Anthony Asquith ‘greatest hits’

We’re greatly looking forward to our screening of ‘A Cottage on Dartmoor’ tonight with composer-pianist, Joss Peach, at Fabrica in Brighton. As part of the preparations, we’ve been looking into the back catalogue of Director Anthony Asquith.

Asquith is noted for his family connections as much as for his filmography, because he was the son of the then-Prime Minister, Herbert Asquith, and is the great-uncle of Helena Bonham Carter. He entered the film industry partly to escape his high profile family background and, although often belittled because of his aristocratic lineage, he was incredibly gifted. We’ve picked out a few of his finest…

Shooting Stars (1928)

A satire of the film industry, Asquith’s first film recently had the VIP treatment, with a new restoration from the BFI in 2015. It is sophisticated in its storytelling: a love triangle, with a treacherous British starlet, who gives the title of the film a clever double meaning.

Underground (1928)

This working-class romance is like a little time capsule of 1920s London. It was only Asquith’s second film (‘Shooting Stars’ was officially credited to A.V. Bramble), but you can see the gentle humour and warmth towards his subjects that also comes through in ‘A Cottage on Dartmoor’, giving away his staunch socialist values.

Pygmalion (1938)

After the silent era, Asquith’s career declined slightly until in the late 1930s, he was involved in a number of screen adaptations of films. This, based on the play of the same name by George Bernard Shaw, staring Wendy Hiller and Leslie Howard, is delightful.

The Browning version (1951)

The first film adaptation of Terrence Rattigan’s play, Asquith’s version stars Michael Redgrave in one of the finest performances of his career, as the generally despised, but inwardly vulnerable classics teacher, ‘The Crock’, Andrew Crocker-Harris.

The Importance of Being Earnest (1952)

Asquith’s faithful adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s “Trivial Comedy for Serious People” was his first colour film, and he approached it with a characteristic understated approach – rather than being full of bold, glitzy bright colours, the film has a largely pastel palette. The breathtaking costumes designed by Cecil Beaton are also worth a mention here, and of course, Edith Evan, who absolutely made the character of Lady Bracknell her own!

As a bonus (for local interest) we recently found this little gem, also directed by Asquith – ‘On Such a Night’ – a semi-documentary film about a visit to the Glyndebourne opera! Here’s the trailer:

Hopefully we’ll see you tonight at Fabrica – for full details, and to book, please visit Eventbrite

After this, we have the launch of the Bookshop Screening Room at Waterstones Brighton next Thursday, 9 February – tickets have already sold out, but details of future screenings and a full report will be posted shortly.


Launching The Bookshop Screening Room with Waterstones Brighton

Happy New Year, Filmspotters! We are excited for 2017, and all the new screenings, workshops and projects it will bring. To get us off to a roaring start, we are delighted to be working in collaboration with the events team at Waterstones Brighton to launch The Bookshop Screening Room – a new film night showcasing the best short films from around the world, and for our first blog post of the year, we’re sending out a CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS TO FILMMAKERS!

Bringing stories to the big screen, The Bookshop Screening Room (BSR) is a brand new platform to get your films seen thematically by a captive audience within an intimate, literary setting. If you have a story to tell, told well, we’ll show it. We understand, as Hitchcock once said, that you need three things to make a great film, script, script, script, and with this mantra in mind The BSR is an opportunity to dust off the best of your older filmography and show off your newer.

We endeavour to contact all filmmakers if their film has been accepted or not within one month. Filmmakers with a film accepted are invited to the screening + one guest, including complementary drinks. If unable to attend, filmmakers can receive updates to keep them involved in proceedings, as well as have their work promoted by us.

To submit a film before the first evening of 9th February 2017, e-mail the Waterstones Brighton events team on events.brighton@waterstones.com with the following:

FILM TITLE:
FILM TAGLINE:
RUN TIME:
DIRECTOR(S):
WRITER(S):
PRODUCER(S):
PERSON SUBMITTING:
INTERESTING FACT ABOUT MAKING OF FILM:
AVAILABLE FORMAT:

We look forward to hearing about your film, and your story.

