This warm and touching film is about the development of the unlikely friendship between Philippe, a wealthy quadriplegic, and Driss, a young and poor man who was an orphan from Senegal, who is hired as his live-in carer.
Screening at Aldeburgh Cinema on:
Fri 19, Sat 20, Mon 22, Tues 23, Wed 24 & Thurs 25 Oct 7:30pm
Sat 20 & Sun 21 Oct 3:00pm
Guardian (Sept) – “For once, the hype is justified. This is a charming, uplifting French drama – an irreverent, humorous take on disability, closely drawn from real-life. It focuses on a superficially mismatched friendship between a wealthy quadriplegic and his ex-con carer – brilliantly played by François Cluzet and Omar Sy. Each has his own disadvantage – one, physical, following a paragliding accident, the other socioeconomic.”
To view the trailer:
Telegraph (Sept) – “Untouchable wears its award-winning aspirations on its sleeve, and all of the necessary boxes — boundary-crossing friendship, hard-hitting themes, warm comedy — are ticked with a fluorescent pink marker.”
Tel: 01728 454884
Autumn is drawing in, bringing great films and unique events.
FILM, FOOD AND FEELGOOD MUSIC on Saturday 6th October is a very special treat for all senses with a mouth-watering menu of tangy live music from INCA, tasty culinary treats and two gorgeous films: YUM YUM YUM, an exploration of the cooking and other enthusiasms of the Cajuns and Creoles in Louisiana, and EL BULLI – COOKING IN PROGRESS which allows us access to the secrets of Spaniard Ferran Adria, considered to be the best, most innovative and craziest chef in the world.
Brad Pitt stars in outstandingly watchable mob thriller KILLING THEM SOFTLY while Woody Allen’s latest European jaunt TO ROME WITH LOVE is a delightful meditation on fame, nostalgia and love. Profoundly moving and with a wicked sense of humour, the charming and life-affirming UNTOUCHABLE, based on a true story, is set to be the feel-good hit of the autumn, while real-life David-and-Goliath story YOU’VE BEEN TRUMPED pits US tycoon Donald Trump against Scottish villagers. Jaded Jesse meets zestful Zibby in bittersweet comedy-drama LIBERAL ARTS. Visionary masterpiece NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT sees people in Chile’s Atacama Desert searching the past to understand the present, and the Cinema Club screening of THE LAST PROJECTIONIST celebrates independent cinema tradition.
Our nice-price Family Matinees are back during the autumn break with Pixar’s hit BRAVE, and the classic ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED as part of the Storm Of Stories Festival.
More NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE comes our way with the blackly funny THE LAST OF THE HAUSSMANS and TIMON OF ATHENS, the next METROPOLITAN OPERA LIVE transmissions are L’ELISIR D’AMORE and Verdi’s OTELLO, and last but not least we have the utterly delightful and sumptuous classic BOLSHOI ballet SWAN LAKE.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES – General Manager Thomas Gerstenmeyer’s Introduction to Aldeburgh Cinema’s screening on 3 August 2012 at 7.30pm
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES – General Manager Thomas Gerstenmeyer’s Introduction to Aldeburgh Cinema’s screening on 3 August 2012 at 7.30pm
“Popular Culture, the Graphic Novel, Modern Mythologies: An Introduction to the World of the Dark Knight”
You are going to see a big film; big in ambition and scope, big in regards to the amounts of money involved as well as the surrounding talk before, during and after its unveiling.
The film has generated discussions, debates, blogs on all manner of issues, justified and not so much, film-industry-generated and controlled and not, film-related and not. The Dark Knight Rises is not just another run of the mill summer superhero popcorn flick.
So we feel it is justified to talk about it just a little bit more – but do not fear, I will not describe the film, or give away the story with spoilers, let alone tell you what to think of it. I’m not coming at this from a fan boy’s angle and won’t bore you with countless nerdy details. I’m looking at this from the perspective of 20th and 21st century general and art history, with a particular focus on popular culture.
At the time the figure of Batman was invented, back in the 1930s, globally famous filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, he of Battleship Potemkin, said this about the then relatively young artform of cinema: “For me it is always pleasing to recognise again and again the fact that our cinema is not altogether without parents and without pedigree, without a past, without the traditions and rich cultural heritage of past epochs.”
The Dark Knight films
Christopher Nolan’s Batman films allow arthouse regulars to enjoy superhero flicks and multiplex crowds to engage with complex plot conceits. On the one hand they are fast paced thrillers full of pathos, on the other they are melancholic commentaries on a system so corrupt its only hope is a masked vigilante who might never kill anyone yet at all times is dangerously close to a moral abyss. Nolan seems to illustrate a prevailing public mood since the 9/11 events which is one of political, economical und human insecurity and angst.
