In a pair of Q&As recorded at the Electric Sheep Film Club, in the Prince Charles Cinema in London, Alex Fitch talks to BFI programmer Emma Smart about gay themes in Westerns after a screening of Midnight Cowboy and to Ian Rakoff about the crossover between Western-themed comics and movies before a screening of For a few Dollars More.
Ian Rakoff will talk about ‘Magical realism and social realism in comics’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum on 21 July 2010.
This blaxploitation classic has it all: sleaze, violence, badasss mamas, nasty drug pushers, mean inner city streets and a funky score by Willie Hutch. But what makes it truly special is the formidable Pam ‘a whole lotta woman’ Grier (who returned as Jackie Brown in Tarantino’s homage to the genre), handing out magnificently spirited ass-whippings to the bad guys in this outré tale of revenge in the ghetto. Exploitation specialist Jack Hill directs, and Foxy’s no-good brother is played by Antonio Vargas, better known as Huggy Bear in Starsky and Hutch.
Guest speaker: Rebecca Johnson, award-winning writer/filmmaker, director of Top Girl, the Brixton-set story of a fearless young girl coming of age in a man’s world.
FILM WRITING COMPETITION:
Film students and aspiring film writers are invited to enter our film writing competition: write a 200-word review of Foxy Brown and send it to ladyvengeance [at] electricsheepmagazine.com, marked ‘Film writing competition’ in the subject line. A film expert to be announced shortly will pick the best entry. Deadline: Thursday 29 July. The selected review will be published on the Electric Sheep website in August. Read the May winning review of Midnight Cowboy.
On the Silver Globe is an esoteric Polish sci-fi epic directed by Andrzej Żuławski in 1977 – then lost and believed destroyed by the authorities for a decade before its cinema release. In 2009, the film was screened at Tate Modern as part of a mini-season of films titled ‘Polish New Wave – The History of a Phenomenon that Never Existed’. Looking ahead to the release of this film on DVD in the UK, Alex Fitch talks to Andrzej Żuławski about his struggles in getting the film released and the travails involved in making his horror films The Third Part of the Night (1971) and Possession (1981) under the eyes of a communist regime.
Alex Fitch also talks to Polish poster designer Andrzej Klimowski and his wife Danusia Schejbal (famously depicted as the victim of an assassin’s bullet on Klimowski’s poster for Robert Altman’s Nashville) about working on the fringes of Polish filmmaking in the late 1970s and whether the films of the time could be seen as belonging to an artistic movement.
Andrzej Żuławski will be the focus of a retrospective at this year’s Kinoteka festival which runs from 7-28 April 2016.
In Sergio Leone’s masterful follow-up to A Fistful of Dollars, Clint Eastwood is a laconic money-driven bounty hunter who forms an uneasy partnership with Lee Van Cleef’s justice-seeking Colonel Mortimer as they pursue Gian Maria Volonté’s deranged, psychotic bandit. Add Klaus Kinski to that already phenomenal cast, and you have one hell of a movie, with Leone’s cynical world view, sadistically inventive violence, black humour and epic grandeur enriched by Ennio Morricone’s lush score. This one absolutely has to be seen on the big screen to appreciate its full splendour!
Guest speaker: Comic artists Tim Keable and Andrew Cheverton, creators of the ongoing West series, are no longer able to attend the screening but we are very pleased to welcome Ian Rakoff, screenwriter, film editor, comic book collector, author of Inside The Prisoner: Radical Television and Film in the 1960s, and writer of the Western episode of Patrick McGoohan’s TV series The Prisoner, who will introduce the screening with a discussion of Westerns with Electric Sheep’s Alex Fitch.
FILM WRITING COMPETITION:
Film students and aspiring film writers are invited to enter our film writing competition: write a 200-word review of For a Few Dollars More and send it to ladyvengeance [at] electricsheepmagazine.com, marked ‘Film writing competition’ in the subject line. Howard Hughes, author of Spaghetti Westerns (Kamera Books), a well-researched, detailed analysis of the genre illustrated with rare colour posters and stills, will select the best review. Deadline: Thursday 24 June. The selected review will be published on the Electric Sheep website in July. Read the April winning review of Battle Royale.
Next screening: WEDNESDAY 14 JULY: Blaxploitation classic Foxy Brown!
In the latest Electric Sheep podcast, we’re looking at apocalyptic movies: Virginie Sélavy talks to John Hillcoat, director of the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road in an interview recorded at last year’s London Film Festival, plus Alex Fitch talks to Helen McCarthy, a British expert on manga, anime and Japanese visual culture, in a Q and A recorded before the Electric Sheep screening of Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale at the Prince Charles Cinema.
The Roxy’s Extraordinary Film Season runs from April 4 to June 8 and ranges from a double-bill of The Wizard of Oz and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert to a rare screening of 7-hour art-house epic Sí¡tí¡ntangí³, a double-bill of Alan Clarke’s original Elephant with Van Sant’s more recent Elephant, plus the likes of The Blues Brothers, Stalker, Akira, El Topo, Boiling Point and many many more.
There will be specially commissioned live rescores for Murnau’s The Last Laugh, Keaton’s The General, and The Colour of Pomegranates, a jazz improvised score to the Czech surrealist classic Daisies, and an electronic rescore of The Last Man on Earth, starring Vincent Price playing in a double-bill with Night of the Living Dead.
All films will be introduced by guest speakers, including Electric Sheep writers and contributors Jason Wood, Ben Cobb, Alex Fitch and Virginie Sélavy.
The massively influential, acclaimed documentary from Errol Morris, with introduction by writer / programmer Jason Wood + a documentary on Philip Glass and a live performance of Glass’s The Metamorphosis for Piano, featured in The Thin Blue Line. One of three documentaries screening as part of the season, The Thin Blue Line is quite unarguably an extraordinary documentary, from one of cinema’s most distinctive and influential filmmakers.
