Monthly Archives: July 2012
by Spank the Monkey
Last month in London, the HK15 Film Festival provided a rare opportunity to see old and new Hong Kong movies on the big screen. It was organised by the people behind the Terracotta Far East Film Festival, which I’ve previously covered for this site. At the Closing Gala, festival boss Joey Leung insisted that the profile of Asian cinema needed raising in this country. To that end, he gave the audience a Twitter hashtag to use: #KeepAsianCinemaInUKCinemas.
There are a few problems with that. Firstly, it’s a hashtag that could easily be misremembered in a variety of ways, which reduces its effectiveness as an indexing tool. Secondly, at 27 characters it takes up around one-fifth of the maximum length of a tweet, and doesn’t leave much room for anything else. But even if we ignore those concerns, it’s possible that what we’re dealing with is too big for a mere hashtag.
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Sarah Slade on a rediscovered classic of British film.
In cinema, marriage is the happy ending. Hero and heroine are joined together after many adventures, kiss for the first time, and everything is as rosy as the sunset behind them. Marriage is the ultimate destination, and even an adulterous liaison ends up with the protagonists returning to the marital home, chastened and penitent; or maybe an inconvenient spouse dies so that the golden couple can…well…get married. Because it worked so well the first time, didn’t it?
Philip Concannon reassesses Antonioni’s first full-colour masterpiece
When people think of Michelangelo Antonioni now, they think (although he was active as a filmmaker from 1942) of the radically reinvented director who emerged in the early 1960s. Antonioni had always had a rather fluid relationship with conventional narrative storytelling but when L’avventura screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 1960, his outright rejection of a traditional plot in favour of mood, mystery and atmosphere caused a sensation. L’avventura was booed at its festival screening and many critics derided the film’s slow-paced sense of “Antonioniennui”, but others hailed it as a masterpiece and the film became an unexpected popular hit. He followed this success with La notte and L’eclisse, completing a morose trilogy of alienation and dislocation that defined his filmmaking philosophy.
by Victor Field
As anyone who’s seen silent movies on Sumo TV can tell you, vision without some kind of sound only works in small doses. So providing brand-new accompaniment for the newly spruced-up print of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lodger is the perfect way to keep audience attention, and with Nitin Sawhney being a fan of Bernard Herrmann we have… history sort-of repeating itself. See, The Lodger is a film about a serial killer running amok in London, and Frenzy – also about a serial killer running amok in London – also wound up getting new music when Hitch became the only director to ever throw out a score by Henry Mancini (Ron Goodwin replaced him).
by Mr Moth
This month we have fun discussing hookahs, hookers, wedding singers and cake-consumption conundrums.
by Susan Patterson
I walked into Detachment cold. I knew nothing of Tony Kaye’s work (American History X was released at a time when I didn’t watch films and its subject matter never made me inclined to follow it up) but did know that Detachment starred Adrien Brody and was (probably) a drama. Had I bothered to do my homework I would have never stepped into the auditorium.
by Ann Jones
I like the idea of the Artists’ Film Club at the ICA – a monthly(ish) screening of film/video works held in the ICA theatre – but somehow I never get round to going until last week, with a remit to check it out for MostlyFilm. Once I was there, I pretty quickly remembered why I don’t usually bother with things like this, though I was sort of won round by the end. The programme for Sound and Vision was made up of works by artists who contributed to SOUNDWORKS, an exhibition of sound works currently accessible through the ICA’s website, and was billed as taking ‘the relationship between sound and moving image as a starting point to consider sound as a performative gesture in the delivery of narrative and historical discourse’. Um, okay. Well, as it happens I am interested in sound both as an element of film/video art and as a medium in its own right, so, pretentious briefing notes aside, surely this would be interesting?
by Indy Datta
I’ve made my fair share of pointless New Year’s resolutions in my life, but the novels have remained unfinished, the excess pounds unshifted. This year, I set myself what I thought would be an easily attainable goal. All I had to do was stop voluntarily paying money to see films that I knew in advance were very likely to be awful. I made it about halfway through the year before I cracked, on which more later, but I knew deep down I was never going to get through the whole year. The thing is, you see, I love crap.
by Spank The Monkey
Fifteen years ago this week, Tom Fontana invented television.
Okay, that’s a bit of a sweeping statement. Obviously, there must have been television before 1997: if there wasn’t, what’s all that stuff they keep showing on ITV4? Still, a few hours in front of that channel will show you that TV drama has moved on since then. These days, people want more: large ensemble casts, tightly-interwoven story arcs, and a willingness to push the boundaries of what’s acceptable on the small screen. In short, they want what we think of as ‘HBO drama’: a concept that didn’t exist until July 12th 1997, and the transmission of the very first episode of Oz.
In attempting to examine how and why there is such a huge streak of sexism and misogyny in videogame culture – and there is, let’s just take that as read, shall we, and press on – it helps to look not at sexism in games, but sex. There are bigger societal pictures to take into account, but that’s for someone else to give you.