The tales are located in Gotham City, a prototypical western metropolis, eaten up by greed and corruption, torn between obscene luxury and shocking poverty. Despite the ugliness there is hope. While a cynical view of the concept of hope might be, “There is no true despair without hope”, this still is the hope of a world for its future without masked men who hide in anonymity to think up solutions outside the realm of civil law and order.
Christopher Nolan’s three Batman films form a cycle of popular culture that began in May 1939 when Batman was added to Detective Comics’ pantheon of superheroes. Various aspects of Batman’s personality, character history, visual design, and equipment were inspired by contemporary popular culture of the 1930s, including movies, pulp magazines, comic strips, newspaper headlines while obviously popular culture was influenced heavily by what was going on in the world of the time.
The core features of the figure that is Batman thus date back to the time he was born in, he is a product of his time which was one full of crime, corruption, threat, and economical depression.
I dare say this sounds very familiar — these days we face worldwide economic trouble, a sometimes overwhelming feeling of corruption in politics, banks, business, even sport, and an ever-present global terrorist threat.
Events that defined the USA if the 1930s, the time of Batman’s original conception and popularisation, just to give a flavour of what must have consumed public discourse back then in the years:
the St Valentine’s Day Massacre; labor strife; speakeasy raids; lynchings; …; the Lindbergh kidnapping; …; the Japanese in Manchuria, the Italians in Ethiopia, the fascists in Spain; the attempt to assassinate Roosevelt; …; the tactics of Hitler; …; the Dust Bowl and the Great Migrations; …; the Harlem race riot; …; the Joe Louis fights; …; the crash of the Hindenburg; the WPA workers’ riots; the slaying of Trotsky; Ku Klux Klan activities
Effects of these events, taken from a contemporary account in a 1929 Harper’s Magazine piece:
“The cultural trend of the day is towards a fondness for life in the raw. … the vogue of prize fighting; the vogue of plays about gangsters, prostitutes, pugilists, etc, and of profanity and frankness on the stage; the fluent biographies of bandits, crooks, outlaws and hard characters generally; the wide demand for ‘robust’ literature, whether it be poetic, fictional, dramatic, historical, or critical … We deal, easily and habitually, in terms of violence.”
A few years later a major writer took this world view even further. Raymond Chandler defined a way to deal with the perceived wrongs of the world in his famous essay The Simple Art of Murder:
“The city of the 20th century is a world in which gangsters can rule nations and almost rule cities, in which hotels and apartment houses and celebrated restaurants are owned by men who made their money out of brothels; … in which the mayor of your town may condone murder as an instrument of money-making, where no man can walk down a dark street in safety because law and order are things we talk about but refrain from practising … It is not a fragrant world but it is the world we live in.
Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor. He talks as the man of his age talks, that is, with rude wit, a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham, and a contempt for pettiness.”
In a sense this takes us straight back to what I said at the beginning about the world portrayed by Christopher Nolan in his three Batman films.
Now you might of course argue, this is all well and fine, however we surely cannot take this popular stuff seriously can we – this is not proper literature, let alone art, it is all way too simple and simplistic.
To which I would like to respond that throughout history thematic and structural limitations have not proved to be all that influential in regards to allocating notions of quality. The Dark Knight tales are detective stories which are limited in scope and theme as some would claim. However, please consider that just like the detective novel a very established genre of literary history, namely the revenge tragedy is thematically and structurally quite narrowly defined too. This does not seem to be an argument against the works of, for instance, classic Roman author Seneca, Thomas Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy or, for that matter, William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
“Pulp fiction” and the graphic novel
This certain disrespect might of course stem from the humble 20th century origins of what started as comic strips and became the Graphic Novel later on.
Before the backdrop of the social and cultural developments the 1920s and 1930s saw an enormous increase in popularity of so called “Pulp” magazines. These magazines took over from 19th century dime novels to become the most popular reading material. Printed on cheap paper (ie pulp) they provided escapism for the masses: adventure, detective, western, horror, south sea stories – and of course in increasing quantity the drawn stories, the comic strips. Mostly founded purely for making quick bucks (at times to support other “worthy” publication causes) these publications were not always for the faint-hearted.
But again let’s have a look at parallels provided by history: a couple of thousand years earlier Homer’s epics were rather violent, bloodthirsty, phantastic, featuring as they did one-eyed monsters, sea creatures, deceptive singing ladies, warriors on killing sprees. Medieval knights saw their adventures sung in epics full of war, terror, fighting dragons and the like while even folk tales as collected in the Grimm Brothers Fairytales were more often than not actually pretty grim.
