Sunday, 23 September 2018

Berlin: Symphony of Great City

I'm pleased to announce that I've recorded a commentary track for the new Flicker Alley Bluray of BERLIN: SYMPHONY OF A GREAT CITY - the first commentary I've done for a film I didn't direct. This is the first time the film has been released on Bluray (it's a new 2K scan), which is something well worth celebrating. It's currently on sale, with 20% off, here

15 rare times when a director made great films in five or more different decades

I contributed a short piece on Dreyer to this new article on the BFI website. 

Quote for the Week

My only aim was to express reality, for there is nothing more surreal than reality itself. If reality fails to fill us with wonder, it is because we have fallen into the habit of seeing it as ordinary - Brassaï

Saturday, 21 April 2018

The Passion of Joan of Arc at 90

To celebrate the 90th anniversary of The Passion of Joan of Arc's world premiere, I wrote a piece for the BFI looking at some of the 'rules' that Dreyer broke when making the film. Read it here.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

How Ingmar Bergman mastered filming faces

I put together a short, mostly visual piece for the BFI about Bergman's use of close-ups. You can read it here.

London Symphony: On Release

As promised in my last post, here's quick rundown of the London Symphony release which, somehow, I've failed to post about here… 
UK Theatrical Release
The film has been touring UK cinemas and alternative spaces since September 3rd, when we launched the film with a sold-out screening at the Barbican Centre, with the music performed live by the Covent Garden Sinfonia. In all, the tour will see the film travel to over fifty venues throughout the UK and, at the time of writing, we still have six screenings to go. You can find details of all the screenings here.
Region Free Blu-ray
The film was released on region free blu-ray by Flicker Alley last October. You can order your copy here
Region Two DVD
The film will be released on R2 DVD by New Wave Films in February. You can pre-order you copy here.
Worldwide Streaming
The film is available for streaming in the UK through the BFI Player (here), and through Flicker Alley (here) in all other countries.
Photograph Exhibition
Southwark Cathedral will be hosting an exhibition of photographs from the film, from February 10th-March 2nd. The exhibition will coincide with a special, candle-lit screening at the Cathedral on February 23rd (the last few tickets for the screening are available here).

So, in all, it should be easy enough to see for those who are interested! Enjoy.

Monday, 1 January 2018

My Top Films of 2017

Despite the fact that 2017 has been an extremely busy year for me (due to the release of London Symphony), I still managed to watch around the same number of films as I did in 2016 (actually, I watched ten more). Within that, I think there was a slightly better balance of old and new films – although, as ever, there were omissions from the new ones I did see (I was particularly saddened to miss Get Out, Frantz, Lady Macbeth and The Red Turtle, all of which may well have cracked this list had I seen them). 
The quality of the films I saw was generally very high, and the lists below therefore feel a little arbitrary (this is especially true of the list of old films). 
Given all the travelling I've been doing while touring London Symphony, I've had more time than usual to read this year, so I've decided to include my top five books below. Whether I do this again next year will depend on how much I manage to read in 2018. 
London Symphony doesn't, obviously, appear on the list below but, equally obviously, it is the film release that has meant the most to me this year on a personal level, so I hope readers of this blog will seek it out, if they haven't already done so (writing this I realise that, somehow, I haven't updated this blog with any information about the release, so I'll do a separate post sometime soon – but in the meantime you can check the film's website for all the latest info on how to see it/stream it/own it). 
Unlike many others, I've decided to exclude TV from my lists, but Scott Frank's Godless was the best series I saw this year. 
In the lists below, directors' names will take you to their IMDb pages and, as always, I've limited myself to one film per director in each list. (I've likewise restricted myself to one work per author in the book list, though I've cheated by including a whole trilogy in my number one spot…).
My Top Films of 2017
01) 1945 (dir. Ferenc Török)
02) On Body and Soul (dir. Ildikó Enyedi)
03) Certain Women (dir. Kelly Reichardt)
04) Toni Erdmann (dir. Maren Ade)
05) A Wedding (dir. Stephan Streker)
06) Leaning into the Wind (dir. Thomas Riedelsheimer)
07) Manchester by the Sea (dir. Kenneth Lonergan)
08) I Dream in Another Language (dir. Ernesto Contreras)
09) Paddington 2 (dir. Paul King)
10) A Quiet Passion (dir. Terence Davies)
11) Their Finest (dir. Lone Scherfig)
12) The Beguiled (dir. Sofia Coppola)
13) Logan (dir. James Mangold)
14) Spider-Man: Homecoming (dir. Jon Watts)
15) Logan Lucky (dir. Steven Soderbergh)
The Best Films from Previous Years that I Saw for the First Time in 2017
01) Last Year in Marienbad (1961, dir. Alain Resnais)
02) The Night of Counting the Years (1969, dir. Chadi Abdel Salam)
03) By the Law (1926, dir. Lev Kuleshov)
04) The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972, dir. R. W. Fassbinder)
05) The Fireman's Ball (1967, dir. Milos Forman)
06) Homeland of Electricity (1967, dir. Larisa Shepitko)
07) The Devil's Trap (1962, dir. Frantisek Vlácil)
08) The Sun in a Net (1962, dir. Stefan Uher)
09) The Deep Blue Sea (2011, dir. Terence Davies)
10) The Pumpkin Eater (1964, dir. Jack Clayton)
11) The War Game (1965, dir. Peter Watkins)
12) Grand Hotel (1932, dir. Edmund Goulding)
13) Mademoiselle Fifi (1944, dir. Robert Wise)
14) Witchhammer (1970, dir. Otakar Vávra)
15) The Goose Women (1925, dir. Clarence Brown)
The Best Books I Read for the First Time in 2017
01) The Best Intentions/Sunday's Children/Private Confessions – Ingmar Bergman
02) The Dwarf – Pär Lagerkvist
03) On Solitude – Michel de Montaigne
04) No Bed of Her Own – Val Lewton
05) The First Men in the Moon – H. G. Wells