Details of the first screening night are on Facebook…. looking forward to welcoming you all to Waterstones Brighton!

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Russian Fairytales: The Animation Edition

Friday’s festive screening of ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ went with a real swing – thank you to everybody who came along.

…but there’s no time to waste, it’s focus forward to our next event: Sing Russian! Earlier this summer Opera Coast approached us to create some animated projections to accompany two concerts of arias and pieces from Russian operas – one concert in Brighton and one in London. We have been beavering away ever since, creating pen and ink drawings of backdrops to create a projected ‘stage set’ for each piece in the performance. We hope you can join us at one of the concerts. Details follow at the end of this blog.

Photographs and clips will be available after the first performance, but in the meantime you might be interested to see some of the fabulous Russian fairytale animations we have come across during our research.

The Snowmaiden (2006)

Fairytales should be, in my humble opinion, 1 part magic, 1 part romance and 2 parts horror! This rather delightful 30 minute stop motion animation adheres to that formula – just check out the wood goblin… *shudders*

Rusalochka (The Little Mermaid) (1968)

An intriguingly stylised combination of hand painted cel animation and cut outs, ‘Rusalochka’ sticks somewhat more faithfully to Hans Christian Anderson’s original tale than the 1989 Disney version. Bold, experimental and beautiful to behold, this is definitely worth a watch.

The Ball of Yarn (1968)

Something about the uncanny nature of stop motion animation gives many stop motion short films a strange atmosphere, but the story of this short also adds in to that strangeness – it is about a ball of yarn, and a knitting hobby which quickly escalates and becomes something altogether more sinister.

Nalim Malinych (2015)

This imaginative mixture of styles and techniques tells a delightful tale inspired by the works of Stepan Pissakhov, famous painter, writer and storyteller in the tradition of North Russia.

Hedgehog in The Fog (1975)

This charming short film is probably the first Russian animation I ever saw. Master animator and storyteller Yuriy Norshteyn weaves a tale that is so enchanting it completely transports you. If you only settle down to watch one film from this list: get yourself and cup of tea, relax and enjoy this atmospheric little tale.

Hopefully that little taster has whet your appetite for some Russian fairy tales and folklore. If so, be sure to come along to ‘The Old Tales of Kitezh Grad’ – to book tickets, at Unitarian Church, Brighton: Saturday 10 December, 7.30pm, click here or Pushkin House, London: Friday 16 December, 7.30pm, click here.

Full details of the project are on our website


Stairway to Heaven: A Matter of Powell and Pressburger

We’re getting very excited about our screening of ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ this Friday at St Michael’s Church, Brighton. If you haven’t already booked, be sure to do so – due the limited space, we often sell out at this venue, and this festive occasion looks like it will be no exception! Full details to book follow at the end of this post.

Its no secret that we’re huge Powell & Pressburger fans here at Filmspot, so we thought in preparation for ‘A Matter of Life and Death’, we’d provide a ‘beginner’s Guide’ of sorts with a taste of a few of The Archers’ greatest hits!

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)

This profoundly moving film is a portrait of a man who would on first glance be just a stuff British caricature (in fact, it was based on a satirical comic strip character created by David Low), but is in fact a true gentleman – and one of the most unexpectedly lovable characters in cinema.

Canterbury Tale (1944)

Both eerie and beautiful, this strange tale is one of Powell and Pressburger’s most intriguing films. The bucolic side of England is at the heart of this film, with some wonderful little vignettes of rural life, such as the small boy in the clip above.

I Know Where I’m Going! (1945)

A swooning love story – this is surely one of the very best British romantic films. Wendy Hiller and Roger Livesey both give wonderful performances, while the rich cinematography really captures the essence of the Scottish Isles.


Black Narcissus (1947)

This is (with the exception of Powell’s solo work ‘Peeping Tom’) the most terrifying work by The Archers – and there are many instances of unexpected horror throughout their filmography. Kathleen Byron has a truly ghostly presence as a nun whose delusions and lust for the local British agent, Mr Dean, drive her insane; whilst Deborah Kerr’s conflicted Sister Superior attempts to ignore her own attraction to Mr Dean, and to forget her past life in Ireland. Stunning use of colour, and a ‘prince and the pauper’ subplot make this multi layered tale one of Powell and Pressburger’s most memorable films.

