New Films from the British Film Institute Includes
Laura Mulvey & Peter Wollen’s Work on
Mexican Artists, Frida Kahlo & Tina Modotti,
Plus, a Dance Film Festival!
They’re thrilled to add “Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti“ to OVID! Hyperallergic says that “like all of Mulvey’s films, this one is staunchly feminist and sets out to show how both artists ‘provoked and defied neat categorization’ about what it meant to be a woman and an artist then.”
They’re also releasing three films from the important “Free Cinema” movement: Lindsay Anderson’s “Every Day Except Christmas, Karel Reisz & Tony Richardson’s “Momma Don’t Allow,” and also from Karel Reisz: “We are the Lambeth Boys.” Read the review in the Boston Globe here.
Every Day Except Christmas
Directed by Lindsay Anderson; British Film Institute, Documentary Series
Lindsay Anderson’s documentary depiction of the frenetic existence of Covent Garden market porters, produced by Karel Reisz.
At nearly 40 minutes in length and with Walter Lassally’s virtuoso 35mm cinematography, it’s a more polished production than the earliest examples of Free Cinema, while retaining the stylistic and tonal signatures of the movement. Every Day Except Christmas went on to win the Grand Prix at the 1957 Venice Film Festival.
Momma Don’t Allow
Directed by Karel Reisz & Tony Richardson; British Film Institute, Documentary
This lively profile of a night out at the Wood Green Jazz Club is one of the key works of Free Cinema
We Are the Lambeth Boys
Directed by Karel Reisz; British Film Institute, Documentary
Karel Reisz’s honest depiction of South London teens aimed to challenge the media perception of ‘Teddy Boys’.
Frida Kahlo & Tina Modotti
Directed by Laura Mulvey & Peter Wollen; British Film Institute, Documentary, Documentary
This tautly structured documentary sheds light on the work of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and Italian photographer Tina Modotti, women icons of the Mexican Renaissance. The film not only explores the two women’s artworks, but also includes rare footage of Modotti in the 1920 Hollywood film The Tiger’s Coat. We’re also treated to some exquisite home movie shots of Frida Kahlo and Mexican muralist Diego Rivera at their Blue House in Mexico City.
Directed by Patrick Keiller; British Film Institute, Documentary
A ‘fin-de-siecle’ personal portrait of London from an English experimental filmmaker, shot over a period of twelve months, which saw the election of John Major as prime minister, renewed IRA bombings, the ‘Black Wednesday’ European monetary crisis and the ‘fall of the house of Windsor’.
The Song of the Shirt
Directed by Sue Clayton; British Film Institute, Documentary
The plight of women in the 1840s London rag trade is explored and deconstructed. Informed by experimental film practice and evoking a serialised Victorian novel, this unusual film investigates the effects of protectionist ‘philanthropy’ in the sweatshop-style London clothes trade using contemporary text, archival material and reconstruction. The piece takes its name from the 1843 poem written by Thomas Hood about a seamstress living in appalling conditions.
Emma Hedditch notes that the many different groups involved in its production meant the film became “a subject of debate in itself”, and that “while it still addresses ideas of feminist history and Marxist theory, it can also be read as a rather more ambitious project that fuses the history of fashion, literacy and sexuality.”