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Monday, September 24, 2007

This week at SFC: Babylondon--three nights of Caribbean London filmmaking

Thursday 27th, Friday 28th & Saturday 29th September

StudioFilmClub is pleased to be part of the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival and will be presenting Babylondon--three nights of Caribbean London filmmaking.

All are welcome. Admission is free.

Thursday (September 27th) will be Horace Ove night. Horace has selected the films for this evening. This is a unique chance to see some of Trinidad’s premier filmmaker's less widely screened films.

Friday night has more of a musical theme with films by Isaac Julien and Franco Rosso. Rosso’s Babylon is a classic that certainly needs revisiting. Also, Rosso’s early documentary on Linton Kwesi Johnson will be shown.

Saturday night brings us up to date with Kidulthood, a shocking portrayal of London youth. Written by one of its young stars, the film is influenced by City of God and Kids. After the screening Joel Karamath, filmmaker and senior Lecturer in Visual Culture and Theory at the University of the Arts, London will present a lecture: "The impact of Caribbean culture on the British mainstream and the evolution of a black British identity" followed by a short film programme.

Doors will open half an hour before screenings

Thursday September 27th

A Hole in Babylon (Horace Ové/UK/Trinidad/1979/70’) 7:00 pm

Three men rob a Knightsbridge Italian restaurant. But when the police are called and the robbery becomes a siege, the men find themselves in a situation out of their control.

The Equalizer (Horace Ové/ UK/Trinidad/1996/45’) 8:15 pm

Drama documentary telling the story of a young boy, Udham Singh who survived the Amritsar Massacre of 1919, in which British troops killed Indian civilian demonstrators. The boy vowed revenge and waited twenty years till all those responsible were together at Caxton Hall, London.

Playing Away (Horace Ové/UK/Trinidad/1986/100’) 9:15 pm

A West Indian cricket team from Brixton is invited to a country village for a match with the locals, who are celebrating "third world week". The West Indians, however, find their hosts less congenial than expected.

Friday September 28th

Dread, Beat an' Blood (Franco Rosso/UK/1978/45’) 8:00 pm

"Inglan is a bitch". That was dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson's assessment of his adopted homeland in 1980. 22 years later the most English of institutions, Penguin Books has made this uncompromising writer only its second living poet ever to appear in their Modern Classics section. This is an early film about Linton Kwesi, Jamaican-born poet, writer and musician, and the Caribbean working class community from which his material is drawn. Made for the BBC, the film's public television screening was postponed until after the general election by the Thatcher government.

Territories (Isaac Julien/UK/1984/25’) 9:00 pm

A provocative and experimental documentary cutting Carnival scenes with archive news reports--police surveillance to rioting in the streets--and crossing looks of desire with alienation, from police to reveller, woman to man, man to man. Add to this a disembodied, political critique and trenchant images of police violence and the audience soon becomes aware that the documentary itself is part of the resistance. Notting Hill Carnival as an event about resistance.

Babylon (Franco Rosso/UK Italy/1980/95’) 9:30 pm

A young Rastafarian toaster (rapper) with Reggae Sound System Ital Lion, hopes to rise above the trials of his daily life and succeed at a sound system competition. Atmospherically shot by Chris Menges with a killer soundtrack by Dennis Bovell--the only ever "composed" dub reggae soundtrack. A rare treat for film and music lovers.

Saturday September 29th

Kidulthood (Menhaj Huda/2006/UK/87’) 7:00 pm

When a bullied schoolgirl commits suicide, her classmates are given the day off. What transpires in the next 24 hours is a snapshot of the perilous world that today's British teenagers inhabit.

Lecture: "The impact of Caribbean culture on the British mainstream and the evolution of a black British identity"
by Joel Karamath

8:45 pm

Joel Karamath is a filmmaker and senior Lecturer in Visual Culture and Theory at the University of the Arts, London. He was born in London of Trinidadian parentage. Joel also runs UNCUT, an independent film forum at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London.

Short film programme after lecture

The West Indian Front Room (Joel Karamath/UK/2006/15’)

A short film exploring the Caribbean front room in Britain, the film contains interviews with Jazzie B and Stuart Hall amongst others.

Cold Dead Hands (Kaz Ove/UK/2006/12’)

Inspired the Nas track "I Gave You Power", the film addresses gun crime as the gun narrates three violent crimes.

Plus other shorts selected by Joel Karamath.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

This week at SFC: Choose Me

Our screenings are free and all are welcome.

Thursday September 13th

Doors open at 7:30pm. Feature 8:15 pm.

Choose Me (Alan Rudolph/USA/1984/102')

This critically praised sleeper stars Genevieve Bujold as Dr. Nancy Love, a romance-phobic radio sex therapist who inadvertently becomes roommates with Eve (Lesley Ann Warren), a sexually uninhibited bar owner and one of Dr. Love's frequent callers. Handsome, smooth-talking mental patient Mickey (Keith Carradine) comes to the bar and proceeds to woo and confuse both women as well as an aspiring poetess, Pearl (Rae Dawn Chong), who suspects Nancy is having an affair with her abusive French husband, Zack (Patrick Bachau). As the wild nights progress, all the women find themselves drawn to the mysterious Mickey, arousing the wrath of Zack and ensuring hilarious, moving, and thought-provoking moments. It's a dreamy concoction of sex, love, and brilliant dialogue, all wrapped up in a purposely artificial neon-drenched atmosphere with deliriously romantic music from soul crooner Teddy Pendergrass. Filled with neat performances and cockeyed grace, Choose Me was a career-defining hit for director Alan Rudolph, who would go on to make acclaimed films such as Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle and Afterglow.

