In the light of the United States' presidential inauguration later this month, we present a season focusing on a cross-section of films by the quintessentially American director Robert Altman. Producing a vast oeuvre of films across six decades, Altman would become arguably a more innovative filmmaker than any of his contemporaries with his drifting camera and decentered shot composition, his experiments with cinematography and sound recording, his use of overlapping dialogue and ensemble casts, and his disregard for conventional narrative structure. Here we present eight of the most complex, convention-challenging and influential films gleaned from the maverick innovator's prolific career.
At the end of the month we join the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust in remembrance of the horrors of the 20th Century, with a screening of Claude Lanzmann's monolithic documentary Shoah. Elsewhere this month we mark the publication of Mark Webber's Shoot Shoot Shoot book with a rare screening of David Larcher's Mare's Tail, an epic flight into inner space, on 16mm; and Sharna Pax join us again for a special presentation and discussion around two films by radical and provocative Iranian filmmaker Mania Akbari, who will be in conversation with Sophie Mayer and Andrea Luka Zimmerman following both screenings.
5 - 27 January 2017
Close-Up on Robert Altman
Part of the generation of Sidney Lumet, Stanley Kubrick and John Cassavetes, though remembered as part of the New Hollywood movement, Robert Altman would go on to become arguably a more innovative filmmaker than any of his contemporaries with his drifting camera and decentered shot composition, his experiments with cinematography and sound recording, his use of overlapping dialogue and ensemble casts, and his disregard for conventional narrative structure. With his combined love of and derision for tradition, his assertions of individuality together with his need for community, his mixture of high and low, and his alternations between delicacy and crassness, Altman seems a uniquely American figure.
15 January 2017
Shoot Shoot Shoot: Mare's Tail
"From one flick of the mare’s tail came an unending stream of images out of which was crystallised the milky way." – David Larcher
In collaboration with LUX we’re thrilled to present a rare 16mm screening of David Larcher’s Mare’s Tail to mark the publication of Shoot Shoot Shoot: The First Decade of the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative 1966-76 – a compendium of texts, interviews, images and documents from the era. Mark Webber will introduce the film and copies of the book will be available to purchase before the screening. One of the forgotten masterpieces of British avant-garde cinema, David Larcher’s epic film was assembled from quasi-autobiographical footage, shot over several years, that was processed, manipulated and edited into a dense, durational viewing experience. Generously employing assorted optical and aural trickery, Mare’s Tail unravels into a 2½ hour anarcho-mystical voyage of psychedelic revelation.
28 January 2017
Shoah: Holocaust Memorial Day
To mark Holocaust Memorial Day we present a commemorative screening of Claude Lanzmann's nine-hour opus Shoah. Using no archival footage, Lanzmann instead focuses on first-person testimonies, employing a circular, free-associative method in assembling them. The intellectual yet emotionally overwhelming Shoah is not a film about excavating the past but an intensive portrait of the ways in which the past is always present. Assembled from footage shot by the filmmaker during the 1970s and 1980s, Shoah investigates the genocide at the level of experience: the geographical layout of the camps and the ghettos; the daily routines of imprisonment; the inexorable trauma of humiliation, punishment, extermination; and the fascinating insights of those who experienced these events first hand.
29 January 2017
Mania Akbari: One.Two.One / 10+4
Close-Up and Sharna Pax present two films by Mania Akbari – guest curated and moderated by artist and filmmaker Andrea Luka Zimmerman. Following each screening, Sophie Mayer and Zimmerman will be in conversation with Akbari about her role and working process as a woman filmmaker particularly in the context of Iran, and how her films consider the body, life and death. 10+4 is a sequel to Abbas Kiarostami's Ten, in which Akbari played the leading role - here she again drives a car and talks to her son, her sister and other people, however her situation differs because Mania is now suffering from cancer. Composed of rhythmically structured and meticulously planned long takes, One.Two.One presents a series of conversational pieces connected to a beautiful woman named Ava whose face has been disfigured in an acid attack.