With Burns Night tomorrow, we thought we’d bring you a blog with some recommended viewing that Rabbie would approve of (maybe…) – so here’s just a few of our favourite films with a distinctly Scottish flavour…
Small Faces 
Set in Glasgow in the 1960s, this coming of age drama came out around the time of Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting. Gorgeously shot, well written and finely acted, the film stands up well to the test of time – 20 years later, it’s well worth a revisit (or a discovery if you haven’t seen it already!)
Gregory’s Girl 
Our love of Bill Forsyth’s Gregory’s Girl has been well documented on this blog before. Uplifting and rather wry in a way you wouldn’t expect from a film about teenagers set in a secondary school. It’s also now deliciously dated – in a very endearing way!
Whisky Galore 
No Scottish film list would be complete without the Ealing Comedy, Whisky Galore! Focussing on a group of wily islanders in the outer Hebrides who have an unexpected windfall in the shape of 50,000 cases of whisky from the wreck on a sinking freighter – a battle of wits ensures between the island inhabitants and a stuffy English captain of the homeguard, who wants to confiscate the loot!
Under the Skin 
An unexpected entry on the list, but Jonathan Glazer’s tale of an alien disguised as a woman, who preys on unexpected Scotsmen from a transit van, somehow captures Glasgow in its vibrant, rackety glory.
Red Road 
Definitely not a film for the faint of heart, but Andrea Arnold’s gritty Red Road is a stark thriller that feels undeniably Scottish. Partially shot on the now demolished Red Road estate in Glasgow, the film was filmed in Dogme 95 style, using handheld cameras and natural light. Although bleak in concept and story, the film ends with a feeling of redemption.
For a bonus, just thought we had better mention Sunshine on Leith , featuring the songs of the Proclaimers, Mrs Filmspot has yet to inflict this upbeat musical on Mr Filmspot.
…and so, with that all that remains is to pour yourself a wee dram and have a very cosy Burns Night!
We’ll be back later this week with a big update – and details of our first exciting Filmspot event for 2016!
Sorry for the silence. We’ve had a busy few months since the last post (all the way back in Autumn!). We’ve been busy with screenings and workshops across Sussex!
In September, we were delighted to revisit the ICE Field in Isfield, where we ran a fun stop motion workshop at their Arts & Crafts market, creating a short film called ‘Fish’, with the help of some young animators. We screened the rough cut of the film at our marquee screening of Spielberg’s classic, ‘Jaws’ that evening. The final edit of the film is being tweaked at the moment, but will be live on our YouTube channel by the end of the year. Keep your eyes on our blog for updates.
This year we took part in Scalarama during September, with a presentation of ‘The Cabinet of Dr Caligari’ at Fabrica, with a stunning live semi-improved score by Partial Facsimile. The screening was a total sell-out, and there was a fantastic atmosphere!
We had a short break until the mid-October, when we ran an exciting ‘Big Draw’ workshop at Arts@TheCrypt in Seaford. We used cut out animation to recreate, with the help of local children and families, Halas & Batchelor’s short animation, ‘The Owl and The Pussycat’. The final film is in the editing studio at the moment, but expect to see it on our YouTube channel by the end of December. We are also planning a screening of ‘Animal Farm’, with introduction by Vivien Halas, in the gallery in 2016. Once the date is confirmed, details will be posted here and on the Filmspot website.
We are continuing with our series of screenings at Isfield Village Hall, our most recent event in October, with a screening of ‘Animal Farm’ introduced by Vivien Halas, who gave a fascinating insight into her parents’ work.
This December, we have two events to round-off a very successful 2015:
Filmspot CMPCA Pop Up Cinema Club present
An American in Paris
Friday 4 December, doors 6.45pm
Tickets £7, advance booking essential
Email email@example.com or telephone 01273 328683 for tickets
Tickets include a glass of mulled wine
Vincente Minnelli’s An American in Paris is one of the most elegant, colourful and fun of the MGM musicals from the 1950s, it features Gene Kelly as a cheerful ex-GI, called Jerry Mulligan, struggling as a penniless artist in Paris. His world is turned upside down when he meets the enchanting Lise Bouvier, played by a young Leslie Caron in her screen debut, and at the same time attracts the attention of a rich American heiress, who is interested in more than just his paintings!
Isfield Village Hall and Filmspot present
Paddington and White Christmas
Paddington 2.45pm; White Christmas 6.45pm
Tickets £6 per film (£12 for family of four) – 1 child free with each paying adult
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book
We hope to see you at one of our events in December – and also wish you a very merry Christmas!
A quick update, as it’s been a while! We’ve been keeping busy here at Filmspot HQ – planning for our upcoming late summer season, which is all happening over the next couple of weeks. Listings of all our upcoming screenings follows at the end of this post.
