Our offerings this week are more carefree than some of our previous screenings, on account of the festive season. Tuesday’s screening is thoroughly non-analytical, something for the right side of the brain. Thursday’s child is all smiles: the sunlight shines right through, despite the black & white stock, and the film is our sending-off gesture for all who plan to go out next week. We know that a number of you were juddering back to normalcy after the convocation. If our happy intent runs against your attempts at rigor, please forgive us!
19th December 2006
6:15 p.m. at the Auditorium
ARIA (1987)Runtime: 1 hour 30 minutes
A collection of ten shorts by ten directors taking sequences from operas and arias. Other than the theatrical theme, they are unconnected in terms of plot, style and setting. Big names rub shoulders with more obscure personalities, so be prepared for ups and downs. For example, the "Armide" episode is done by THE John-Luc Godard, but then you also have someone like Franc Roddam, competent but far below, and in the middle Ken Russel. (Incidentally, the latter two men made movies for the British rock group The Who, a band that pioneered the "Rock Opera". The movies are, respectively, QUADROPHENIA and TOMMY. This writer is a fan.) Followers of Western Classical music will recognise immortals such as Richard Wagner and Giacomo Puccini. As to the quality of rendition, bear in mind that reconciling so many creative individuals always was an unforgiving task.
21st December 2006
6:15 p.m. at the Auditorium
LES VACANCES DE MONSIEUR HULOT (1953)
Runtime: 1 hour 54 minutes
Directed by Jacques Tati
This film introduces the character of Monsieur Hulot, a jolly ne’er-do-well with a knack for stepping backwards into trouble. It portrays the title character on his summer vacation at a resort on the Western coast of France. The helpful and childlike M. Hulot causes unintentional chaos wherever he goes, proving that the road to Hell is indeed paved with good intentions. And his intentions are certainly the best. The film throbs with a life that finds expression in the unflappable comportment of the everyman, helped along by the charming ambient music. Most of all, the level of intimacy you, the viewer, can achieve is remarkable. A superb yarn. Just in case you do something catastrophic this Christmas – touch wood – remember this film.
About the director: Jacques Tati went on to make MON ONCLE (1958), his best-known film, again recounting the adventures of Hulot. Expensive commercial failure with the ambitious PLAYTIME (1967) did not detract from the fact that it is a masterpiece.
A reminder, if you please. By week's end the Film Club will have closed the Science-Fiction Vote for the 28th screening. If you wish to participate but have forgotten to do so, refer to the relevant e-mail dated 8th December.
Well then, have a barrel of fun!
The Film Club.