When I’m composing the monthly film schedule it isn’t until after it’s all completed that I start to notice strange patterns connecting the films. I’m hoping it’s because of the tendency of humans to see patterns in everything (Apophenia) and not the beginning of something I should be worried about. What stands out for me this month is the fact that there’s at least three films we’re showing that are in black and white.
On February 5th, we have Joel Coen’s version of ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’. A rare solo outing for the world-renowned film maker helped by having an excellent cast to bring his adaptation to life.
With aesthetics that are a mix between Film Noir and German Expressionism, helped by previous collaborator, the cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel, along with Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand takes on the Thane of Glamis and Lady Macbeth themselves, gives this adaptation the dark, brooding atmosphere that I have only seen matched by Justin Kurzel’s dreamlike adaptation in 2015.
I don’t really need to tell you what ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’ is about, you either know or you’ve still to learn about it in school. So, you’ll already have made up your mind on whether to come see it or not. But I suggest that with such great craft makers involved you won’t be disappointed in this version. And you will get to see how Kathryn Hunter won her New York Film Critics Award for her mesmerising performance as the three witches. Which must win her further awards in the future.
Our second black and white film is a re-released classic from the BFI. ‘Jules et Jim’ is screening on Thursday 17th and may be François Truffaut’s most famous New Wave (La Nouvelle Vague) film.
The story revolves around a love triangle surrounding the time of the Great War. Supposedly based on the real-life love triangle of author Henri-Pierre Roche and the Dada artists Beatrice Wood and Marcel Duchamp. Now I don’t want to give too much away in this one, as there may be some of you out there who have wanted to see this and now you have the opportunity; but suffice to say, it’s French, black and white and an art house classic. Make of that what you will.
Continually agreed by critics to be one of the top 100 films of world cinema, it inspires and continues to inspire 60 years after it was made. The Nouvelle Vague movement was so instrumental in a shift in the ways of directing cinema that I implore any of you that have an interest in film theory to come and watch one of the first originals restored on the big screen.
Finally, we have our last black and white offering, ‘Belfast’. Kenneth Branagh’s coming of age comedy-drama based around a young boy’s childhood growing up around a tumultuous Belfast in the 60s.
Inspired by his own upbringing, and with a Van Morrison soundtrack, Belfast’s use of black and white helps render the story into an almost fairy-tale aesthetic. Between that, and the apolitical view of the country at the time, gives the movie an escapist vibe that you can enjoy without having a feeling of dread that it’s not going to end well. Don’t get me wrong though, there’s plenty of emotional drama throughout. Only enhanced with the inclusion of Dame Judy Dench as ‘Granny’; meaning that the rumours around the Oscar buzz may be well founded.
But we also have films in colour too this month!
We also have a couple documentaries: ‘Rebel Dykes’, a BFI doc set in post-punk London about a group of queer friends who met at Clapham Common Peace Camp, and how their unjust treatment only strengthened their resolve to change the world for the better.
This screening on Thursday 3rd will have a workshop beforehand with the film’s producer Siobhan Fahey – keep an eye on our website for more information about that.
Also, ‘Hostile’ on Thursday 10th, is an inspiring documentary focusing on the UK’s complicated relationship with its migrant communities. Told through the stories of four participants from Black and Asian backgrounds, the film focuses on the impact of the evolving ‘hostile environment’ policies that target migrants.
What does it mean to be British? What does it feel like to be told you don’t belong?
It will be followed by a pre-recorded Q&A with writer-director Sonita Gale and guests discussing these potent questions and how action can be taken to create long-term actions.
This is a very engaging film that is very pertinent to our times, and I suggest that you come and see this very frustrating documentary that may help educate you in the struggles that migrants have in our society.
And now I go to programme March’s films… and with our partnership with the Glasgow Film Festival (2nd – 23rd March) you can guarantee that we’ll have something fascinating for you to come watch!
- Kevin Smith: An Lanntair Cinema Programmer