Fortresses: Hidden, black, ancient, high-rise and alternative
This month we are proud to present a 35mm screening of Michael Mann’s rare 1983 film The Keep in collaboration with Cigarette Burns at the Prince Charles in London on 21 February. This is the occasion for a look at fortresses on film, with reviews of The Keep, Akira Kurosawa’s feudal Japan tale The Hidden Fortress and housing project-set shocker Citadel, an interview with Citadel director Ciaran Foy, a feature on alternative fortresses and a Comic Strip Review of Time Bandits. And we also have a Reel Sounds column on the Tangerine Dream soundtrack to Michael Mann’s Thief.
Manga Adaptations: Tackling Fukushima, delinquent school boys and vengeful women
As the Terracotta Festival presents the UK premiere of Sion Sono’s Himizu this month, using a comic to tackle the fallout from Fukushima, we take a look at manga adaptations with Takashi Miike’s stylised, violent high school movie Crows Zero, Toshiya Fujita’s 70s revenge tale Lady Snowblood: Blizzard from the Netherworld, Korean manhwa vampire Western Priest and SF actioner Gantz while the Reel Sounds column focuses on Ichi the Killer.
We have an interview with French director Dominik Moll for The Monk, adapted from Matthew Lewis’s Gothic novel. In Short Cuts we report back on the Flatpack festival, in Alter Ego Darran McCann is George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life and the Dominion of Canada column looks at ice hockey movies.
PODCASTS: Roee Rosen: Vile, Evil Veil: Israeli artist, writer and filmmaker Roee Rosen talks about his first UK solo exhibition Vile, Evil Veil, which consists of the installation Live and Die as Eva Braun, exploring the life of Hitler’s lover in the bunker at the end of the Second World War, and the film Out (Tse), which stages a sado-masochist exorcism between a queer left-wing activist and a possessed ultra-nationalist woman. Rosen discusses the dynamic of power in human relationships, both personal and political, the importance of the victim/victimiser dichotomy in Israeli identity and how to exorcise the demon in all of us.
PODCAST: Kosmos: Russian scholar Sergei Kapterev (Institute of Cinema Art in Moscow) talks about Soviet science fiction, the connection between SF cinema and politics, the impact of the space race and the importance of Andrei Tarkovsky. Plus, in a Q&A recorded at SCI-FI-LONDON in 2010, Alex Fitch talks to Polish poster designer Andrzej Klimowski and SF writer/journalist Wojciech Orliński about cinematic adaptations of the work of Stanislaw Lem.
New cinema releases include Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Micmacs and Japanese debut Asyl, which centres on an unusual â€˜love hotel’ in Tokyo. We examine how Takeshi Kitano confronts his â€˜Beat’ Takeshi persona in the long-awaited Takeshis’ to offer an iconoclastic dissection of fame. We also have a profile of veteran cinematographer Wolf Suschitzky. In our blog, we discuss our favourite Hitchcock blondes in anticipation of the Blonde Crazy retrospective at Birds Eye View next month and we have reports on the Berlinale and the Himalaya Film and Cultural Festival.
In Short Cuts, we have a report on the 7th London Short Film Festival, which once more offered many memorable moments, while in our Alter Ego column Welcome to Mars author Ken Hollings tells us why he would be Astro Boy if he was a film character. Finally, quirky pop genius Lightspeed Champion picks his favourite films in the Film Jukebox.
PODCASTS: Alex Fitch interviews celebrated actress Susannah York about her career, focusing on her performances in war-themed productions and her interest in peace activism.
The cinematic year is off to a promising start with some excellent new releases. First off is Breathless, an explosive, unforgettable South Korean drama about the unlikely love story between a gangster and a school girl â€“ an absolute must-see. Also worthy of attention are John Hillcoat’s stunningly bleak adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Jacques Audiard’s accomplished gangster saga A Prophet, as well as Mexican new wave gem I’m Gonna Explode, a fresh take on the young lovers on the run storyline. We have an interview with Stuart Hazeldine, director of cerebral thriller Exam while the testosterone-overloaded British gangster drama 44 Inch Chest is also out this month.
In the DVD releases we look at Peter Watkins’s 1967 musical/political conspiracy film Privilege starring Manfred Mann’s Paul Jones, and jaw-dropping 70s Japanese bubblegum horror movie House. We also have an interview with Park Chan-wook about his latest film Thirst, released on DVD this month.
Following on from the Sheffied Doc/Fest in November 09, we have an interview with Kazuo Hara about his landmark 1974 documentary Extreme Private Eros. We also talked to Michel Negroponte who explained how he got personally involved in I’m Dangerous with Love, a documentary in which he explores the â€˜ibogaine underground’ â€“ drug addicts using a West African hallucinogen as unofficial detox treatment.
In the Short Cuts, we have an article on the London Short Film Festival Rich Pickings event, which explores the Lolita figure through a mixture of short films, music videos and discussions. We review the latest instalment of the Tateshots series of film podcasts, which explores the links between music and art through interviews with musicians such as Billy Childish and Lydia Lunch. Canadian punks Fucked Up are our guests in the Film Jukebox and their frontman Pink Eyes tells us about his 10 favourite films. And finally here’s our pick of the best and worst films of 2009.
PODCASTS: Alex Fitch talks to writer, editor and raconteur Ian Rakoff about his experiences working on The Prisoner.
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