Welcome to the latest 7 day cinema diet – packed full of all the cinematic nutrients that a cine-file needs. This week we pull focus on the Paracinema Film Festival and the eclectic range of events, screenings and talks. Plus the best from the regular QUAD programme, MUBI, Arrow Player and the best free options pulled from the BBC iPlayer and All 4.
See you at the movies!
Adam J. Marsh
Day One – Paracinema Film Festival 2021
Paracinema Film Festival 2021
Fri 24th – Mon 27th September
Find out more here - https://paracinema.co.uk/
After an interrupted year where Paracinema went online, we are back in person. We have an eclectic range of titles that incorporate a mix of horror, sci-fi and fantasy alongside documentaries on Cannibal Holocaust and Emmanuelle, rare 80s Giallo, a mini wave of excellent Argentinian cinema and Darrell Buxton's legendary Paracinema Film Quiz.
We delighted to welcome special guests Stephen Volk (Gothic, Ghostwatch), Sean Hogan (The Devil's Business, England's Screaming), Jake West (Doghouse, Evil Aliens) and Marc Morris (Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship and Videotapes) from Nucleus Films.
Stephen Volk Q&A
Fri 24th at 8pm
We are delighted to welcome to Paracinema, Screenwriter and Author Stephen Volk. Stephen made his feature screenwriting debut with the Ken Russell directed Gothic (1986) and has gone to create the stellar Afterlife (2005), to adapt Midwinter Of The Spirit (2015) and, of course, write the infamous Ghostwatch (1992) the television event that tricked and terrified a nation.
As well as the film and television work, Stephen has written numerous novels, novellas and short stories including contributing to last year’s excellent Studio Of Screams which was a portmanteau novel in the vein of the Amicus films of the 1960s and 1970s. His latest book Under A Raven’s Wing explores the early life of Sherlock Holmes and his meeting with C. Auguste Dupin (Edgar Allan Poe’s legendary detective).
Join us for a Q&A with Stephen followed by a 35th Anniversary screening of Gothic.
Hammer And Beyond Talk by Johnnie Walker
Sat 25th at 1pm
Join us for an illustrated talk by Film Historian Johnny Walker ahead of the new edition of the seminal Hammer And Beyond – The British Horror Film by Peter Hutchings, a landmark work in British film criticism. This new illustrated edition brings the book back into print for the first time in two decades. Featuring Hutchings' socially charged analyses of genre classics from Dead Of Night (1945) and The Curse Of Frankenstein (1957) to The Sorcerers (1967) and beyond, it also includes several of Hutchings' later essays on British Horror. Editor Johnny Walker will be addressing the books place in film history, its significance, the key themes and British Horror since the publication.
Video Nasties Panel Discussion
Sat 25th at 6pm
Join us for a discussion around the Video Nasties era. We are casting out minds back 40 years to the period of time when films were being censored, ordinary film collectors were being arrested and hysterical press campaigns influenced the political landscape.
Jake West (Director - Video Nasties – Moral Panic, Censorship and Videotapes, Doghouse, Evil Aliens)
Marc Morris (Nucleus Films – Cult Film distribution company, Producer – Video Nasties – Moral Panic, Censorship and Videotapes)
David Hyman – BBFC
Day Two – Paracinema Film Festival
Sunday at Paracinema is dedicated to new British talent as we take a look at the best shorts and features from the UK.
This Severed Isle – British Genre Shorts Programme + Director Q&A
Sun 26th at 12 noon
Paracinema rounds up this unruly bunch of UK Shorts and unleashes them upon unsuspecting cinemagoers! We will be joined by some of the filmmakers for a post screening Q&A.
Line Up: Peter The Penguin, Fearfully Made, Out At Night, Hold, Lepidopterist and Let Me Go.
Lightships + Director Q&A
Sun 26th at 2:15pm
Eve awakes in an unstaffed medical facility, awaiting diagnosis for a mystery illness. With no recollection of how, why, or when she was admitted, she joins a group of outcast patients, who are attempting to recall what takes place during treatment inside a terrifying room known as 'the hole'. A she struggles to recall her past an alien world at the edges of her dreams begins to bleed through. Visions of a world that could consume her. Is she alive or dead? Is she a patient or a prisoner?
We are delighted to welcome Director John Harrigan for a post screening Q&A.
Superterranean + Director Q&A
Sun 26th at 4:40pm
An injured and disorientated climber regains consciousness in a mountain Bothy. With no memory of how he got there, first he must deal with his life-threatening injuries. Only then can he deal with who or what caused them. A dark folktale with a pair of excellent leads and a striking use of confined spaces set against the endless wilderness.
We are delighted to welcome Director Ian Gordon for a post screening Q&A.
