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Posts from July 2017

What do young people really want from your cinema?

Posted Thursday 20 July 2017 by Duncan Carson in FEDS scheme

Daphne
Daphne, one of two titles selected for the new youth-focused BFI FAN New Release Strategy

Guest post by Alice Quigley, Marketing Manager, Film Hub South West & West Midlands

On a fairly frequent basis - at events, during workshops, in articles - I’ve heard people say that young people aren’t that interested in the cinema anymore. Which would be a huge cause for concern if it were true. However, in her excellent recent article for Sight & Sound, Screening it for themselves: young DIY British film programmers, Simran Hans points out that 15-to-24 year olds are in fact the largest sector of the cinema-going audience and last year accounted for 29% of the UK cinema audience and goes on to spotlight some of the many interesting events young programmers across the UK are working on. Admittedly a decent swathe of this percentage are watching blockbusters at the multiplex, but that isn’t the full story. Loads of independent venues are doing great work already to welcome this age range, but there is plenty more we as the independent exhibition sector can do to make sure our doors are truly open to people this age.

Since BFI announced a focus on developing young audiences, specifically aged 16-30 in their recent BFI2022 strategy, there has been a flurry of activity to come up with the answers to get this age group through cinema doors. While 16-30s are frequently cited as ‘hard to reach’, from what I’ve seen, heard and experienced via various projects, the key to reaching them is relatively simple and can be boiled down to one piece of advice: talk to them. 

It’s something I’m conscious of trying to do more of, especially now that the BFI Film Audience Network’s New Release Strategy (NRS) is also focussing on the 16-30 age (more on that at the end of this article). So, while hosting a Young Creatives Focus Group at ICO’s recent Screening Days in Leicester to get their thoughts on the NRS shortlisted films, I thought it would be a good idea to start off by asking them what they thought we could do to get more people their age watching independent films at the cinema. The dos and don’ts that they came up with are disarmingly straightforward and form the beginnings of a solid roadmap for anyone interested in reaching out more to young audiences.

God's Own Country
God's Own Country, one of two titles selected for the new youth-focused BFI FAN New Release Strategy

Do: Add Value

Competition for time and hard-earned money is stiff, and young people expect more from their entertainment activities. They don’t want just a film - they can get this from the comfort of their own home - they want a night out. Think about how you can make a screening a more social experience with post-show conversations, party nights and themed food and drinks. (My favourite example was one young programmer who served up Chicken Kievs at their Eurovision night held this year in Kiev, Ukraine.)

Do: Work with young people

Why waste time second guessing what will get a younger audience into your cinema when you can work with young people to programme, promote and run events? Yes it does take time to support them through the process, and it does mean handing over control to an extent, but if you empower young programmers and producers to create, promote and manage events the rewards are plentiful: new energy and ideas, a surprising amount of fun and potentially lots of new, younger faces in the audience.

Do: Price your tickets to suit

Harking back to young people are skint - they really, really are - this was a unanimous point by all the young creatives at the Focus Group and is backed up by various pieces of research citing price as a key barrier to entry for young people.  Having a clear, simple, consistent and well-communicated youth ticket offer does pay off.

Young Audiences focus group
The assembled young audiences focus group at Screening Days in July, including some of our FEDS trainees!

Do: Go to where young people are

Think about taking events to where young people hang out. If that’s not an option, then make the effort to go and talk to them (or get other young people to go and talk to them) where they hang out. Find out what they’re passionate about and what they want to see in the cinema. Listen to them and, most importantly, respond to what they say. It can be pretty disheartening if you don’t pay heed to their ideas, which will naturally be different to yours.

Do: Get on board with GIFs

A cute cat GIF can go a long way. Love it or hate it you’ve got to embrace it. This generation are visual animals so leave the lengthy copy behind and get on board with good quality social assets. If you’re not a natural social media user then get someone that enjoys it to take the reins. 

Don’t assume

Think that young people are only interested in super-hero franchises? Think back to your late teens and early twenties. This is a time of cultural awakening and young people are more interested in the experimental and avant-garde than a lot of older people (who can get tired and just want to watch First Dates and drink wine, no blame here). There is a world of amazing cinema to discover, both new and old, and many of the people I spoke to were fed up with the risk-averse nature of youth programming.

Don’t make nominal gestures

The young people I talked to were well aware when venues made nominal gestures - suddenly programming one or two youth events and getting disheartened when not a lot of people turn up. Maybe you didn’t get it quite right this time but stick with it. If you don’t believe you are building a relationship (which takes time) then it’s never going to work. Talk to people, make changes, see what works, build trust and sustain a consistent offer for young people in your area.

