Category Archives: Cinema

The End of the Line at the Mercury Cinema

The End of the Line is on this weekend and next weekend at the Mercury Cinema, screening details here.

some related reading:

George Monbiot on the failure to protect Bluefin Tuna

Those who opposed suspending trade in the species argued that the temporary ban proposed by Monaco would devastate their fishing industries. There is some truth in this: for the years in which bluefin stocks would have been allowed to recover, the export ban would have put people out of work and reduced the output of their industry. But the absence of a ban ensures that, after one or two more seasons of fishing at current levels, all the jobs and the entire industry are finished forever, along with the magnificent species that supported them. The insistence that the fishing can continue without consequences betrays Olympic-class denial, a flat refusal to look reality in the face.

The classic case study in fishery collapse – the Grand Banks (from Wikipedia)

The cod catch peaked in 1968 at 810,000 tons, approximately three times more than the maximum yearly catch achieved before the super-trawlers. Approximately 8 million tons of cod were caught between 1647 and 1750, a period encompassing 25 to 40 cod generations. The factory trawlers took the same amount in 15 years.[5]

The industry collapsed entirely in the early 1990s owing to overfishing and debatably, greed, lack of foresight and poor local administration.[6] By 1993 six cod populations had collapsed, forcing a belated moratorium on fishing.[5] Spawning biomass had decreased by at least 75% in all stocks, by 90% in three of the six stocks, and by 99% in the case of ‘northern’ cod, previously the largest cod fishery in the world.[5]

After a 10 year moratorium on fishing the cod had still not returned.[7] It is likely that the local ecosystem has changed, one example being that greater numbers of capelin, which used to provide food for the cod, now eat the juvenile cod.[citation needed] The waters now appear to be dominated by crab and shrimp rather than fish.[7]

Five Thousand

Now there is another way to find out what’s happening in Adelaide besides reading Le Rayon Vert – which, given the sporadic updates and frequent mistaken listings is admittedly not that great for knowing what’s happening anyway. You can go to Five Thousand where you can read about what’s happening in music, art, cinema and … um, mini golf, amongst many other things. Go check it out, they have some good people writing reviews, and you can sign up to get it regularly in email too. You should still visit here as well though.

2010 Adelaide Cinémathèque

It’s about time I wrote something about the 2010 Adelaide Cinémathèque which is now well under way. For those who aren’t familiar with it the Cinémathèque is a film club based at the Mercury Cinema on Morphett St. They have a program running each year from the end of March up until mid December consisting of a great variety of films usually grouped into session of 3 or 4 films which are linked by a particular theme. There are two films per week, they show each Monday and Thursday at 7:30pm. Due to the conditions under which they get access to the films (as a film club), they cannot sell single tickets, instead you have to become a member. This is easy, you just fill in a form and pay for either 4 films ($35/$25 concession), 16 films ($70/$50) or an annual membership for $99/$80 – this can be great value, I got an annual membership last year for the first time and went to about 25 films.

To give you an idea of the variety on offer, some of the highlights for me last year were:

Distant Voices, Still Lives a compelling drama by English filmmaker Terence Davies who I wasn’t previously familiar with, Russian Sci-fi classic Solaris, some big screen epics – Lawrence of Arabia and Gone With the Wind, a Sam Peckinpah series including his masterpiece The Wild Bunch, a series by one of my very favourite directors Ingmar Bergman, Starstruck – a crazy 80’s Australian film set about a band competition which was very silly and lots of fun, the rare Cool World with it’s ultra-realist take on 60’s new york teenage gangs, some brilliant and completely different animations including the obscure Australian film Grendel Grendel Grendel , a witty retelling of Beowulf from the point of view of the monster, and the disturbing and essential Waltz with Bashir, an account of one person’s attempt to regain memories of their part in the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. There were also some hilarious Cary Grant comedies, but the last program I saw was possibly my favourite of the whole year as I was introduced to the genius of Jaques Tati. In particular Play Time is an absolute masterpiece.

And then there’s all the things that I can’t believe I missed, such as Aguirre and the Kurosawa program and lots more.

This year’s program is available here, go and have a browse through it, there’s plenty of great stuff there. As usual a great variety of genres, and mix between popular classics and rarely seen obscurities.

Based on tonight’s Jaques Demy film (which is not renowned as one of his best but was nevertheless excellent) it should be worth catching the remaing films in the current series. I’m also keen on seeing the amazing Baraka on the big screen again,
The online program goes only to July but there will be films from then right up to December, the full program for the second half of the year will be announced towards the end of the current one (memberships continue to the second half of the year).

Eric Rohmer (1920-2010)

It happened almost a week ago but I’ve only just heard that Eric Rohmer has died. He was, for me, the best film director there has been. It’s hard to descibe, since many people seem to find his films boring, but for me they are perfect. This blog is named for one of them, but I have greatly enjoyed them all, and while he did live to a good age and was making films almost to the end, I still cannot help but be very sad at the news. No more Rohmer, no more Bergman … for me no-one matches these two, and now they are both gone.

Read more from Roger Ebert, The Measure or at the New York Times.

