New Collection of Films from the British Film Institute Includes Works from Legendary Filmmakers
Stephen Frears, Anne-Marie Mieville & Jean-Luc Godard,
George Miller, and Nagisa Oshima
Plus, A Dance Film Festival!
Explore thier new collection of films from the British Film Institute including four works on the history of world cinema—Australian, British, French and Japanese—from the esteemed directors Stephen Frears, Anne-Marie Mieville & Jean-Luc Godard, George Miller (the creator of Mad Max!), and Nagisa Oshima.
And, they’re hosting the esteemed Dance Camera West film festival, which includes a gorgeous online program that merges dance performance and cinema aesthetics. The collection launches May 14th, and you can pre-order now for just $12.
More details on the new releases below:
The Song of Ceylon
Directed by Basil Charles Wright; British Film Institute, Documentary
The Song of Ceylon was originally commissioned as a series of short travelogues, but spawned an ambitious film transforming travelogue (exotic animals, eye-catching scenery, quirky customs) into a dreamlike film poem. Critics have since argued every possible position on the film’s portrayal of colonialism and its subjects. Only during editing did the film find its intricate design, a documentary ‘song’ in four movements.
The first, ‘The Buddha’, is an impression of religious and cultural practices. ‘The Virgin Island’ is the most factually informative, featuring fishing and agricultural scenes. ‘The Voice of Commerce’ highlights the film’s most controversial aspect, its ambivalence towards British imperialism. The final section, ‘The Apparel of a God’, returns to ritualistic images, as if synthesising the verse and chorus of Ceylon’s ‘song’.
Directed by Viktor Turin; First Run Features, British Film Institute
With bold and exhilarating flair, Turksib charts the monumental efforts to build a railway linking the regions of Turkestan and Siberia in 1920s USSR. With its signature use of Soviet montage and a similarly typical portrayal of huge collective efforts and modern engineering strength conquering the natural world, Turksib is a striking example of 1920s Soviet filmmaking.
A significant influence on the British documentary school, the film is presented here in the English version prepared for exhibition by John Grierson, with an evocative new score by Guy Bartell (Bronnt Industries Kapital).
100 Years of Japanese Cinema
Directed by Nagisa Oshima; British Film Institute, Documentary
The forces and themes that have shaped his nation’s cinema drive Nagisa Oshima’s forceful and erudite essay. Based entirely on archive footage, it considers the rediscovery of Daisuke Ito’s Chuji’s Travel Diary (1927), the drive for greater realism in depictions of family life and society; the appeal of war films and comedies, and struggles against censorship.
2 X 50 Years of French Cinema
Directed by Anne-Marie Miéville & Jean-Luc Godard; British Film Institute, Documentary
Jean-Luc Godard produced this ambitious project, directed by his wife, Anne-Marie Miéville. Travelling around six regions (each of which featured in a classic film) he interviews young locals to consider the films, the region and their significance, if any, for them. Jean-Luc Godard meets with the president of France’s First Century of Cinema, Michel Piccoli in the restaurant of an unnamed hotel and confronts him with his theory that French cinema has been forgotten. The president tests the theory on the staff of the hotel and leaves in a state of disillusionment, pursued by 1001 phantoms from his own fond memories.
40,000 Years of Dreaming: A Century of Australian Cinema
Directed by George Miller; British Film Institute, Documentary
The film is mainly a collage of various pieces of Australian film, past and present, including Miller’s own Mad Max series.
Typically British: A Personal History of British Cinema
Directed by Stephen Frears & Michael Dibb; British Film Institute, Documentary
In “Typically British”, director Stephen Frears explores the wealth of stylish and familiar images created by the British film industry in the 20th century, aided by fellow directors Alexander Mackendrick, Michael Apted, and Alan Parker and writer Gavin Lambert. Shown on the set of `Mary Reilly’, Frears hosts a guided tour through seventy-five years of British cinema from Hitchcock’s `Blackmail’ (1920) through to Mike Newell’s `Four Weddings and a Funeral’ (1994).