Sunday, 29 December 2013

Film Highlights of 2013

I'll post my top ten films of the year shortly. There was so much going on over the past 12 months that I thought I'd break it up a bit like I did last year and start things off by mentioning some personal highlights from the world of cinema in 2013.

- Two unforgettable screenings at Leeds Town Hall as part of the annual film festival in November: Once Upon a Time in the West, with a fantastic 45 minute introduction by Christopher Frayling, and F.W. Murnau's Faust with a live organ accompaniment.

- Mirumir Records released deluxe soundtrack reissues on vinyl of Edward Artemiev's 3 film scores for Andrei Tarkovsky - Solaris, Mirror and Stalker.

- An alternate cut was found of Buster Keaton's The Blacksmith. Hopefully more lost footage of Keaton's work will surface in the near future.

- A restored print of William Friedkin's misunderstood 1977 masterpiece Sorcerer was screened at the Venice Film Festival in August. Hopefully a DVD release will follow in 2014. The director also published a memoir, 'The Friedkin Connection' this year.

 - Best filmgoing experience: To the Wonder at Hyde Park Picturehouse (13/3/13). Terrence Malick's latest offering was a revelatory experience on the big screen. So much so in fact that I'm slightly anxious about the prospect of revisiting it on a smaller screen on DVD. An overwhelming, though provoking, frustrating and challenging film that, unlike Malick's previous effort The Tree of Life, ultimately won me over.

- On a related note, Terrence Malick named his top 5 films.

- Shane Carruth's Upstream Colour score.

- Hayao Miyazaki watercolours shown online.

- Peter Cushing: The Complete Memoirs edited by Marcus Hearn.

- A screenplay for Macbeth that Laurence Olivier had planned to make was discovered in the British Library in January.

- The personal letters and diaries of Alec Guinness were acquired by the British Library in February.

- Another piece of the Orson Welles puzzle Too Much Johnson, a never before screened short film made by Welles in 1938, received its premiere in October.

- La La Land Records released a 2 CD set of the soundtrack to George A. Romero's Day of the Dead.

- Re-release of the Year: The Epic of Everest (BFI)

- Making of The Day the Clown Cried footage surfaced on YouTube

- Hyde Park Picturehouse hosted an enjoyable book launch/author event for Mark Kermode. His latest book 'Hatchet Job: Love Movies, Hate Critics' is a very entertaining read.

- BFI's nationwide season 'Gothic: The Dark Heart of Film'. A celebration of gothic film and TV across the UK.

- Favourite UK DVDs of 2013:
  • Heaven's Gate (Second Sight)
  • Van Gogh (Eureka)
  • The Mummy (Hammer/Icon)
  • Ramrod (Simply Media)
  • The films of Atom Egoyan and Satyajit Ray (Artifical Eye)
  • The Long Gray Line (Colombia)
  • The Stone Tape (BFI/BBC)
  • Robin Redbreast (BFI)
  • Schalcken The Painter (BFI)
  • Cria Cuervos (BFI)
  • The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (BFI)
  • The Night of the Hunter (Arrow)
  • From Beyond (Second Sight)
  • Gaslight (BFI)
  • The Hot Rock (Spirit Entertainment Ltd)
  • The Murderer Lives at 21 (Eureka)
  • Le Pont du Nord (Eureka)
  • The Complete Humphrey Jennings (BFI)
  • The Long Riders (Second Sight - BluRay) 
  • The Whales of August (Acorn Media)
  • The Fall of the House of Usher (Arrow)
  • Lifeforce and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (Arrow) - Alas, still no UK disc of Tobe Hooper's Invaders from Mars remake.
  • Black Sunday, Black Sabbath, Baron Blood & Lisa and the Devil (Arrow)

- And finally, some awesome film posters:


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