New Wave Of British Fantastic Cinema
Sun 26th at 7pm
Join the Paracinema Team and film writer David Dent (Dark Eyes Of London) for a mini recap of the year in British Fantastic Cinema. David is continuing the sterling work started by MJ Simpson to cover every British Fantastic film released in the year through his film blog Dark Eyes Of London ( http://darkeyesoflondon.blogspot.com/).
In the first of an annual event, we take a look at the year and highlight some of the great work being done on a variety of budget levels in These Severed Isles! Followed by a screening of Rob Savage’s excellent Host (2020)
Day Three – QUAD
Two screenings to tie in with Derby Peace Week
The Great Dictator
Mon 20th Sept at 6:15pm
Charlie Chaplin spoofs the rise of Nazism in his first feature length talkie, right in the middle of World War II. The films sees an amnesiac Jewish barber mistaken for the dictator leader of the fictional country of Tomania, Adenoid Hynkel (both played by Chaplin).
Introduced by Derby Peace Week.
The Tinderbox (PG) + Director Q&A
Tue 21st September at 7pm
A rare and thought-provoking examination of both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, from its catalyst to why it still rages, to what needs to happen for it to stop. The Tinderbox combines ancient and more recent history, geopolitical problems (racism, inequality, immigration, and fake truths), and psychology, with the deeply personal journey of one person forced to challenge everything they’d been taught about the conflict in Israel and Palestine. The film also shows the human face of this conflict by hearing from a wide variety of contemporary voices, ranging from a Settler to a political member of Hamas. Today, while this conflict still rages, an American Middle East Peace Plan is in the works, and anti-Semitism and Islamophobia remain as globally controversial as ever, this film will provide context, show how history continues to play out in the daily lives of people on either side of the divide, and will empower audiences to make up their own minds.
We are delighted to welcome Director Gillian Mosely to introduce her film. Following the film there will be a Q&A with Gillian about The Tinderbox.
1971 – The Year Hollywood Went Independent Film Season
Over the next four weeks every Wednesday we are highlighting a film from 1971 that changed the landscape in Hollywood. First up is Jack Nicholson in Bob Rafaelson’s Five Easy Pieces.
Five Easy Pieces (15)
Wed 22nd Sept at 12:35pm and 7pm
Following Jack Nicholson’s breakout supporting turn in Easy Rider, director Bob Rafelson devised a powerful leading role for the new start in the searing character study Five Easy Pieces, Nicholson plays the now iconic cad Bobby Dupea, a shiftless thirtysomething oil rigger and former piano prodigy immune to any sense of responsibility, who returns to his upper-middle-class childhood home, blue-collar girlfriend (Nashville’s Karen Black, in an Oscar-nominated role) in tow, to see his estranged ailing father.
QUAD Members receive double QUAD Points on bookings for the films in this season.
Oasis Knebworth 1996
Thu 23rd Sept at 7pm & Fri 24th Sept at 2pm
On 10th & 11th August 1996, 250,000 young music fans converged on Knebworth Park to see Oasis play two record breaking, era defining shows. The landmark concerts sold out in under a day with over 2% of the UK population attempting to buy tickets. This was a time when the UK was slowly recovering from a decade of recession. A surging confidence in arts and culture ushered in Cool Britannia and Oasis meteoric rise reflected the country's new-found conviction and swagger.
Featuring a setlist packed from beginning to end with stone cold classics, including Champagne Supernova, Wonderwall and Don’t Look Back In Anger, the Knebworth concerts were both the pinnacle of the band’s success and the landmark gathering for a generation. Oasis Knebworth 1996 is the story of that weekend and the special relationship between Oasis and their fans that made it possible. It is told through the eyes of the fans who were there, with additional interviews with the band and concert organisers.
Directed by Jake Scott from extensive concert and exclusive never-before seen footage, this is a joyful and at times poignant cinematic celebration of one of the most important concert events of the last 25 years.
Day Four – BBC iPlayer
Three Men In A Boat
Popular from the very start and never out of print. Three Men in a Boat remains as fresh and funny today as when it was first published in 1889.This adaptation is by a modern master of comedy, playwright Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare in Love, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Brazil – Oscar nominated co-writer).
One hot June day, three friends decide there is nothing they would like to do more than to get away from London. A boating holiday with lots of fresh air and exercise would be the very thing, or so their doctors tell them. So after debating the merits of hotel or camp beds and what to pack, they set off on their voyage – a trip up the Thames from Henley to Oxford (with a few diversions into pubs, museums and friends’ homes).
Sofia Coppola writes and directs this western drama remake of the 1971 film inspired by Thomas Cullinan's book. Set during the American Civil War, the film follows John McBurney (Colin Farrell), a wounded Union soldier taken in and held by the all-female staff of a Confederate girls' boarding school led by Martha Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman). While there, McBurney cunningly plays the women off against each other, working on their sexual frustrations and biding his time until he can attempt an escape. However, with dangerous rivalries beginning to develop in the house, it's not long before the girls start to turn on each other and then McBurney. The cast also includes Elle Fanning, Kirsten Dunst and Oona Laurence.