Graffiti
Sadly, it's going to take more than emojis and graffiti fonts to get young people interested in your cinema or film festival (Photo by Paulette Wooten on Unsplash)

Don’t use youth speak

Overcome with a desire to speak in emojis? Think that jazzy graffiti-style font is going to attract a youth audience? They are going to smell your over-30-year-old-self a mile off. By all means work with young people to write copy and come up with promotional ideas, but if that’s not possible at least keep your tone and marketing simple and authentic.

The BFI Film Audience Network have announced the next two titles to receive New Release Strategy support:God’s Own Country (1 Sept, Picturehouse) and Daphne (29 Sept, Altitude). These films were presented at ICO Screening Days and discussed in detail with the Young Creative Focus Group. Surprise surprise, the Focus Group had lots of different ideas about the two films, underlining that young people are not a homogenous group who all think the same thing. Their campaign ideas will form a key part of our approach to these films, so you can expect to hear lots of opportunities and ideas for engaging with audiences aged 16-30 in the coming weeks. As with all NRS films, you will receive an expanded marketing pack containing everything you need to successfully promote the films including top quality social assets, engaging copy and great event ideas. Both films are now available to book via the distributors.

If you show NRS films and are interested in additional event or marketing activity, you can also access support from your local Film Hub: get in touch with them to register your interest and for more information. 

The young creatives who attended the Focus Group were reached via BFI Young FAN (previously Young Programmers Network), a source of advice and opportunities for people working with young programming groups. If you’re interested in finding out more, please visit their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/BFIYoungFAN/.

News Round Up July 2017

Posted Thursday 13 July 2017 by Ellen Reay in General, News Round-up

India On Film collection 3

ICO News

  • We're pleased to announce we're bringing nine treasures of Indian cinema on tour this Autumn with India on Film. Our carefully curated season spans the breadth of the subcontinent's rich cinematic history, taking in everything from early neorealist treasures - some lost for decades - to a 1995 musical Baz Luhrmann would envy. We've negotiated exclusive booking terms on these rare DCP and 35mm prints, as well as a number of added value introductions. Find out more about the season here.
  • Applications are now open for REACH: Strategic Audience Development. Got an idea to boost audiences but could do with ironing out the kinks? Benefit from expert guidance to ensure you get the results you want. There are a number of bursaries available to help you with the course fees, accommodation and travel. Find out what past participants thought of the course and apply by Monday 24 July 2017.
  • The best British debuts of the last twenty years are back where they belong on the big screen now that BAFTA Debuts is touring the country. Think your end of summer programme could do with the boost of a contemporary British classic? It's not too late to join in the tour! With great films and added content from star directors such as Amma Asante, Asif Kapadia and Joe Wright, it's a great time to celebrate the best British filmmaking talent
  • Our fifth programme from our archive touring programme, Britain on Film: LGBT Britain, launched at the end of June with a screening at BFI Southbank in partnership with Pride London. These films spanning 1909 to 1994 document the profoundly courageous activism and the shifting personal and political attitudes to LGBT people throughout a time of explosive social change. Find out how to book Britain on Film: LGBT Britain for your venue from as little as £20. Check out the trailer!
  • We had a great maiden trip to Phoenix in Leicester for Summer Screening Days last weekend. Thanks again to the BFI, Filmbankmedia and Cinema For All for their support and all the distributors who provided us with exciting new releases. Our next Screening Days will take place at HOME in Manchester from the 4 to 6 November (subject to confirmation). Keep an eye on your inbox for more information in the coming months.
  • From the 19-24 June, film festival professionals from all over the world gathered in Edinburgh for our Developing Your Film Festival course. Find out some news on the #DYFF17 hashtag and we're sure to have a round up in the future.

