cinema

STRANGLED

Based on real-life events, Strangled is a social, political and psychological thriller set in the provincial Hungary of the 1960s at the height of socialism, when a series of atrocious murders shock the small town of Martfu between 1957 and 1967. All six victims were women aged 14-30. Four of them died but two survived the attack. The murderer has been remembered in criminal history as ‘the monster of Martfu’ and the case hit the headlines because a series of murders was quite a rare event in communist Hungary.

Strangled

In the film, a psychotic killer is on the prowl, continuing to slaughter young women while an innocent man is wrongly accused and sentenced for crimes he could never have committed. A determined detective arrives on the scene and soon becomes obsessed with the case while under pressure from the prosecutor to see a man hang. We soon find ourselves entangled in a web of intricate conspiracy and disturbing drama. Winner of nine Hungarian Film Awards in 2017, this dark and gritty thriller directed by Árpád Sopsits, grapples with an incredible anomaly of crime and punishment as it examines and expands the extraordinary story of the infamously malicious Martfu Murderer. Strangled will be released in UK cinemas from 17 November 2017.

VICTIM

Directed by Basil Dearden, Victim is a taut and entertaining thriller, with excellent performances from Dirk Bogarde and Sylvia Syms and some striking noirish cinematography. Highly daring for the time, it was the first film ever to mention the word ‘homosexual’ and was subsequently banned in the US. It exposed the oppressive consequences of the law and many cite it as instrumental in paving the Victimway for the legalisation of homosexuality in Britain. Dirk Bogarde, in a career defining role stars as Melville Farr, a highly respectable barrister with a past he is keen to bury. Now married, he has tried to forget a gay affair, but finds he cannot escape it when he receives a call from a former lover, Jack Barret (Peter McEnery), who has been arrested by police for theft and commits suicide. Learning the truth about Jack’s tragic death Farr is motivated to take on and prosecute the blackmailers himself, potentially exposing himself and putting his own career and marriage in jeopardy. Despite resistance from other men too scared to come forward, he uncovers the criminal ring of bullying blackmailers and ensures justice prevails. The film was screened as a centerpiece of the major BFI season Gross Indecency: Queer Lives Before and After the ‘67 Act, which ran at BFI Southbank. The season marked 50 years since the landmark Sexual Offences Act 1967 and explored Britain’s pioneering yet problematic relationship with on-screen homosexuality. Victim was the first mainstream film to portray gay characters in a sympathetic and realistic light - the men come from all walks of life and professions. Fifty years on from the Sexual Offences Act, it serves as both an important piece of British social history that helped to change society’s attitudes and a salient reminder of how intolerant society once was.

MANHATTAN

By turns a rhapsodic city symphony and an astute character study, Woody Allen’s monochrome masterpiece Manhattan is a portrait of a modern metropolis and the messy lives of its inhabitants. It’s a love letter from a hometown hero that remains ones of Allen’s Manhattanmost successful explorations of his enduring themes: complex relationships, compromised romances and his own creative processes. Isaac Davis is a 42-year-old Manhattan native with a job he hates, a 17-year-old girlfriend he doesn’t love and a lesbian ex-wife who is writing a tell-all book about their marriage. Living vicariously through the protagonist of his debut novel, but struggling to find personal or professional fulfilment of his own, Isaac quits his job as a television writer and begins a relationship with his best friend’s mistress, setting him off on a neurosis-riddled journey of self-discovery and self-sabotage. MGM Studios’ Manhattan has returned to cinemas on 12 May, opening at BFI Southbank and select sites nationwide. Released as a new 4K digital print scanned from the original camera negative, this rhapsody in black and white was the first of the director’s classic oeuvre to be made available digitally by Park Circus having received its UK premiere at the BFI London Film Festival 2016.

MULHOLLAND DRIVE

Beautiful, bizarre and strangely addictive, David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive is a modern neo-noir classic. The film begins as a botched Mulholland Drivehit that results in the meeting of brunette amnesiac Rita (Laura Harring) and blonde would-be Hollywood actress Betty (Naomi Watts). Taking the viewer on a memorable trip through Hollywood’s dark underbelly, Lynch dispenses with a conventional narrative in favour of a hallucinogenic assault on the senses that will stay with you long after the credits roll. Recently voted the best film of the 21st Century in a BBC Culture poll, Mulholland Drive is essential viewing by one of the masters of contemporary American cinema. David Lynch’s scary and seductive vision of Hollywood is a true masterpiece, weaving together a tale of love, jealousy, and revenge like no other. Following a premiere at the Birmingham Flatpack Festival at the beginning of April, the film was re-released in UK cinemas and on special edition DVD & Blu-ray.

