Our guest curators will present two programmes each over the weekend, with the remaining four programmes presented by Overnight Film Festival.
Friday 2nd February, 19:30
The Velvet Vampire
(1971, US, Dir Stephanie Rothman / 80 mins)
Presented by Overnight Film Festival, our opening night film will be a rare big screen outing for Stephanie Rothman’s early ’70s cult classic The Velvet Vampire. Unable to find work in mainstream Hollywood, pioneering independent writer-director Rothman subverted low-budget exploitation cinema from within, creating the first truly feminist vampire movie with style, wit and surreal use of California locations.
Los Angeles couple Lee and Susan Ritter (Michael Blodgett and Sherry Miles) accept an invitation from the mysterious Diane LeFanu (the unforgettable Celeste Yarnall) to visit her in her secluded desert estate. Tensions arise when the couple, unaware at first that Diane is actually a centuries-old vampire, realise that they are both objects of the pale temptress’ seductions.
Saturday 3rd February, 11:00
(1983, US, Dir Joel DeMott, Jeff Kreines / 120 mins)
Presented by Overnight Film Festival and screening for the first time in the UK, Joel Demott and her partner Jeff Kreines’ legendary yet little seen early ’80s Indiana teenagers documentary was commissioned for broadcast by PBS, who then declined to show it.
Winner of a 1985 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury prize, Seventeen is an essential piece of direct cinema that captures Midwestern attitudes to race, class and sex without gloss or commentary. This American Life host Ira Glass described the film as “the most amazing reporting on a high school that I had ever seen”; it remains startlingly relevant today.
In their final year at Muncie’s Southside High School, a group of seniors hurtles toward maturity with a combination of joy, despair, and an aggravated sense of urgency. They are also learning a great deal about life, both in and out of school, and not what school officials think they are teaching.
Saturday 3rd February, 14:00
(1998, UK-US, Dir Todd Haynes / 118 mins)
Zing Tsjeng presents a 20th anniversary screening of Todd Haynes’ audacious glam rock fantasy Velvet Goldmine. Loosely based on the experiences of David Bowie and Iggy Pop, this queer-centric extravaganza boasts a sumptuous and decadent atmosphere, with Oscar-nominated costume design by the legendary Sandy Powell.
Fictional characters Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and Curt Wild (Ewan McGregor) are personifications of their taboo-busting music’s ideals. When Slade disappears, the era itself seems to melt away, swallowed up by the slick 1980s. But this fallen idol’s story is retold when journalist Arthur Stuart (Christian Bale) is assigned to discover what really happened to him.
Saturday 3rd February, 19:30
(1996, US, Dir Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski / 108 mins)
Zing Tseng presents Lana and Lilly Wachowski’s stylish, sexually charged and razor-sharp feature debut Bound: one of the great ’90s thrillers and a breakthrough for lesbian representation in mainstream American filmmaking. Working on a tight budget, the Wachowskis eschewed Hollywood norms in their depiction of a relationship between two female protagonists, employing feminist author and activist Susie Bright to choreograph the sex scenes.
Tough ex-con Corky (Gina Gershon) and her lover Violet (Jennifer Tilly) concoct a scheme to steal millions of stashed mob money, then pin the blame on Violet’s crooked boyfriend Caesar (Joe Pantoliano).
Sunday 4th February, 10:00
The End of the World (Um fim do mundo)
(2013, Portugal, Dir Pedro Pinho / 63 mins)
Presented by Overnight Film Festival, our mid-length Sunday morning screening will be Pedro Pinho’s laid-back and stunningly lensed 2013 portrait of the daily lives of young people on the outskirts of Lisbon, made collectively by an excellent cast and the award-winning Portuguese director (whose acclaimed feature debut The Nothing Factory will soon be released in the UK).
Um fim do mundo unspools its day-in-the-life observations in an incidental and unpredictable fashion, with improvisations and open-ended storytelling creating authenticity. It’s a gorgeous piece of coastal cinéma verité that’s guaranteed to ease your hangover.
Sunday 4th February, 11:30
Shorts Programme presented by Shiva Feshareki
(1940, Canada, Dir Norman McLaren / 2 mins)
An experimental film of dots animated by being drawn directly on film stock.
Pen Point Percussion
(1951, Canada, Dir Norman McLaren / 6 mins)
Norman McLaren explains how he makes synthetic sound on film; the technique is demonstrated in Dots and Loops.
(1955, Canada, Dir Norman McLaren / 5 mins)
This experimental short is a playful exercise in intermittent animation and spasmodic imagery.
(1964, Canada, Dir Norman McLaren / 10 mins)
This short animation explores the ‘canon’, a form of musical ’round’ in which each singer picks up the words and tune of a song after the preceding singer.
(1971, Canada, Dir Norman McLaren / 7 mins)
This animated short features synchronization of image and sound in the truest sense of the word.
(1952, Canada, Dir Norman McLaren / 8 mins)
In this Oscar-winning short film, McLaren employs the principles normally used to put drawings or puppets into motion to animate live actors.
Powers of Ten
(1977, US, Dir Charles Eames, Ray Eames / 9 mins)
Eameses’ best known film illustrates the universe as an arena of both continuity and change, of everyday picnics and cosmic mystery. Starting from a view of the entire known universe, the camera gradually zooms in until we are viewing the subatomic particles on a man’s hand.
Sunday 4th February, 13:30
No One Knows About Persian Cats
(2009, Iran, Dir Bahman Ghobadi / 106 mins)
Presented by Shiva Feshareki, this drama about the Iranian underground rock scene follows two young musicians, Ashkan and Negar, who are promised a gig in London and embark on a frantic mission to assemble a backing band. The couple have recently served prison terms for breaching the ban on ‘Western and decadent music’, and for Negar these activities are particularly dangerous: as a female musician, unauthorised public performances can carry savage penalties.
The winner of Cannes’ Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize in 2009, No One Knows About Persian Cats – the title a reference to a law that forbids cats and dogs to wander outdoors – has been described as “a love/hate letter to Tehran itself”. Hand-held camerawork lends a fresh, documentary-style energy and naturalism, while the film’s writers include director Bahman Ghobadi and journalist Roxana Saberi (both of whom have been imprisoned in Iran).
Sunday 4th February, 17:00
35 Shots of Rum
(2008, France-Germany, Dir Claire Denis / 100 mins)
Presented by Overnight Film Festival, our closing night film will be a 10th anniversary screening of Claire Denis’ beautifully observed and emotionally vibrant father-daughter relationship drama. 35 Shots of Rum captures the warmth and easygoing love between family and close friends, drawing perfectly nuanced and sensitive, truthful performances from all of Denis’ cast. It is masterfully shot by her regular cinematographer Agnès Godard, with an evocative score by fellow long-term artistic collaborators Tindersticks.
Lionel (Alex Descas) is a train driver. A widower, he has brought up his only daughter Joséphine (Mati Diop) since she was very small. Today, she’s a young woman. They live side by side, living in each other’s pockets, in a protective cocoon from the outside world. For Lionel, everything in his life revolves around his daughter and for Joséphine, her world is her father. Little by little, Lionel realises that time has passed and perhaps the time has come for them both to move on and find their independence.