Alan Rudolph has been an influential pioneer of American independent filmmaking since the 1970s. He is best known for the fluid and unique dramatic atmosphere of his films, as well as his ability to effect outstanding performances. The son of director Oscar Rudolph, Alan grew up in the film industry, quitting college to learn about filmmaking by watching studio people at work. Rudolph began a long and fruitful collaboration with Robert Altman when he signed on as an assistant director on Altman's The Long Goodbye. He went on to assistant direct two more films for Altman, California Split and Nashville, and together, Rudolph and Altman wrote the screenplay for Buffalo Bill and the Indians or Sitting Bull's History Lesson, which captured the Golden Bear for Best Picture at the Berlin Film Festival.

Rudolph then set out to carve a distinguished writing and directing path of his own, starting with Welcome to L.A. and continuing with such films as Remember My Name, Choose Me, Trouble in Mind, The Moderns, Equinox and Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle which earned Jennifer Jason Leigh a Golden Globe nomination and the Best Actress award from the National Society of Film Critics.

Presenting the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival 2007

A celebration of the best films from and about the Caribbean and its Diaspora

19th September to 27th October, 2007

Our Voices, Our Stories, Our Films

Award-winning feature films, documentaries, shorts, animations, training workshops with international specialists, a cinema caravan, lectures, are all part of the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival 2007 (TTFF). A week of MovieTowne screenings starting on Wednesday 19th September kickstarts a month of activities all around the country, ending at UWI with the Animae Caribe Animation Festival.

Following on the successful TTFF 2006 there will be a host of work from Trinidad & Tobago filmmakers at home and abroad, but also new and classic work from The French and Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Among the highlights is Cousines by Richard Senecal, one of the most talented of a new generation of Haitian directors. This dramatic story about the hard reality of being young in a troubled country won awards for the best actress and best producer at the 2006 Brooklyn International Film Festival.

Also to be screened is the new prize-winning feature A Winter Tale by Toronto-based Trinidadian filmmaker Frances-Anne Solomon, and a number of films that received grants from the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company’s production and script development programmes as well as student films from UWI and the MovieTowne Schools Short Film Competition. This year the Festival will once again invite filmmakers to introduce their films and answer questions from the audience.

Of special interest is the ground-breaking work of late director Hugh Robertson and the screening of the legendary Bim, which has not been seen at local cinemas since the 1970s. Suzanne Robertson will be the guest of honour at the Festival, representing her husband and taking part in a workshop on how we can make our renewed efforts to build a film industry in Trinidad & Tobago sustainable.

A new innovation will be the Festival People’s Choice Awards for the most popular films shown, and to ensure that the most popular films reach a wide audience the caravan will take selected films and animation out to the people of Trinidad & Tobago, all free of charge. There will also be three nights of Caribbean London filmmaking at StudioFilmClub featuring, among others, the work of celebrated Trinidadian director, Horace Ove, CBE.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

This week at SFC: Neil Young Live at Massey Hall and Vagabond

Our screenings are free and all are welcome.

Thursday September 6th

First film starts at 7:30pm. Feature starts at 8:15 pm.

Some of you will remember Agnes Varda's great auto portrait documentary travelouge, The Gleaners And I, one of SFC's very early screenings.  We are pleased to be screening Vagabond, which many rate as her finest film. First up, however, is a wonderful musical treat.

Neil Young Live at Massey Hall, Toronto 1971 (solo aucoustic)

Neil Young performs many of his now classic songs from the album Harvest, for the first time in front of a live audience. The film is interspersed with home super 8 footage. A truly atmospheric film and performance by the then 24 year old Young.  

Vagabond (Agnes Varda/France/1985/105')

The French title for Vagabond is Sans Toit Ni Loi, which could be translated as Without Roof or Law.

Sandrine Bonnaire plays Mona, a vagabond found dead from exposure in the opening scene, whose final few months we follow in flashback. Traipsing through the French countryside in winter, Mona skips along from one situation to another, more interested in survival and sustenance than making any kind of permanent connection, resolute in her individuality. But she touches the lives of those around her, from a cultured professor who sees in her a romantic symbol of social freedom to a farming couple who offers her their way of life with a plot of land to a widow whose stiffness is mellowed by her directness.

Yet she remains enigmatic as everyone projects their own fantasies on the alienated figure who meets every obstacle with a retreat to the road. Agnes Varda's chilly view weaves in commentaries and direct address of the bystanders and bit players whose lives are touched by Mona, but they ultimately reveal more about the speaker than the drifter. By the end of the film we don't know much more about her beyond her steely immutability and disconnection, and Varda is resolute in her no-apologies, no-excuses portrait. It's an assured film rich in detail with an enigma at the centre.

Like so many of the greatest films, it tells us a very specific story, strong and unadorned, about a very particular person. Because it is so much her own story and does not seem to symbolize anything - because the director has no parables, only information - it is only many days later that we reflect that the story of the vagabond could also be the story of our lives: Although many have shared our time, how many have truly known us?