Your chair, cine-pilgrim, come in from the lingering chill, sit by the fire with a glass of good substance, and witness these six tales o' trouble and desire.
All they say is "kiss kiss kiss kiss kiss"
Emiliana Torrini, 2009
Season flier to download and print pdf or click on the image for a full size jpg
Friday September 2 8 pm
(110 mins, Pedro Almodovar, 1986)
This film is not about bullfighting but the culture that celebrates it, at the centre of which is a former star of the bullring (retired through injury) who has lost touch with any intimacy beyond its violence. And it ain't just him. Blend here those he influences as a teacher of bullfighting including the dangerously malleable Angel (a very young and achingly earnest Antonio Banderas), the clingy girlfriend whose passion seems for the image rather than the man, the ravishing lawyer whose interest in Angel's case deepens and corrupts, and the detective partners who work through a baffling case of perp-confessed rape that turns into what might be serial murder. At the centre of this is an attraction both vile and disturbingly beautiful which, at its consummation, seems nothing less than perfect.
Almovodar, famous for his excess and transgressive taunting, shows the kind of restraint he is alleged to have developed only in his maturity. For there beneath the sin writ large on screen beats a genuine heart.
Friday September 9th 8 pm
THE UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH
(90 mins + short)
Hal Hartley's first full go at his entwined themes of trouble and desire remains his rawest and so freshest. His comic touch is light but assured, transparent over more serious issues like trust and deception. Further sorties into this territory like Trust or Henry Fool might have been crafted with greater sophistication but they never felt more sincere than here. The trademark deadpan delivery of smart dialogue begins here and, though it can come across as stiffly contrived, it works. I don't care how false the circular exchange sounds between Josh and the waitress, it's just fun, like a good big dumb pop song. Adrienne Shelley lights up every frame she's in. Robert Burke shows real intellect through his tall dark stranger persona. Great dialogue, cast and characters, good story steered by a helmsman setting out on a voyage of discovery. What's not to love?
Friday September 16th 8 pm
(85 mins, Pang Bros. 2006)
The Pang brothers who brought us the extraordinary The Eye and Ab-Normal Beauty have been in the genre bending business for most of the last decade, injecting cavernous character depth into what might otherwise have been above average horror tales. Here we go on a psychological dive in a bathysphere, all the way to the final line, delivered quietly for maximum gutpunch.
Friday September 23rd 8 pm
(88 mins + short)
Clifton Webb plays the queen bitch newspaper columnist as though his veins ran with nourishing strychnine. Vincent Price in an early, rare non-horror role, is an idle yankee aristocrat and proto metrosexual. Dana Andrews, pointedly at the other end of the class spectrum, hard boils smokily as the haunted detective. But it is Gene Tierney in flashback as Laura whose radiance and benign innocence give clear indication why she was able to rise from obscurity to society damehood without corruption.
A study in fascination by a master of the form.
Friday September 30th 8 pm
Mini Double Bill!
THE HOURS AND TIMES / MYSTERY FILM
David Angus presents a suffering Epstein. Ian Hart gives us a seemingly note perfect Lennon, even chewing gum as a kind of conversational defence shield. This performance clearly gave him a taste for the character as he ressurected it two years later in Backbeat.
While this story is less about the Beatles than it is about love the fact of the historical place of the two men adds significance. There is the class divide that separates them and which both know as a struggle. And there is the divider of fame. A scene where Lennon's attempt at seducing a woman does not go as easily as he expected is powerful for all its underplaying and the suggestion that while soon he will never have to do that much work again he will have lost something by that.
The other part of this screening is the MYSTERY FILM. When I unlock the mystery I'll post it here. Now, I gotta post this blog as time is running out.
Friday October 7th 8 pm
DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE (CEMETERY MAN)
(105 mins Michele Soavi 1994)
Rupert Everett brings a careworn aristocracy to Franco, dispatching zombies during a phone conversation as though brushing off a fly. The Quasimodo-like Naghy can solve complex puzzles but only speak in grunts. And into this gothic everyday floats the ethereally beautiful Anna Falchi ("She" in the credits), a femme fatale as Edgar Allen Poe might have imagined.
Far less a horror film than a romance with a setting that happens to be gothic, Dellamorte Dellamore refuses to cheapen the genres it appeals to with self reflection. There is comedy here but it rises from the overall arc (this from when Scream was corrupting the horror genre into harmlessness). It's fitting that journeyman of Italian horror, Michele Soavi chose this extension of genre as his graduation piece. There is a little showing off with reference to European art (Magritte's The Lovers, particularly) but the ossuary which looks like an overdressed set was, in fact, a real one. Soavi serves up all his elements in a big showy blend before slamming on the breaks for one of the genre's strangest endings.