Shadows and fairytales after dark!

Firstly, we were really delighted to see so many people at our screening of ‘A Very Long Engagement‘ (Un Long Dimanche de Fiancialles) at Eastbourne Redoubt in April. Thank you to all of you who came along and enjoyed a really lively event with us!

We are very excited to be revisiting Eastbourne Redoubt this coming Saturday evening (12th May), to contribute to their upcoming After Dark at The Redoubt event.

Filmspot will be screening a selection of charming short silhouette fairytales by pioneering animator, Lotte Reiniger – and there will be the chance to try your hand at shadow puppetry with the Filmspot team.

Films on view will be ‘The Magic Horse’, The Ant and the Grasshopper and ‘Cinderella’ [all 1954] – wonderful fantastical stories, just right for bedtime! As well as the Filmspot activities, there will be atmospheric torchlight tours of the museum and free astronomy on the gun platform. It promises to be an evening to remember!

We will be at Eastbourne Redoubt from 7pm until late, this Saturday 12th May. For full details, please see Eastbourne Redoubt’s website: http://www.eastbournemuseums.co.uk/ 

So, in keeping with the theme of bedtime stories, we thought we’d come up with a few other suggestions for fairytale films!

1. The Singing Ringing Tree [Das singende, klingende Bäumchen] (1957)

This German feature-length film for children was originally shown in the UK when it was serialised by the BBC in the 19560s. It has a real cult following, and it’s easy to see why. It features many of the elements that gained some of the fantasy films of the 80s, such as Labyrinth or  Legend, their cults: colourful characters, surreal scenarios and wonderous fantasy landscapes.

2. La Belle et La Bete (1946)

Jean Cocteau‘s fantastical rendering of this classic fairytale is one of his finest films. Although in places the film does look a little creaky because of its age, if you can suspend your disbelief, it does conjure up a childish sense of wonder in the viewer. The haunting soundtrack and beautifully surreal visual tricks create a fantasy atmosphere.

3. Snow White (1937)

The first feature cel animation, ‘Snow White’ was not only a milestone in animation, it was the inspiration behind thousands of other beloved childhood films, such as ‘The Wizard of Oz’. It went on to be an unprecedented success, much to the surprise of a skeptical film industry, with many Hollywood insiders labelling the project ‘Disney’s Folly’ while it was in development.

4. The Princess Bride (1987)

In our opinion, this is the funniest combination of comedy and fairy tale committed to film. You can forget your oh-so-‘witty’ Matrix-style princesses and faux-Scots ogres – this screen adaptation of William Goldman’s book is, quite rightly, a cult classic. It contains sword fighting! giants! a very short Sicilian! rodents of unusual size! heroes being brought back from the dead! priests with speech impediments! Peter Falk! …and that’s just for starters.

5. Hans Christian Andersen (1952)

A musical? With Danny Kaye? As Hans Christian Andersen? Well, that had to make it onto the list! This delightful film reminds us of sleepy bank holidays, as only a big Hollywood musical can. All the well known HCA fairytales are here, in sung form. The ‘Ugly Duckling’ is a particularly catchy little ditty.

We look forward to seeing you this Saturday!

The Great War Weekend at Eastbourne Redoubt

As regular readers of this blog will be well aware, we have a screening of ‘A Very Long Engagement‘ at Eastbourne Redoubt next week. It’s to complement the museum’s ‘Great War Weekend’.

When deciding on the right film to screen at this event, the Filmspot team came up with a surprisingly diverse list of ideas, so we thought we’d share some of the other titles from our original shortlist with you here.

1. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) 

Directed by Lewis Milestone, All Quiet on the Western Front is rightly seen as one of the greatest anti-war films of all time. It is based on the novel of the same name by ErichMaria Remarque, and stars Louis Wolheim, Lew Ayres John wary and Ben Alexander. The film focuses on a group of German friends, who patriotically join the army, only to have their outlooks completely changed by the horrors of life in the trenches.

2. . Porco Rosso (1992) 

An unusual WWI-related film this charming film by animation legend Hayao Miazaki ,from the Japanese Studio Ghibli, is about a former WWI pilot who is turned into a pig. The art direction and animation is as stunning as you would expect from the studio responsible for Spirited Away, Spirited Away and Totoro.

3. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

David Lean‘s classic film about T.E. Lawrence, and his exploits in Arabia during WW1, stands the test of time, and remains one of the best-loved films of the 1960s. Peter O’Toole got his major break into feature films portraying the titular role, and this is often cited as his best performance.

4. Wings (1927) 

This silent film won the first ever ‘Best Picture’ Oscar. With a renewed interest in silent films, partly fuelled by the success and popularity of ‘The Artist’, it is a great time to revisit some of the classics of the silent era. Wings contains some incredible footage of airborne stunts – especially when seen by a modern audience, used to the smoke and mirrors of CGI effects.

