Special Event: A Long Day’s Journey Into Night (3D)

Clameur Du Cinema presents Gan Bi’s A Long Day’s Journey Into Night (2018) in 3D.

This special screening will take place at The Mallard Cinema and will be a unique chance for Guernsey audiences to see this film, containing a 59 minute single take shot in 3D, presented as intended.

Directed by Gan Bi, A long Day’s Journey Into Night chronicles the return of Luo Hongwu (Huang Jue) to Kaili, the hometown from which he fled many years before. Back for his father’s funeral, Luo recalls the death of an old friend, Wildcat, and searches for lost love Wan Qiwen (Tang Wei), who continues to haunt him.

Suitable for ages 12+ (BBFC info)

Due to the change in venue ticket prices for this unique event are £9 (including 3D glasses).

Book Now

Thinking On Your Feet: George Orwell and 1984

On 24 January I was invited by the Thinking On Your Feet arts group to introduce a screening of Michael Radford’s 1984 (1984), which was part of a series of local events celebrating the author George Orwell.

Here’s what I said…

1984 means a lot of different things to different people.

Some people see nothing but the Party, The State, any State, The States, a traffic warden. Others see CCTV, mass surveillance, Facebook and the internet of things. Some focus on the language. The loss of words, changing meanings, political correctness. One local politician invoked it when some students at a university decided they wanted Maya Angelou’s words on their common room wall rather than Kipling’s. For me, Orwell’s genius lies in the personal. Or rather the portrayal of obliteration of the personal, private experience in the face of the party.

Tonight’s film is Michael Radford’s 1984 adaptation of 1984. There have been numerous films and TV productions that play with the themes but we are perhaps most familiar with two of the direct adaptations. The first being the BBC / Nigel Kneale adaptation starring Peter Cushing, broadcast live in 1953. Questions were asked in Parliament about the violence and it was repeated, live, to a much bigger audience, the largest since the Coronation. In 1956 Michael Anderson directed a feature film adaptation starring Edmund O’Brien. Whilst the film retains much of the spirit by far the interesting aspect is that, like the wonderful Halas and Batchelor animation of Animal Farm, it was partly funded by the CIA. Ironically Orwell had already been branded ‘prematurely – anti fascist’ by the US Government.

Both of these versions are fine in their own right but Radford’s film succeeds for me because it is tactile and grounded in physicality. John Hurt as Winston looks broken and weathered. You can almost feel him rattle. The same is true of the surroundings and supporting cast. You can feel the room at the two minutes hate, the breath and the spit. You can almost taste the dust of the locations, the bitter cigarettes and oily gin. This is important because it’s a film about being human and human contact, it’s about intimacy, moments freely given and received, when all the world disappears. In a society without fixed meanings, where love isn’t for people but only for the Party, touch, the first gift we receive at birth, is everything, even if it is a boot stamping on your face – forever. Freely given and received.

Some quick notes on the film. On its original release the film featured music by the Eurhythmics. Michael Radford detested this change, forced on the film by Virgin Films, and much preferred Dominic Muldowney’s original score. The colour palette is cinematographer Roger Deakins’ answer to not being allowed to shoot in black and white. This was Richard Burton’s last film performance.

For further watching I would suggest Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, original title 1984 and a half, a film that sees totalitarianism run not by Big Brother but petty middle management. Dystopia brought to you by the people who can’t even run the bin rounds. I also implore you to seek out The Missing Picture, a documentary about the Khymer Rouge and the degradation of the private life, told by survivors and, as no film exists, illustrated by hand made dioramas.

Thank you again to Thinking on Your feet for inviting me to introduce the film. I hope that the film speaks to you and that it pops into your head when you are least expecting it in a few day’s time. Reread the book, because you’ll find something new there, turn off the voice command function on your TV and, no matter what, remain human.

Oddly, on the night, I said Burt Lancaster rather than Richard Burton and, looking back, here’s what I said in 2017 about the film…

Personally, I don’t think they really crack Winston Smith’s inner monologue (his diary) and that single piece of privacy is vital to the whole work. Also, although John Hurt is perfect as Smith, I’ve never quite liked Richard Burton as O’Brien. For me, the only actor who springs to mind when I think of the immortal line “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” is Burt Lancaster. But as one of Smith’s musings is whether O’Brien feels the same way he does… I wonder if Lancaster would just be too imposing for this to be credible?

If you are interested in diving into the film a bit more you can always try on of the following…

The Projection Booth’s podcast episode on the various adaptations

Local arts blogger Tom Girard’s review of 1984 (1984)

The film, and I suppose the book, is available on loan from Guille-Allès Public Library, Guernsey

Thinking On Your Feet

Review: Uncut Gems (2019)

There is no doubt that Uncut Gems, directed by Josh and Benny Safdie who also co-wrote the script with Ronald Bronstein, feels like the missing film at the Oscars. Starring Adam Sandler, the film centres on a New York jeweller and gambling addict Howard Ratner as he tries to stay one step ahead of a series of bad debts and terrible decisions.