On 22 August, we’re continuing with our series of screenings at Isfield Village Hall, with Wes Anderson’s delightful ‘Moonrise Kingdom’. Here’s the trailer:
Due to this upcoming screening, and being at the height of the school holiday period, we have been thinking about camping in films! Here are some of our favourites:
Nuts in May 
Ah, Nuts in May – I’m sure we have mentioned this elsewhere on the blog, but this is certainly a favourite here at Filmspot HQ. Surely everybody knows of someone (or a couple) as irritating and odd as Keith and Candice Marie? Before any camping trip, it’s always worth warming up with a couple of verses of the Zoo Song. Mike Leigh has a lot to answer for…
Blair Witch Project 
It’s difficult to fathom now, after seeing so many copy-cat ‘found footage’ horror films and spoofs, but this was once a startlingly good, and frightening, film. Definitely not one to revisit before a woodland camping trip!
Stand By Me 
This classic 80s coming of age film perfectly captures the atmosphere of almost never-ending summer holidays – very like the Italian thriller, ‘Io non ho Paura’ (not about camping, but also definitely worth a watch).
Familia Rodante 
This is sort of the Argentinian version of ‘Little Miss Sunshine’. This film makes you wonder how you would get on with 12 members of your family, travelling 1000km in a beaten-up camper van?
Ben Wheatley’s ingenious comedy horror definitely channels ‘Nuts in May’ – but somehow he takes the ‘irritating know-all happy campers’ characters to the next level.
…so now you’re in the mood for a camping trip? Possibly not! Well, why not join us as Isfield VIllage Hall on Saturday instead, for a very good movie? Tickets for Moonrise Kingdom cost £6 each on the door, with the event starting 6.45pm for 7.30 film start. Drinks and nibbles are being provided by Isfield Village Hall.
Our other upcoming Late Summer screenings and events:
5 September: JAWS in the Isfield ICE Field (with animation workshops taking place throughout the day)
10 September: DAS CABINET DES DR CALIGARI with LIVE SCORE from Partial Facsimile at Fabrica Brighton
Full details are on our website.
We hope to see you soon!
We are getting tuned up and ready for our screening of Mike Leigh’s delightful ‘Topsy Turvy’ this Saturday at Isfield Village Hall (6.45pm for 7pm screening, tickets £6 on the door, including wine and nibbles!). Telling the story of Gilbert and Sullivan while they were creating ‘The Mikado’, it has got us in the mood for opera!
Here are a few of our favourite opera-related films…
Tales of Hoffman (1951)
We are huge fans of Powell and Pressburger here at Filmspot HQ. In this sumptuous adaptation of Offenbach’s fantasy opera, they brought together many of the team who worked on ‘The Red Shoes’. Their audatious, theatrical style works beautifully. Celebrated director Cecil B Demille is said to have written ‘For the first time in my life, I was treated to Grand Oepra where the beauty, power and scope of the music was equally matched by the visual presentation’.
The Magic Flute (1975)
Considerably lightly than many of this director’s other works, Ingmar Bergman has created an adaptation of one of Mozart’s best-loved works that is undeniably his own: a celebration of love, forgiveness, and the brotherhood of man.
A shortened telling of Verdi’s masterpiece – the only criticism of this exquisite rendering of the opera is that its 30 minute run time does not do it justice. That said, it is too beautiful to overlook – Barry Purves is the master of detailed stop motion animation, sadly less known than he should be outside the animation world.
British studio Halas & Batchelor’s take on Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘Ruddigore’ is notably the first UK animated TV special, as well as being the first operetta to be animated. Made with the co-operation of the D’Oyle Carte Opera Company, who provide the voices, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, who provide the music, it tells the story of a line of British baronets are cursed to commit a crime every day…or die!
Night at the Opera (1935)
Ok, possibly not an ‘opera film’ as such, but we had to include the Marx Brothers hilarious farce, in which they sabotage an opening night of an opera. A box office smash, the film is also considered to be one of the Marx Brothers’ finest films, being selected for inclusion in the US National Film Registry in 1993.
We hope to see you at Isfield Village Hall this Saturday!
Hello there Filmspotters!
We’ve had a fantastic Spring, with launching our new community cinema project with Isfield Village Hall, and a very successful and atmospheric live scored screening of ‘A Cottage on Dartmoor’ at St Nicholas Church in Brighton. A full update follows below, but first, here are details of our next two screenings at Isfield Village Hall:
27 June: Topsy-Turvy
Mike Leigh’s charming ‘Topsy-Turvy’, is a musical period comedy-drama about Gilbert and Sullivan. A wonderful meditation on the creation of art, Topsy-Turvy catches Gilbert and Sullivan at a crossroads in their illustrious careers. Having scored numerous hits (like The Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore), they’ve reached a creative dry spot with their latest, Princess Ida. Composer Sullivan (Allan Corduner) despairs of ever being taken seriously, and vows to write a “serious” piece, much to the consternation of librettist Gilbert (Jim Broadbent), who’s flummoxed and unyielding when asked to change another of his whimsical, “topsy-turvy” scenarios. All seems lost when, thanks to his wife’s insistence, Gilbert attends a Japanese exposition in London, and faster than you can say “Three little maids from school are we”, inspiration strikes!