Opportunities

  • There are lots of great vacancies available on our jobs page at the minute, from working with Film Hub Wales to projecting at the legendary Prince Charles Cinema.
  • Are you 16-19? Passionate about film? Want a career in the film industry? Then the BFI Film Academy  Programme is for you.  Open to young people from anywhere in the UK and from any background, the BFI Film Academy offers a real chance to be part of our future film industry. Apply now.
  • Are you an exhibitor in the West Midlands? Film Hub SWWM have got free shorts you can show before your features. Find out more.
  • Call for Submissions! Have you run a great access project recently? BFI Film Audience Network would love you to submit a short written case study based on your project. Check out The Bigger Picture for example case studies. You can download the template here and submit your case studies (including hi-res pictures!) by 25 July to Toki Allison, BFI FAN Access Officer: toki@filmhubwales.org
  • Applications are now open for Cinema For All's Film Society of the Year Awards. There are 11 awards to apply for, from our newest award Best Single Event, to the overall prize of Film Society or Community Cinema of the Year. So get applying!
  • As part of Cinema Rediscovered Film Hub SWWM are running a practice-based afternoon, featuring our own Jemma Buckley, looking at different approaches to presenting screen heritage events. To sign up, register via this form by 14 July.
  • The Smalls are launching a new initiative - The Smalls Film Fund – an annual production grant that will be awarded to a member of our community to develop and produce the short film of their dreams. The fund aims to be the launching pad for filmmakers to gain the momentum and thrust necessary to not only create ground-breaking, cutting-edge films, but to also drive their careers full steam ahead. Find out more: https://www.thesmalls.com/film-fund/home
  • Film London's short film scheme, London Calling, has opened again for applications. London Calling nurtures and champions the capital’s most exciting breakthrough filmmaking talent with a comprehensive package of production funding, training and expert mentoring. Apply now.
  • Aged 18-25 and love cinema? Raindance Film Festival are offering special discounted 18-25 festival passes to this year's festival taking place from 20 September - 1 October 2017.
  • THIS WAY UP 17 invites film exhibitors from across the UK and Europe to come together to explore new ideas, emerging audience trends and the future of cinema.  It's taking place at Hull Truck Theatre on Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 November 2017. Book your pass for This Way Up conference now.
  • Filmbankmedia have relaunched their Innovation Fund. Two awards of £3,000 and £2,000 are available for film societies old and new who want to try new things. Equipment, workshops, working with new groups and more: this is your chance to go above and beyond.  

Read more

'A balsam for our eyes': two reports from Il Cinema Ritrovato 2017

Posted Thursday 6 July 2017 by Ellen Reay in Festival Reports, General

Cannes isn't the only festival on the block! Each summer Bologna in Italy gives itself over to the love of cinema with its celebrated archive film festival, Il Cinema Ritrovato. Never wanting our readers to be uninformed, we've brought you not one but two reports from the thirty-first edition of this cinephile's dream event. First, Borderlines Film Festival's Jo Comino shares the details of her incredibly varied five days in the city; next we hear from our own Marketing & Communications Manager Duncan Carson, who attended to share some knowledge at the Europa Cinemas Audience Development Lab and take in little-seen gems and classics. 

il cinema programme
Two of the 400 odd pages that make up Il Cinema Ritrovato's programme

Jo's report

Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna is more than a festival, it’s an adventure. You set out armed with a programme and a 400-page catalogue for cross-reference and explore... cinema. Every one of the 26 films that I saw over five days clashed with two or three others that clamoured to be seen. Strategy? Try to go for the ones that would simply be impossible to see anywhere else and throw in a handful of unmissable ‘rediscoveries’.  

Recovered and Restored: Scarface

Arriving in 37°C heat, it was a relief to plunge into the velvety black of one of those films that I think I’ve seen, but never have: Howard Hawks’s 1932 version of Scarface, newly restored by Universal. Full of night shots in shiny, wet streets, rattling car chases and punctuated by submachine gunfire, it sets the template for gangster films and Paul Muni's performance in the role of Tony Camonte has a physicality, a ruthless impudence, that sweeps away everything before it. 

Tehran Noir

This strand of Iranian popular cinema, directed by Armenian-Iranian Samuel Khachikian prior to the 1979 revolution, would never have happened without the festival. L’Immagine Ritrovata lab in Bologna offered to scan a couple of the movies. That gesture, as recounted by curator Ehsan Khoshbakht, prompted the National Film Archive of Iran to reciprocate and release the films. Khachikian was a prolific cross-genre director who portrays a cosmopolitan, unequal society, with feckless playboys and affluent doctors on one side, print-workers and the dispossessed on the other.

