‘The Dress’ (1996. Holland)
Dir: Alex van Warmerdam
Wed 18th June @ 8PM
The title character (if you could call it a character) of Alex van Warmerdam’s absurdist comedy ”The Dress” is a flashy garment with an unaccountably nasty disposition, since trouble invariably follows whoever has the misfortune to put it on. Don’t ask what it means. The Dutch film is too lighthearted and spontaneous to be scrutinized for any deep lurking symbolism. As it follows the short life of a bright blue dress with a leaf design, from cotton field to textile mill to store window to thrift shop to its destruction under the blades of a lawn mower, the story suggests a droll parody of ”La Ronde.”
‘The Savage Innocents’
Nicholas Ray (1959)
Wednesday 11 June @ 8pm
Nicholas Ray’s epic 1959 film about Eskimo life was unfairly victimized on release, censored at the UK cinema, and neglected by both TV and home video for decades. The Savage Innocents continued Ray’s fascination with alternative lifestyles — examining the life of Eskimos and their remoteness from “civilized” values. It represents Ray’s first and most ambitious attempt to break free from Hollywood and forge his own route.
Anthony Quinn stars as Inuk, an Eskimo whose daily routine is a constant struggle to survive in one of the most hostile and hauntingly beautiful of climates. As Inuk’s family grows in number (and mouths to feed) a new society of white trappers with new weaponry begin to encroach Inuit land, making it harder for Inuk to live. When the clash of cultures results in the accidental death of a missionary, Inuk must use all his skills to keep one step ahead of the two Mounties (Peter O’Toole and Carlo Giustini) determined to bring the killer to justice.
WEDNESDAY 28th MAY @ TILAPIA
AVI MOGRABI Z32 (ISRAEL) 2008
One of Israel’s most celebrated non-fiction filmmakers, Avi Mograbi (b. 1956) specializes in urgent, impassioned diagnoses on the state of the nation, and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular. His film Z32 is built around a confession— a young man’s account of his participation in the revenge killing of two Palestinian police officers by the Israeli army in the occupied territories. Around the soldier’s account Mograbi interweaves a couple’s extended and often agonizing discussion of their relationship, punctuated by Mograbi himself characteristically addressing the camera. Adding further layers of complexity are the use of a digital “mask,” both to disguise the young soldier’s identity and foreground the politics of the camera as witness, and Mograbi’s radical decision to perform his own musings as Brechtian songs, set to Weill-ian music. The radical elements of Mograbi’s project combine to raise painful and unsettling questions about responsibility, forgiveness and the shape of cinematic truth.
Dir: David Cronenberg
Wendesday 21st May
@ TILAPIA 8 PM
David Cronenbergs startling debut channels his vision of the body as a fundamentally mysterious entity into his exploration of genetic engineering, sexually transmitted diseases, condominium living, and sexual drive. When a scientist tests his latest parasite invention on his girlfriend, the enclosed world of a Toronto apartment complex becomes a pulsating Petri dish of zombie-ish sexual desire, the labyrinthian architecture seeming to take on a sinister life of its own.
Wednesday 14th May
Recent Gems: Caesar Must Die (2012/ Italy)
Paolo and Vittorio Taviani @ Tilpaia 8PM
Directed by Taviani brothers, octogenarians Paolo and Vittorio, Caesar Must Die, their first directorial venture in 6 years and hailed by many as their return to form, is an affecting, ingenious and humanistic film that blurred the lines between fiction and documentary. Winner of the Golden Bear at the 2012 Berlin Film Festival, the film is enacted by people who played themselves, viz. inmates serving long sentences (including life) from the maximum-security wing at Rome’s Rebibbia prison, it chronicled their stage production of Julius Caesar.
The Taviani’s spent six months following rehearsals for this stage production; their film demonstrates how the universality of Shakespeare’s language helps the actors to understand their roles and immerse themselves in the bard’s interplay of friendship and betrayal, power, dishonesty and violence. This documentary does not dwell on the crimes these men have committed in their ‘real’ lives; rather, it draws parallels between this classical drama and the world of today, describes the commitment displayed by all those involved and shows how their personal hopes and fears also flow into the performance.
Dir: Krzysztof Zanussi (1972)
@ Tilapia 8pm Wednesday 7th May
Unanimous winner of all three main prizes at the 1973 Locarno International Film Festival, Zanussi’s landmark film is a dazzling kaleidoscope of ideas and images. Illumination explores the life of a self-absorbed young physicist trying to understand his place in the universe. He thinks science will provide the answers, but ultimately learns far more about himself through experiencing love, betrayal, loss, and facing his own mortality.
As much a philosophical essay as a narrative feature Illumination is a cinematic mosaic combining art and science, intellect and emotion. Innovatively structured, this unflinching examination of one man’s life became an iconic cultural marker for a whole generation.