THE OLIVE TREE

From Goya Award Winner and internationally acclaimed director Icíar Bollaín (Even the Rain, Take My Eyes), The Olive Tree follows a wilful and spirited young woman named Alma who embarks on a journey from the East coast of Spain to Germany in order Olive Treeto retrieve an ancient olive tree precious to her ailing grandfather. With the help of a variety of friends and new acquaintances, she pulls everyone she encounters into her plan with unexpected consequences for all involved in this inspirational and poignant story. ‘The Olive Tree gets its hooks in early on, and then never lets up.’ - Jonathan Holland, The Hollywood Reporter. This powerful feature film stars Anna Castillo, Javier Gutiérrez and Pep Ambròs, and was written by Paul Laverty, winner of the Best Screenplay award at the Cannes Film Festival for Sweet Sixteen. Laverty is also well-known for penning Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or winner The Wind that Shakes the Barley, the Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize Winner The Angels’ Share and the BAFTA nominated I, Daniel Blake. Eureka Entertainment have announced the theatrical release of The Olive Tree in selected cinemas nationwide (UK & Ireland) and Digital HD. Watch the trailer

ANTONIONI - L’ECLISSE

Italian auteur Michelangelo Antonioni directed his visually stunning L’avventura (The Adventure) in 1960 and it became the first part of a trilogy that also includes La notte and L’Eclisse, which won the Special Jury Prize at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival and was LECLISSEnominated for the Palme d’Or. Shot on location in Rome and Verona, L’Eclisse tells the story of Vittoria, a young woman who breaks up with an older lover (Francisco Rabal) and then has an affair with a confident young stockbroker whose materialistic nature eventually undermines their relationship. Filmed in sumptuous black and white, it features outstanding performances from two icons of 60s style the beautiful Monica Vitti and elegant, charismatic Alain Delon. The base narrative is the starting point for much, more, including an analysis of the city as a place of estrangement and alienation. Using the architecture of Rome - old and new - as a backdrop for this doomed affair, Antonioni achieves the apotheosis of his style in this return to the theme that preoccupied him the most: the difficulty of forming true connections amidst the meaninglessness of the modern world. Martin Scorsese has called L’Eclisse the boldest film in Antonioni’s compelling trilogy on contemporary malaise. Antonioni’s modernist classic, showcases the director’s relationship with fashion, design and architecture, from ongoing collaborations with certain designers, through to the importance of ‘dressing’ his characters with the use of texture, colour and design to ‘fashion’ both the inner and outer worlds of the film. The final shot remains one of the greatest endings in cinema. Studiocanal and the Independent Cinema Office (ICO) released a stunning new digital restoration of the languorous, beguiling L’Eclisse in UK cinemas last year and it is now available on DVD and Blu-ray for the first time.

FALSTAFF: CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT

On the brink of Civil War, King Henry IV (John Gielgud) attempts to consolidate his reign while fretting with unease over his son’s seeming neglect of his royal duties. Hal (Keith Baxter), the young Prince, openly consorts with Sir John Falstaff (Orson Welles) and Chimes at Midnighthis company of “Diana’s foresters, Gentlemen of the shade, Minions of the moon”. Hal’s friendship with the fat knight substitutes for his estrangement from his father. Both Falstaff and the King are old and tired; both rely on Hal for comfort in their final years, while the young Prince, the future Henry V, nurtures his own ambitions. Perhaps the most radical and groundbreaking of all Shakespeare adaptations, the film condenses the Bard’s Henriad cycle into a single focused narrative. Its international cast comprises of Jeanne Moreau, Fernando Rey, Margaret Rutherford, and Ralph Richardson as the narrator, in addition to Welles and Gielgud. The film’s harrowing war scenes have proven especially influential, cited in Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V as well as Mel Gibson’s Braveheart. ‘A magnificent film, clearly among Welles’ greatest work.’ - Roger Ebert.

Welles considered Chimes at Midnight his best film, and for its 50th anniversary it has been restored with upmost respect for Welles’s original vision by the Filmoteca and Luciano Berriatúa and released in UK cinemas from 1st May 2015. The work of the historian is not based on providing a quality of picture and sound according to the standard of current technologies (attempting to better what Welles filmed in the sixties), but to recover the film so that the viewer can watch the movie the same way they could watch it at the time. Berriatua said of his restoration; “For me the most important aspect of this restoration is to make a copy as accurate as possible to the original, with original photography. The most important thing is to play the grading, shadows and contrast selected by Welles. It is not a digital restoration in which the image is absolutely clean and no grains or problems.’ www.falstaffchimesatmidnight.com

LAMBERT & STAMP

James D. Cooper’s impeccably directed debut film stars Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert, and features Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and Terence Stamp. Lambert & Stamp premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival to wide acclaim and critical reviews and was released in North America in early 2015. The film was gorgeously photographed and directed by renowned cinematographer Cooper who also produced along with Loretta Harms and Douglas Graves. Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert, aspiring filmmakers from opposite sides of the tracks, set out to find a subject for their underground movie. Inspired by the burgeoning 1960s youth culture, they found the High Numbers whose rebellious restlessness was just what they were looking for.

