Posts Tagged ‘London’

“It’s like we all silently decided to cross a line” bemoans High-Rise‘s central, well-to-do temptress, Charlotte (Sienna Miller) half-way through Ben Wheatley’s latest film, and it is no exaggeration.

Adapting J.G Ballard is no mean feat and it has previously required the strength of Spielberg, or Cronenberg to do him justice. Luckily, High-Rise, a project in the works virtually since the novel’s release in 1975 – due to producer Jeremy Thomas’ insistence on creating an adaptation – is in safe hands with the relatively young (in filmmaking terms) Ben Wheatley.

Wheatley has acquired a cult following after his work on small indie films (Kill List, Sightseers, A Field in England) and High-Rise is his biggest-budget project to date. His darkly comic (and often violent) tone is a highly suitable approach for a J.G Ballard adaptation, a writer who – particularly throughout the 70s and 80s – was known for a similar style.

In a Q&A after tonight’s screening, Wheatley expressed how his involvement with this project was down to a chance meeting with producer Jeremy Thomas, after assuming the rights would be held by a Hollywood conglomerate. As a result, Wheatley was able to access the resources and star-power not previously available to him, to create a highly stylish, 70’s infused dystopian thriller in the same vein as the source material. Wheatley has expressed a desire to remain faithful to the “highly visual” nature of the novel, ignoring all previous screenplay attempts at this adaptation.

High-Rise begins in relative order. We are introduced to the titular housing project through new tenant Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston) who moves into the 25th floor of the 40 story building in which the “cream of the crop” live at the top and the working class tenants live at the bottom. Laing meets his neighbours from all levels of the tower block, establishing varying relationships with all of them.

Then, as Charlotte’s premonition predicts, everything turns into chaos, narratively and structurally, through a nightmarish kaleidoscopic montage sequence, halfway through the film’s running time. It is a disorientating effect, as we go through the looking glass into a newly established disorder, where everyone looks to protect themselves with their varying means of defence.

Wheatley expertly keeps control of an all-star cast including Jeremy Irons, Elizabeth Moss and an excellent turn from Luke Evans as a George Best meets Evil Dead‘s Ash lower-class rebel, who leads the charge against the upper floors. In what becomes an anarchic orgy of sex and violence, Wheatley always maintains the narrative’s satirical and darkly comic tone throughout, never losing focus despite the carnage – especially during the film’s final reveal.

High-Rise is an extremely successful tribute to 70’s sci-fi, brimming with excellent performances and design and references to films such as A Clockwork Orange and Apocalypse, Now. It highlights the burgeoning mania of “modern living” with a post-modern view on Thatcherite politics that continue to prevail today.

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The Voice of A Woman Film Festival is coming to London this weekend to celebrate the creative leadership and risk-taking and originality of women filmmakers. Running from Friday 2nd October to Sunday 4th October at various venues across London, the VOW Film Festival will present rare stories of women globally by women globally – and its impressive programme is not to be missed.

The festival will begin at the ICA with a morning of screenings and talks held in collaboration with the National Film and Television School and led by their Head of Directing Lynda Myles, followed by a master-class at the Apple Store Covent Garden by award-winning digital developer Rebecca Winch (The Project Factory). The prestigious Hospital Club in the heart of Covent Garden will be the main hub of the festival, where dramatic and documentary films and shorts will be screened throughout Saturday and Sunday, with almost each one followed by VOW Talks Sessions with filmmakers, writers, executives, digital artists and more.

Cecile Emeke’s ‘Strolling’

From Deeyah Khan’s depiction of honour violence in Banaz: A Love Story to the Chinese state orphanages in Kate Blewett’s The Dying Rooms (1995) to the raw and honest conversations within Cecile Emeke’s Strolling (2014/2015), the VOW Film Festival features many works that confront the dark truth behind female contemporary existence across the world – told by women creatives who are themselves startlingly underrepresented in their industries.

By amplifying voices too often overlooked, the VOW Film Festival provides a platform for building awareness, discourse and cultural shift. In keeping with this, the festival shines a spotlight on observational filmmaker Kim Longinotto, well-known for the real-life brutality captured within her female-centred works.

Kim Longevitto's 'Eat the Kimono'

Kim Longevitto’s ‘Eat the Kimono’

To mark the festival’s opening night, Dreamcatcher (2015), which follows former sex-worker Brenda Myers-Powell as she helps other women in inner-city Chicago, will screen at the Curzon Cinema Soho and be followed with a discussion between Longinotto and novelist and feature writer at The Guardian, Kira Cochrane and Baroness Lola Young, a member of the House of Lords Committee of Sexual Violence in Conflict.

The spotlight on Kim Longinotto’s works will refresh on Sunday where some of her other films, including The Good Wife of Tokyo (1993), Eat the Kimono (1989), Pride of Place (1976) and Pink Saris (2010) will be screened, alongside works by others.

Other filmmakers include Lauren Greenfield, Carol Morely, Debbie Tucker Green, Franny Armstrong, Esther Anderson, Joy Elias amongst others.

Don’t forget to book tickets, even for the free events:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1110825965612132/

See www.thevoiceofawoman.com for more details and a full listing of events.

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For our latest featured short we’re glad to share this year’s Sci-Fi-London 48 hour challenge winner Interlude – made by a creative team called Starcrust – led by London based Cypriot director Savvas Stavrou and produced by Jo Michael. The SFL 48 hour challenge is a competition of exceptionally high quality and it takes no shortage of creativity and technical skill to compete let alone win.

Heading up the other departments are writer Nathan D’Arcy Roberts, Cinematographer Edgar Dubrovskiy, Production Designer Daniel Draper, Editor Robbie Gibbon, Sound Designer Jordan Laughlin and Composer Angus MacRae.

The film brings together the elements to tell a succinct and emotionally engaging story of an inventor attempting to bring his young daughter out of a coma (with the aid of a super cool mechanical snail), whereupon he is interrupted by a visiting civil servant. Stavrou creates an authentic and intense scenario between actors Brian Tynan and Ruby Thomas, laying the groundwork for a bold and troubling conclusion.

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Last night a sold out audience at the National Film Theatre in London had the privilege of listening to Bernardo Bertolucci, director of The Conformist, Last Tango In Paris, Novecento, The Last Emperor and The Dreamers talk about his life and work.

Now 70 Bertolucci talked energetically about his career and said that he intends to return to directing soon, after almost 10 years of back surgery which has resulted in him having to use a wheelchair.

He expressed great enthusiasm for James Cameron’s Avatar as well as Wim Wender’s 3D dance film Pina and said in his return to directing he will “use a new technology”, that technology being 3D. Like his art house peers Bertolucci intends not to use 3D for sheer spectacle, but instead to tell a story of adolescent love in an adaptation of the Italian novel Me and You by Niccolo Ammaniti.

He also pondered what it would be like to witness a Jean-Luc Godard film in 3D and reflected on what it was like to make his first films in his early twenties. Though 50 years on, it was easily apparent that Bertolucci is as young in spirit as he was when he directed his first features back in the early 1960’s.

Photo by Chiara Capponi

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