Thursday: 'A Hard Days Night' (NF2,18:30)
This week, Picturehouse, a chain with a string of cinemas across London, has let us all down, with not a single screening relevant to this page worthy of note. Thankfully, however, the Southbank's BFI has attempted to help with a couple of really worthwhile film events. No, 'A Hard Day's Night' is not a masterpiece; the humour is extremely dated and certain attempts to emulate French jump-cutting methods are aggravating rather than innovative. However, the film is notable for being perhaps the first uses in British Film of this editing style, as well as the stylish, cutting edge (for it's time) use of handheld cameras favoured by the Nouvelle Vague directors. The film's soundtrack was the first album The Beatles wrote from the beginning to end and the use of these songs throughout, in sequences that we would now call music videos, are hugely enjoyable for fans of the band.
Friday: 'Trilogy of the Dead' (Prince Charles, 21:00)
So here we have it, the (slightly) rare occurrence of the 13th of the month falling on a 'dreaded' Friday. Two of London's best cinema's have chosen to mark this event with late night viewings and, whilst the Screen on The Green's screening of the original 'Friday the 13th' is a noble effort, there is only one cinema to be in this friday, as The Prince Charles is showing all three of Romero's Dead trilogy ('Night of The...','Dawn Of The...' and 'Day of...'). 'Night of...' is a true landmark in American cinema, not only for realism within the genre of horror but in next-to-no budget film-making. At one point, the crew were running so low on money that the sound editor had to resort to playing studio executive in a game of chess for permission to take the negatives off the lot (which he thankfully won). 'Dawn Of...' is a perfect example of Romero's talent for both disgusting his audience and also getting a message across in an un-preachy way, the zombies walking aimlessly wandering the shopping mall a humorous but critical look at the American Consumer. A must for those who like their Horror films scary with a healthy dollop of fun at the same time.
Saturday: 'The Warriors' (Screen On The Green, 23:30)
Whilst this is a recommendation, one can't help but think of 'The Warriors' without thinking about how slightly ridiculous it's cult following is. It's strange why the film never seems to have had a particularly vocal gay following, as this is truly one of the most homo-erotic films ever made. The hostility towards women. The hoards of shirtless men running around New York at night, tussling with each other. The emphasis on excursion, the way the lighting focuses on how sweaty everyone is getting. This is not a criticism; merely a noting of the amusing under current of the film's fan base. Besides this, another overlooked aspect is how beautiful this film is. Nighttime New York is hardly unusual film territory but the photography is distinctive and extremely well put together. The lighting technician purposefully wet the streets before scenes to make light bounce of the ground more and the affect is inspired, drenching everything we see in a neon glow. Another great choice from this cinema and a perfect film to make a night of with the characters.
Sunday: Willy Wonka and the Chocalate Factory (NFT 1, 18:00)
Tim Burton's adaptation of this Roald Dahl classic received a slightly harsh reception upon it's release. On reflection, Burton made a quintessential Tim Burton movie rather than sticking too close to the original text and the effort was admirable as well as entertaining. However, because of a mixture of the much more garish use of (techni)colour and the multiple generations that remember this earlier version with such a warm nostalgia,it seems the Mel Stuart version will forever be held in a higher regard. To be fair, the songs are also stronger and Gene Wilder's performance stands out as a career highlight, unlike the presence of yet another Burton/Depp collaboration featured in the more recent example. A garish and slightly creepy (in the best possible way) family treat.
Thursday: 'A Hard Days Night' (NF2,18:30)