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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Forget #EURO2016 ! : It was never the biggest European game of skill (or chance)...

Forget #EURO2016 ! : It was never the biggest European game of skill (or chance)...

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


28 June

STOP PRESS ! (BUT WHY NOW ?) :




Forget #EURO2016 ! : It was never the biggest European game of skill (or chance)...












Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Sunday, 19 June 2016

From Sheffield to Southwold* : Planning one's time... (work in progress)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


19 June onwards




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Tippett & Britten II ~ Saturday 18 June at 3.00 p.m. ~ St Bartholomew's, Orford










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End-notes

* For, respectively, Sheffield Doc/Fest and Aldeburgh Festival** : in 2016, their respective 23rd and 69th incarnations (they bear a relation : for example, one is one-third the age of the other, one may note).

** No doubt (?), Peter Bradshaw (@PeterBradshaw1) would wish to insist that Aldeburgh is, properly, Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts ?




Judging, at any rate, by his word-wasting pedantry (please see below) in ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass review – large as life and twice as phoney’, his a skatingly thin review of Alice Through The Looking Glass (2016)...



Bradshaw takes, that is, many a word (a sentence of thirty-four, in fact) to make yet another highly catty observation about this work (even if the film may not bear examination, as, for some, its Burton-directed predecessor did not...) : Using only the title and some characters from Lewis Carroll’s own 1871 sequel – in fact called Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There [The Agent’s emphasis] – this new movie is just machine-tooled CGI fantasy fare’.






Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Friday, 17 June 2016

A new formulation of the moral superiority inherent in what 'a good reason' is to be depressed

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


17 June




The above strand of Tweets relates to what is set out in Cold Comfort Terms




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Was director Ciro Guerra just being coy ? : A report on the @CamPicturehouse Q&A for Embrace of the Serpent (2015)

The @CamPicturehouse Q&A, with director Ciro Guerra, for Embrace of the Serpent

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


8 June


An accreting report on the Q&A at The Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge, with director Ciro Guerra, for Embrace of the Serpent (2015) on Tuesday 7 June 2016, following its preview screening at 6.00 p.m.





Fitzcarraldo (1982) no more is, or purports to be, a biography of some aspects of the real-life Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald (whose name has been corrupted to ‘Fitzcarraldo’ in Peru) than Embrace of the Serpent (2015) can said to be one of the last days of Theodor Koch-Grünberg :

Director Ciro Guerra does not make a claim for that type of historical or anthropological depiction in Serpent - since the plants and Amazonian peoples have been fictionalized - but, when the question of film-references, and of Fitzcarraldo in particular, was raised, he ignored that Werner Herzog had his own directorial or writerly fantasies, and started criticizing Fitzgerald the man (and put Koch-Grünberg in relief against him - or vice versa, to make the analogy more accurate).



The question, in the title of this posting, about the possibility of Guerra’s coyness fits together with these observations in this way :


(1) One could quite clearly hear the strength of Guerra’s antipathy to Fitzgerald, when he started talking about the latter’s activity as a rubber baron¹ (such activity, and its effects on the indigenous peoples, is, of course, one strand in Guerra’s film).


(2) However, when brought back to the question whether one would fail to think that he is referencing Fitzcarraldo, in Serpent, by having a gramophone as an item of the luggage that Theo (Jan Bijvoet) has with him (amongst all this baggage, which Karamakate (Nilbio Torres) scorns), Guerra was quick to cite the fact that - as shown in the film² - the historical Koch-Grünberg actually played Haydn's Die Schöpfung (The Creation, Hob. XXI : 2) in the jungle in this way, and liked to do so.



(3) Probably so (but so what ?). For, all of this begged the following question, which Guerra saying that he here relied on fact seeks to dislodge one from posing :

For other reasons as well (there are other parallels³), both Apocalypse Now (1979) and Fitzcarraldo are the obvious film references that an audience is likely to import (with all that doing so means).

Since that is so, why include (and want to justify including ?) this eccentricity of Theo’s, just because it actually happened – because does that then imply that no detail is imagined, none there to flesh out [a version of] a story ?


(4) The starting question had been about making film references in Embrace of the Serpent : could there have been more such (apparent) references, if they had not been excised ?

The coyness is there in that the film eventually erupts in striking visuals – as, say, Enter the Void (2009) does – and which are partly dependent on a contrast with (near-)monochrome. Implying that the gramophone is in the film not because of Fitzcarraldo or Apocalypse Now, but almost despite them, feels tenuously contrived.

Yet it did manage to disarm the impulse to look at this film, with Guerra’s help, in a worldwide cinematic context, and instead expected us to consider it in solely its own terms…


* * * *




A few film-references :

* Burden of Dreams (1982) [about the making of Fitzcarraldo (1982)]

* Cave of Forgotten Dreams ~ Werner Herzog

* Enter the Void (2009)

* Fitzcarraldo (1982) ~ Herzog

* Ivan’s Childhood

* On the Road (2012)

* Post Tenebras Lux (2012)

* The Hunter (2011)

* The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

* The White Diamond (2004) ~ Herzog

* While We're Young (2014)

* Zelig (1983)


In important respects, Apocalypse Now does not much resemble Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness, and we would feel, if at all, that Embrace of the Serpent is referencing the film treatment.

