A Film For April: It Happened One Night

What a gorgeously fabulous film this is. Directed by Frank Capra in 1934 It Happened One Night set the tone for screwball comedies to come and was the first film to win all five of the big academy awards. Best director, actor, actress, picture and adapted screenplay.

Spoilt heiress Ellen (Ellie) Andrews (Claudette Colbert) has eloped with King Westley, a fortune hunting rogue. Her father who sees King for what he is wants the marriage annulled and Ellie escapes his control on a Greyhound bus to New York where she plans to meet her new husband. But on the bus is an out of work newspaper reporter, Peter Warne (Clark Gable) who recognises Ellie and gives her a choice. Either she can give him an exclusive story and he’ll help her get to King or he’ll tell her father where she is. Obviously Ellie agrees to his demand and fun and adventures ensue.

Continue reading “A Film For April: It Happened One Night”

A Film For March: I Am Cuba

Made in 1964 this collaboration between the Russian director Mikhail Kalatozov, the writer Enrique Pineda Barnet and the poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, I Am Cuba is set during the last days of Batista’s government and the Cuban Revolution in 1959. Told through four allegorical vignettes, this is clearly propaganda for Castro but with Raquel Revuetta as the voice of Cuba there is a dreamlike almost hallucinogenic feel to the film as the camera swoops and dives from buildings to sugar fields that makes it as absorbing as it is beautiful.

Opening with tranquil images of fertile land and palm trees we move to the city for the first story about Maria (Luz Maria Collazo), a young women making ends meet by working as a prostitute in one of the many bars. The American businessman who buys her company asks to see where she lives and after the glamour of the casino he finds himself lost and disoriented among the slums of Havana as he tries to make his way back to his hotel.

from Life Magazine 1954
Continue reading “A Film For March: I Am Cuba”

A Film For February: The Double Life Of Véronique

Written and directed by Krzystztof Kieslowski, this enigmatic mystery drama from 1991 is the story of two young women, Weronika in Poland and Véronique in France. Born on the same day, they look identical and share the same musical talent. Unaware of eachother’s existence they sense a spectral companion and believe they share an emotional bond with someone they don’t know but suspect is there.

The first part is based in Poland and we follow Weronika in Kraków and witness her beautiful singing. One day as she’s walking home she sees a group of girls, her own age getting onto a bus. One of them is taking photographs of everything she sees, randomly through the window. Weronika sees Véronique and we know that Véronique has her doppelganger on film. The first part finishes with the collapse and sudden death of Weronika during a musical recital and the story moves to Véronique in Paris. She feels an intense sense of loss and abruptly gives up singing, she doesn’t know why, just that she must, and she begins teaching music to young children.

Continue reading “A Film For February: The Double Life Of Véronique”

A Film For January: After Life

Every Monday a group of recently deceased people are checked in at a small mid-century nondescript building where a group of councillors meet them and explain why they are there. They will be there for a week and must choose one single memory that they can take with them into the after life.

Over the next few days they meet and chat with their assigned councillor to identify and describe their memory before the memories are staged, filmed and screened. Their souls are then free to move on taking with them their chosen moment of happiness to be with them for all eternity.

Continue reading “A Film For January: After Life”

Just Watching A Film: 2022

It’s a happy crisp new year and that means a crisp new list of films to watch from my lovely daughter. It’s an eclectic list as usual but I think it’s slightly more modern – there are 4 titles from this century and 8 of the 12 are after 1980.

The highlight for me is in July, I think Almodóvar makes perfect films for summer evenings so I’m really looking forward to Women on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown. I found Lucrecia Martel’s The Headless Women quite difficult last year so I’m interested to see if I get on any better with La Ciénaga . Anyway here’s the list to be watched:

Continue reading “Just Watching A Film: 2022”