All posts by Pam Jahn

Close-Up Film Course: Surrealism in Cinema from Luis Buñuel to David Lynch

Surrealism

Close-Up Film Course: Surrealism in Cinema from Luis Buñuel to David Lynch
Lecturer: Virginie Sélavy
Dates: 26 February, 5, 12, 19, 26 March 2019
Time: 7-9pm
Venue: Close-Up Film Centre, London
Fees: £75 / £60 conc. / £50 Close-Up members
Book tickets on the Close-Up website

Electric Sheep founder Virginie Sélavy explores the influence of Surrealism on cinema in a new and expanded five-week film course running from 26 February – 26 March 2019 at London’s Close-Up Film Centre.

Surrealism is one of the art movements that has had the strongest influence on cinema and its impact has lasted to the present day. Emerging at the beginning of the 20th century when cinema was still in its infancy, its focus on dreams and the unconscious made it particularly apt to help shape the new art of moving images. Rejecting a rational approach to the world, the Surrealists led by André Breton sought to free mankind from artistic as well as moral and social conventions, liberating imagination to reveal the deeper connections between dream and reality. Their revolutionary artistic techniques had a political dimension and aimed at shaking up the established order in the widest sense. Central to this art of revolt were themes of violence and desire, their subversive intensity deployed to shock audiences out of their complacent worldviews.

This five-week course will explore the influence of Surrealism on cinema from the beginnings of the movement through to 1960s psychedelia and experimentation, up until its more recent incarnation in the films of Guy Maddin and David Lynch.

Course breakdown

Week 1 – The Beginnings of Surrealist cinema
Luis Buñuel and Salvador Duanš’s Un chien andalou (1929) and L’âge d’or (1930), Germaine Dulac and Antonin Artaud’s The Seashell and the Clergyman (1928), Jean Cocteau’s The Blood of a Poet (1931)

Week 2 – Luis Buñuel and Spanish-Latin American Surrealism
The later part of Luis Buñuel’s career, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Juan López Moctezuma and Panique

Week 3 – Post-war Surrealism in France
Georges Franju, Jean Rollin, Walerian Borowczyk, Roland Topor, Jean Ferry and Harry Kümel

Week 4 – Eastern European Surrealism 1960s-70s
Jaromil Jireš’s Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970), Věra Chytilová’s Daisies (1966), Jan Němec’s The Party and the Guests (1966), Dušan Makavejev’s W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism (1971), Wojciech Has’ Hourglass Sanatorium (1973), Andrzej Żuławski’s The Devil (1972)

Week 5 – Surrealism in contemporary cinema
Jan Švankmajer, Brothers Quay, Terry Gilliam, Guy Maddin, David Lynch

(This content is indicative and not a detailed plan of each class)

———————————————————————————————

Virginie Sélavy is the founder and editor of Electric Sheep, the online magazine for transgressive cinema. She was the co-director of The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies – London from January 2015 to December 2017. She has edited the collection of essays The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology, and has written a chapter for Lost Girls: The Phantasmagorical Cinema of Jean Rollin and contributed to World Directory Cinema: Eastern Europe and Film Locations: Cities of the Imagination – London. Her work has appeared in various publications, including Sight & Sound, Rolling Stone France, Cineaste and Frieze. She lectures on film and regularly gives talks on topics ranging from women exploitation directors to Michael Reeves, sorcery and the counterculture. She is currently working on a book on Sado-Masochism in cinema.

For more information visi

Le fantastique: A Curious Tour of the French Weird

Le fantastique: A Curious Tour of the French Weird
Lecturer: Virginie Sélavy
Dates: 25 October 2018
Time: 6.30pm
Venue: BFI Southbank, London
Fee: £6.50
Tickets go on on sale at 11.30am on 25 September 2018
BFI website

Electric Sheep founder Virginie Sélavy traces the development of Le Cinéma fantastique in a talk to introduce the forthcoming BFI film season ‘Fantastique: The Dream Worlds of French Cinema‘.

“What pleases is what is terrible, gentle, and poetic”
Georges Franju

From the very first films by the Lumière brothers, French cinema has been perceived as tending towards the real; but there’s an alternative tradition that also stretches back to the dawn of cinema – that of the fantastique. It incorporates elements of fantasy, horror and science fiction into bizarre, atmospheric tales in which the unexplained and the supernatural intrude into reality. From the magical illusions of Georges Méliès, the fantastique flourished again during the German occupation, reached poetic heights in the films of Jean Cocteau and Georges Franju, found parallel expressions in Belgium, and was revitalised in the post-New Wave 1970s and beyond.

Taking in fairy tales, horror and science fiction, the marvellous and the strange, the dreamlike and the uncanny, Le Cinéma fantastique is a French filmic tradition ripe for rediscovery. In this talk, Virginie Sélavy will trace its development from Georges Méliès to Lucile Hadžihalilović, looking at the influence of Surrealism, the wartime golden age and the experiments of the 1970s, up to the present day.

———————————————————————————————

Virginie Sélavy is the founder and editor of Electric Sheep, the online magazine for transgressive cinema. She was the co-director of the London branch of The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies from January 2015 to December 2017. She has edited the collection of essays The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology, and has written about Jean Rollin, Michael Powell and Victorian London on film. Her work has appeared in various publications, including Sight & Sound, Cineaste and Monstrum. She regularly gives talks and runs courses on topics ranging from women exploitation directors to Surrealism and May 68. She is currently working on a book on Sado-Masochism in cinema.

