29 June 2016

Film Festival 2016 lineup

The 2016 Film Festival is just around the corner! As usual there's a strong lineup of great films both new and old to sample. While I'm not a hardcore annual-leave-taking sort, I do try to fit as many films in as possible to the non-work hours for the two weeks from 22 July to 7 August. This year I'm booking 19, which is one more than I saw in 2015. (I had planned to see 19 in 2015 but for some reason Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien's historical drama The Assassin dropped off my ticket purchase).

As usual, the opportunity to see exciting new films is irresistibly tempting, particularly when they're on the fantastic Embassy big screen. Two will even feature live Q&As with highly respected British director Terence Davies. But there's also the rare treat of being able to sample classic offerings from cinema history. This year it's going to be amazing to see the visionary Robert Altman's McCabe & Mrs Miller from 1971, and two Asian masterpieces in Ozu Kasujiro's Tokyo Story from 1953 and King Hu's A Touch of Zen from 1971. There's also the opportunity to view lesser-known slices of the legendary Orson Welles' Shakespeare oeuvre in his performance as Falstaff in Chimes at Midnight from 1966, and the Weimar-era Berlin of E.A. Dupont's pre-colour, pre-sound Variety, with live accompaniment and a world premiere of a new score. Such fun!

Here's what I'll be lining up to see in the coming weeks. Fingers crossed for good seats when the tickets go on sale tomorrow morning.

Sunday 24 July
I, Daniel Blake (dir. Ken Loach, UK, 2016)
Palme d'Or-winning English social realism tour de force :: Embassy Theatre 100 mins

Monday 25 July
McCabe & Mrs Miller (dir. Robert Altman, USA, 1971)
Beatty & Christie and a legendary director light up the wild west :: Embassy Theatre 120 mins

Tuesday 26 July
A Quiet Passion (dir.Terence Davies, UK, 2016)
Cynthia Nixon excels as poet Emily Dickson :: Embassy Theatre 124 mins

Wednesday 27 July
Sunset Song (dir. Terence Davies, UK, 2015) 
1930s coming-of-age tale from rural north Scotland :: Embassy Theatre 135 mins

Thursday 28 July
Land of Mine (dir. Martin Zandvliet, Denmark/Germany, 2015)
Under sandet
Post-WW2 Danish drama, as German POWs are made to clear mines :: Embassy Theatre 101 mins

Friday 29 July
Captain Fantastic (dir. Matt Ross, USA, 2016)
Viggo Mortensen as an off-the-grid father of six :: Embassy Theatre 119 mins + short

Saturday 30 July
Long Way North (dir. Remi Chaye, France/Denmark, 2015)
Tout en haut du monde
Animated adventure as a plucky 15-year-old Russian princess journeys to the North Pole :: Penthouse Cinema 81 mins

Tokyo Story (dir. Ozu Yasujiro, Japan, 1953)
Tokyo monogatari 
Much-revered and rich Japanese social drama :: Paramount 136 mins

Sunday 31 July
Obit (dir. Vanessa Gould, USA, 2016)
NY Times obituary writers doco :: Paramount 93 mins + short

Toni Erdmann (dir. Maren Ade, Austria, 2016)
Crowd-pleasing & subversive inter-generational comedy :: Embassy Theatre 162 mins

The Death of Louis XIV (dir. Albert Serra, France, 2016)
La mort de Louis XIV
Historical drama, the role of Jean-Pierre Leaud's life :: Embassy Deluxe 105 mins

Monday 1 August
After the Storm (dir. Kore-eda Hirokazu, Japan, 2016)
Umi yori mo mada fukaku
Family drama from my new favourite director :: Penthouse Cinema 117 mins

Thursday 4 August
Mercenary (dir. Sacha Wolff, France, 2016)
Intriguing tale of New Caledonian rugby player making his way in France :: Paramount 112 mins

Friday 5 August
Midnight Special (dir. Jeff Nichols, USA 2016)
Promising big-screen sci-fi drama :: Embassy Theatre 111 mins

Saturday 6 August
Francofonia (dir. Aleksandr Sokurov, France, 2015)
A Louvre love-letter :: Paramount 87 mins + short

Chimes at Midnight (dir. Orson Welles, Spain, 1966)
Welles as Falstaff :: Embassy Theatre 116 mins

Johnny Guitar (dir. Nicholas Ray, USA, 1954)
Joan Crawford's masteful feminist western :: Paramount 110 mins

Sunday 7 August
Variety (dir. E.A. Dupont, Germany, 1925)
A touch of Weimar with live musical accompaniment :: Paramount 95 mins

A Touch of Zen (dir. King Hu, Taiwan, 1971)
Xia nu
Legendary Chinese martial arts primer :: The Roxy Cinema 180 mins

21 June 2016

Thanks for the memories

Some time after his short, early-1960s stint in 10 Downing Street, Alec Douglas-Home got talking to an old lady at Berwick railway station. “My husband and I think it was a great tragedy that you were never prime minister”, she told him. To which came the embarrassed response: “As a matter of fact, I was”

- ‘The Cameron legacy’, Economist, 26 May 2016

17 June 2016

SFO timelapse

Timelapse of 15 minutes duration, taken at dusk on Friday 17 June 2016 at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Aircraft include both a B787 and a B747.

07 June 2016

Boyle on Trump

I sort of admire Trump in a way. Initially I thought that Trump was like somebody playing a president in a porno, and as it's gone along he's kind of aged and now he looks like someone robbing a back wearing a rubber mask of his own face. And the incredible thing about him is that he's managed to run a fear campaign and it's worked on a country of people who are on anti-anxiety medication. They're heavily drugged people and [yet] he's managed to scare them. I actually think his weird facial colour might be an attempt to cut through their fog of medication and register on their senses, because he's sort of getting brighter. Hillary Clinton is wearing brighter, blocky kind of colours as well. That's why it's called the primaries.

- Frankie Boyle, The News Quiz, BBC Radio 4, 3 June 2016