Storm Over the City (Toofan Dar Shahr-e Ma, 1958) throws everything at the camera; it’s more spoof Gothic horror mixed with melodrama than film noir. In the opening scene, a rabid escaped madman (tameable only by a penniless, beautiful widow) goes on a killing rampage and everything comes to a head in a spectacular fire in a crumbling mansion. Khachikian’s The Crossroad of Events (Chahar Rah-e Havades, 1955) contains the first onscreen kiss in Iranian cinema; though unfortunately, those 60 frames have been cut from the existing print.

aventurera
Ninón Sevilla as Elena in Alberto Gout's 1950 Aventurera

Revolution and Adventure: Mexican Cinema in the Golden Age

A season of Mexican films from the country’s post-revolutionary period (1930s to the early ’60s) provided a singular glimpse into an unfamiliar cinema tradition. El Compadre Mendoza (Fernado de Fuentes, 1933) recounts the story of an opportunistic landowner who switches sides in the Revolution to save his own skin while Two Monks (Dos Monjes, Juan Bustillo Oro, 1934), a strikingly Expressionist film set in the early 19th century, tells the tale of two friends who become deadly rivals over their love for the same woman. Aventurera (Alberto Gout, 1950) belongs to a highly specialised genre, the rumbera film, and features Cuban dance star Ninón Sevilla as the lead Elena in an outrageous plot that finds room for some equally extravagant Carmen Miranda-esque numbers. By contrast, Soledad’s Shawl (El Rebozo de Soledad, Roberto Galvadón, 1952) is an absorbing, social realist, rural drama, narrated by a hard-working and honest doctor.   

Forgotten directors: William K. Howard/Helmut Käutner

Il Cinema Ritrovato unearths work by directors who have been unjustly neglected. I saw two films by US director William K. Howard: the pithy 55-minute feature The Trial of Vivienne Ware (1932) with cracklingly witty dialogue and Transatlantic (1931), a complicated shipboard melodrama. What stood out in both films was the exposition of space, and the dazzlingly choreographed movement of crowds of people flowing in different directions.

Jean Vigo’s L’Atalante (1934) was shown in a restored version on the big public screen in Bologna’s main square. The very next day I caught a thematically similar, lesser-known German film, Unter den Brücken (1946), directed by Helmut Käutner. Willi and Hendrik are bargees who sail their boat between Berlin and Rotterdam until a chance meeting with a troubled young woman disrupts the equilibrium of their life. Shot just before Berlin was bombed, it contains no reference to politics or war, and has a haunting, lyrical quality in both its urban and rural landscapes.

Destination Unknown   young desire
Destination Unknown and Young Desire formed part of an ongoing celebration of Universal films from the 1930s.

Universal Pictures: The Laemmle Junior Years (part two)

The focus on Universal films from the early ’30s produced by Carl Laemmle Junior was carried over from last year. Though watching some of these movies was like wading through treacle, they deliver riveting insights into US social history of the period.

The curious Destination Unknown (Tay Garnett, 1933) comes across as a parable for the Great Depression. A ship is becalmed with a cargo of bootleg booze while the only barrel of fresh water is kept under lock and key by chief smuggler Pat O’Brien. Hate, inequality, desperation, mistrust and betrayal weigh over the scenario without a glimmer of hope. Until, that is, poor old Ralph Bellamy, so often confined to the role of stooge fiancé (The Awful Truth, His Girl Friday) pops out of nowhere as a beatific, doe-eyed stowaway. The giveaway line is when he mentions his previous experience as a carpenter. The barrels of wine in the hold turn out to be miraculously full of water and the plot is killed stone dead as the characters reconcile and are saved against a ‘fingers of God’ backdrop.

The bruised, cynical persona of actress Mary Nolan struck me in two of the Universal films from 1930: Outside the Law (Tod Browning) in which she plays the hard-bitten moll of ‘Fingers’ O’Dell whom we first glimpse as a legless automaton as part of the advertising display in a bank window and Young Desire (Lewis B. Collins) where, as a carnival dancer on the run from her pimp, she’s taken under the wing of a wealthy young boy. A sinuous and beautiful blonde, it turns out that Nolan’s career was tragically cut short by repeated physical abuse and drug addiction. Uncannily, it shows. 

Women do their thing: La Verité/Aventurera

Film after film, from different times and different places, pinpointed the vulnerability of women, pounced on without warning by men in a daze of sexual bestiality, or appraised as domestic commodity (washing clothes, doing the dishes, looking after the children). Two films turned this stereotype around for me. In Clouzot’s La Verité (1960) Brigitte Bardot is Dominique, a young woman on trial for the murder of her lover Gilbert. Key prosecution evidence as to her delinquency rests on the fact that she goes to the cinema three times a week. Bardot’s sexuality is not explained or repressed, she simply IS, and takes the consequences. Similarly, Elena in the Mexican film Aventurera suffers unspeakable iniquities only to find that her future, ultra-respectable mother-in-law is none other than the brothel-keeper who drugged her into prostitution. She carries out a fitting revenge.

home on the hill
Robert Mitchum in Home on the Hill

Two Faces of Robert Mitchum

With a spotlight on Robert Mitchum there was plenty of opportunity to explore masculinity as well. I enjoyed the shimmering film noir Out of the Past (Jacques Tourneur, 1947) and the western River of No Return (Otto Preminger, 1954) but Vincente Minelli’s Home on the Hill (1960) – how did I ever miss this? – was my revelation. Father-son relationships come to a conflicted and violent head and the nature of Wade Hunnicutt’s (the Mitchum character) machismo is wonderfully underscored by the number of animals, living and dead, in his den.