Renaming them The Who, they quickly scrapped the idea of making a movie and Lambert & Stampimbued into the process their unusual chemistry, filmic ideas, stylish dress and outrageous performance. They forged a complex and moving relationship, deeply tragic and brilliantly comedic, fuelling the band’s artistic development and leaving an indelible imprint on its time and generations to come. Lambert & Stamp is a thrilling non-fiction feature film that charts this creative partnership and their meteoric rise; and the cathartic and turbulent times on the road to mega stardom. Revealing insights into the complex relationship between Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert and their influence on The Who are evocatively portrayed through candid conversations with remaining band members Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey. Stunning rare footage from the early 1960s and London’s mod scene in all its glory, along with alluring and arresting contemporary photography by James D. Cooper, bringi the emotional story to the present day. Driven by some of the most epic tracks of the 20th Century, this extraordinary film was released in UK cinemas in May 2015 courtesy of Dogwoof.

WE ARE MANY

On 15 February 2003, 30 million people marched through the streets of 800 cities around the world. Acclaimed documentary-maker Amir Amirani’s debut feature film explores the untold story of the biggest protest in history, and how it changed the world. Executive Produced by Pippa Harris and Oscar-nominated producer Signe Sorenson, We Are Many had a live satellite link-up premiere with very special guests on 30 April, beamed to cinemas around the UK, followed by a nationwide cinema release on 1 May.

WE ARE MANYFilmed across all seven continents over a period of 9 years, the film reveals the true story of the people power movements now sweeping the world, from opposition to the Iraq war to the Arab Spring and Syria. In a series of captivating interviews with prominent figures from the anti-war community, as well as frank inside accounts from those who launched the war, We Are Many captures the shockwaves of public opinion - dubbed ‘The Second Superpower’ by the New York Times. Featuring rare and never-before-seen footage, the star-studded cast of contributors includes Damon Albarn, Tony Benn, Hans Blix, Richard Branson, John le Carré, Noam Chomsky, Brian Eno, Lindsey German, Danny Glover, Jesse Jackson, Ken Loach and Mark Rylance. ‘Incredibly ambitious...gripping. The only film I’ve ever watched where the audience started clapping halfway through...’ - The Huffington Post.

LE JOUR SE LÈVE

Le Jour Se Leve posterSet in a five-story guesthouse in the middle of a Parisian working class neighbourhood, Le Jour se lève (Daybreak) opens on the top floor of the building with shouts and a gunshot. A door opens and the body of a man tumbles down the stairs. As the police start to besiege the building and a crowd gathers, the killer, François (Jean Gabin), flees the crime scene and locks himself in his room. After unsuccessfully failing to shoot their way into his room the police climb on top of the roof, and François, starts to recall previous events… His love for Françoise (Jacqueline Laurent), the beautiful florist, and her love for Valentin (Jules Berry), the attractive dog trainer. Also starring the renowned Arletty as Clara, Valentin’s assistant and suggested lover, Le Jour se lève is celebrated for its use of poetic realism, a popular and influential cinematic style that emerged during the 1930s. By cleverly interweaving bleak, proto-noir art direction and lighting, the film brings to life the social conditions of its working class characters.

LE JOUR SE LÈVE Le Jour se lève is widely regarded as a game changer in the world of French cinema due to its use of flashbacks - the first French film with sound to use flashbacks as a narrative device. Now regarded as one of the best French films ever made, on its original release the Vichy LE JOUR SE LÈVE 2Regime demanded that scenes be cut and then they later banned the film altogether. Now, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of this classic’s first release, Le Jour se lève is being re-released in a never-before-seen restored version by Studiocanal and ICO.Following the restoration process in collaboration with Studiocanal and Éclair it was also revealed that the Vichy censors had also forced Carné to modify the opening credits by removing the names of two Jewish cast members, Curt Courant and Alexandre Trauner, due to political tensions at the time. Le Jour se lève has now been restored to its full gorgeous cinematic glory - including the scenes previously removed and full credits. To celebrate this re-release the world premiere took place at the prestigious Cambridge Film Festival in September 2014, to be followed by release in UK cinemas from 3rd October.

‘An outright classic - 5 stars.’ - Empire

DAS CABINET DES DR. CALIGARI

Eureka! Entertainment have announced the release of the definitive 2014 restoration of the first true horror film. Originally released in Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari1920, Robert Wiene’s Das Cabinet des Dr Caligari is one of the most iconic masterpieces in cinema history - a film that shook filmgoers worldwide and changed the direction of the art form. At a local carnival in a small German town, hypnotist Dr. Caligari presents the somnambulist Cesare, who can purportedly predict the future of curious fairgoers. But at night, the doctor wakes Cesare from his sleep to enact his evil bidding…Incalculably influential, the film’s nightmarishly jagged sets, sinister atmospheric and psychological emphasis left an immediate impact in its wake (horror, film noir, and gothic cinema would all be shaped directly by it). But this diabolical tale nevertheless stands alone - now more mesmerising than ever in this definitive restoration. The film’s chilling, radically expressionist vision gripped viewers again when it was released theatrically on 29 August 2014, opening at the BFI Southbank and other selected cinemas nationwide. This will be followed by a Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition as part of Eureka’s award-winning the Masters of Cinema Series. ‘Undoubtedly one of the most exciting and inspired horror movies ever made.’ - Time Out Film Guide.

