Less Enfants du Paradis, more Lotte Reiniger!


Unfortunately due to unforeseen licensing issues, we are unable to screen ‘Les Enfants du Paradis‘ at the CMP Festival at St Nicholas Church, Brighton, this Sunday 15 July.

The good news is… we have an even more magical event to take its place!

Filmspot will revisit the fairy tales of animation pioneer Lotte Reiniger with a stunning programme of four short films: Snow White and Rose Red, The Magic Horse, Thumbelina and Sleeping Beauty. All the films were created in 1954, and feature charming music and narration, as well as Reiniger’s exquisitely detailed silhouette puppets.

We are delighted that Jake Spicer and DRAW will be providing three 20 minute theatrically costumed drawing sessions throughout the evening. Drawing is optional, but I think most people will find it hard to resist picking up a pencil in the atmospheric setting of St Nicholas Church.

Just to get you all warmed up, here’s a clip of Jake at TEDx in Brighton, talking about his passion for life drawing:


For further information about DRAW, see their website: http://www.draw-brighton.co.uk/

There will also be delicious galettes and crepes from The French Revolution, as well as a bar.

Doors to the event open at 6pm, with the first short film starting at 6.30pm (we expect the event to finish by approximately 8.30pm).

Tickets may be booked from www.brightonticketshop.com, by telephoning 01273 709709 or be purchased on the door – although we are expecting this to be a really popular event, so we’d recommend advance booking.

This promise to be a fun evening for all ages – we hope to see you all there!

Dickens on film

Earlier this year, you couldn’t escape Charles Dickens. 2012 marks the bicentenary of his birth, and to celebrate, Filmspot will be presenting ‘A Tale of Two Cities‘ at the CMP Festival on 7th July (information at the end of this post). In preparation of this, we thought we’d have a look at some attempts to bring one of the cinematic of writers to the silver screen.

1. Great Expectations (David Lean) [1946]

David Lean created two Dickens adaptations – this, his first, and Oliver Twist. Immediately grabbing the viewer through this wholly disturbing encounter with Magwitch, Lean captures the atmosphere of the novel better than any other director. Lean was not a slave to his source material – he cut characters and sections of the text he classed as ‘marginal’, saying “Don’t keep every character, just take a sniff of each one.” This approach really pays off, and the film works as a materpiece in its own right, rather than merely a retelling of Dicken’s book on screen.

2. Scrooge (Brian Desmond Hurst) [1951]

There have been many attempts to convey Dicken’s classic Christmas morality tale on film – from the Muppets and Mickey Mouse to Blackadder and Bill Murray in ‘Scrooged’, but this is easily the best loved version. Alastair Sim is probably the most recognisable Dickens character ever committed to screen. The audience really do feel for Scrooge as he transforms from cold, heartless money-obsessed miser to a figure to be pitied and finally to reformed man, giddy with the love of humanity. The whole treatment of the film is outstanding, however – the cast is a real ‘whos who’ of British stage and screen of the time, the sets are beautiful and the music eerie. Note perfect for a ‘ghost story for Christmas…’

3. The Signalman (Lawrence Gordon Clarke) [1976]

…and while we’re on the subject of ‘ghost stories for Christmas’ – this slightly less well known Dickens adaptation is real gem. Not for the faint hearted, it was created by the BBC as part of their series of spooky short films screened at Christmas. It is based on Dickens’s 1866 short story, which was inspired by his own involvement in the 1865 Staplehurst Rail Crash. Denholm Elliot is fantastic as the titular character, who recounts tales of being visited by a ghostly presence just prior to a tragedy occuring on the railway, which in both cases he has been powerless to prevent. He is agitated because he has recently seen the apparition and is terrified that there will be a terrible accident… You can watch the film in its entirity on YouTube (in I think four parts), and I would recommend it, although it will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end!

4. Oliver Twist (Roman Polanski) [2005]

There are of course many versions of Oliver Twist (for example, David Lean’s, as mentioned above, Carol Reed’s iconic and well-loved musical version), but I have chosen to highlight Polanski’s sumptuous adaptation here. Jamie Foreman is masterly as the evil Bill Sykes, and Ben Kingsley is very well cast as Fagin – costumes, art direction and music are all spot-on. The only disappointment here is that it’s a very straightforward adaptation; perhaps audiences expect something a little more biting than this from Roman Polanski.

5. A Tale of Two Cities (Jack Conway) [1935]

There are two post-silent era versions of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ worthy of note – one is the 1958 version, which we will screen this Saturday at St Nicholas Church in Brighton (details below), the other is this film from 1935 featuring Ronald Colman as Sydney Carton. Colman classed this as his favourite performance of his entire career, and it’s easy to see why – he has really thrown himself into the role. Produced by David O. Selznick, best known for his work on ‘Gone with the Wind’ and ‘Rebecca’, A Tale of Two Cities has his fingerprints all over it – a really good example of a big budget Hollywood adaptation.