Mike Nichols directs this 1960s comedy drama starring Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft and Katharine Ross. After graduating from college, Ben Braddock (Hoffman) returns to his wealthy parents' South Californian home unsure of what he wants to do next. Feeling pressurised to get on with his life, the young Braddock escapes into an aimless affair with Mrs Robinson (Bancroft), an older, married woman and friend of the family. The pair meet regularly, with neither expecting anything serious from the relationship, but this seemingly simple situation becomes complicated when Ben meets and begins dating Elaine (Ross) - Mrs Robinson's daughter. Featuring a score written by Paul Simon and performed by Simon and Garfunkel, the film was nominated for six Oscars and won for Best Director.
Life On The Line
John Travolta, Kate Bosworth and Devon Sawa star in this action drama directed by David Hackl. The film follows Beau Ginner (Travolta), an experienced Texas lineman still coming to terms with the death of his brother while out fixing a fault on the county power grid. Now dedicated to making sure his team follow his strict safety guidelines while working the lines, Beau is also determined to see his niece Bailey (Bosworth) fulfil her potential and head off to study at college. However, problems soon arise when Bailey's boyfriend Duncan (Sawa) applies for work with the electrical company and is assigned a role on Beau's crew. Despite their troubles, the pair are forced to come together when a massive storm suddenly hits the county and knocks out the entire power system. With the town's helpless residents in real danger, Beau and his men must brave the extreme conditions in order to get the power back on as quickly as possible. The cast also includes Sharon Stone and Julie Benz.
Day Five – All 4
Fresh out of jail with two young kids in tow, Rose-Lynn dreams of getting out of Glasgow and making it as a country singer in the USA. Her mum Marion (played by Julie Walters - Billy Elliot, Paddington) has had a bellyful of Rose-Lynn's Nashville nonsense and urges her daughter to focus on supporting her children. Forced to take responsibility as a mother, Rose-Lynn gets a cleaning job, only to find an unlikely champion in the middle-class lady of the house (played by Sophie Okonedo - Hotel Rwanda). In this coming-of-age tale, Rose-Lynn comes to realise that the path to living out her dreams may be closer to home than she thinks. This is an uplifting and moving comedy drama about mothers and daughters and dreams and reality. Wild Rose is a heart-warming and feel-good new film that tells the story of a free-spirited young singer Rose-Lynn Harlan (played by Jessie Buckley - Taboo, War & Peace) who is bursting with raw talent, charisma and cheek. But will she escape the shackles of Glasgow and her roots to follow her dreams of Nashville?
Comedy drama written and directed by Paolo Sorrentino and starring Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel. Fred Ballinger (Caine) is a retired composer and conductor and his friend Mick Boyle (Keitel) is a working film director. The septuagenarian friends are on a vacation at a luxury resort at the foot of the Alps, where they ponder their children's confused lives, Mick's eager young writers and the other guests at the hotel which include aspiring actor Jimmy Tree (Paul Dano), diva Jane Fonda (playing herself) and Fred's daughter and assistant Leda (Rachel Weisz). Whilst Mick works to finish the screenplay for what he anticipates will be his final significant film, Fred expresses no interest in picking up his musical career again, but a request from a well-known monarch makes him reconsider.
The Girl In The Spider’s Web
Fede Alvarez co-writes and directs this thriller starring Clare Foy as Lisbeth Salander, a hacker and vigilante protecting the streets of Stockholm. After helping a group of hackers gain access to the NSA's servers and surviving an explosive attempt on her life, Lisbeth joins forces with journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason) to find out who wants her dead. As they dig deeper they find themselves weaving through a web of government corruption. The cast also includes Stephen Merchant, Sylvia Hoeks and Andreja Pejic.
The Love Witch
Anna Biller directs this comedy horror starring Samantha Robinson, Jeffrey Vincent Parise and Laura Waddell which pays homage to the Technicolor thrillers of the 1960s and 70s. A young and beautiful witch named Elaine (Robinson) uses her magic to devise spells and craft concoctions which will grant her what she desires: a man who loves her. Inconveniently however, her creations work too well and every man she seduces ends up dead. She finally finds the perfect man for her, but her wilful desire to feel loved may send her over the edge and into a heady brew of passion, madness and death.