More pressing written parallels (or origins ?) are Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception (1954), and Borges, in the collection Doctor Brodie's Report (1970) (especially 'The Gospel According to Mark').





On the level of film and film-stock, we heard [from Jack Toye (@Jackabuss), hosting the Q&A as the marketing manager of The Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge (@CamPicturehouse)] that Ciro Guerra had shot on film : a remarkable piece of information, because one had formed the view, during the film, that it was unlikely that Guerra had done other than shoot in colour (and not a monochrome digital filming-mode), and then stripped out the colour – except only to leave a quality, at times, of the spectral, but mostly one that gave a grey-green tinge to the largely river-located foliage.

Various reasons suggested themselves as to why Guerra might have rendered his footage into near-monochrome, some to do with suspecting that not every moving image had been shot by his team, and that some of them, rather, were taken from stock-footage (thus disguised). The likely reason being that – as with a very different film such as Zelig (1983) – one’s matching of images from possibly very differing origins then has the potential of being done much more easily (not least if one may have had to process further), by virtue of not having the additional aspect of (very many) dimensions of colour.


Other reasons more obviously relate to the sort of distancing - although, at the same time, perhaps oddly sharpening ? - the effect of what Guerra chose to show to us (if only at the emotional level of pure, non-technical viewing) : for, the Amazon river³, in full swell, is going to look so much more dramatic, if one gives it the more-refined contours and gradients of monochrome.

To process in the image of the canoe and its three passengers is also likely to be more straightforward – for we must assuredly be gulled by the works of post-production, if we are to believe that the actors were ever trusted to the spate in and on which, for some twenty seconds (maybe thirty ?), we see them tracked. (Do we even detect how they appear to have been separately located, in their vessel, in a quiet stream that lies behind the foregrounded, wilder waters ?)



Yet maybe this is all guesswork, based on little actual knowledge of how the film went into production, and what happened afterwards...

To some extent, so is the film itself, in elaborating the rather basic message, if no more satisfying for that, given by Willem Dafoe, as the title-character Martin, in - and at the close of - The Hunter (2011) ?




End-notes :

¹ Likewise, Guerra is reported - by the BFI (@BFI / British Film Institute) - as saying this to Ben Nicholson (@BRNicholson) :

'For example, Fitzcarraldo (1982), when you find out what that real story was, you find out that he was a genocidal maniac and a bloodthirsty rubber baron and you realise that the story has only been told from one point of view.' As such, the cinematic influences that had served Guerra as his compass previously were no longer going to be useful. 'I thought this was okay because recently I feel that films tend to be too much about cinema; it’s like a dog chasing its tale in many instances. I think cinema also needs to take its inspiration more and more from life. Even though film history is invaluable, it is sometimes also necessary to depart from it.'


² The recording that we see is not playing at 78rpm, though, as it would have had to do for its time ?

³ Apart from the clear question of indigenous people of a land and those desiring to occupy and exploit that land, we also have, though not with a huge ship, the canoe being transported, across land, from one stretch of water to another. (In Scotland, such isthmuses, and the like practice of conveying a boat overland, give rise to a fair few spots called Tarbe[r]t.)

⁴ Even so, we mainly spend time on tributaries, and have the temporal illusion - which cinema can create in terms of screen-time by both what is not shown and what is shown – that we are much on this mighty stretch of water, broad and long.




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Ginsberg's 90th-birthday bash

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


8 June










Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Sunday, 5 June 2016

For posting 1200, a portal-page : Six stunningly exceptional concerts / recitals / gigs at Saffron Hall

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


7 June



Thomas Gould ~ Tom Coult ~ Glenn Gould ~ 22 March 2015

Britten Sinfonia (@BrittenSinfonia), led by Thomas Gould (@ThomasGouldVLN) in works by Locatelli, Tom Coult (new commission), Hans Abrahamsen, and Bach (arr. Dmitry Sitkovetsky)


Plowing one's own furrow ~ 22 November 2015

Original compositions from jazz super-group James Farm : Joshua Redman (sax (tenor, but also alto)), Aaron Parks (piano (and Rhodes)), Eric Harland (drums / percussion), Matt Penman (double-bass)


Gems and jewels : The Sixteen at Advent ~ 20 December 2015

A range of settings for Advent, from plainsong to the work of living British composers, such as Howard Skempton and Alec Roth




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Best on screen so far in 2016 (including re-watch)

Best on screen so far in 2016 (including re-watch)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


6 June

Best on screen so far in 2016 (including re-watch)








Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Harry Potter and The Worlds of the Unbound ?: Some Tweets

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


5 June






Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Saturday, 4 June 2016

'You tease !' ~ 60-word story*

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


5 June




End-notes :

* Including, that is, the title.




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Friday, 3 June 2016

A quick report, by Tweet, from the short-form immersion of Strawberry Shorts Film Festival 2016

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


3 June






Back to barracks : graffito from the historic venue's past




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)