Ingmar Bergman at the Adelaide Cinémathèque

Starting this week and continuing into next week at the Adelaide Cinémathèque is Lives of Shadow and Light: The Films of Ingmar Bergman. I’ve written about the Cinémathèque recently, and also wrote about Bergman here. One of the highlights of last year’s program was Bergman’s The Seventh Seal and this year we’re lucky enough to get three of his films. If you’ve not yet been to the Cinémathèque then now would be a good time to go. I’ll quote the descriptions of the three films from the Cinémathèque website, together with some relevant Youtube videos

7:30pm Monday 24 August

THE VIRGIN SPRING

Sweden 1960 88mins 35mm
When a devout young girl is raped and killed by goat herders, the most sacred beliefs of her deeply religious parents are challenged as they become consumed by a violent need for justice and revenge. Based on a medieval ballad set in 14th century Sweden, this allegorical tale examines the conflicts of a society transitioning from Paganism to Christianity. It is also notable for being the unlikely inspiration for Wes Craven’s notorious nasty Last House on the Left. Stars Birgitta Valberg and Max von Sydow. Print courtesy of the ACMI collection.


7:30pm Thursday 27 August
CRIES AND WHISPERS

Sweden 1972 91mins 35mm
Terminally ill Agnes is joined at her bedside by sisters Maria and Karin as she waits to die. But as her sisters’ jealousies and resentment surface, much of Agnes’ emotional comfort is left to Anna her devoted and fatalistic maid. Through a series of flashbacks, the inner lives of these women are examined as each one recounts a painful moment in their lives in this intense, disturbing and powerful family drama about repression, spirituality, sexual passion, hatred and death. Stars Harriet Andersson, Ingrid Thulin and Liv Ullmann. Print courtesy of the ACMI collection.
Listed in 1001 Films You Must See Before You Die


7:30pm Monday 31 August
WILD STRAWBERRIES

Sweden 1957 93mins 35mm
As a cynical, ageing academic, travels with his daughter-in-law to receive an honorary University degree, he also embarks on a journey from emotional isolation to personal redemption. Reliving his past through a series of memories and dreams that blur reality and imagination, Professor Borg recalls his childhood with its wild strawberry patch and his childhood sweetheart, his elderly mother alone in her large house, and his long-dead wife, bitter and disappointed by her husband’s inability to love. Stars Bibi Andersson, Max Von Sydow and Victor Sjöström. Print courtesy of the ACMI collection.

Winner Golden Berlin Bear Berlin Film Festival 1958
Listed in 1001 Films You Must See Before You Die

Also an interview with Woody Allen about Ingmar Bergman (he talks about Cries and Whispers in particular in part 2)

Adelaide Cinémathèque

The Adelaide Cinémathèque has recently announced details of their program for the second half of the year. It is a film society that shows a great variety of films, including many which are rarely seen. It offers a great opportunity to see classic films on the big screen. The program is available here. Due to issues regarding screening rights it is for members only, this just means that you have sign up and you can choose either a 4 film, 16 film or annual pass. Screenings are each Monday and Thursday.

The highlight for me is a collection of three Ingmar Bergman filmsThe Virgin Spring, Cries and Whispers and Wild Strawberries. Other highlights include a series of films by the Japanese masters Kurosawa and Mifune, a series on race relations in the USA (unfortunately To Kill a Mockingbird clashes with the Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks gig though), a chance to see the spectacular Aguirre The Wrath of God on the big screen (also the only version I’ve seen was dubbed so this should be an improvement), a series of Jaques Tati’s films (I’ve not seen any of his films before but know that many of the French New Wave directors held him in very high regard),  and a series of classic silent films accompanied by live scores. This is just a small selection, there is lots more as well.

Adelaide Film Festival 2009

It’s time again for the Adelaide Film Festival (Feb 18-Mar1), a great chance to see a wide range of films that you may otherwise never see. As usual I’ve gone for a 10-film pass (+3 bonus weekday daytime films) as well as a couple of special events. The festival guide is available around town (got mine at Big Star), also all the detail are online at http://adelaidefilmfestival.org/.

As always I’m disappointed that My Name is Albert Ayler isn’t in the music documentary section, it’s a film I’ve been desperate to see for ages. On the good side there is It’s Raining Pleasure, a documentary about the Triffids reunion/tribute concerts of the last couple of years. Plenty of other good stuff, best to check out the guide for yourself if you’re interested.

The Weeping Camel on SBS

This Tuesday SBS are showing the film The Story of the Weeping Camel as part of their Hot Docs series, though it is not exactly a documentary, as some scenes are acted, but they are acted by the “real people” who are the subjects of the documentary, nomadic herders in Mongolia. I don’t like to give away too much detail about movies (I like to know as little as possible before seeing a movie, however this can sometimes have disastrous consequences), so I won’t say much more, just that it’s a really beautiful story that is well worth your time.

Bon Anniversaire Monsieur Rohmer

Today the French film director Eric Rohmer is 88. He is still making films, though I have trouble seeing his latest ones here in Australia. In fact, I don’t believe that any are even available here on dvd. Occasionally they turn up on SBS (I recall being happy to find L’Anglaise et le duc on SBS one Christmas night), and at the cinema (the Mercury showed a number of his films as part of their cinematheque program a couple of years ago).

For those in Adelaide you can go to Kino on Goodwood Rd where you can hire just about all of his feature films up to the mid 90’s (as long as you still have a video). Last time I went past it looked like they weren’t there anymore, I no longer live in the area so I’m not sure what’s going on there.
My recommendations:

though I must say that I have enjoyed all of his films that I’ve seen. I think only Ingmar Bergman could possibly compete with him as my favourite director. They are quite different from each other so I can’t compare directly, but it’s fair to say that the right mood is required for a Bergman film, but I’m always in the mood for a Rohmer one.