 

A HARD DAY’S NIGHT

The year is 1964 - Beatlemania is in full swing and the biggest band on the planet are about to make their big screen debut. The film is Beatles 2A Hard Day’s Night, a seminal piece of filmmaking that shows The Beatles as they’ve never been seen before. To celebrate its 50th Anniversary A Hard Day’s Night will be presented in a new 4k digital restoration approved by director Richard Lester, with three audio options - a monoaural soundtrack in addition to newly created stereo and 5.1 surround mixes supervised by sound producer Giles Martin at Abbey Road Studios. The film was released in cinemas from 4 July 2014, with an extended run at BFI Southbank, as well as video-on-demand and available to download. This was followed by a special edition Blu-ray and DVD set released on 21 July 2014, both with a host of brand new special features courtesy of Second Sight Films. ‘A fascinating picture of this country in 1964, with the Beatles as our cheerfully anarchic heroes, leading us out of austerity-era Britain with its stuffiness and complacency.’ - The Guardian.

 

 

A PERFECT PLAN

From director Pascal Chaumeil and comes A Perfect Plan (Un Plan Parfait), a romantic comedy with a French twist. In Isabelle’s family, every first marriage has ended in divorce, but the second is golden. To circumvent her family’s curse Isabelle (Diane Kruger) devises a plan; marry and divorce a complete stranger before wedding her faultless fiancé Pierre. After her initial plan backfires she targets Jean-Yves (Dany Boon), an adventurous yet quirky travel writer whom she tries to manipulate with her powers of seduction. A series of misadventures beset them as they take on Africa and then Moscow in whirlwind succession, breaking Isabelle out of her comfortable routine existence. Despite her best efforts to make him fall for her, things don’t go to plan and Isabelle experiences the rush of life-on-the edge. Will she discover that love doesn’t always come in the perfect package?

Diane Kruger studied ballet with the Royal Ballet in London before an injury ended her A Perfect Plancareer. After returning to Germany and becoming a top fashion model, she relocated to Paris and pursued acting at the suggestion of filmmaker Luc Besson. Leading roles include Helen in Troy and Bridget von Hammersmark in Inglourious Basterds, and se stars in the US TV series remake of The Bridge and with Russell Crowe in the upcoming feature Fathers and Daughters. Dany Boon started his career dubbing cartoons and performing as a mime. He was given his first chance as a comedian by French television personality Patrick Sébastien and began to achieve notoriety with his sketches and one-man shows. Feature films include Joyeux Noël and Micmacs, and he wrote, directed and starred in Nothing to Declare and Welcome to the Sticks, one of the highest ever grossing films at the French box office. Pascal Chaumeil worked closely with Luc Besson as an assistant director and his debut feature as director was the acclaimed romantic comedy Heartbreaker A Perfect Plan was released in UK cinemas and on demand on 13 June 2014. ‘Kruger is so at ease here, it’s a mystery that she’s never been cast as a romantic-comedy lead before.’ - Variety.

 

 

THE KING AND THE MOCKINGBIRD

Based on a much loved Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, director Paul Grimualt’s film follows a chimney sweep and shepherdess who seek to escape from the clutches of a tyrannical king. A hugely influential animation, as well as a wonderfully crafted family film, The King and the Mockingbird is credited by celebrated Japanese animators Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata as inspiring them with everything that animation could be. Studying it closely, the lessons they learned fuelled the creation of their own studio, the now world famous Studio Ghibli.

THE KING AND THE MOCKINGBIRDNow celebrated by many as one of the finest feature films in the history of animation, The King and the Mockingbird (Le Roi et L’Oiseau) was 30 years in the making, a labour of love and story of artistic passion that typifies the work of one of France’s most renowned animators - the highly influential Grimault - and acclaimed poet and screenwriter Jaques Prévert (Les Enfants Du Paradis, Le Quai Des Brumes). Grimualt and Prévert started working on the film in 1947, when it was planned to be France’s first animated feature. A dispute stopped production however and the film was released unfinished by its producer, without Grimault and Prévert’s permission. Grimault spent 10 years getting the rights back, and another 20 raising the money to finish the film as he and Prévert had first envisaged it. This happened finally in 1979, tragically a few weeks after Prévert’s death. 

