SOFT RIOT

Film Klub

Afraid Of The Dark | eyeI’ve managed to write a list of films to put into this Film Klub so here we are at it again with two films within one post. The reason for this “double bill” is that sometimes I’ll watch one film and then research other films that might be similar. In this case I had watched the film Afraid Of The Dark (Mark Peploe, 1991) and then months later watched Paperhouse (Bernard Rose, 1988).

Although seeing the two films on two completely separate occasions I was struck by the similar aesthetics and themes running through the both films. In fact, I get a sense of a micro-genre of UK films coming out around this time, when the 80s were ending and going into the 90s — a micro-genre of young adult films where there is a young, child protagonist who gets pulled into a dark fantasy where the child’s mind starts blurring this fantasy and reality. The late 80s UK mini-series Moondial fits into this group as well, but for now we’re just looking at the two films aforementioned.

Afraid Of The Dark focuses around a young boy named Lucas who lives with his family in a neighbourhood in London. Lucas is soft-spoken and has very bad eyesight, therefore requiring him to wear very thick glasses. These glasses have a strong visual element in the film. Both Lucas’s parents and other characters in the film share concern about Lucas’s worsening eyesight. The film progresses into a strange mystery/thriller where Lucas is convinced there’s a murderer stalking in his neighbourhood and plays around with the concept that you’re unsure if this is just in the young boy’s head, or if it’s actually happening. READ MORE

Céline and Julie Go Boating

05 February 2017

Céline et Julie Vont En BateauIt’s a bit of a rusty feeling coming back to this around nine months later since the last entry, “Let’s Scare Jessica To Death”, but I feel like I’ve seen many memorable films in that duration, as well as from the many years proceeding that I thought it would be a good time to reflect and post more. Hell, why not?

For me the most intimidating part is the writing; trying to recap my thoughts on something I’ve seen so I’ve decided to write whatever happens to come to mind at the time, no matter how basic the overview is.

Céline et Julie Vont En Bateau (here listed by the English title, Céline and Julie Go Boating) is a film by French director Jacques Rivette, who is commonly grouped with the whole French New Wave — a blanket term used for such directors as Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut who tried new things with cinema in starting as early as the late 1950s.

I’ve never seen films by Rivette before but I was aware of work done by actors in his film, including Barbet Schroeder (director of Maîtresse) and Bulle Ogier, who had done films for Schroeder as well as other European directors such as Fassbinder.

Anyway, with this film, Céline and Julie Go Boating, I held off watching it for a number of months as the running time is 193 minutes. I wanted to be in the right mood to watch it. I had no idea what to expect from a film that runs that long. When I did get around to it the pacing worked quite well.

The film follows two women who cross paths in a park when one woman drops her scarf. From there there’s a bit of a chase as Julie tries to return the scarf to Céline. This chance meeting brings the two women together under strange circumstances that could be categorised as “magical realism”. As the film progresses the women keep visiting a strange house where they don’t remember what happened during their time there. Only when they start sucking on these mysterious candies do they get transported to their time spent at the house, which is a “groundhog day” style routine of a set of actions and conversations that result in a young girl being murdered.

As Julie and Céline keep returning to this “routine” by ingesting the candies, they start to have fun with the repeating actions of this dream state, and eventually start changing the course of events, breaking down the somewhat normal feeling of these events into something more bizarre and surreal.

It’s a bit hard to explain it and it’d be a shame to give too much away. The long running time of the film however feels natural as you feel like you’re hanging out with the two protagonists as they go about their increasingly bizarre adventures and start morphing together in terms of personality traits.

And yes, there’s a scene where they do “go boating” — it’s short but an integral part of the film.

If you’re in the UK this film is available on player.bfi.org.uk (with a monthly subscription).

Let's Scare Jessica To DeathIt’s time to revive this on-and-off section of the website again. At this point it seems like I have a massive backlog of oddball films that I’d like to post in this section. It’s mainly finding the time in my crazy schedule to do so!

Anyway, without any further delay this entry is about a cult horror film from the early 70s called Let’s Scare Jessica To Death. It’s somewhat well known amongst cinephiles but it’s only recently that I’ve seen it. Much like another favourite film of mine, The Shout, it is a horror of the classic, supernatural vein that uses very little special effects and is more about the atmosphere and empty spaces that allow your mind to ponder the unknown, rather than constantly going at you with shock, gore and awe to provide the entertainment. Also, in both films the soundtrack and sound design is equally as important to the film as the visual footage. READ MORE

Dr Caligari film coverSo here we are, half a year later and picking up Film Klub again. I haven’t stopped watching film in that time but a lot of time has been spent doing music and planning things for Soft Riot, as well as design work as JJD Works. To quote a Soft Riot song, “There Just Isn’t Enough Time”

This is a short entry about two films that I’ve watch a number of years apart from one another: Dr. Caligari and Remote Control, both from around the same time period: 1989 and 1988 respectively.

I’ve grouped these two cult films together as they have some aesthetic and subjectual similarities. Both are very stylised underground 80s films that play a lot of colour and quirky plots but also take a bit of inspiration from novelty science fiction films of the 1940s and 1950s.

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Gandahar | Film StillThis is a Film Klub entry that covers two films: Les Maîtres Du Temps (1982) and Gandahar (1987) both created by the French animator René Laloux. For the anglophones out there, you might remember these films by their English titles; The Time Masters and Light Years. Both films were originally done in French and then overdubbed for the English versions of the films.

Laloux is also well known for his debut animated film, Fantastic Planet.

The reason for stuffing two films into one entry, beyond sharing the same creator, is that last night I finally got around to viewing the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, which was actually quite interesting to watch, namely due to Jodorowsky’s intense, animated nature throughout the film’s interviews as well as the way the original artist drawings were presented (animated from the original stills) as well the synthesizer-heavy soundtrack by american punk/hardcore musician Kurt Stenzel.
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