Day Six – MUBI
David Lynch – The Art Life
Filmmaker David Lynch takes us on a journey through his formative years. From an idyllic upbringing in small-town America to the dark streets of Philadelphia, we follow Lynch as he traces the events that have helped shape his career, while gaining a greater understanding of the revered director. A dreamlike visit to David Lynch’s famous atelier offers a glimpse through the shrouded veils of his unique imagination. A lyrical meditation on creativity, this unconventional portrait examines the enigmatic auteur’s artistic life while telling the story of his upbringing in a very American family.
Fitness influencer Sylwia seemingly has it made: hundreds of thousands of social media followers, endorsement deals, photo spreads in magazines. But as she starts to share more online, the rising pressure forces her to confront her deepest insecurities and the exhaustive demands of her lifestyle. A riveting portrait of modern celebrity, Magnus von Horn’s Sweat strips away the digital veneer to reveal the human cost of influencer culture. Astonishingly embodied by Magdalena Koleśnik in a tenacious performance, this compassionate tale of self-discovery pulses with the energy of a thriller.
The Strange Colour Of Your Body’ Tears
A woman disappears. Her husband investigates the strange circumstances surrounding her disappearance. Has she left him? Is she dead? As he proceeds with his inquiries, his apartment becomes more of and more of an an abyss which seems to have no way out…A psychedelic fever dream that takes the set-pieces of Amer to dizzying new heights of sensory overload, Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s second feature is the stuff that midnight showings were made for. Get ready for a baroque slice of hyper-stylised giallo phantasmagoria—lights off, volume up!
Song Without A Name
Peru, at the height of the political crisis of the 1980s. Georgina is an indigenous woman from the Andes whose newborn daughter is stolen at a fake health clinic. Her desperate search for the child leads her to the headquarters of a major newspaper, where she meets Pedro Campos, a lonely journalist. Melina León sheds light on a dark chapter in Peru’s recent history in her mesmerising feature debut, which earned comparisons with Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma! With strikingly framed black and white cinematography, the sumptuous imagery of this eerily evocative film brings majesty to a tragic real story.
Day Seven – Arrow Player
Hell On Earth: The Desecration And Resurrection Of Ken Russell’s The Devils
Hell on Earth is about Ken Russell's 1971 film, The Devils which is one of the most controversial films ever made. Included are chats with Russell as well as films stars Georgina Hale and Murray Melvin. Also included are scenes which were cut from the release for being too controversial.
The Firemen’s Ball
It’s the annual firemen’s ball in a small Czech town, and the organisers decide to liven up the usually dull event with a raffle and a beauty contest. But with the former plagued by thievery and the latter by bribery, the event rapidly descends into farce – and that’s before a fire breaks out…
The last film that Milos Forman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus) made in his native country and language, The Firemen’s Ball is a sparkling comedy that’s also one of the best showcases of the director’s uncanny ability to extract flawless performances out of an entirely non-professional cast largely made up of actual firemen.
It was nominated for an Oscar, but the Czech Communist authorities were so convinced that it was a satirical allegory about official incompetence that the film was officially “banned forever”, or at least until the 1989 Velvet Revolution. It’s now regarded as one of the greatest of all Czech films.
Ashes And Diamonds
Regarded as one of the greatest of all Polish films from its premiere in October 1958, Andrzej Wajda's third feature Ashes and Diamonds retains that stature over half a century later.
The entire film takes place on the 8th of May 1945, when the war in Europe ended with Germany's formal surrender; but while other countries celebrated, Poland's post-war power struggle was only just beginning. In depicting the various factions jockeying for position, including ambitious Communists, aristocratic patriots, cynical journalists and anti-Nazi rebels recently emerged from the Warsaw sewers, Wajda brilliantly anatomises a riven country desperately trying to find its identity at a time when a fifth of its population had recently been killed and many more driven into exile.
Maciek Chelmicki (Zbigniew Cybulski) embodies this conflict outwardly: a calculating assassin, his ultra-cool facade begins to crack when he badly botches a mission, falls in love with the barmaid Krystyna (Ewa Krzyzewska) and dares to dream of a life outside the armed resistance that's characterised his entire adult life. His all too human indecision makes him Polish culture's Hamlet, and Cybulski's performance remains iconic to this day.
Dead End Drive In
One of Quentin Tarantino’s favourite directors, Brian Trenchard-Smith was a key figure in the Ozploitation movement, responsible for The Man from Hong Kong, Stunt Rock, Turkey Shoot, BMX Bandits… and dystopian cult classic Dead-End Drive In!
Set in a near-future where the economy has crumbled and violent gangs play havoc in the streets, the powers-that-be have decided to lure the delinquent youth into drive-in cinemas and keep them there. No longer just a place to watch trashy movies and make out, these outdoor picture shows have become concentration camps for the unruly and unwanted.
With its day-glo colour scheme, new wave soundtrack and extraordinary stunt work, Dead-End Drive-In is in the tradition of Ozploitation milestones Mad Max and The Cars That Ate Paris only very, very eighties.