The film won the Louis Delluc prize in 1979 and has been a classic favourite for French audiences throughout the decades. On its re-release last year in France, it made over 900,000 euros at the French box office. The film was released for the first time in the UK in King and the Mockingbird1984 to great acclaim, and has continually inspired modern day animators. The influence on Studio Ghibli can be seen in Miyazaki’s directorial feature debut Castle of Cagilostro in which we see clear echoes of the rooftops and trapdoors of Grimault’s castle and visual references to Grimault’s robot in Miyazaki’s warrior-gardeners in Laputa, Castle in the Sky. The King and the Mockingbird was Studio Ghibli’s first release on their Museum Library distribution label in 2007. Celebrated for its gorgeous visual design, smooth animation and beautiful piano and string music by Wojciech Kilar, the film’s real glory for so many lies in its characters – from the portrait of the villain King to the blind man playing his hurdy-gurdy, all are full of wit and humour. This is a life-affirming fairy tale film, full of magic and humour, restored to delight a whole new generation of families. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of its first release in the UK, The King and the Mockingbird was re-released in a fully restored version by Studiocanal / ICO in cinemas during the Easter holidays and is now available on DVD from Studiocanal.

 

 

THE MOTEL LIFE

An award-winning festival hit, starring Stephen Dorff and Emile Hirsch in immersive, heartbreaking performances, The Motel Life is a searing and profound examination of brotherhood set in the timeless Sierra Nevadan frontier. Frank (Hirsch) and Jerry Lee Flannigan (Dorff) work odd jobs, drink hard, and drift from motel to motel. Their only escape is through Frank’s fantastic stories imagining the Motel Lifebrothers as adventure heroes, and Jerry Lee’s rich illustrations. Everything changes when Jerry Lee is involved in a hit-and-run accident, which forces the brothers across the state to the home of Frank’s old flame, Annie (Dakota Fanning). While the two seem safe from the law, Jerry Lee’s insatiability and all-consuming guilt render their future increasingly uncertain.Like an outlaw country song, this striking directorial debut from real-life brothers Gabe & Alan Polsky finds beauty and hope in a world of casinos, gun shops and dive bars, and in the simple people who inhabit them. The film features animation by Mike Smith and sharply affecting supporting performances from Kris Kristofferson and Dakota Fanning. It was adapted from the acclaimed novel by outlaw country musician Willy Vlautin, whose latest novel The Free was recently published. The Motel Life won the Audience Choice award, Best Screenplay and Best Editing at last year’s Rome Film Festival. ‘A perfectly formed indie with a heart of gold. Emile Hirsch does a terrific job. Stephen Dorff will break your heart.’ - The Playlist. ‘Striking. Tinged with humour and heartbreak. Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorff are outstanding, engaged and enthralling.’ - Rolling Stone. The Motel Life was released in UK cinemas on 4th April 2014.

 

 

NEXT GOAL WINS

In 2001, the tiny Pacific island of American Samoa suffered a world record 31-0 defeat at the hands of Australia, garnering headlines across the world as the worst football team on the planet. A decade after that humiliating night, they remain rooted to the bottom of FIFA’s World rankings, having scored only twice in seventeen years. Against this backdrop of serial underachievement, the team face the daunting prospect of a qualification campaign for the upcoming 2014 World Cup in Brazil. It would take a miracle-maker or a madman to turn the team’s fortunes around – and in maverick Dutch coach Thomas Rongen the islanders somehow find both.

next goal winsNext Goal Wins is film for non football lovers and football fans alike - a classic underdog story set amongst the beauty and tribal magic of the South Pacific. Giving a unique insight in to the Samoan way of life, the film brims with infectious personalities, not least the stunning, six-foot centre-half, Jaiyah, the world’s first professional transgender footballer, and Thomas Rongen the brash outspoken high-level coach who undergoes a remarkable epiphany. This is an inspirational story about the power of hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, and an object lesson in what it really means to be a winner in life. Next Goal Wins is the debut feature documentary from directors / producers Mike Brett & Steve Jamison. Founders of film and commercials company Archer’s Mark, Mike and Steve have most recently produced War Book, a political thriller directed by Tom Harper starring Ben Chaplin and Sophie Okonedo and are currently executive producing The Darkest Universe for BAFTA-nominated Will Sharpe and Tom Kingsley.Next Goal Wins was released by Icon Film Distribution in cinemas in April 2014. ‘It’s masterly, passionate, funny, touching, heroic and utterly marvellous.’ - Stephen Fry.

 

 

WAKE IN FRIGHT

‘Have a drink, mate? Have a fight, mate? Have a taste of dust and sweat, mate? There’s nothing else out here.’ Balanced on a knife-edge between social realism and existential horror, this disturbing, subversive portrayal of Australia’s cultural underbelly failed to find a wide audience on its original release, but has since become established as a seminal cornerstone of the Australian cinema. A middle-class schoolteacher, stuck in a government-enforced teaching post in an arid backwater, stops off in the mining town of Bundanyabba on his way home for the Christmas holidays. Discovering a local gambling craze that may grant him the financial independence to move back to Sydney for good, the opportunity proves irresistible. But the bad decisions are just beginning and a reliance on local standards of hospitality in ‘the Yabba’ may take him on a path darker than ever expected.