The Red Shoes (1948)

Arguably the most famous of Powell and Pressburger’s films, The Red Shoes almost needs no introduction. It is, in our opinion, the greatest ballet film of all time, with a fantastic cast of memorable characters (many of whom were professional dancers), stunning technicolour cinematography from Jack Cardiff and sweeping, tragic romance. If you haven’t seen this film: go and see it!

…but of course, before you dash out to pick up copies of all the films above – don’t forget to book your tickets to ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ at St Michael’s Church Hall, Brighton

Friday 2 December, doors open 7pm, for screening at 7.30pm
Tickets: £9 including a festive drink and seasonal snacks

Advance booking essential, there will not be tickets available at the door!
Tickets available from eventbrite – or by emailing info@lja.uk.com 


Cosy and Chilling Gothic Tales from the South…

As the evenings draw in, and Hallowe’en is looming, we’re looking forward to our delightfully atmospheric (and ever so slightly sinister) screening of Charles Laughton’s ‘The Night of the Hunter’, this Saturday at St Michael’s Community Hall, in Brighton. Details of the screening can be found on our website. Be sure to pre-book your tickets to avoid disappointment – they are going like hot cakes, and there is limited capacity in the venue.

Thinking about this Southern Gothic classic has got us in the mood for more in a similar vein, so we thought we’d take a look at some other choice films from the genre – something to cosy down to, with a cup of tea, this Autumn….

Wise Blood (1979)

John Huston’s adaptation of Flannery O’Connor’s novel of the same name is an odd little film. Following the conflicted Hazel Motes (played by Brad Dourif with his signature strangeness), a young war veteran and founder and preacher of the ‘Church of Truth Without Christ’, the film affectionately takes in all manner of eccentric characters and misfits, and doesn’t miss a beat.

Sparrows (1926)

The Southern thriller, ‘Sparrows’ is classic Mary Pickford, who was easily the most powerful woman in Hollywood when she starred in and produced this film. Pickford plays Molly, an adolescent inmate living at a horrific ‘baby farm’. She looks after the children who are being held there, and plots their escape…

Down by Law (1986)

Mrs Filmspot has an enormous soft spot for Tom Waits… Mr Filmspot is less sure. One thing they both agree on, though, is this original and charming comedy by Jim Jarmusch. The slow-moving, simple camera work captures the landscape of the Louisiana Bayou beautifully, and the wisecracking camaraderie of the three principal actors (Waits, John Lurie and the ever-delightful Roberto Benigni) makes this essential viewing.

To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)

A key element in many Southern Gothic films is the idea of children and their innocence. This adaptation of Harper Lee’s masterly novel is a great partner to ‘Night of the Hunter’, in that, like in Laughton’s film, it illustrates how children can ‘abide and endure’, dealing with circumstances beyond their control.

Mud (2013)

Another film looking at an adult world from the perspective of a child, ‘Mud’ is the most recent entry on this list. Said to be inspired by the work of Mark Twain, writer-director Jeff Nichols has created a modern fairytale, which also harkens back to nostalgic ‘adventure’ films of the 1980s. Matthew McConaughey’s escaped convict is a rather perfect flawed hero. One of our favourite films to come out of the US in the past 5 years.

…All the above are fantastic films, of course… however,’The Night of the Hunter’ is surely one of the finest Southern Gothic films. We hope to see you at St Michael’s this Saturday. Wrap up warm, as the film is a bit of a chiller!

ALSO! Don’t miss our next Doodle Animation workshop – this Monday 24 October at Arts@theCrypt in Seaford. We shall be at the gallery 11am – 3pm, and you can contribute to our short film about Seaford. The workshop is absolutely free, so come and join us!

We had a fantastic time at Hyperdrive Sci-Fi and Fantasy Film Festival on Saturday. The small, but perfectly formed group of animators helped create an astonishing amount of animation in just over an hour. The final film will be released on our YouTube channel shortly, so watch this space!

