We begin the month with run of experimental film screenings starting with a joint programme on the films of Abigail Child and Ruth Novaczek followed by a discussion between the two filmmakers. Hot on the heels of Thursday's screening Gasworks presents a programme of perception challenging films as part of Filipa César and Louis Henderson's current exhibition Op Film: An Archaeology of Optics. This weekend we also begin another run of our Take Two double Bill series, with Robert Bresson's Pickpocket and Jean-Luc Godard's Vivre sa vie on 35mm, to be followed by Ray-Godard and Dreyer-Pasolini pairings later in the month and screenings of Yasujirō Ozu's deeply poetic Noriko Trilogy spread across three consecutive Friday evenings. Elsewhere this month we host Four Corners for a screening of two feminist missives by founder-members Joanna Davis and Mary Pat Leece looking at women's lives in 1970s and 80s East London, programmed as part of the East End Film Festival.
For the first of our core programmes this month we're pleased to present part one of a programme of films exploring life on the open road, taking in a wide array of American and European fiction features alongside a scattering of experimental shorts, largely produced in the 1970s and 80s. Last but certainly not least we're proud to host Ehsan Khoshbakht's season on the rarely seen early works of the great Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami who sadly passed away last year. This programme shows the filmmaker reframing the world and the relationships between individuals through his creative involvement with actors – often amateurs and children – producing philosophical works that reinvigorated the genres of documentary and narrative fiction, frequently blurring the lines between the two.
As always, advance booking is strongly recommended for all of these screenings.
1 June 2017
Abigail Child and Ruth Novaczek: Trilogies
Close-Up is pleased to present a joint programme focusing on the works of experimental filmmakers Abigail Child and Ruth Novaczek. Each of the filmmakers present trilogies of films which explore boundaries of Identity, desire, memory and the built environment, as they journey through personal and collective histories. Child presents The Suburban Trilogy, her feature-length project about girlhood and the immigrant dream, focusing on post World War II North American suburbs and between the war Europe, critically seen through the lens of gender, property and myths of nation. Novaczek presents a loose trilogy of films that culminates in the recent Footnote – a collaged narrative about the nature of love and distance, with Eileen Myles, Chris Kraus, and Salit Krac. Phone footage shot in Berlin, Crete, London and Minnesota is intercut with ripped films noirs and overlaid with an ominous soundtrack, Footnote cites Franz Kafka’s letters to lovers mixed with the filmmaker’s messages to a friend, Chris Kraus reads John Wieners and Myles talks of loves mysticism. Abigail Child and Ruth Novaczek will be conversation following the screenings.
2 June 2017
Refracted Spaces: Theatre of Optics
Gasworks and Margarida Mendes present Theatre of Optics, a ritual projection of moving image works that dwell on the electrical grid and its spells, exploring how the rhythms and anxieties produced by the infrastructural properties of light elicit expanded sensorial perception. Part one of Refracted Spaces, a research seminar convened by Filipa César and Louis Henderson for Gasworks. Developed as a way to expand on their research for Op Film: An Archaeology of Optics, the event situates the work presented in the exhibition in a wider context, incorporating the critical perspectives and practices of various other thinkers, researchers and artists. A reading by Filipa César and Louis Henderson will precede the screening.
3 - 30 June 2017
On the Road
Close-Up presents a two-month programme the exploring the road as a state of mind within late 20th Century American and European independent cinema. Covering masterpieces of American independent film, New German Cinema, and the American and Austrian avant-garde, this season features films by Wim Wenders, Monte Hellman, Larry Gottheim & Shelley Berde, Terrence Malick, Kurt Kren, Aki Kaurismäki, Sophie Calle & Greg Shephard, and Arthur Summereder, with more to be announced in for part-two in July.