A Tale of Two Cities [1958] will screen this Saturday 7th July (doors 6.00pm, film at 6.30pm) at St. Nicholas Church, Brighton. For more information, visit http://www.cmpcaonline.org.uk/category_id__72.aspx. Tickets £7 (£5 concessions), from Dome Box Office (01273 709709), www.brightonticketshop.com or on the door.

This event is part of the CMP Festival’s ‘DICKENS OF A DAY’, a day-long celebration of bicentenary of the famous author. On 7th July there will be other literary events, details of which can be found here http://www.cmpcaonline.org.uk/category_id__74_path__0p72p.aspx. In-keeping with the French theme of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, crepes, galettes, French wine and cider will be available to purchase from The French Revolution before the film.

If you still have an appetite for Dickens  after Saturday, Rose Collis will be launching her Dickens-themed walking tour on Sunday 8 July. Full details are available here: http://www.cmpcaonline.org.uk/page_id__281_path__0p72p75p.aspx

Don’t forget, the Filmspot team have a second outing at the CMP Festival this year – on Sunday 15 July, we will present Les Enfants du Paradiswith theatrically costumed drawing sessions (drawing optional!) from Jake Spicer and DRAW: Brighton Life Drawing Sessions. More information will follow in our next blog post, but tickets are available from Dome Box Office (01273 709709), www.brightonticketshop.com or on the door.

We hope to see you soon!

Event report: Lotte Reiniger Fairytales at Eastbourne Redoubt

The Filmspot team had a great time in May at Eastbourne Redoubt‘s ‘Museums at Night event’.

Cinderella silhouette animation

Drop in screenings for Lotte Reiniger’s fairytales took place throughout the evening

Three Little Pigs shadow puppets

Visitors had the chance to try their hand at shadow puppetry, using cut outs for ‘Three Little Pigs’ or ‘Little Red Riding Hood’.

There were some interesting approaches to manipulating the puppets, including the many-legged wolf, who became known as ‘Octowolf’…

…we were surprised at how many alternative versions of the fairytales were performed. There were many wolf-eating pigs – and ninja grannies!

….there were some interesting pairings, too, including a surprise waltz between he wolf and the wood cutter!

Rachel and Rob, Co-Directors of Filmspot, with some of their creations.

We were so pleased that so many people joined us for this fantastic evening – and we thank everybody for their entertaining shadow puppetry performances. I’m sure Lotte Reiniger would have been proud of all of you!

…keen Filmspotters will be excited to learn about our next two upcoming Filmspot events.

We are very pleased to be working with the CMP Festival for the third year. This year, we will present two films at St Nicholas’s Church, Brighton.

7th July, doors 6pm (film 6.30pm): A Tale of Two Cities [1958]
This year, to celebrate Charles Dickens bicentenary, the CMP Festival will present ‘A Dickens of a Day’ – an entire day of Dickens-themed fun, including our Filmspot screening of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’.

Directed by Ralph Thomas and starring Dirk Bogarde, this adaptation Dickens’ novel is one of the most faithful to its source text. Made in 1958, it was shot in black and white because the Director felt that the book ‘was written in black and white’. Set during the French Revolution, a disillusioned lawyer, Sidney Carton (Bogarde), finds his life is turned upside down when he chooses to make a sacrifice for the woman he loves.
Crepes and galettes will be on sale prior to the film, by The French Revolution. Tickets: £7 (£5 concessions)

15th July, doors – and life drawing from 6pm (film 6.30pm): Les Enfants du Paradis [1945]
We are delighted to be presenting a very special screening together with DRAW, the Brighton Life Drawing Sessions, headed up by Jake Spicer.

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Marcel Carne’s classic melodrama is set in the teeming theatrical world of Paris of the 1830s. The three main characters are all based on historical figures – the brilliant, moonstruck mime artist Baptiste Debureau, the womanising actor Frederick Lemaitre and the murderous dandy Lacenaire. Each falls in love with, and is briefly loved by, Garance, a beautiful actress who leaves them when her freedom is threatened by their attempts to possess her. Filmed in German-occupied France, the feature is in two parts, because the Vichy government restricted film length to 90 minutes or less.

To complement the screening, DRAW will invite the audience to participate in 30 minute themed drawing sessions prior to the feature and during the interval (materials provided). Models in theatrical costume will create beautiful tableaux inspired by the film. DRAW aim to provide unique, dynamic and exciting opportunities for people to learn to draw – from the complete beginner to the professional artist. For full details, see The Draw Brighton website.

Crepes and galettes will be on sale prior to the film, and during the interval, by The French Revolution. Tickets: £7 (£5 concessions)

For full details of the CMP Festival, please see the CMP website
For tickets, contact the Brighton Dome Box Office: 01273 709709 or visit the Brighton Ticket Shop