 


Early Sci Fi… preparing for Hyperdrive

Hello Filmspotters!

Goodness me, I’m sorry that we have abandoned the blog for so long! We felt it was time to get back on track, ahead of our exciting autumn and winter season. There are lots of exciting screenings, workshops and projects coming up – so there will be lots to write about!

First off, we’re focussing on our upcoming Workshop at next week’s Hyperdrive Sci-Fi and Fantasy Festival at Hailsham Pavilion. We’re delighted to be working with this exciting festival for the first time this year. Its a fun festival where you can see what’s new from some of the fantastic up and coming talent in the world of sci-fi and fantasy film. International filmmakers will be showing off their latest productions, while raising money for two great charities: Demelza House Children’s Hospice and Smokey Paws.

At the festival, we’re running a workshop entitled La Doodle Dans La Lune – creating a ‘reimagined’ version of George Méliès’s innovative silent science fiction from 1902. Full details can be found on our website. In honour of this, we thought we’d re-launch the blog with five early sci-fi picks!

5. The Lost World (1925)

Based on the Arthur Conan Doyle book of the same name, ‘The Lost World’ is an extremely watchable and fun silent film. The stop motion animation by Willis O’Brien was a great influence on Ray Harryhausen, a hero of all here at Filmspot HQ! You can see the film is what is thought of as its most complete form at the above YouTube link, so put the kettle on and settle down for a treat.

4. Paris Qui Dort (1925)

An early comedy/ sci-fi crossover, the plot involves a mad scientist ‘freezing’ citizens of Paris with a magical ray. Rene Clair’s first film as Director, this charming tale is possibly the first time a film explored the premise of ‘what would you do if everything was frozen apart from you?’

3. 20,000 leagues under the sea (1916)

Thought to be the first feature length sci-fi film, Stuart Paton’s adaptation of Jules Verne’s novel was renowned for its very early underwater photography, which was shot by the pioneering Williamson Brothers. The entire film is on YouTube, but the quality is not great.

2. Metropolis (1927)

When somebody mentioned ‘silent sci-fi’, I think ‘Metropolis’ is the first film that would spring to most people’s minds – and with good reason. Reconstructed and restored in recent years, if you haven’t seen the most recent and most extensive cut of this film, I urge you to watch it. It is incredible, iconic and breathtaking.

1. La Voyage dans la Lune (1902)

Of course, we couldn’t resist rounding off our list with Georges Melies very early short. Melies is often referred to as the ‘father of sci-fi’. It is a beautifully rich and imaginative short film – and we can’t wait to see what visitors to Hailsham will create in response to it next Saturday!

Hope to see you at Hyperdrive!


Collaborating with Movel Shoes UK

Hello there Filmspotters,

We’re now putting the final prep work together for our screening dance event for Jacob Krupnick’s Girl Walk // All Day, this Friday at Alive Fitness and Natural Health in Brighton.

We are delighted that Movel Shoes are collaborating with us for this special occasion.  Movel offers a new world of active, accessible urban shoes, with clean and contemporary lines. The brand was inspired by the Brazilian spirit of movement (called “ginga” in Brazil). The name itself comes from “móvel” , meaning “mobile” in Brazilian Portuguese

Watch out for Kit, Elz and Lewis, our dance troupe at the event this Friday, who will be wearing colourful, bold, fun Movel trainers. Be sure to follow Movel on Facebook and follow them on twitter,

As part of our collaboration, Movel Shoes are offering audience members and Filmspot Mailing List members the chance to win a pair of Movel Shoes. Simply fill in a form at the event, or contact info@filmspot.org.uk to be added onto the mailing list, for your chance to win!

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We hope to see you on Friday at Alive Fitness. Here are the full details of the event – remember to wear your dancing shoes!

Filmspot and Alive Fitness and Natural Health present

Girl Walk // All Day

25-27 Castle Street, Brighton
Doors 7pm, 7.30pm film start

The event is standing only, with plenty of space to dance!
All profits from this event will be donated to the Hummingbird Project
Note: Parental guidance advised, as the soundtrack contains explicit lyrics.

Tickets cost £5.50. Buy tickets here