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Messages - Jim Penn

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Cinema / Re: Now screening
« on: August 30, 2015, 09:05:45 pm »
Many thanks, Jim.  I've got it!  :laughter4:  The old Cameo-Poly which introduced me to so many French film treasures, Jules et Jim etc and severalenticing double features. 

There were showing Jules Et Jim in a double bill with Lift To The Scaffold tonight. Plus ca change... :D

Cinema / Re: Now screening
« on: August 30, 2015, 04:34:53 pm »
I assume that the refurbished cinema in Regent Street was the previously known, New Gallery kino   the much loved Academy cinema and Cameo-Poly in the Oxford Circus area

Actually, Stanley, the Regent Street Cinema is the old Cameo Poly!

It's part of the University of Westminster. It was originally the first permanent cinema in the UK, I understand (various Lumiere Bros films were shown there), and it's been through numerous guises, and for the last couple of decades it's been used as a lecture theatre, I gather. It has been refurbished and returned to its original purpose, and a lovely little cinema it is, showing a proper range of new and classic films (this afternoon, for instance, they're showing a double bill of French Can-Can and L'Atalante, and I saw A Day At The Races and A Night At The Opera there a couple of weeks ago).

Anyway, since acquiring free membership this weekend, I've now booked ahead for a screening at the end of October - Warren Beatty's Reds, showing in honour of co-screenwriter Trevor Griffiths' 80th birthday, and featuring an extended post-screening conversation and Q&A with Trevor Griffiths himself. Unmissable.

Oh, and Stanley, you REALLY don't want to know how much cinema tickets are in the capital these days. ;-)

Cinema / Re: Now screening
« on: August 29, 2015, 12:10:18 pm »
London-ish fans of repertory cinemas might like to know that for this weekend only, the recently refurbished and reopened Regent Street Cinema is offering one year's free membership. You need to register for an online account, then "purchase" a membership (at the online price of £0.00, rather than the usual full price of £40). Members get reduced price tickets at every screening...

Theatre / Re: Hamlet - Barbican Theatre
« on: August 28, 2015, 01:56:21 pm » will be not seeing Ciaran Hinds and Anastasia Hille that I’m more likely to regret. 

I don't think I've knowingly come across any of Anastasia Hille's work before, but she was recently in the C4 comedy-drama "Not Safe For Work", and I thought she was blinkin' marvellous (as indeed were the rest of the cast - I'd also pick out Zawe Ashton and Sacha Dhawan for specific praise). First couple of episodes were a proper slow burn, but I really liked how it coalesced over the run, apart from an unconvincing and all-too-convenient denouement to the final episode. Worth seeking out, I think...

The Concert Hall / Re: Crrrritic!
« on: August 26, 2015, 03:45:03 pm »

News and Current Affairs / Re: Humphrey Searle
« on: August 26, 2015, 06:41:15 am »
Ooh, might have to have a listen to the symphonies today...

Cinema / Re: Edgar Reitz - Die andere Heimat
« on: August 24, 2015, 04:35:50 pm »
I always thought the various components were "a bit short for my liking".  :naughty: But a 50 hour oeuvre does indeed sound my cup of tea... (oolong, perhaps!).

Mind you, I still feel like I should get through Fassbinder's "Berlin Alexanderplatz" first. Last attempt, I made it half way through, but lost the plot somewhere, so I've let some time pass and I think I'm getting close to another stab.