Not only is this film one of the most anxious and compulsive cinematic journeys of recent years, but it’s also the one of the most complete. Every moment feels integral, as does the city of New York itself with its electric pulse and sea of humanity. On top of this the cast is phenomenal. Sandler, a constant ball of tension, absolutely inhabits the brilliantly named central character but the supporting players are all perfect. Particular praise goes to Julia Fox and Idina Menzel as the two women in Howard’s life, reflecting the conflict that your brain is going through.

This could be the film of the year and it almost killed me.

Highly Recommended.

Review: Jojo Rabbit (2019)

Directed by Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit tells the story of a fanatical member of the Hitler Youth in the last days of WWII who is forced to question his devotion to the cause when events land closer to home. The gag is that Jojo is a ten year old boy, and Hitler is his imaginary friend. The disappointment is that the film is completely empty.

With an aesthetic that leans heavily on the cinema of Wes Anderson, and Nazi officers that have goosestepped straight out of ‘Allo ‘Allo, the film struggles to find it’s own feel and the few moments of laughter that do pop up have no actual attachment to the context (not hard when there isn’t one). This is also true of the drama. The antagonists in the film are drawn so widely that they have no power and exert no danger whilst one moment of intended heartbreak is so divorced from the perpetrators that is is rendered almost meaningless.

Jojo Rabbit reads like a movie made by a culture so dominated by a comic book sensibility that it is now incapable of discussing actual ideas. A movie where a murderous, nationalist, racial insanity is neatly compartmentalised down to a bunch of cartoon idiots. Of course, cartoon Nazi’s have been done before but spend five minutes in the presence of a film like To Be or Not to Be (1942) and you’ll see the difference. Ernst Lubitsch’s film has a lot of broad strokes, the Nazi’s are preening, idiotic in their devotion, even clownish, the humour is dark, but he never lets us forget the danger. In contrast, Jojo Rabbit just doesn’t seem interested in anything outside of the central conceit and, as a result, there is nothing there.

Our Next Screening: Bait

Our first film of 2020 is Mark Jenkin’s Bait (2019).

Martin is a fisherman without a boat, his brother Steven having re-purposed it as a tourist tripper. With their childhood home now a get-away for London money, Martin is displaced to the estate above the harbour.

Film critic Mark Kermode calls Bait “a genuine modern masterpiece, which establishes Jenkin as one of the most arresting and intriguing British film-makers of his generation.

Suitable for ages 15+ (BBFC info)All pre-bookers will be entered into a draw for a movie to take home. 

Our Next Screening: Blade Runner

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Original advert for Blade Runner’s 1982 run at Guernsey’s Gaumont Cinema.

Based in November 2019, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) remains one of the most iconic sci-fi movies ever made. As a piece of visual design its impact is still being felt, whilst the story it tells is remains a point of debate amongst fans.

It’s also a film that splits opinion.

 

On it’s release in 1982 it wasn’t well received by critics and there are plenty of criticisms that are hard to shake; it’s a detective film without much detecting, its sexual politics were old hat when it was released, and one has to wonder where the film would sit if it hadn’t been revised and re-released in different forms (my set contains five versions!)…

…and yet the film endures and, thirty seven years after it was originally screened at The Gaumont Cinema, we are bringing the original theatrical cut (the ‘European Theatrical Cut’ to be precise) back to the big screen in Guernsey.

The screening takes place at Beau Cinema at 7.30pm on Wednesday 27 November.

Suitable for ages 15+

Tickets £7 – Book Here

Our Next Screening: Apollo 11

7.30pm, Thursday 7 November 2019

Apollo 11 is a stunning cinematic event fifty years in the making so we thought this would be a great reason to return to Beau Cinema!

Featuring never-before-seen large-format film footage of one of humanity’s greatest accomplishments, this is a one night only chance to see one of this year’s most talked about documentaries on Guernsey’s largest screen.

The Observer calls Apollo 11 “a front row seat for the moon landing”.

This film is rated ‘U’.

Tickets for this event are available at flexible prices.

£7 – Standard: This is the standard Clameur Du Cinema ticket price. We believe that this is a fair price for a good movie and it allows us to cover the cost of our events
£5 – Low Budget/Large Groups: We recognise that the standard ticket price may not be suitable for everyone but would still love to see you at the screening. This would also be a great option for large groups.
£10 – Donation Ticket: You want to buy a ticket and also want to give a little extra support to your local, volunteer run, cinema night.
Book online at www.guernseytickets.gg

Our Next Screening: Diego Maradona

On Wednesday 16 October we are screening Asif Kapadia’s latest documentary Diego Maradona. This is another fantastic film from the director of Senna and Amy.

Constructed from over 500 hours of never-before-seen footage, this documentary centres on the career of celebrated football player Diego Armando Maradona, who played for S.S.C. Napoli in the 1980s.

You can book tickets here

All pre-bookers will be entered into a draw for the chance to take a movie home.

New Podcast Episode: Lords of Chaos

Our Lords of Chaos episode is now available for listening and downloading on Soundcloud, ITunes and other podcast apps.

The episode features Wynter Tyson, Lizze Loveridge and Mat Walters plus an interview with local musician Brett Stewart. In the ‘Afterword’ section we discuss the explosion of popcorn that is Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw.

Cameron Tyson provides the music.

Brett Stewart plays in Guernsey based band Dolmens.

Information on future screenings can be found here.