephiles who struggle to protect and restore 8,000 hours of film.

The festival is also delighted to welcome guests including a representative from Cineteca di Bologna to share insights into the World Cinema Project founded by Martin Scorsese to preserve and restore neglected films from around the world.

The ICO’s Archive Screening Day 2016 at Watershed on Thursday 28 July is designed for cinema professionals who work with, or want to begin working with, archive film. This one-day event will include exclusive previews plus the launch of the ICO's forthcoming touring programme of BFI’s Britain on Film restorations, keynote addresses and workshops from archivists plus case studies from cinemas with successful archive strands.

Catharine Des Forges, director of the ICO, says: “Showing archive film is a great opportunity for cinemas to share in their communities. There’s a real appetite for this material in cinemas, but more needs to be done to help understand how they can show this work regularly and market it effectively. Our tour of Britain on Film with the BFI later this year is going to be a great opportunity for a national event around our shared history.”

Autograph ABP will partner the festival for a series of Black Atlantic Cinema Club screenings and discussions celebrating unseen contemporary films and archive classics including writer/curator Karen Alexander presenting Christopher Harris' dreamlike cine-poem on his hometown, St. Louis, still/here (2000).

Mark Cosgrove adds: “Whether a seasoned cinephile or new to cinema, there'll be something for all audiences - from family friendly screenings and hands-on kids workshops, to a month long retrospective of influential Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, to experimental films exploring the Aesthetics of Cinema. The complete 15 hours of Mark Cousins' seminal The Story of Film: An Odyssey will screen over multiple days in an informal setting.

New and old Cold Wars fought at Sci-Fi London

Capsule, a film in which a British pilot becomes the first man in space at the height of the Cold War opened Sci-Fi London. The film is the debut of writer-director Andrew Martin’s is a model maker and special effects technician, who has worked on Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life and Die Another Day.

The film was shot on location in Rayleigh, Essex and London. A purpose-built, state-of-the-art retro space capsule was constructed by production, whilst a sweeping, seven-minute single take shot concludes the movie.

To watch the trailer for Capsule click here

Edmund Kingsley (Hugo) plays the mission commander Guy Martin the cast is Lisa Greenwood (Call the Midwife), Nigel Barber (Spectre) and David Wayman (Chinese Treachery). Capsule features cinematography by Felix Forrest, an original score by Hugo de Chaire, recorded live in Budapest, with post-production by Virtual Post in Soho and sound design by Jon Gray. It is produced by Paul D Forrest and executive produced by Mohammed Patel, Omar Qamar and Waseem Zaman.

After a nomination in the UK’s National Film Awards for Best Independent Feature earlier this year, alongside films including the Oscar nominated Carol, Capsule has featured in the Official Selection and won prestigious awards for Best Feature Film, Best Sci-Fi, Best Actor, Best Original Score, Best Director, Best Cinematographer and Best Producer at over 20 festival events.

Capsule has secured distribution in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and the Middle East and the producers are currently in discussion with further distributors for additional territories with a view to a general release in 2016.

Sci-Fi London (the Annual International Festival of Science Fiction and Fantastic Film) takes place between 27 April and 6 May 2016 at Hackney and Stratford Picturehouse cinemas, the Rich Mix in Shoreditch and The Genesis Cinema in Whitechapel.

The Call-Up
The festival closes with the premiere of The Call Up, a British thriller set in the world of virtual reality (VR). The film, directed by Charles Barker is about a group of elite online gamers who receive a mysterious invitation to trial a state-of-the-art virtual reality video game. Arriving at the test site, the group steps into hi-tech gear and prepares for a revolutionary, next-level gaming experience bringing modern warfare to life with frightening realism.

To watch the trailer for The Call-Up click here

The world of VR is the subject of Sci-Fi London’s Hackstock, a four-day exploration of immersive arts.

Shakespeare in outer space and beyond

The Tempest
The landmark Shakespeare on Film season continues throughout May at BFI Southbank with a focus on films which have reimagined the Bard’s work, taking his characters, plots and themes to places that even Shakespeare is unlikely to have ever imagined.

The final part of the season will let audiences discover: The Tempest in space (Forbidden Planet, 1956) and the Old West (Yellow Sky, 1948); The Taming of the Shrew in an American High School (Ten Things I Hate About You, 1999) and on Broadway (Kiss Me Kate (3D), 1953); and Romeo and Juliet in New York (West Side Story, 1961) and California (William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, 1996).

One of the highlights of the season will be the re-release of Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet (1968), which has been digitally remastered especially for the season. Following its re-release on Friday 20 May, BFI Southbank will welcome one of its stars, Leonard Whiting (Romeo), on Saturday 21 May, to speak about his experiences making the film.

Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet brings the play to life by foregrounding emotion above all. Its visual exuberance, with every frame populated by the lavish colours and textures of Renaissance Italy, earned Oscars for cinematography and costume design, while the vibrant performances by the two relatively unknown young leads are complemented by Nina Rota’s delicate score.

Following on from the re-release of Kurosawa’s Ran (1985) on April 1, audiences will also be able to see the Japanese master’s take on Macbeth, Throne of Blood (1957). Kurosawa transports ‘The Scottish play’ to feudal Japan, adding the bold styles of Noh theatre and the samurai film, to spectacular effect.

Aki Kaurismäki’s satirical interpretation of Hamlet is full of dark humour in Hamlet Goes Business (1987). When the director of a large company that leads the world in rubber-duck manufacture is murdered in a bloody power-struggle, his sensitive son seeks revenge.

Other key titles screening in May include Basil Dearden’s All Night Long (1961) which transposes Othello to the 1960s Soho Jazz scene; Peter Greenaway’s Prospero’s Books (1991) starring Sir John Gielgud; Coriolanus (2011) directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes; Julie Taymor’s Titus (2000) starring Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange; Gus Van Sant’s queer classic My Own Private Idaho (a radical reimagining of Henry IV); and cult classic Theatre Of Blood (1972) starring Vincent Price as a vengeful actor seeking bloody payback on the critics who so callously denied him the recognition he felt he deserved.

The BFi is also presenting LGBT interpretations of Shakespeare on film. Two films by Derek Jarman will be screened in May: The Tempest (1979) is considered by some to be the most evocative Shakespeare adaptation ever to reach the screen, while The Angelic Conversation (1985) is a poetic ode to gay love, which sees Shakespeare’s sonnets read by Judi Dench, set to a minimal score with visuals of the English landscape.

BFI Southbank’s regular African Odysseys strand will present a special screening of Alexander Abela’s Makibefo (2000) which will be followed by a Q&A with the director; shot in high-contrast black & white, this austere version of Macbeth is located amid the coastal dunes of Madagascar’s southern tip.