5. Oh, what a lovely war! (1969)

This musical, directed by Richard Attenborough, really is a ‘who’s who’ of British acting talent in the late 60s. The cast includes Dirk Bogarde, John Gielgud, John Mills, Kenneth More, Laurence Olivier, Jack Hawkins, members of the Redgrave family, Maggie Smith and Ian Holm, just to name a few! The film somehow manages to portray the horrors of war, between a range of catchy ditties. A very surreal, but strangely moving feature.

So, all that remains is for me to mention once again… We will be kicking off our 2012 season with ‘A Very Long Engagement’, at Eastbourne Redoubt on 21st April at 8pm. We shall screen the film in original French with English subtitles.

See http://www.eastbournemuseums.co.uk/Events.htm for full details, and contact Eastbourne Redoubt for tickets on 01323 410300.

We look forward to seeing you all there!

Ont un style-français printemps, Filmspotters!

Everyone loves Paris in the Springtime… and the rest of France for that matter! So, while we’ve been thinking about Jean-Pierre Jeunet in advance of our screening of A Very Long Engagement at the Redoubt, Eastbourne (see below for details), we thought we’d have a think about a few films to give your springtime a distinctively Gallic flavour…

1. French Cancan [1954]

Jean Renoir‘s colourful and nostalgic celebration of fin-de-siècle Paris, stars Jean Gabin as the impresario Danglard who decides to launch his new club, the ‘Moulin Rouge’ by reviving the French Cancan. A musical full of  memorable characters and joie de vivre, Renoir’s film is a tribute to the Paris painted by his father and the impressionists.

2. Les Demoiselles du Rochefort (Young Girls of Rochefort) [1967]

Another musical, but with a very different feel. Jacques Demy’s follow up to the highly acclaimed ‘Umbrellas of Cherbourg’ is fun, colourful and breezy, and includes some wonderful musical numbers. It stars Catherine Deneuve with her real-life sister, Françoise Dorléac as a pair of twins who work as a ballet teacher and a music teacher, respectively. Set over a weekend in Rochefort, when the fair comes to town, they film follows the girls and their search for romance.

3. Les Amants du Pont-Neuf (The Lovers on the Bridge) [1991]

Leos Carax’s ‘Les Amants du Pont-Neuf’ is a simple love story between two homeless people who meet on the oldest bridge in Paris, the ‘Pont-Neuf’. Alex (Denis Lavant) is a street performer who is struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, and Michele (Juliette Binoche) is a painter who is gradually loosing her sight. Not exactly a ‘feel-good’ romance, it feels very un-Hollywood, and is certainly all the better for it.

4. The Red Balloon [1956]

You can watch this enchanting evocation of childhood in its entirety on YouTube. We would definitely recommend it. Written and directed by Albert Lamorisse, and starring the Director’s son, the beauty of this short film is its simplicity. It depicts a friendship between a young boy and a helium balloon, which has a mind of its own. With almost no dialogue, the charming score  is far more effective than any kind of script could be.

5. Micmacs [2009]

Finally, to give a final plug to our filmmaker of choice for April – Jean-Pierre Jeunet –  with his most recent feature. Uplifting, but not as saccharine as ‘Amelie’, ‘Micmacs’ has all the classic Jeunet hallmarks – many of his favourite collaborating actors pop up (for example, Dominique Pinon and Yolande Moreau), the eccentric characters and steampunk-eque gadgetry. Although not the quite the ‘satire on the world arms trade’ that the film bills itself as, its charm, wit and warmth make it delightful viewing.

We’re looking forward to presenting another of Jeunet’s films, the soaringly romantic ‘A Very Long Engagement’, at Eastbourne Redoubt on 21st April. See http://www.eastbournemuseums.co.uk/Events.htm for full details, and contact Eastbourne Redoubt for tickets on 01323 410300.

Filmspot and Redoubt Fortress – a great start to 2012 season

To kick off our 2012 season, we have two special events coming up at the Eastbourne Redoubt

Saturday 21st April, 8pm

A Very Long Engagement‘ (Un Long Dimanche de Fiancialles) [Cert 15] (2004)
Jean-Pierre Jeunet‘s (director of Amelie) quirky romantic film tells the story of Mathilde (Audrey Tautou), and her search for her fiance, who is believed by most to have been killed on the Somme. Tickets: £5 (£4 concessions), from the Eastbourne Redoubt: 01323 410 300

Saturday 11th May, drop-in screenings 7-10pm

 Lotte Reiniger Fairy Tales [Cert U]
Filmspot will be screening three  silhouette-animated fairy tales by pioneering film-maker, Lotte Reiniger as part of Redoubt’s ‘Museum at Night’ event – plus there will be the chance to try your hand at shadow puppetry.  Details will follow shortly.

The Eastbourne Redoubt formed part of a chain of fortifications built to deter Napoleon’s forces in the early 1800s. Garrisoned by troops until the early 1900s, and again during WWII, it is now an atmospheric museum housing three military collections.

See www.eastbournemuseums.co.uk for full details.

We hope to see you all there!