Posts Tagged ‘Barbican’

Human Rights Watch Festival | 15-22 March 2019

Creating a forum for courageous individuals fighting worthwhile causes on both sides of the lens, this year’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival returns to the Barbican, BFI Southbank and Regent Street Cinema with an international line-up of 15 award-winning documentary and feature films from Venezuela, South Africa, Palestine, Thailand and more.

The festival will open at the Barbican on 14 March with Hans Pool’s Bellingcat – Truth in a Post-Truth World, which follows the revolutionary rise of the “citizen investigative journalist” collective known as Bellingcat, dedicated to redefining breaking news by exploring the promise of open source investigation. 
Among other topics highlighted in the festival are: modern-day slavery in the fishing industry, South African students’ #FeesMustFall movement and the call for the decolonization of the education system; ‘boys will be boys’ rape culture; the impact of non-consensual gender assignment surgery on intersex infants; urban displacement; and a behind the scenes access to the trial of Ratko Mladić. Many filmmakers, protagonists, Human Rights Watch researchers and activists will take part in in-depth post-screening Q&A and panel discussions, some of which are detailed below:

UK Premiere: Screwdriver Mafak
Palestine-USA-Qatar 2018. Dir Bassam Jarbawi. With Ziad Bakri, Areen Omari, Jameel Khoury. 108min. Digital. EST. 15

Shot entirely on location in the West Bank, award-winning Palestinian director Bassam Jarbawi’s debut feature film tackles the physical and emotional toll of one man’s return home after 15 years in an Israeli jail. This mesmerising drama examines the trauma of reintegration after imprisonment, together with the unpredictable set of challenges faced in modern-day Palestine.


UK Premiere: Facing the Dragon 

Afghanistan-Turkey-Germany-Australia 2018. Dir Sedika Mojadidi. 81min. Digital. EST. 15 

Afghan-American filmmaker Sedika Mojadidi pursues two awe-inspiring women on the front lines as the United States withdraws from Afghanistan and the Taliban regains their hold. As the country’s fragile democracy shakes, threats of violence increase against Shakila, a journalist, and Nilofar, a local politician. They are soon forced to choose between duty and love for their country, and their families’ safety. 


UK Premiere: Roll Red Roll 

USA 2018. Dir Nancy Schwartzman. 81min. Digital. 15 

In small-town Ohio, USA, a sexual assault involving members of the beloved high-school football team gained global attention. With unprecedented access to a local community struggling to reconcile disturbing truths and the journalist using social-media evidence to reveal them, this true-crime thriller cuts to the heart of debates around engrained rape culture, and unflinchingly asks: ‘Why didn’t anyone stop it?’ 


UK Premiere: The Sweet Requiem Kyoyang Ngarmo
India-USA 2018. Dirs Ritu Sarin, Tenzing Sonam. With Tenzin Dolker, Jampa Kalsang Tamang, Tashi Choedon. 93min. Digital. EST. 15

At the age of eight, Dolkar fled her home with her father to escape Chinese armed forces, and faced an arduous journey across the Himalayas. Now 26, she lives in a Tibetan refugee colony in Delhi, where an unexpected encounter with a man from her past awakens long-suppressed memories, propelling Dolkar on an obsessive search for the truth.

Tickets go on sale to the general public on 12 February 2019. Members of BFI Southbank can purchase tickets from 5 February and members of the Barbican can purchase tickets from 6 February.

City Visions – Cult classics in the Metropolis

For the upcoming CITY VISIONS STRAND at the Barbican – Andre Simonoveisz looks at how the social impact of the metropolis is reflected in the cult classics from the roaring twenties to the year 2000. 


In the beginning there was the city as a growing, permanently moving, uncontrollable juggernaut: Walter Ruttmann’s BERLIN – SINFONIE EINER GROSSSADT (1927) looks at Berlin for twenty-four hours and finds nothing but badly regulated chaos: everything is in motion, but somehow the humans are not the masters of the action but victims of the industrialisation, which enslaves them. After we see workers in the morning, on their way to the factories – shown like demons with their smoking chimneys – Ruttmann cuts abruptly to a herd of cows. But the film lacks any social commentary: rich people in posh restaurants and hungry children in the poorer districts, signify nothing, and are shown in the same superficial way as the delicate legs of a little girl, and the muscular legs of a cyclist. In the end the film is a victim if its own dogma of showing speed at any cost: the viewer is forced to watch, and has no time for any reflections of his own.