9929807875_646eab524e_mOne of the many triumphs in director Ted Kotcheff’s career, Wake in Fright effortlessly sustains the quality of a sun-baked nightmare, with a relentless forward drive and outstanding performances by Donald Pleasance, Gary Bond, Sylvia Kay, and Chips Rafferty in his final role. Wake in Fright was the first film to have been screened at the Cannes Film Festival twice, first in 1971, the second time in 2009. A brutal, gripping dissection of the limits of masculinity and amorality to stand alongside Straw Dogs, A Clockwork Orange, and Deliverance, it remains a stunning entry in the envelope-pushing cinema of the early 1970s. This legendary, long-sought-after Australian film was released theatrically in March 2014 in selected cinemas nationwide, followed by a Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition as part of Eureka! Entertainment’s award-winning The Masters of Cinema Series.

 

 

THE ROCKET

Australia’s official selection for the Best Foreign Language Film category for the 86th Academy Awards, The Rocket is director Kim Mordaunt’s multi-award winning debut feature about a ‘cursed’ twin who guides his family to a new life in Laos. Ten year old Ahlo, who is believed to bring bad luck, is blamed for a string of disasters. When his family loses their home and are forced to move, Ahlo meets the spirited orphan Kia and her eccentric uncle Purple: an ex-soldier with a purple suit, a rice-wine habit and a fetish for James Brown. Struggling to hang on to his father’s trust, Ahlo leads his family, Purple and Kia through a land scarred by war in search of a new home. In a last plea to try and prove he’s not cursed, Ahlo builds a giant explosive rocket to enter the most lucrative but dangerous competition of the year: the Rocket Festival. As the most bombed country in the world shoots back at the sky, a boy will reach to the heavens for forgiveness.

Gripping yet heart-warming, The Rocket is a deeply personal story about the The Rocketdetermination of a boy who has the odds stacked against him, set against the epic backdrop of a war-ravaged country on the brink of huge change. With remarkable access to real rituals and festivities in the stunning mountains of Laos, the film provides a unique view into a world never seen on film before. Written as well as directed by Kim Mordaunt, The Rocket features an extraordinary performances from gutsy former street kid Sitthiphon Disamoe as Ahlo, and veteran actor and comedian Thep Phongam as the damaged but humorous Purple, who becomes mentor to the young protagonist. The film has enchanted audiences across the UK festival circuit and premiered in Eire at Jameson Dublin Int’ Film Festival in 2014. It will screen as part of the Glasgow Youth Film Festival, The Ilkley Film Festival, ZOOM Cymru and Leeds Young Film Festival and Eureka! Entertainment released The Rocket theatrically in the UK & Eire in selected cinemas nationwide from March 2014. ‘A wonderfully executed film, with a gripping story driven by colourful, lovable characters.’ - Washington Square News.

 

 

LOVE, MARILYN

Marilyn Monroe invented her public persona at the expense of concealing a private side know only to her close confidants. Fifty years after her death, her creation still blazes brightly in our cultural imagination, while the creator continues to lurk in the shadows. Love, MarilynDrawing on never-before-seen personal papers, diaries and letters, Academy-award nominated director Liz Garbus worked with acclaimed actresses to evoke the multiple aspects of the real Marilyn - passion, ambition, soul-searching, power and fear - in an absorbing and astonishing portrait. These documents, brought to life in this film by some of our contemporary icons and stars, give us a new and revelatory understanding of Monroe, revealing her carefully guarded inner life.Love, Marilyn features Elizabeth Banks, Ellen Burstyn, Glenn Close, Viola Davis, Jennifer Ehle, Lindsay Lohan, Lili Taylor, Uma Thurman, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood. Rounding out this portrait, Adrien Brody, Hope Davis, Ben Foster, Paul Giamatti, Janet McTeer, Oliver Platt and David Strathairn bring to life the writings of Billy Wilder, Natasha Lytess, Truman Capote, Gloria Steinem and Norman Mailer, completing the image of this very flesh-and-blood young woman in thrall to ambition, imagination, demons, and fear who, over time, came to embrace life, friendship, and the possibility of her future. The film was released by Studiocanal on DVD in October 2013.

 

 

NOSFERATU

The word ‘nosferatu’ comes from an old Slavonic word nosufur-atu, derived from the Greek for ‘plague carrier’ (vampires were long regarded as the carriers of diseases). In Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s groundbreaking 1922 masterpiece, Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (‘A Symphony of Horrors’) a city clerk named Hutter (Gustav Von Wangenheim) leaves his bride (Greta Schroeder) to conduct business in the distant Carpathian mountains with an eccentric client, Graf Orlok (the amazing Max Schreck). The closer Hutter gets to his destination during a long and hazardous journey, the more terrified are the people he meets. What he finds when he reaches Orlok’s castle is enough to make the flesh of the most devoted horror fan creep. On Nosferatu’s first release, critics were divided and the public bewildered by the director’s clever use of time and space distortion. It was the first film to be based on Bram NosferatuStoker’s Dracula character and the first from the production company Prana-Film. It was also the last one the company made before going bankrupt after Stoker’s estate sued for copyright infringement. An English judge ordered that all copies of the film be destroyed and the negative burned. Fortunately, the order was not enforceable in Germany, so a print survived and Nosferatu has subsequently gained a reputation as one of the greatest movie adaptations of the vampire legend. Eureka! Entertainment is releasing an expertly restored print of this horror classic in cinemas as part of their award-winning Masters of Cinema Series. Nosferatu’s UK theatrical run opened in selected cinemas nationwide on October 25, 2013, just in time for Halloween, and also features as part of the BFI’s GOTHIC: The Dark Heart of Film which runs from 21st October 2013 – 31st January 2014. This year the BFI will take Britain back to darker times and thrill the nation by uncovering, as never before, the dark heart of film. With over 150 titles and around 1000 screenings. GOTHIC features spectacularly terrifying special events to thrill every corner of the UK and will explore film’s most popular theme, spawning some of the medium’s most iconic, powerful and terrifying scenes and characters whose lasting popularity just refuses to die - www.bfi.org.uk/gothic

