Monday, 30 July 2012

R.I.P. Chris Marker

According to various news and film websites, legendary filmmaker Chris Marker passed away at the age of 91 on Sunday. Best known for his 1962 Science Fiction short film La Jetee and the 1983 documentary Sans Soleil, the closest he came to mainstream cinema was when La Jetee became the basis of the screenplay for Terry Gilliam's 1995 film Twelve Monkeys. A lot of his work is hard to get hold of but well worth seeking out for those who are curious. Amongst his many great achievements were his eco warning Three Cheers for the Whale (1972), the 1973 political allegory Embassy, his 1977 magnum opus A Grin Without a Cat - about the rise and disintegration of left wing activism in the 1960s and 1970s, proving himself to be one of the few filmmakers who could successsfully tackle politics in his work - and two definitive studies of legendary directors: A.K. (1985), about Akira Kurosawa and the making of Ran, and One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevich (2000), a brilliant examination of Andrei Tarkovsky's life and work. He remained active in his 80s, producing two late masterworks with Remembrance of Things to Come (2001) and The Case of the Grinning Cat (2004). Marker was cinema’s greatest essayist and continues to be its greatest enigma.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Happy 100th Birthday Cottage Road Cinema!

Cottage Road Cinema (my local cinema in Headingley) celebrates its centenary today. The full story is on their websiteNice to see the BBC covering this story as well.

To mark the occasion they are showing the 1957 British comedy The Smallest Show on Earth - an inspired choice. In an age of soulless multiplexes the survival of "fleapits" is always of great concern to active filmgoers like myself. Occasions like this certainly give cause for celebration.

Happy 100th Birthday Cottage Road Cinema!