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Index: Film, Television, Video & Theatre

A Celebration of the Life and Music of John White.

Round Chapel, Hackney – 14 April 2024 By Anthony Howell. lue bells under the plane trees at the Round Chapel — John might well have composed a piece for them. Now that he is dead, we will never hear the sound that might be made by blue bells. Spring is in its first light leafage. […]

Carrying the past.

Fortnightly Review Film Commentary.  The Afterlight by Charlie Shackleton 1.37:1 | mono | black & white | 82 minutes an interview By Simon Collings. • harlie Shackleton’s film The Afterlight is a collage of clips from hundreds of films from around the world. It brings together a cast of actors all of whom are no […]

Kubrick: Sex in the cinema.

A Fortnightly Film Commentary. By Alan Wall. he nude on the canvas isn’t entirely naked: at least it is covered in paint. Not so the nude on celluloid. Film is thinner than canvas. You can see through it. With celluloid, they shine the lights right through your body and out the other side. How does […]

Robert Desnos, screenwriter.

A Fortnightly Film Commentary.Minuit à quatorze heures (1925) | Les mystères du Métropolitain  (1930) |Les récifs de l’amour (1930) | Y a des punaises dans le rôti de porc  (1933) ◊ By SIMON COLLINGS. he surrealist poet Robert Desnos was a passionate advocate of the power of cinema. He believed film had the potential to free […]

The big noise in the night.

Simon Collings: ‘Travelling in Colombia, Weerasethakul heard many accounts of the way the trauma of recent conflict persists in the present. Early in the film we see a young man on a busy Bogotá street dive to the pavement, thinking he has heard gunfire, when a bus backfires, an echo of incidents from years earlier.’

A Visit to ‘The Merchant of Venice’.

Oscar Mandel: ‘But for Shakespeare, and most probably for his audience, a daughter’s reverent obedience needed no explanation; it was her virtue that mattered. Subtly searched out and believable motivations are our imperative.’

Birds & bones on PBS

James Gallant: ‘The first identifiable object spelunkers in his team brought from the cave—a hominid mandible with teeth intact—would no doubt have brought a “huh!” or a “wow!” from just about anyone, though Berger’s characterization of it as a “miracle” seemed a little over the top. But the mandible was just the beginning.’

A smile that melts.

Simon Collings: ‘Bergson described ‘duration’ as ‘a continuity which is really lived, but artificially decomposed for the greater convenience of customary knowledge.’ Time spent in waiting is central to Innocence, and for Mroz highlights a sense of “protracted lived duration’ which stands in sharp contrast to the ticking of clocks heard throughout the film.’

Reopening the National Theatre of Kosovo.

Gertrude Gibbons: ‘Gothard tells me about a particular culture of oath-taking in Albania, the fact that an unresolved family dispute from three generations back would still haunt the children of the present.’

Holy cow.

Simon Collings: ‘This is the context in which we find the film’s principal characters, Cookie and King-Lu, trying to survive: a frontier trading network only recently established where violence is rife and international political influences shape local governance. The only access to the area from the east was by horse or on foot. No route through the Rockies suitable for wagons had been discovered at that point.’

Gianfranco Rosi’s marginalia.

Simon Collings: ‘Rosi films two horses in an urban area at night. We see the horses waiting for their owners, then one of them, a small white horse, standing alone. Later the two horses gallop toward us down the street and pass out of the frame, followed a few moments later by someone on a motorbike going the other way. These are actual events Rosi observed and filmed, but they might equally be from a dream.’

Telling it for ourselves.

Simon Collings: ‘The various festivals within the African continent, and across Europe and North America, have always been key to how these films reach an audience, mirroring the experience of independent cinema generally. But the availability of films through online streaming services is expanding access.’

Labyrinth of artifice.

Simon Collings: ‘Some of the invention in Simó’s film perhaps derives from Buñuel himself. Always cagey about his Communist affiliations, the director would for many years deny he’d ever been a party member. In 1939 he wrote a short ‘autobiography’, a curriculum vitae intended to support his search for work in the USA where he had fled at the outbreak of the Second World War.’

A box to go.

Simon Collings: ‘The medieval casket is, like Dilworth’s sculpture, made of whalebone. Its sides and top are carved with scenes from Roman, Jewish, Christian, and Germanic traditions, accompanied by runic inscriptions in Old English and Latin. Scholars differ in their interpretations of the casket’s significance and likely uses. It’s an enigmatic object, the selection of images and texts which adorn it capable of multiple interpretations.’


Simon Collings: ‘Diop treats the migration story obliquely. It’s the background to the film not its central focus. Corrupt labour practices, unemployment, police bribes, and the tensions between an older, socially conservative, generation and the young, dominate the narrative. It is those who remain, and in particular Ada, who take centre stage.’