Nosferatu 1Blu-ray, Blu-ray SteelBook and DVD releases of Nosferatu will follow with a raft of special features. Ron Benson, head of Eureka! Entertainment, comments: ‘Eureka! have had the real pleasure of releasing some of the absolute classics of silent cinema, and there are arguably no more iconic than F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu, the grandfather of all vampire films, which continues to thrill, chill, and horrify audiences nearly 100 years after it was made.’ Craig Keller, producer of The Masters of Cinema Series, adds: ‘This new restoration of Nosferatu has been meticulously prepared and looks truly outstanding. It will allow a new generation to experience afresh one of the greatest of all cinematographic horrors, and a monument of German expressionism, looking better than ever. The film is uncanny, legitimately terrifying – to see it on the big screen in the midst of the Halloween season will make for an unforgettable experience.’

 

 

PLEIN SOLEIL

Alain Delon plays Tom Ripley, who is hired by a rich American to bring his errant son Philippe (Maurice Ronet) back home to the US. Tom travels to Italy, where Philippe is on an extended holiday with his fiancée Marge (Marie Laforêt), and slowly begins to ingratiate himself into their glamorous, carefree lives. An ambiguous relationship develops between the two men, with Philippe never missing an opportunity to remind Ripley of the yawning chasm between their social standing. But when Ripley realizes that Philippe is PLEIN SOLEILtiring of his company, he hatches a plan to kill his friend whilst the two are at sea together on a voyage, dumping his body overboard. When he arrives back on dry land, Ripley begins the process of assuming Philippe’s identity, slowly taking over the life that he always envied and that is now finally within his grasp. This striking study of a glamorous and complex psychopath was directed by Oscar-winning French director René Clément and has a wonderfully unsettling score by the great Nino Rota. Plein Soleil was the first adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s best-selling novel The Talented Mr. Ripley and the film features a career-defining performance by the young, beautiful and ultra-cool Alain Delon. Dennis Hopper and Matt Damon have also both appeared as Ripley onscreen but arguably neither matches the ice-cold portrayal from a then 24 year-old Delon. Highsmith herself was very pleased with the film and called it ‘very beautiful to the eye and interesting for the intellect’. Henri Decaë was responsible for the glorious sun-drenched cinematography in Plein Soleil, now available in all its former glory in a new 4k restoration produced by Studiocanal, in association with the Cinémathèque Française and the Franco-American Cultural Fund’s support. L’Immagine Ritrovata, a laboratory in Bologna, handled the restoration, which premiered in Cannes this May and was released in UK cinemas in August 2013 before being released on DVD and for the first time on blu-ray in the UK in September.

 

 

WAKE IN FRIGHT

Wake in Fright is based on the 1961 novel by Kenneth Cook and stars Gary Bond and Donald Pleasance. It was first released under the title Outback, describing the film’s arid, sweltering, wasteland setting of Bundanyabba (‘The Yabba’), an earthy mining town where schoolteacher John Grant (Gary Bond) descends into a living hell when he is stranded on his way to meet his girlfriend in Sydney. Struggling to escape a men-gone-wild nihilistic world of binge drinking, habitual gambling and senseless violence, Grant plunges headlong towards his own destruction, joined for the ride by alcoholic doctor ‘Doc’ Tydon (masterfully played by Donald Pleasance). Wake in FrightLegendary film director Martin Scorsese described Wake in Fright as ‘a deeply – and I mean deeply – unsettling and disturbing movie. I saw it when it premièred at Cannes in 1971, and it left me speechless. Visually, dramatically, atmospherically and psychologically, it’s beautifully calibrated and it gets under your skin one encounter at a time...’ Eureka! Entertainment has announced the theatrical and home video releases of Ted Kotcheff’s 1971 cult classic as part of its award-winning Masters of Cinema Series. This is a fascinating rediscovery of a key work of the ‘Australian New Wave’ and so-called ‘Ozploitation’ movement, which was nominated for the prestigious Palme d’Or at the 1971 Cannes film festival. Neglected for decades, Wake in Fright was expertly restored in 2009 by Australia’s National Film and Sound Archive and hand-selected by Martin Scorsese to screen at Cannes once more. The film’s reputation as a brutally haunting, psychologically gripping one-off has been growing exponentially since, and this seminal shocker is now available to audiences in the UK and Ireland. Wake in Fright’s theatrical run will be co-ordinated by Eureka! Entertainment with screenings in selected cinemas nationwide in early 2014, following a première at the Film4 FrightFest fantasy and horror film festival in London in 2013. Blu-ray/DVD releases will follow, in special editions with a raft of extra features to be announced later.