Cinema / Re: Edgar Reitz - Die andere Heimat
« on: August 24, 2015, 02:41:13 pm »
I saw this last night at our local cinema. Admirers of Reitz's three earlier 'Heimat' films, and I know there are several here, will not want to miss his return to the world of Schabbach and its neighbouring villages in the Hunsrück. Have no fear, this is every bit as meticulous and lovingly created as those earlier films, and no less keenly critical of the harsh conditions of the lives it depicts. This time Reitz goes back to the almost-revolutionary 1840s. The 'other' Heimat of the title refers to the emigration of many families in the region to a hoped for better life in Brazil in that period, and in particular the plans and dreams of two brothers in the Simon family, some of which are fulfilled and some of which are not. One of the great pleasures of the film, incidentally, is encountering the wonderful Marita Breuer again. She was Maria Simon in the previous films and this time plays an earlier member of the extended Simon family, Margarethe, the mother of the two brothers Jakob and Gustav and their sister Lena. As ever with Reitz's films, the casting is impeccable with every character somehow matched with an actor who can only have been born to play them. There is a stunning and very moving central performance from Antonia Bill as Jettchen but the whole cast is outstanding (there is one famous name who makes a brief appearance as another famous name and I'm far from sure that either the episode or the casting was a good idea but that's only a quibble).

It's a long film lasting just under four hours (plus, in our case, a ten minute interval at a natural break point, gratefully received) but sufficiently compelling throughout that it feels much shorter. It's almost entirely in black and white but, just occasionally, an object of particular emotional or other significance is briefly shown highlighted in colour. Now, I think it can safely be said that Edgar Reitz knows more than I do about how to make good films, but I still wish he hadn't done that. It's a variant, I suppose, on his decision in the earlier films to shoot most scenes in black and white but some in colour. That, to my mind anyway, worked far better than this singling out of particular objects. (Maybe it was something he did in the earlier films too(?) but I don't remember it and, if so, it was certainly less intrusive.) Again, it's only a quibble, but I definitely would have preferred it without.

The title it has been given in English, by the way, is 'Home from Home'. Highly recommended. 


Thanks for the description, George. Somehow, I've never seen any of the Heimats, though they're high on my "to do" list. :)

Cinema / Re: Now screening
« on: August 24, 2015, 01:37:27 pm »
I've recently had a first watch of Swedish film director Roy Andersson's "Living" trilogy - "Songs from the Second Floor", "You, The Living", and the fantastically named "A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence". They're all rather bleak, but darkly comedic, films, absurd (in the proper 'theatre of the absurd' sense), surreal, and utterly utterly wonderful... The plots are fairly minimal, they're all really musings on aspects of the human condition, loosely hung on slender linking narratives (the first film is "about" a furniture salesman trying to commit minor insurance fraud in a collapsing economy, the second about a woman trying to come to terms with her own depression, and the third is about an hilariously unfunny pair of travelling salesmen hawking joke shop novelties).

They are all remarkably inventive visually - each film is made up of a sequence of singular vignettes, each a self-contained scene only tangentially related to what comes before and after, and each vignette is a single static shot held for several minutes (well, almost static - across the three films, the camera moves only on three occasions, I think). The set designs are phenomenal, and the staging therein (often including hundreds of extras) is remarkable. And in amongst the philosophical musings, some little comments about Swedish history (allusions to Swedish involvement with the Nazis, and a remarkable and indescribably surreal scene in one of the films about King Charles XII's military downfall!).

I really can't compare them to anything else whatsoever - I've never seen anything remotely like any of them. But for anyone of a more serious "world cinema" bent, I recommend them without hesitation.

The Coffee Bar / Re: Six Letter Word Game
« on: August 20, 2015, 11:05:37 am »
Snow leopards entering extinction phase, sadly.


The Coffee Bar / Re: Six Letter Word Game
« on: August 19, 2015, 03:55:45 pm »
Negligent economist readily venerates extreme solutions.


The Coffee Bar / Re: Six Letter Word Game
« on: August 19, 2015, 09:16:46 am »
Serbian harpsichordist accidentally rapped knuckles sharply.


News and Current Affairs / Roger Smalley
« on: August 19, 2015, 09:09:10 am »
I see that composer/pianist Roger Smalley passed away yesterday... :(

The Coffee Bar / Re: Six Letter Word Game
« on: August 17, 2015, 01:36:21 pm »
With hindsight, every neocon candidate exasperates.


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