4 June 2017
Take Two: Pickpocket / Vivre sa vie
In his top-10 list for Cahiers du Cinéma in 1959, Godard cited Pickpocket – filmed on the streets of Paris at the same time he shot Breathless – as the best film of the year. Despite Bresson’s spiritual cinema being theologically opposed to Godard’s secular beliefs, his influence on Godard was profound and enduring, asking similarly deep and spiritually probing questions about politics and society. Although Godard is quoted as stating Pickpocket was the main inspiration for Le Petit Soldat, Bresson’s influence is perhaps best observed in Vivre sa vie. Godard’s tragic portrait of a life told in 12 scenes set out to show rather than explain the plight of its young Parisian protagonist, trimming away all superfluous narrative and leaving the audience with 12 fragments of a larger story. This attempt at cinematic "objectivity" is not dissimilar to Pickpocket, in which Bresson’s austere storytelling only shows what is necessary to gain an "objective" perspective of the film’s story.
5 - 19 June 2017
Abbas Kiarostami: Early Works
"Cinema begins with D.W. Griffith and ends with Abbas Kiarostami." – Jean-Luc Godard. Almost a year since Abbas Kiarostami's unexpected departure, Close-Up celebrates the art of Iranian cinema's poet by screening some of his rarely seen early films made in the 1970s and 1980s for the Centre for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults (known as Kanoon), but also The Report, a highly influential and compelling marriage drama from 1977. This programme shows the filmmaker reframing the world and the relationships between individuals through his creative involvement with actors – often amateurs and children – producing philosophical works that reinvigorated the genres of documentary and narrative fiction, frequently blurring the lines between the two.
8 June 2017
Bred and Born
As part of the East End Film Festival 2017, Four Corners presents a double-bill of films by founder-members Joanna Davis and Mary Pat Leece, looking at women’s lives in 1970s and 80s East London. Shown here on 16mm prints, both films place women at the centre of the images and stories, seeking to counteract male-defined culture and to create a new visual language through which women’s identity can be explored. An experimental documentary that reflects on the different kinds of relationship between mother and daughters, and the position of women in the family, in a hybrid, disjointed but always involving way. Produced over a period of four years, Bred and Born emerges from two parallel strands: a women's discussion group about mother-daughter relations at a community centre in East London, and interviews conducted with four generations of working-class women from one family in the East End.
9 - 23 June 2017
Yasujirō Ozu: Noriko Trilogy
Regarded by many to be amongst the finest film directors of all time, Yasujirō Ozu’s films tend to portray the subtle conflict between traditional Japanese culture and contemporary modern values – made in an elegant, restrained, formalist style that belie the emotional intensity they convey. "Ozu’s body of work is incommensurable with that of any other Japanese filmmaker except perhaps Kurosawa...As a contribution to Japanese culture, however, it is comparable only to that of the great poets, painters or sculptors of the past." – Noël Burch
11 June 2017
Take Two: Ordet / Theorem
In a remote West Jutland farming community, a severe father of three sons refuses to let one of them, Anders, marry the daughter of a man with whom he has religious differences. Putting the lie to the term “organised religion,” Ordet is a challenge to simple facts and dogmatic orthodoxy. Layering multiple stories of faith and rebellion, Dreyer’s adaptation of Kaj Munk’s play quietly builds towards a shattering, miraculous climax. Dreyer achieves the powerful effects by deceptively simple means. A radically streamlined and elliptically simple film, Theorem remains one of Pasolini’s most mysterious works. The story of a sexually magnetic stranger, played by a mesmerising Terence Stamp, who methodically disrupts the well-ordered household of a wealthy Milanese industrialist, Theorem’s hidden tensions are brought to the surface with a shocking suddenness that remains as inexplicable as it is inevitable.
16 June 2017
Take Two: Johnny Guitar / Pierrot le fou
In the 50s, the critics of Cahiers du Cinéma turned their gaze upon Hollywood, with Nicholas Ray an undeniably important influence on the French New Wave. Godard famously wrote in a review of Ray’s Bitter Victory, "Cinema is Nicholas Ray", a statement that epitomised both his admiration of a certain type of maverick American filmmaker, as well as his disdain for a nation unable to recognise its artistic greats. Ray’s influence, although evident in Godard’s writing, is difficult to isolate in his films. However, there are numerous references to his work. In Le Mépris, Michel Piccoli’s character claims to have written Ray’s Bigger than Life, and in Pierrot le fou Belmondo’s character allows his maid go and watch Johnny Guitar for the third time because "she must educate herself".