Sunday 30th May, starts 2pm: Enter the Dragon + Boiling Point + Hard Boiled
‘Gun-Fu’ day with a treble bill of classic Hong Kong action movies with Electric Sheep assistant editor Alex Fitch and Resonance FM presenter Zoe Baxter introducing.
Two films released a year apart that pushed the boundaries of the Western genre, introduced by film writer Ben Cobb. First up, Sam Peckinpah’s Western, classically placed in… Cornwall. With no horses. But this has Peckinpah’s classic themes of masculinity, territory and of course, violence; here ratcheted up a notch with an extraordinary rape scene that provoke outrage, shock and discussion perhaps not equalled until Gasper Noe’s Irreversible. El Topo follows, from the near legendary Mexican Alejandro Jodorowsky who stars, directs, writes, composes, etc. etc. Insane, theatrical hallucination? Surreal, ultra-violent Western?
Fabulous, entertaining Czech surrealist film, with a live jazz improv score from band Monkey Say Monkey Do, and introduced by Electric Sheep magazine editor Virginie Sélavy. A fabulous, riotous surrealist movie from the Czech 60’s new wave. The loose narrative follows the adventures of two girls as they revolt against a decaying and oppressive society through various pranks, mischief and an epic food fight. Hilarious, entertaining and wholly unique. The excellent Monkey Say Monkey Do jazz group will be performing an improvised live score to the film.
F.W. Murnau’s groundbreaking early movie, with a live rescore from The McCarricks and introduced by Electric Sheep assistant editor Alex Fitch. The season ends on a high with the first live performance of a specially-commissioned rescore by The McCarricks to a movie that shocked and amazed on its release with its never before seen use of moving camera and point-of-view shots replacing any intertitles or dialogue. With director F.W. Murnau and lead actor Emil Jannings (who also contributed the idea for the ending of the film) at the height of their powers this was a masterpiece of the German Expressionism movement and a landmark movie in cinema history.
ART BY CHANCE Ultra Short Film Festival airs on more than 20 countries and 100 cities worldwide. For this festival, you don’t need to buy a ticket or go to a movie theatre! Movies just pop into your lives in subways, buses, airports, shopping malls, trains, sports centers, art galleries, museums, cafes and bars! Internationally selected and themed creative short films catch you unexpectedly while traveling in the subway, waiting at the airport, shopping or just strolling around. Digital screens scattered around the city your host for this festival.
Centring on the love story between two drifters, one a naive ‘cowboy’ from Texas turned gigolo (John Voight), the other a diseased conman (Dustin Hoffman), John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy is a landmark of American 60s cinema. Remarkable for its powerful, improvisatory performances, its honest depiction of urban squalor and isolation and its obligatory 60s formal flourishes, it is one of the most memorable of the hippie-era films that so poignantly convey the period’s disillusion over America’s broken dreams.
FILM WRITING COMPETITION:
Film students and aspiring film writers are invited to enter our film writing competition: write a 200-word review of Midnight Cowboy and send it to ladyvengeance [at] electricsheepmagazine.com, marked ‘Film writing competition’ in the subject line. Time Out film critic Tom Huddleston will select the best review. Deadline: Thursday 27 May. The selected review will be published on the Electric Sheep website in May. This is a regular feature of the Electric Sheep Film Club. Read the March winning review of Careful.
Next screening: WEDNESDAY 9 JUNE: Sergio Leone’s For a Few Dollars More
Electric Sheep Magazine hosts a Rough Trade Shops’ RoTa afternoon of film, music and discussion in the underbelly of Notting Hill.
Main feature: Luc Besson’s fantastic sci-fi movie The Last Battle!
Presented with a new live soundtrack by TIME!
+ Apocalyptic garage punk from Speak and the Spells!
+ Apocalyptic shorts!
+ Resonance FM DJ Robin Warren spins soundtrack tunes!
We are very excited to present an apocalyptic afternoon in collaboration with Sci-Fi London. We will be showing Luc Besson’s stunning first feature The Last Battle, about one man trying to survive in a devastated future world. Starring Jean Reno, it has all of Besson’s stylistic flair but is unlike anything else he has made since. Surreal, blackly funny and visually striking, it is a fascinating addition to the post-apocalyptic sci-fi genre.
Sci-Fi London runs from April 28 to May 3 at the Apollo Piccadilly Circus Cinema, London.
The Last Battle will be shown with a live soundtrack by innovative string and synths duo TIME. Frances Morgan (former editor of Plan B Magazine) and Mark Dicker weave a web of sound where warm harmonies slowly mutate into saturated riffs while haunting vocals add a dimension of storytelling.
+ Speak and the Spells play a fast and furious set of garage instrumentals to bring about the end of the world.
+ Apocalyptic short films:
The Last Breath (David Jackson, UK, 2009, 10 min): When the Kelvin family surfaces after scuba diving in a lake, they find that the air has become toxic. With their tanks running low they embark on a race against time to reach the nearby dive hut. Tight and tense, this is a fantastic 10-minute thrill ride! It was produced by VBM Productions.
Die Schneider Krankheit (Javier Chillí³n, Spain, 2008, 10 min): This fantastic short presents itself as a newsreel recounting the rapid spread of a deadly virus after a spaceship containing a chimpanzee crashes in West Germany. The 50s newsreel style is perfectly reproduced, while the reasonable tone of the reporter is brilliantly contrasted with the outlandish events depicted. See more images on Die Schneider Krankheit website.
Choreomania (Louis Paxton, UK, 2009, 9 min): The zombie movie is given a comic and very British twist as a man on his way to work tries to escape the dancing plague that has turned everyone in town into twitchy ravers. Very funny!