Rediscovery

An immaculate restoration of David Lynch’s Eraserhead (1977) brought back the full paranoia of being shut up in a small room with the raw, febrile baby creature (surely an influence on Alien?). Written on the Wind, one of three Douglas Sirk Technicolor 35mm prints shown at this year’s festival, looked simply stunning. Farinelli describes the sensation of watching these colour prints as ‘a balsam for our eyes… the dye transfer copies don’t just have transparent, bright and amazing colours, they also have brilliant whites and deep blacks that give the images a richness and an engraved precision that makes us think of three-dimensionality’. 

Monterey pop
Ninety-two year old D.A. Pennebaker introducing his restored and remixed documentary Monterey Pop

My festival highlight was seeing D.A. Pennebaker’s Monterey Pop (1969), unavailable for years, restored and remixed and introduced by the man himself, now a sprightly 92, on the city’s huge Piazza Maggiore outdoor screen to an audience of thousands. Pennebaker provided profound insights into his documentary; how shooting from behind was as important as capturing the face of the performer and how his camera team adapted their equipment so that it could take them right into the action on and off stage. 

His attitude to musicians like Joplin and Hendrix was that they were extraordinary; ‘saints’ was how he described them. And the extended 17-minute Ravi Shankar improvisation at the end of the film doesn’t show the players till halfway through, capturing instead the transfixed attention of the audience. Hard at times to tell whether the applause was on screen or live, the intimacy of the 16mm footage in the context of a mass, shared experience was sheer, joyful magic.   

Duncan's report

piazza maggiore
The Piazza Maggiore setting up for another evening of film

"PS Four final warnings:

  • Over half the films we are showing will be projected on 35mm format.
  • All the silent movies will have live musical accompaniment performed by extraordinary musicians putting their talent to work on for films of the past.
  • The festival would not exist without film archives (public and private) and without the passionate and skilful work of the people who work there.
  • Il Cinema Ritrovato is a true festival (from the Latin word festivus, enjoyable, festive). In other words it is a place where people can meet without a red carpet or VIP areas: just women and men who love film and culture.”

These are the last words of Il Cinema Ritrovato’s Festival Director Gian Luca Farinelli’s introduction to this year’s edition. Now in its thirty first year, Il Cinema Ritrovato is the world’s largest festival dedicated to archive and restored film. But it is also much more than that, as the introduction offers a flavour of, acting as kindling for cinematic passions and a place where otherwise niche film interests can be shared at Cinemascope proportions. There’s a distinct relief in visiting a festival without the hurly burly of dreams in progress, where no one is scanning your name badge to see if you are worthy of ten minutes at a drinks reception. We are here to discover and to champion, and we have the whole of film history to choose from.

Having the whole of cinema to roam across makes for some adventurous and ambitious programming. Rather than relying on what’s available and fresh from the last twelve (or less) months of production, the Cineteca calls upon historians, curators, directors and writers to draw new cross-cultural and thematic links. That means thematic, geographic and historical. A quick glance at the programme promises riches from the noir films of Iran (never before seen in the west), 'Revolution and Adventure: Mexican Cinema in the Golden Age' and Alexander Payne and Neil McGlone’s 'A Sunday in Bologna', featuring films from across history with Sunday in the title, programmed across a whole Sunday at the festival.  