Witches and Witchfinders: Sorcery and counterculture in the films of Michael Reeves

Witches and Witchfinders: Sorcery and counterculture in the films of Michael Reeves

Lecturer: Virginie Sélavy

Dates: 17 October 2018

Time: 7pm – 10pm

Venue: Horse Hospital, London

Fees: £8 advance/£10 on the door

Tickets are on sale via www.wegottickets.com

Horse Hospital website

To mark the 50th anniversary of the release of Witchfinder General, Electric Sheep founder Virginie Sélavy explores the sorcery theme that runs through director Michael Reeves’s work.

Best known for his savage tale of religious persecution Witchfinder General (1968), director Michael Reeves only completed three feature films in his short life. Despite this, he remains a hugely influential figure of 1960s British cinema, and a singular voice in the countercultural context of the time. Through his three films, Reeves offered a unique and contrary take on the dominant themes of the period, notably freedom and rebellion, which he strikingly framed, in all three cases, within stories of sorcery.

Indebted to Mario Bava’s Black Sunday (1960) and sharing its female star, Barbara Steele, Reeves’s first feature film, Revenge of the Blood Beast (1966), drops a hip young English couple into an Eastern European backwater steeped in legend and superstition. His following film, The Sorcerers (1967), locates witchery in contemporary London and connects it with the nascent psychedelic scene. With its tale of a young couple tormented by a spiteful witch hunter, Witchfinder General is no less permeated by contemporary concerns with generational conflict, oppressive authority and individual revolt, despite the fact that it is set in the 17th century.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the release of Witchfinder General, this talk will examine the sorcery theme that runs through Reeves’s work in relation to key countercultural ideas and place it in the context of other witch films of the period. It will show that under the cool, liberated, thrill-seeking, free-love, anti-authoritarian surface of the 1960s Reeves sees the dark side of the cultural revolution and reveals mankind’s eternal propensity for violence.

———————————————————————————————

Virginie Sélavy is the founder and editor of Electric Sheep, the online magazine for transgressive cinema. She was the co-director of the London branch of The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies from January 2015 to December 2017. She has edited the collection of essays The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology, and has written about Jean Rollin, Michael Powell and Victorian London on film. Her work has appeared in various publications, including Sight & Sound, Cineaste and Monstrum. She regularly gives talks and runs courses on topics ranging from women exploitation directors to Surrealism and May 68. She is currently working on a book on Sado-Masochism in cinema.

For more information visit the Horse Hospital website.

Cannes 2018 Preview

Cannes 2018

Cannes International Film Festival
8-19 May 2018
Cannes, France
Cannes website

The Cannes Film Festival is planning to shake things up a bit during its 71st edition.

When the official festival line-up was announced last month, a sigh went through the crowd. Not only had Netflix been barred from this year’s Official Competition, but what’s worse was the repeatedly low number of female directors on display – only three out of 21 this time, undoubtedly a meagre result.

Continue reading Cannes 2018 Preview

21 May 2018: Sex, Politics, Art and Revolution: French Cinema in 1968

21 May 2018: Sex, Politics, Art and Revolution: French Cinema in 1968

Lecturer: Virginie Sélavy
Dates: 21 May 2018
Time: 7pm
Venue: Close-Up Film Centre, London
Fees: £15 / £12 conc. / £10 Close-Up members
Close-Up website

Electric Sheep founder Virginie Sélavy explores the influence of May 68 on the major French films released that year and looks at their contrasting vision.

1968 was a year of revolutionary turmoil all over the world, from anti-Vietnam war, feminist activism and civil rights protests in the USA to student demonstrations in Japan and Mexico and uprisings in Poland and Czechoslovakia. In France, student protests and a general workers’ strike brought the country to a standstill in May 68, marking a key moment of social, ideological and generational rupture.

Continue reading 21 May 2018: Sex, Politics, Art and Revolution: French Cinema in 1968

Electric Sheep Film Show February 2018

Blade Runner

audioBooks on film – Blade Runner and The Prisoner: In this month’s show, Alex Fitch talks to two exceptional writer-directors about their writing on film and adapting classic texts into movies. Alex Cox discusses his book I Am (Not) a Number, which investigates a potential solution to the mystery of The Prisoner, and two of his films: Three Businessmen and Death and the Compass, which is based on the short story by Jorge Luis Borges.

Continue reading Electric Sheep Film Show February 2018

Berlinale 2018 Preview

Berlinale 2018

Berlin International Film Festival
15 – 25 February 2018
Berlin, Germany
Berlinale website

With over 400 films on show, the Berlinale offers an incredibly eclectic, fun and hugely exciting blend of new cinema.

With over 400 films to screen over the next ten days, the Berlinale retains the lead as the first big European festival event of the year. The selection films presented in Competition this time round reach from high-profile premieres like Wes Anderson’s fantastical new stop-motion animated feature Isle of Dogs, which serves as the festival’s opening feature, and Gus Van Sants Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot , starring Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, Jack Black, and Udo Kier, to bold new works from always exciting directors such as Christian Petzold (Transit), Philip Gröning (My Brother’s Name is Robert and He is an Idiot), Laura Bispuri (Figlia mia), Lav Diaz (Season of the Devil) and Steven Soderbergh (Unsane), starring Claire Foy and shot completely on iPhone.

Continue reading Berlinale 2018 Preview

Electric Sheep Film Show Special: 50 Years of The Prisoner

The Prisoner: Living in Harmony

audio50 Years of The Prisoner: A special two hour programme celebrating the 50th anniversary of classic cult TV show The Prisoner. Alex Fitch talks to two editors of the show – Ian Rakoff and John S. Smith – and hosts a live commentary track for the episode ‘Living in Harmony’ with Smith, Rakoff (who also wrote the episode), Prisoner historian Rick Davy, and Rob Fairclough, writer of The Official Prisoner Companion book.

Continue reading Electric Sheep Film Show Special: 50 Years of The Prisoner