22 August: Moonrise Kingdom
Wes Anderson had been away from live-action film making for half a decade before the release of ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ in 2012. A mix of romance, comedy and drama, Moonrise Kingdom is set in 1965 and centres on a pair of twelve-year-olds who decide to run away together. Cue the inevitable search party, featuring the likes of Bill Murray, Bruce Willis and Frances McDormand, and the scene is set for one of Anderson’s trademark off-the-wall pieces of cinema. Quirky, funny and with a real identity that sets it apart, ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ is an excellent film, and one that lingers around your brain long after the credits have rolled.
Tickets for both these events cost £6, and include complementary wine and nibbles! The doors open at 6.45pm, with the film starting at 7pm.
Booking is highly recommended, as our last screening was SOLD OUT (see report below), to reserve your tickets, email email@example.com
REPORT: FILMSPOT SPRING SEASON
We kicked off Spring with our first event for the Isfield Village Hall community cinema, screening Life of Pi to a small, but very enthusiastic audience. We built upon this for our second, and most recent event at Isfield, showing Singin’ in the Rain to a full house.
In April, we worked with the incredibly talented composer-pianist, Joss Peach, to premiere a new re-scored Anthony Asquith silent, ‘A Cottage on Dartmoor’, to a full house at St Nicholas’ Church in Brighton. The screening was very popular, with many attendees writing to us afterwards to say how much the enjoyed the film. We’re now excited to be able to offer this atmospheric film elsewhere, and hope to tour it throughout Sussex and the South of England. If you know have a venue in mind that may be suitable for a screening, do please get in touch! Keep an eye on the Filmspot website and blog for details of future screenings. We shall be uploading some short video extracts from the performance to our YouTube channel shortly – remember to follow us on Twitter and check back here for news!
Finally, we are very pleased to be supporting Sussex Downs College students and Lewes Youth Theatre, with their exciting performance of ‘BEOWULF: The Experience’ at Newhaven Fort this Friday, 5 June. For full details, and to book your tickets, please follow this link.
In honour of our upcoming screening of Topsy-Turvy, we shall be blogging some of our favourite opera-related films in the next couple of weeks, so remember to check back soon!
Happy springtime, Filmspotters!
We’re looking forward to two film screenings in April – the inaugural screening in partnership with Isfield Village Hall, as well as our upcoming screening of ‘A Cottage on Dartmoor’ at St Nicholas Church, Brighton, with live score from local pianist Joss Peach. More details next time for the St Nicholas Church screening – today we are concentrating on our Isfield event!
You may remember that last month we asked visitors at the Isfield Open Day to vote for which film they would like to watch at the first film night, on 18 April. The winner was Ang Lee’s visually stunning ‘Life of Pi’, with ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ coming a close second place. Details of how to book for the screening follow below, but in honour of the winning film, we have been considering some of our favourite ‘magic realism’ films…
1. Pleasantville (1998)
This charming directoral debut from Gary Ross is a good example of the ‘what if…’ brand of magical realism. It is one of those rare beasts – an intelligent ‘mainstream’ American film, which hasn’t dated to be totally cringe-worthy, instead it uses its element of magic to great effect, with the ‘colour’ two modern day teenagers bring to an 1950s soap opera hinting at something a little deeper…
You could write several articles on magical realism in Woody Allen films, from ‘The Purple Rose of Cairo’ to his more recent ‘Midnight in Paris’. We have chosen ‘Zelig’, though – a pseudo-documentary about an unusual character who merges into his surroundings by changing his persona and appearance completely.
3. Russian Ark
Another Filmspot favourite, this beautiful film covers 300 years of Russian history through a tour of the Winter Palace, at the Russian State Hermitage Museum. Filmed entirely in one single shot, the film brings both real and fictious characters from Russian history to life, as if they have leapt off the paintings on the walls. Visually stunning, the film plays out like a decadent dream.
4. Afterlife (1999)
Hirokazu Kore-eda is another director who has been known to dabble with magical realism throughout his career. ‘Afterlife’ presents a small group of recently deceased characters, in limbo. They are told they will recreate one single memory from their lifetime, and when they pass on to the next stage, this memory will be the only thing they take with them. A touching and poignant film, much of the emotional pull of ‘Afterlife’ comes from the fact that the memories people cherish the most are the ones that highlight the magic of the everyday.
5. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
This indie gem is a futuristic vision of the deep south, with flourishes of magic. The most important element of the film, however, is the relationships between the two main characters, a man called Wink and his daughter Hushpuppy. With beautiful cinematography, this is a film that both transports and enchants you.
Life of Pi: 18 April, doors at 7pm
Tickets are £6, and can be purchased from the Laughing Fish public house, Isfield, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Bring your own refreshments to this first screening, we shall be surveying the audience to see if there is interest to provide a bar at future events.
We hope to see you all at this first event in Isfield Village Hall. We shall be back on the blog in a couple of weeks with details of our upcoming live soundtracked screening of ‘A Cottage on Dartmoor’!