Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Films with art at the Cambridge Film Festival

Films with art or artists at the Cambridge Film Festival, 

19-29 Sept 2013

It's tricky to know in advance what films will have art in them, or artists, or architecture, or be about art, or be themselves arty.  I've scoured this year's Cambridge Film Festival brochure and list my pick below.

But note:  Ultimately, you can't tell from the short film notes in the brochure.  You'll have to see the films.  So if you see any additional arty films:  comment below!

1.  Don Hertzfeld
Directed by: Don Hertzfeld.
Mon 23 Sept, 6.45 pm; Fri 27 Sept, 6.30 pm; Emmanuel

Source:  DeviantArt.  © Don Hertzfeldt.

From the programme notes:  Don Hertzfeld ... the Texas-based artist's chosen medium is stop-motion stick men.  Coupled with Hertzfeld's surreal, funny ... wit, the minimalist line-drawn figures are invested with ... character ...

Watch some Don Hertzfeld animated shorts on youtube.  Quirky, retro aesthetics. They remind me of David Shrigley, a bit.

2.  The Man Whose Mind Exploded
Directed by: Toby Amies.  UK.
Fri 27 Sept, 6.45 pm; Arts Picturehouse.

From the programme notes:  Drako Zarhazar leads a curious life.  Robbed by ... amnesia of his capacity to create new memories, he lives almost entirely in the present.  ... the parts of his life that Drako can remember are ...: a muse for Salvador Dali, and performer for Derek Jarman and Andy Warhol ...

This one looks about as non-mainstream as you can get, so just the sort of film to see at a film festival.

3.  Morente, Flamenco y Picasso
Directed by:  Emilio Ruiz Barrachina.  Spain.
Sun 22 Sept, 9 pm, Arts Picturehouse; Thurs 26 Sept, 6 pm, St Philips.

Source:  Film  Affinity.

From the programme notes:  Documentary about the great flamenco singer Enrique Morente and his relationship with the poems of Picasso.

Sounds odd but why not?  Also, it seems that you get to hear some great singing and guitar playing.

4.  Don't Look Now
Directed by:  Nicholas Roeg.  UK/Italy.  1973.
Fri 20 Sept, 4 pm and 9 pm, Cineworld.

Source:  Wikimedia Commons; © Didier Descouens

Classic film.  Features San Nicolò di Mendicoli in Venice (in the film being restored by Donald Sutherland's character).  And, no doubt, much other Venetian art and architecture.  I've never seen this much-vaunted film as it looks to me quite scary --  and I can't cope with scary movies.  My loss...

Slim pickings so far but the next two films actually directly address art:

5.  As if We Were Catching a Cobra
Directed by:  Haia Alabdalla.  Syria/UAE/France.
Wed 25 Sept, 4 pm, Arts Picturehouse.


From the programme notes:  ... the new Arab Spring. ... film questions Egyptian and Syrian artists about their experiences before and after these major historic movements and attempts to gauge new-found freedoms without censorship.

This seems to be the one film that is actually about artists.  Plus it's very topical. Read about Egyptian artists in the news (Observer)  or look at Syrian art on Facebook (The Syrian Artists Facebook page).

Last but definitely not least:

6.  The magnificent  Nosferatu
Directed by:  F.W. Murnau.  Germany.  1922.
Sat 28 Sept, 6.30 pm.  Arts Picturehouse.  With live piano accompaniment by Neil Brand!  Also, Fri 20 Sept, 6 pm, Cineworld (no live piano).

Nosferatu, the vampire

One of the best films ever made.  In Nosferatu, Murnau engaged with contemporary Expressionist art as well as with early 19th-century German Romantic painting.  And ended up creating  a mesmerising, beautiful and strange cinematic work of art.

nosferatu tower
Nosferatu: film still of tower
 (filmed on location in Wismar
kirchner, red tower in halle 1915
E.L. Kirchner, The Red Tower in Halle, 1915 (Expressionism)

nosferatu totenschiff
Nosferatu:  film still
C.D. Friedrich, Sail Ship, 1815 (Romanticism)

Nosferatu:  Film still 
C.D. Friedrich, Moonrise over the Sea, c.1821

Enjoy the film festival, with or without art!  And, after all, film is an art form in itself.  So no matter what you see, you will be indulging in art.  

Find out more at the Cambridge Film Festival website.


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