 

 

FLYING BLIND

Frankie is part of the war-machine, a successful aerospace engineer designing drones for the military. Then she meets Kahil, a French-Algerian student. They embark on a passionate affair and for the first time in her life Frankie utterly, thrillingly, loses control. One morning at work, she’s detained by the security services and told that Kahil may not be quite what he seems. She finds that she has Flying Blindcrossed a line into a nightmare world of suspicion and accusation. Realising how little she knows of this man, Frankie determines to find out the truth, only to discover to her cost that betrayal always comes from those closest to us. Flying Blind tells the passionate story of a woman and a younger man, in a world where security is paramount and nothing is quite what it seems. ‘Intriguing blend of erotic drama and post-911 thriller’ - Variety. This is the first feature film by young Polish director Katarzyna Klimkiewicz, whose short film, Hanoi-Warsaw, won the 2010 European Film Award for Best Short. A multinational cast includes Helen McCrory (Hugo, Skyfall, Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince), French-Algerian Najib Oudghiri (Rendition), Kenneth Cranham and Tristan Gemmell. The screenplay credit is by Naomi Wallace, Bruce McLeod, and Bristol-based writer Caroline Harrington. Behind the camera is Polish Director of Photography Andrzej Wojciechowski, Klimkiewicz’s long time collaborator, and DoP on Hanoi-Warsaw. Released in cinemas in April 2013, Flying Blind toured key cities in the UK, each event being followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and/or cast. The film was subsequently released on DVD

 

 

BILLY LIAR 50TH ANNIVERSARY

Directed by John Schlesinger, Billy Liar is one of the most memorable and universally acclaimed films of the 60s. Tom Courtenay delivers a star-making turn as William Terrence Fisher (‘Billy Liar’). Running from an unsympathetic working-class family, a pair of demanding fiancées and an insecure job at an undertakers, Billy escapes, Walter Mitty-like, into a world of fantasy where he can realize his dream ambitions. As work and family pressures build to new intolerable levels, Liz (an early, charismatic turn from Julie Christie), enters his drab life and offers Billy the one real chance he’ll ever get to leave the past behind. Scripted by Keith Waterhouse from his well-loved novel, Billy Liar is one of the few comedies of the British ‘New Wave’, marrying visual and verbal wit with a rather poignant rumination on the futility of dreams.

Billy Liar

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the screen adaptation of Billy Liar, the British Library held an exclusive London screening of the digitally restored film, introduced by close friend of Keith Waterhouse, Sir Michael Parkinson, on Friday 26 April. The archive of Keith Waterhouse was donated to the British Library last year and this April the Library published two new Waterhouse titles.

This newly restored version of Billy Liar also screened as part of this year’s Bradford International Film Festival, hosted by Bradford UNESCO City of Film in April. David Wilson, Director of Bradford UNESCO City of Film said, ‘Billy Liar is a key component within Bradford’s rich film heritage and formed part of our bid to become the world's first UNESCO City of Film. It is still an important reference within film studies and I am really pleased that the 50th Anniversary edition on DVD/ BLU-RAY will bring the film to whole new audience.’. Tom Courtenay was the festival’s guest of honour and received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Studiocanal has released a fully restored version of Billy Liar on DVD and Blu-Ray.

 

THE SERVANT/Q&A WITH JAMES FOX, WENDY CRAIG AND SARAH MILES

On Sunday 24 March StudioCanal UK staged a Special Event at the Curzon Mayfair cinema at 38 Curzon Street, London, featuring The Servanta special screening of Joseph Losey’s The Servant. This classic film marked the start of what became one of the most potent creative partnerships of British 1960s cinema. Losey and acclaimed playwright-turned-screenwriter Harold Pinter united to create a disturbing tale of seduction, sexual and social tension and psychological control. Acclaimed director/actor Richard Ayoade (Submarine, The IT Crowd) introduced the screening, which was followed by a post-screening discussion with cast members James Fox, Wendy Craig and Sarah Miles. The discussion was moderated by Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw.A tale of manipulation, class conflict and sexual jealousy, Joseph Losey’s classic, adapted by Harold Pinter from Robin Maugham’s novel, is one of the finest British films of the 1960s. Dirk Bogarde plays Hugo, a manservant recently employed by a bored aristocrat (James Fox). Surly at best, Hugo gradually takes over the house, reducing his master to a state of complete submission. Pinter’s sparse dialogue allows Losey to create a taut, unsettling psychological drama.

 

 

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