l-amour-l-apres-midi-1Paris, the city were the seventh Art was born, is naturally the setting for the most emotionally charged movies. Whilst many American productions are set in the city of light, we will concentrate on three Parisian filmmakers, and their view of the city they love –or hate. Eric Rohmer, who lived for decades above the offices of his production company “Films du Losange” (which he founded 50 years ago with Barbet Schroeder) in the fashionable 16th arrondissement, set many of his films in Paris, a very gentle Paris as shown in his debut film Signe du Lion (1962). He continued his view through to his Six Moral Tales, and the last of this series L’amour l’apres-midi: a celebration not only of Paris, but of large cities that allow covert liaisons to be conducted in clandestine corners. When Frederic (Bernhard Verley), a lawyer, meets his girl friend Cloe (Zouzou), his wife Helene (Francoise Verley) is meanwhile expecting their second child in a western suburb of the metropolis. Frederic sings Paris’s praises: “I m part of the great throng of people, leaving the Saint-Lazare Station, getting lost in the many little side streets nearby. I love the metropolis. The provinces and suburbs depress me. And in spite of the chaos and the noise I love being part of the masses. I love these masses like I love the sea, not to go under, loosing myself, but to be lone rider on the waves, seemingly following the rhythm of masses, but only to the point that I can follow my own way if the force of the waves dwindle. Like he sea, the masses thrill me and help me to dream. I have nearly all my ideas of the streets of the city, even the ones connected with my work.”

Two or Three Things

From his office in the Rue de la Pepiniere (8th arr.), near the Boulevard Haussmann, he often goes shopping, flirting with the beautiful shop assistants; endlessly discussing the colours of a shirt – and making love to Cloe, whilst his wife gives birth to their son. Frederic lives a gentle life and work seems to be only a vehicle for meeting people and having coffee with them in a café round the corner. Rohmer’s Paris does not exist any more, we suspect, that it was mainly part of Rohmer’s imagination – but it was wonderful, nevertheless.

Now we go five years back in time to Jean-Luc Godard’s Two or Three Things I Know About Her (2 or 3 Choses Que Je Sais D’Elle). His anti-consumerist portrait of Paris makes one wonder: did Rohmer and Godard really go to see the same films, never mind writing together for “Cahiers du Cinema”? TWO OR THREE is the antidote to Rohmer’s romantic diary of a man with too much time on his hands – and on top, Godard produced it five years EARLIER. The mind boggles. Paris, by the way, doesn’t get very good grades neither. But one has to know that the “elle” of the title is Paris, undergoing a change for the worse. Rising prices and crass materialism mean that many housewives turn to part-time prostitution, whilst their husbands work in their offices. Needless to say; the husbands hate their jobs and their wives hate being prostitutes and it is all the fault of the giant advertisement boards we can see at length. The narrative follows the housewife Juliette (Marina Vlady), whose child is at nursery, whilst Juliette turns her flat into a part-time brothel. Then she shops for clothing, is accosted by a pimp, who offers her protection for ten percent of her earnings, and in the evening we see her playing happy family. Next we encounter her in a room with another woman, wandering around naked with air flight bags over their heads, to fulfill the sick phantasy of an American called John Bogus. There are off- narration containing agitation and poetry, whilst high-rise buildings rise into the sky, and people are hurrying through the streets. And DOP Raoul Cotard gives the film a Kodachrome-like image, further depicting the alienation of the Parisians, running aimlessly around in the raising tide of consumerism.


Twenty-eight years later, the children of the adult Godard protagonists were most likely languishing with their parents in the cynically called HLM (Habitation à Loyer Modéré) blocks in the newly formed ‘banlieu’ of Paris, were Mathieu Kassovitz’ LA HAINE is set. These bleak high-rise blocks are even worse than the worst of the UK’s so called ‘estates’. Criminality is the norm, particularly among the teenage boys. The film tells the story of three of them: Vinz, a Jew, Hubert, a black boxer and Said, an Arab. They hang out together, terrible bored. They are not ring leaders, but move along the peripherie of the occasional small riots, staying mostly at the Youth centre, waiting for something to happen: their way of life. After an Arab youth is shot, something is going to happen: a major riot. After the school of Vinz’ sister has been burned down, his grandmother warns him “to stay out of it.” On a short trip to Paris, the trio run into trouble with the police. Hubert, being the least violent of the them, draws the attention of the police because of his skin colour. In Mathieu Kossovitz’s 1995 version, Paris has become the citadel of consumerism, Godard warned about. The only difference is that the prostitutes are now real professionals, because the housewives who stay at home can afford to have a good life on one salary – the rest of the undesirables has been “deported” to the banlieu. (London lagging some twenty years behind these developments). The young guys feel rightly that they are now in a different country: banks are the new cathedrals of the city. Shopping malls, full of goods, whose functions they can only guess. The huge advertisement boards have vanished, no need for incitements to buy are needed: shopping is the only game in town. Away from their concrete jungles, the guys react with bewilderment, then, when the police turn on them with hatred. The ending might be predictable, but the film is not: it is about a generation alienated from the society, but it is society itself who has made this choice.