One of the real pleasures of the event is the level of context offered by the archivists and curators on site. Year round, they are beavering away on burnishing the lost treasures of film, and it’s great to be able to gather and share what they find interesting for a modern audience. The corollary of this means that you’re forearmed before every screening. As in the best museums, what could be leaden and remote shifts into clear focus. The past feels both closer and much more alien with this added context. It’s a chance to understand not just what’s on screen, but also the world as it was when the film was made.

pola negri
Iconic silent film star Pola Negri's early work was celebrated in this year's programme

A prime example is when I sit down to watch the earliest surviving film by Pola Negri. To confess my ignorance, I am only dimly aware of her place in silent film history. But I quickly learn from the team at Filmoteka Narodowa that Bestia is only with us because of a later American copy, cashing in on her international success six years after its initial release, and that The Polish Dancer (as it was known in the US) was originally produced as a sideshow attraction at a lavish ice rink in Warsaw. It’s these kind of rich details that fire the imagination and remind us what a vagabond, exciting, dodgy time the start of film was. The film itself is a morality tale, with Negri punished in the most brutal way for her youthful excess, running riot (as an intertitle tells us, in an epidemic of delinquency) at ‘rough picnic parties into the early hours.’ Parents, lock up your hampers.

There’s an earnest sweetness to some of the presentations: I sit down to a presentation by Gaumont of their latest work on early animator Émile Cohl’s short films. The ten films we watch are simply the titles they have worked on this year at the archive, a lively show-and-tell of work in progress. Having watched Cohl’s work only on low quality YouTube clips, it’s a delight to see flowers dance, looking as crisp and fresh as though they had just been plucked, rather than having withered in 1909. Similarly, we're treated to the first twenty five minutes of Abel Gance’s epic The Road. It’s as if the delight in having reclaimed this work from the ashes is too much to withhold until it’s complete: I simply MUST show you now!  

cinema under maggiore
The Cinema Modernissimo beneath the Piazza Maggiore is undergoing renovation

Between the films, I'm fortunate to contribute to the Europa Cinemas' Audience Development lab (see their Storify to catch up on what was discussed) and get the opportunity to speak to participants from across Europe. Cinema history is taken very seriously here. We are treated to a private tour of the Cinema Modernissimo as it is being renovated. Opened in 1915, this four hundred seat cinema is directly underneath Piazza Maggiore.

Truly though, the best part of Il Cinema Ritrovato is the chance to fill in big gaps in your film knowledge (or meet up with old favourites) under the best possible conditions. At the festival's heart are its screenings in Piazza Maggiore, where up to five thousand festival guests and locals (those who haven’t escaped to the coast in the summer heat) gather to watch classics. Not far from the medieval tower, you’re treated to a gigantic screen and surprisingly good sound (given it’s a reverberating square).

Here are two titles I would recommend for any repertory programme:

West Indies

west indies
Med Hondo's anti-colonial musical West Indies

Films slip away for all kinds of reasons, and it’s not always the passage of decades. Med Hondo’s West Indies was released in 1979, and it’s a delight to have the director to introduce the screening. Hondo, charmingly overcome with emotion, is delighted that his film is being watched again, exclaiming that he made it for people to see. And it couldn’t be a more pertinent moment for the filmmaker to be the focus of Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, part of a wider initiative to restore fifty African titles. His Soleil O played Cannes Classics, but it’s a stunning Harvard Film Archive print we watch here.

West Indies is an anti-colonial musical, telling the story of the Caribbean islands both when they were first colonised by European nations, and the later abuses of luring diaspora to Paris to live in an unfit and racist society. The whole of the film takes place on a gigantic slave ship, with scenery changing to depict different historical moments. In other hands it could feel like a play staged for the screen, but Hondo’s choreography and vivid colour make it a genuinely cinematic experience.

This film deserves to be better known: it’s a genuinely engaging watch, but also never shies away from caustic anti-colonial thought. As a result, it’s all the more stirring and enduring in the memory. It doesn’t hurt if the revolution looks like it might be… fun? Here’s hoping this new print can tour the UK in due course.

La Verité

verite
Brigitte Bardot in Clouzot's courtoom procedural, La Verité

On more familiar ground was La Verité from ‘France’s Hitchcock’ Henri-Georges Clouzot. Brigitte Bardot stars in this courtroom procedural, with a tale of young love gone sour told in flashback. Clouzot’s typically crisp direction pairs well with the cynicism of the courtroom, played off against the idealism of the bohemian world that Bardot finds herself in. It’s a slightly stiff portrayal of the Left Bank, very much the generation above looking at the one below with mild bemusement and distance. But the film is held up well by Bardot’s performance, given as she entered a new phase of her career with Godard’s Le Mepris only a few years away. It’s similar to Diana Dors’s performance in the (incredible) Yield to the Night: someone using their beauty and star status to tell a social realist story of the lives of women, and stepping away from the trite characterisations offered by the industry at large. The brutal ending is typical of French films of the period, but hopefully this won’t keep La Verité standing besides Clouzot’s more famous works like Le Corbeau and Les Diaboliques.  

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