Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Spring again.The warmth rises from the soil and the light of morning is polished to a crystalline sparkle. Once, in the bloom of youth I was a fresh red rose just waiting to be picked. Now I'm old and getting a cold and look more like a fresh red nose just waiting to be picked. Bees hum around the honeysuckle and the jasmine and the larvae of houseflies yet dream softly of the summer. And, och, if the snowdrops aren't already pushing through the earth and lifting their lilywhite heads o'er the tips o' the grass. Spring. And I'm sneezing like a bofors gun.

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

Check it!

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)
Roll credits. Beneath them hunky Diego is proactively relaxing in front of the tv as a Jes Franco horror flick plays and he thinks of his instructions to his matador students about making the perfect kill and as this happens a beautiful woman seduces and murders men in the same way, marking the point of incision with a red lipstick kiss to the back of the neck. Young, virginal, brought up hyper Catholic Angel asks Diego about seduction and then takes the older man's advice with ugly literalism, dragging the latter's lover into an alley. This is the start of Matador, Pedro Almovodar's show of red cape to Spain's conservatism.

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
(90 mins + short)
Audry is young and beautiful and set for a life as a fashion model and future with her high school football star boyfriend. Then Josh comes to town. Strong and silent, he has returned to Long Island with a past. He's been in prison but no one can agree what he was put there for, though most assume it was murder. Audry's father is the only person in town who'll give him a job. It's said we covet what we see every day. If what we covet is a mystery as well then coveting pulses up to desiring. Bye bye, footballer.

 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)
 Since her baby left her Winnie passes her time in Lonely Towers, making dolls and keeping a diary. Writing to him and trying to contact him through his work continually fail. Then one day, going to his building she meets someone whose resemblance to him stops her dead. He is so like Mr Silent that she is compelled to approach him. Soon they're having coffee. Soon he's moving in. Next task? She needs to keep in touch with the difference between him and the dolls.

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)
Detective Mark MacPherson, NYPD, has been in love with Laura Hunt from the moment he saw her. Trouble is she's as dead as a shotgun blast can make a dame. Following her troubling life from those who knew her he becomes increasingly fascinated with the woman.

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!


Brian takes John on a trip to Barcelona in the hope that this occasion with the younger man away from his boisterous cronies might finally give a sign no matter how slight that there is more to their relationship. So what? Well Brian is Brian Epstein and John is John Lennon. This is a self-avowed speculation based on a genuine event that the straight world of Beatle fandom tends to skip. Whatever happened, the idea that the young Lennon might have found something in himself outside of the Beatlemania world that had already grown cage-like at this point is an intriguing one.

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
(105 mins Michele Soavi 1994)
The girl of his dreams is killed after their night o' magic so Franco falls into a wallow. Then he meets her again and the same thing happens. Maybe here I should point out that Franco is the keeper of the local cemetery whose duties include putting bullets into the brains of corpses who have dug their way out of their graves.

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.

1 comment:

  1. For future archeologists, the mystery film that accompanied The Hours and Times was the 1966 Avengers episode A Touch of Brimstone.


    So there youse go