London Consortium Cine Club

The Cine Club is a series of film screenings organised by PhD students around a specific theme. This year the Club is exploring the theme of ‘the still image in moving pictures’. The screenings take place fortnightly in the ICA cinemas and are followed by discussion. Ideas for background reading are suggested and also discussed. The screenings are open to all Consortium and Birkbeck postgrad students.

Entry is free. All screenings take place in ICA Cinema 2. Please arrive early as the films will begin promptly at the advertised time.

Next screening: Thursday 5th July, After Life (Hirokazu Koreeda, 1998)

Suggested background reading to accompany these screenings:

André Bazin’s ‘The Ontology of the Photographic Image’ (1967)

Raymond Bellour’s ‘The Film Stilled’ (1990)

On A Man With A Movie Camera: Laura Mulvey, ‘Preface’ to Death 24x a Second: Stillness and the Moving Image (London: Reaktion Books Ltd, 2006), pp. 7—16

On Act Without Words II: Samuel Beckett, Act Without Words II: a mime for two players [1956], in The Complete Dramatic Works (London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1986, repr. 1990), pp. 209—11

On La Jetée : Bruce Kawin, ‘Time and Stasis in “La Jetée”’. in Film Quarterly, vol. 36, no. 1 (Autumn 1982), pp. 15—20

On Peeping Tom: Parveen Adams, ‘“Father, can’t you see I’m filming?”’, in The Emptiness of the Image: Psychoanalysis and Sexual Differences, London and New York, NY: Routledge, 1996

Photocopies of the readings are available from the Consortium office.

Future screenings:

Thursday 5th July, 1 pm – 3 pm
After Life (Hirokazu Koreeda, 1998)
Wandâfuru raifu is set in a purgatorial asylum for the recently deceased. Every Monday, a new intake arrives to embark on a week of interviews and counselling to select the happiest moment of their lives. The young and the old need to be guided particularly carefully through this process. Once selected, the memory is recreated by the staff in a film studio. Once viewed afresh by the person who chose it, that moment becomes their heaven for eternity.

Thursday 12th July, 1 pm – 3 pm
The Picture of Dorian Gray (Albert Lewin, 1945)
This 1945 adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s only novel was shot largely in black-and-white (technicolour technology being reserved solely for the consequences Dorian’s amoral actions have on the eponymous portrait). The film won an Oscar for “Best Cinematography – Black and White”, which seems somewhat ironic in retrospect.

Past screenings:

Le Petit soldat (Jean-Luc Godard, 1963)
Godard’s second feature was completed in 1960, just after Breathless, but was banned by the French censors for its treatment of the Algerian war. Bruno is a French spy whose principal weapon is the camera, and techniques familiar to Godard’s other films create a heightened awareness of the camera in the picture. Schooled by Bazin, Godard’s awareness of the political and aesthetic importance of the photographic image in twentieth-century history is a concern of many of his films, nowhere more so than in Le Petit Soldat.

The Return (Andrei Zvyagintsev, 2003)
Vozvrashcheniye tells the story of what happens when an absent father suddenly re-appears to take his two sons, Ivan and Andrei, on a journey of unspecified purpose. The beautiful cinematography is in stark contrast to the father’s sometimes brutal and arbitrary treatment of his sons. The black-and-white photographs taken by the boys during their trip provide a poignant close to the picture (as does the fact that Vladimir Garin, who played Andrei, drowned, aged 16, at one of the film’s locations just before its international release).

Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000)
Christopher Nolan’s first Hollywood feature is one of the most impressive debuts in recent memory. Guy Pearce plays a man with a rare condition that prevents him from forming new memories who compensates by tattooing his murderous to-do list on his torso and writing notes on Polaroid pictures. The ingenious narrative exposition forces the viewer to experience some of the protagonist’s own disorientation in this thought-provoking investigation of the relationship between photography and memory.

Proof (Jocelyn Moorhouse, 1991)
This Australian film won multiple awards and anticipated some of the themes of Christopher Nolan’s Memento (2000). As a blind man, Martin is dependent on but distrustful of other people’s accounts of the visible world, particularly those of his housekeeper, Celia, and a new friend, Andy (played by Russell Crowe). Martin tries to manage his epistemological insecurities by taking photographs and stamping them with descriptions in Braille – but ultimately, these only defer the underlying emotional issue.

Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, 1960)
Mark Lewis works as part of a film crew and is himself an aspiring filmmaker – but that doesn’t begin to convey the extent of his psychological relationship with film. His father’s reputation as a psychologist was built in part on filming Mark’s reactions to various experiences, and now Mark is obsessed by capturing the moment of terror on women’s faces as they realise they are about to be murdered – by Mark. Mark still lives in his father’s house, leasing the majority of it to another family; the daughter becomes the object of his fascination, and she is invited forthwith to a private viewing of some of the more creepy films in his collection…

Blow Up (dir. Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966)
In Antonioni’s first British film, an unnamed photographer (David Hemmings) suspects that he has unwittingly captured evidence of a murder. This is swinging London, the capital of 60s culture, and everything looks like a glossy magazine – from afar. Between romps, our randy hero becomes obsessed with an image which, on closer inspection, starts to yield the pieces to a jigsaw that seems to spell murder… but do they fit together? This classic film asks telling questions about the relation of the photographic image to the truth. Does magnification bring us closer to reality? Or is it just a morbid fetish for a superficial culture governed by scopophilia?

Love is the Devil (Maybury, 1998)
A biopic of Francis Bacon with a brilliant performance from Derek Jacobi in the lead role, with Tilda Swinton and a pre-Bond Daniel Craig in support. Maybury attempts to engage with Bacon’s paintings on a formal level with interesting results, and in documenting Bacon’s turbulent career, the film also captures the bohemian life of 1960s Soho and its drinking dens.

Camera Buff [Amator] (Krzysztof Kieœlowski, 1979)
Camera Buff (Amator, 1979) concerns Filip (played by Jerzy Stuhr), a factory worker who buys an 8mm camera to film his young family. Filip soon discovers the transformative power of the medium –, but his new-found hobby becomes increasingly obsessive, having unforeseen consequences for his family and his work colleagues alike. Though its depiction of the creative process has been criticised as simplistic, Camera Buff is a meditation on the responsibility of the filmmaker. Inevitably and inextricably entangled in the world, he attempts to both capture and change.

A Man with a Movie Camera (Vertov, 1929)
Act Without Words I (Reisz, 2000)