Monday, 2 May 2011

Movie treats, bread and circuses

How much longer will our excellent Exeter library be able to stock such wonderful world cinema, given the present attacks on kulchur by the ghastly koalition? Films viewed recently include La Peau Douce, an undervalued Truffaut gem from his early low-budget B&W days, starring the beauteous Françoise Dorléac, Deneuve's sister who died sadly prematurely in a car crash. And three by Mikio Naruse, the great Japanese director, each wonderfully photographed and acted, and each better than the last, in this order: Late Chrysanthemums, When A Woman Ascends The Stairs, and the quite superb Floating Clouds. (Thank you Jean Louis Gregoire for enthusing to us about him!)

And, going the rounds of picturehouses currently, there's the latest, prizewinning work from another master of world cinema, Jerzy Skolimowski. This one, Essential Killing is only 90 minutes long, and for the most part without dialogue – an absolutely gripping and indeed timely tale, in the classic 'man-on-the-run' mould. But it's riveting and original in its narrative twists and its psychological and political message. Skolimowski is another 1960s name, a Polish exile contemporary of Polanski and Zulawski (re whom, see my earlier blogs). Skolimowski was recently seen as an actor in David Cronenberg's gutwrenching thriller Eastern Promises, but I can still remember moments from a few of Skolimowski's own very quirky films. They're all quite different in style and tone, and it's a great pity they're not readily available these days or reissued on dvds. Let's hope they will be, and he has a season at the NFT. I'd like to see again, for instance – Le Depart; The Shout; Deep End; Moonlighting… All of these, spanning thirty-odd years are full of unexpected moments and a certain (very middle-European?) dark humour.

Movies and proof corrections: what better ways to avoid reading the reams of media reverence and grovelling re the recent royal nuptial nonsense? Duke and Duchess of Cambridge indeed! I think 'Duchess of Cambridge' is a title which should have been reserved for, and might especially have suited, one of the grandees of my King's College days – Dadie Rylands. (Or possibly E.M. Forster, in those days a delightful old geezer I once had tea with.) Couldn't the Pope have broken with arsy RC tradition and beatified this exquisite young couple while he was at it? Living Saints as well as style icons? If Gilbert & George are Living Sculptures, why not Saint Will & the Blessed Kate? I mean what the hell, Duke & Duchess of Cam aren't nearly exalted enough!

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