Most importantly the “pulp” phenomenon lays the foundation for the famous “noir” genres and works and their lasting influence to this day. “Pulp” has an uncanny habit of drilling into national moods with a stealth denied more well-intentioned dramas. A famous example: Francis Ford Coppola almost turned down the opportunity to direct The Godfather because he disliked Mario Puzo’s book so much, calling it “sleazy”, representative of everything he “was trying to avoid my whole life”. And yet he retooled Puzo’s pulp novel into an investigation of capitalism’s underside, boosted with a strong undercurrent of Shakespearean themes and techniques.
Batman’s creator Bob Kane and his fellow comic-strip artists were all admirers of Fritz Lang’s German movies, the forerunners of film noir as we know it these days. These original practitioners of film noir – Lang, and also Billy Wilder and Otto Preminger – had their own reasons for seeking out darkness: the spectre of Nazism at their backs, they shot their newfound homeland in looming expressionist shadow, as if testing the fragility of their new haven.
Following on from there above mentioned Raymond Chandler shaped and created one of the most iconic figures in the form of the hard boiled private eye Philip Marlow. A figure that as personified by Humphrey Bogart went on to become a defining and lasting part of global popular culture, east and west, young and old – a veritable modern myth in the sense that its defining features are not individually recognised as such anymore, but have taken on a new heightened overall meaning, a meaning that includes the original features but also transcends them.
There is a strong argument that images have far greater power to influence imagination and therefore shape myths than anything else. Great philosopher Jean Paul Sartre says: “The film, by its very nature, speaks to crowds; it speaks to them about crowds and about their destiny … We must learn to speak in images, to transpose the ideas of our books into these new languages”.
Comic strips and graphic novels of course speak in images too, they could be seen as early low tech and low cost alternatives to film as it were. When looking at cave paintings one could argue that they are very early examples of image based storytelling indeed.
Images have the ability to speak more directly to audiences, and they leave us with long lasting impressions – the well known phrase “an image says more than a thousand words” refers to the fact that images are loaded up with meaning given over the course of decades, or longer, that still resonate with people.
Such as for instance 20th century Humphrey Bogart sporting a fedora, a trench coat and a cigarette – or the masked crusader crouching above a neon lit urban jungle. What goes on in the jungle is updated with the times. How this is shown in images is updated with the times.
The effect on audiences however seems to remain with the times: the first film ever shown to a paying audience was a very short documentary called Train Entering a Station – which was literally a train entering a station, filmed with a stationary camera from the platform. The audience, having never ever had an experience even remotely similar to this saw a train coming towards them, which resulted in them fleeing their seats. The moving images had made them feel shock and terror, and then relief at the fact that there was no real physical damage.
Not all that different from nowadays then after all.
Thank you very much. Enjoy the film.
PING PONG (PG) will be screening at Aldeburgh Cinema on Wed 22 & Thurs 23 Aug 7:30pm
Going for gold in an over 80’s table tennis championships is what this documentary is all about. It explores the extraordinary world of life at the table- sometimes ruthless, sometime emotional – but ALWAYS entertaining. With director Hugh Hartford coming to Aldeburgh Cinema on Wed 22 Aug 7:30pm to do a live Q&A- this is not to be missed. There will even be a Ping-Pong table at the Cinema.
Explore the Ping Pong website:
To read reviews:
Seeking a Friend for the end of the World (15) is a romantic comedy starring Keira Knightley and Steve Carell. Dogde (Carell) plans to meet up with his high school sweetheart when it goes off course, he is joined by his eccentric neighbour Penny (knightley). Screening starts from Sat 21 July, check out our website for full dates and time, and also to see what else is coming soon.
Click the link below to have a hint of what Seeking a Friend is all about:
On Sunday 8th July, the Hansel of Films made its way to Aldeburgh Cinema. Despite the torrential downpours, the screenings of short films made by the public, arrived safely at the Cinema. A creative and energetic individual brought the films to us by motorbike (along with a Bear).
The 20 short films lasted for no more than 5 minutes each and with the Aldeburgh Cinema staff and the Bear in a photogenic mood, click the link below to see what they got up to!
LE NOZZE DI FIGARO on Fri 17 Aug 6pm and a RAVEL DOUBLE BILL of 2 short operas on Sun 19 Aug 6.30pm
STRICTLY BALLROOM (PG) on Sat 14 July 3pm. The bestever dance film for Big Dance Week 2012!
MOONRISE KINGDOM (12A) quirky Wes Anderson indie film with lots of Britten music! From 29 June. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7N8wkVA4 8s
A ROYAL AFFAIR (15) a bold and sensuous take on a fascinating moment in European history. From Sat 30 June. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g11xkVjl7bM