Monday 24 August 2009

'This Sporting Life' screenings in Glasgow, Scotland

Lindsay Anderson and Richard Harris rehearsing a scene from This Sporting Life
© Lindsay Anderson Collection, University of Stirling

The wonderful Glasgow Film Theatre, located on Rose Street in the city centre, have two screenings of This Sporting Life coming up on Monday 14 and Tuesday 15 September. The screening on Monday 14 will be introduced by Dr David Archibald as part of the short film course he is leading, 'Everything but the Kitchen Sink'.

Thursday 13 August 2009

Jane and Louise Wilson at the Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh

Jane and Louise Wilson, Unfolding the Aryan Papers 2009, Installation view courtesy of the BFI London / © Dave Morgan

A few months ago I wrote about an exhibition that would be opening at the Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh. The exhibition, Unfolding the Aryan Papers is by Jane and Louise Wilson. I first saw it in London in March at the British Film Institute. I've already written about the main part of the exhibition, the video installation, in an earlier post so I won't repeat myself. Except to mention the space the film is being shown in - it's a box, constructed of a gauze-like material, darkened, and with mirrors which project the film infinitely on either side. The effect of the mirrors is very powerful though the temporary structure meant that noises from outside the box, people walking past, chatting, high heels on the floor etc. made it difficult to hear the film properly. Though this could also be to do with the fact I saw it on the opening night when the noise level might have been increased slightly by the wine on offer!

There was a large room upstairs in the Talbot Rice Gallery which contained archive material and new work by Jane and Louise Wilson which had not been part of the BFI exhibition. Old black and white photographs from the Ealing Studio Archive which Kubrick had collected are displayed alongside original photos of Johanna ter Steege, and new ones taken by Jane and Louise Wilson, and bronze sculptures of the yardsticks that are used in the original Ealing Studio photographs.

Once again what really struck me was how the re-use and re-interpretation of this material has finally brought it to life. It's very moving to hear Johanna ter Steege talk in the film, about the amount of time and feeling which she, and Kubrick, had invested in the project. She says something along the lines of 'this has brought some kind of closure to the film' which she was denied when the project was halted. I heard, though I can't find the reviews anywhere, that there have been criticisms of this exhibition as being too superficial, as somehow trivialising the very serious and horrific events it discusses. However that is so at odds with the impression I get from the film. The film is invested with the emotion and energy which Johanna ter Steege put into the original research and photographs for the film, the huge amount of research which Kubrick and his team carried out for it, and the amount of research and inspiration which the Wilson sisters have created with their film, and the photographs and sculptures, ensure that the installation creates a lasting impression.

On a final note about this exhibition - it's interesting how the revived interest in this film, through the re-use and promotion of the archive material, has reportedly led to interest in finally making this film. An article in The Times states that "Warner Bros still owns the rights to the film… and Harlan said the studio should employ a leading director such as Ang Lee, who made the Oscar-winning Brokeback Mountain, to bring Kubrick’s vision to the screen. He said he would happily become involved in the project again." Although Warner Bros. haven't confirmed yet if they are going to resurrect this film.

Wednesday 12 August 2009

Conference at Stirling University

Just under a month to go until our conference 'Archives and auteurs - Filmmakers and their archives' here at the University of Stirling'. I'm already pretty excited about it: the interesting line-up of participants and papers; the screenings; exhibitions; and the chance to meet lots of interesting people. I thought I would include a brief outline of the panels, plenary speakers, screenings and exhibitions just to whet the appetite of attendees/participants and to encourage others to come and join the fun! I'll post a full report of the conference and accompanying exhibitions and screenings after the conference.

The conference programme is now complete and will begin on the evening of Wednesday 2 September with a presentation from the AHRC Lindsay Anderson project team (that's Kathryn Mackenzie (that is I!), Isabelle Gourdin, John Izod and Karl Magee). Delegates papers will be presented at conference panels on Thursday 3 and Friday 4 September. I've included a full list of the panels below, but for further information on the content of each panel and the names of the speakers please see the full conference programme-

The cinema authorship of Lindsay Anderson Collaboration and authorship
Ingmar Bergman – the archival legacy British Cinema
Beyond the director – the production system Current archival projects
Beyond the director – from script to screen Creating and collecting film archives
Beyond the director – women in the picture

The event will end on Friday 4 September with a plenary session featuring papers from:

Sarah Street (Professor of Film, University of Bristol),
Marc Vernet (Professeur en Etudes Cinématographiques, Université Paris Diderot)
Barbara Hall (Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences)

To accompany the conference there will be a major exhibition of material from the Lindsay Anderson Archive in the Macrobert arts centre (located on the Stirling University campus). The Macrobert arts centre will also be the venue for a super rare screening of Red, White and Zero on the evening of Thursday 3 September. This is an (unreleased) triptych of films by Lindsay Anderson, Tony Richardson and Peter Brook. I have previously written about Lindsay Anderson's film in the triptych The White Bus but I have never seen the other two films so I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to do so.

Another special screening was recently added to the conference programme. Hitchcock on Grierson, a 1965 STV tribute to the ‘father of documentary’ from the ‘master of suspense’ will be shown at the Changing Room Gallery as part of a private view of the exhibition ‘Art is not a mirror, it’s a hammer!’, an exploration of the archives of John Grierson and Norman McLaren (see my previous post on this exhibition).
I know I'm slightly biased but it's looking like a pretty impressive line-up wouldn't you say?!