David Lynch had shown in TWIN PEAKS how nightmarish the suburbs can be – but Los Angeles in MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001) is a ‘city of angels of death’, in a cinematographic, absurd way, of course. To ponder the plot would be to miss the point of the film, it is the ultimate “McGuffin” movie, where all clues end in a cul-de-sac. Still, some sort of narrative develops: Betty (Naomi Watts), is a Hitchcock blond, who is staying as a guest in her aunt Ruth’s apartment in, whilst auditioning for a film role. Rita (Laura Elena Harring) is a brunette, type Rosalind Russell, who is about to be murdered in her limousine, but crawls out the wreck at Mulholland Drive and lands up with Betty. The girls now audition together, meet sinister detectives, a rotten corpse and have lots of lesbian sex. All this explains nothing, but that’s not the point. But LA is the real star of this movie, together with the music, and the permanent quotes of Hollywood’s history. LA has become the studio backdrop for all living in this city, were all genres, but particularly thrillers, are permanently played out – for the living, who are cops, detectives –are so simply victims. The lack of narrative in MULHOLLAND DRIVE coincides with the lack of any rationale in this city – when the whole cplace has become a mega studio, so many stories will collide, and nobody will ask for any logic. Lynch’s film is therefore full of dreams, and they are, more often than not, much more realistic than what’s going on with Betty and Rita. And since every landmark in LA has dozens of movie connections, and many more are in the making, the border lines between life, dream and cinema have vanished. You can have a nightmare like Betty and Rita, but you will wake up, telling your friends, that you have had this awful dream/saw this nightmarish film, and life will go on. Most of the time. AS




FASHION IN FILM FESTIVAL London 10-19 May 2013

FIFF celebrates  its fourth year with an excting array of films  from 10-19 May in four locations around London. Showcasing the common ground shared by the creative industries of fashion and film, this biennial  culture show highlights the rich and vibrant array of costumes and fashions that have graced the silver screen.  Adding  cinematic edge and visual impact and allure, fashion and costume is an invaluable element in creating the right atmosphere for the era portrayed.


This year the focus is on the work of one of France’s most iconic and innovative filmmakers: Marcel L’Herbier. An ‘architect’ of film, he collaborated with the likes of Alberto Cavalcanti, Robert Delauney, Fernand Leger and Lucien Lelong to bring together the various creative crafts of costume design, set design and make-up in the hope of elevating cinema to a new art form.  An avant-garde figure in the world of film during the vibrant cultural milieu of inter-war Paris, his films will be showcased in this year’s festival which paying homage to some of his classic silent films.

We particularly recommend: L’ARGENT (1928) which brings Emile Zola’s deuxieme empire novel to the screen in the era of Art Deco and has live musical accompaniment.


10 MAY 2013


Location: BFI Southbank, NFT3
Date & Time: 10 May 2013 – 18:30
Directed By: Marcel L’Herbier
Programme: Marcel L’Herbier: Fabricating Dreams
11 MAY 2013


Location: Ciné Lumière
Date & Time: 11 May 2013 – 14:00
Directed By: Marcel L’Herbier
Programme: Marcel L’Herbier: Fabricating Dreams
12 MAY 2013

Le Parfum de la dame en noir

Location: Ciné Lumière
Date & Time: 12 May 2013 – 14:00
Directed By: Marcel L’Herbier
Programme: Marcel L’Herbier: Fabricating Dreams
Introduced by Mireille Beaulieu
13 MAY 2013

Le Vertige

Location: BFI Southbank, NFT3
Date & Time: 13 May 2013 – 18:15
Directed By: Marcel L’Herbier
Programme: Marcel L’Herbier: Fabricating Dreams
Introduced by Nick Rees-Roberts
14 MAY 2013

Your Guide to the Fashions of the Future

Location: The Horse Hospital
Date & Time: 14 May 2013 – 19:00
Programme: Marcel L’Herbier: Fabricating Dreams
Hosted by Ken Hollings and Marketa Uhlirova
15 MAY 2013

Claude Autant-Lara

Location: BFI Southbank, NFT3
Date & Time: 15 May 2013 – 18:10
Programme: Marcel L’Herbier: Fabricating Dreams
Claude Autant-Lara: from the Inter-war Avant-Garde to New Wave Pariah. An Illustrated lecture by Sarah Leahy
16 MAY 2013

Le Vertige

Location: BFI Southbank, NFT3
Date & Time: 16 May 2013 – 20:30
Directed By: Marcel L’Herbier
Programme: Marcel L’Herbier: Fabricating Dreams
17 MAY 2013

Looking at L’Herbier: French Modernism Between the Wars

Location: Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, LVMH Lecture Theatre.
Date & Time: 17 May 2013 – 14:00 – 18:00
Programme: Marcel L’Herbier: Fabricating Dreams
Symposium organised by Caroline Evans
18 MAY 2013


Location: Barbican
Date & Time: 18 May 2013
Directed By: Marcel L’Herbier
Programme: Marcel L’Herbier: Fabricating Dreams
Introduced by Caroline Evans
19 MAY 2013


Location: BFI Southbank, NFT3
Date & Time: 19 May 2013 – 15:50
Directed By: Marcel L’Herbier
Programme: Marcel L’Herbier: Fabricating Dreams


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