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EVENT: KNEEL THROUGH THE DARK
A disused World War II bunker in east London has been turned into a screening chamber by Brit experimental filmmaker James Batley for his second Super-8 short Kneel Through the Dark, which premiered at Cannes this year and follows 2010’s Bad Owl and the Fox Boy. Alternating grainy black-and-white with bursts of fiery, glittering colour and a searing soundscape, the film elegantly laces together animal totems and occult motifs in its exploration of the mystical subconscious, its nourishments and demons.
Screening on Friday 13 September in Abbott St, Dalston. Free admission. Doors will open at sunset at 19.19pm.
TRAILER: UNDER THE SKIN
The Venice Film Festival premiere this week that’s got everyone talking is British filmmaker Jonathan Glazer’s odd sci-fi Under the Skin, the Birth director’s first film in nearly a decade. It stars Scarlett Johansson as a black-haired, red-lipped femme fatale space alien who drives a van around Scotland luring in lustful men and giving them a nasty comeuppance. The nightmarishly hallucinatory first-glimpse trailer brings David Lynch to mind with its eerie soundtrack and mysterious noir nightscapes of dark roads and shadowy seductions. It’s had rapturous reviewers doling out the stars – and others slating it in abject disgust. We can’t wait.
NEW FILM: MUSEUM HOURS
The unhurried, startlingly original latest from New York filmmaker Jem Cohen is set in Vienna in and around the Kunsthistorisches Museum. “What is it about some people that makes us curious?” asks non-actor Bobby Sommer’s character Johann, an ageing museum guard who spends his days contemplating people as well as paintings and who like himself was once a band tour manager with punk leanings. That spark of interest leads him to befriend Anne (unorthodox rock vocalist Mary Margaret O’Hara, who made influential ‘80s album Miss America), who is there from Montreal visiting a comatose cousin and is at a loose end as to how to spend the rest of her time. It’s an authentic portrait of how humanity is shared through fortuitous chance encounters with people and art.
Out in the UK on Friday 6 September.
NEW DOCUMENTARY: THE STUART HALL PROJECT
Ghanaian director John Akomfrah, a founder of the Black Audio Film Collective in London's Hackney in the ‘80s, has continued to make challengingly experimental and politically committed documentaries about memory and history. His latest is a portrait of Stuart Hall, made from a mash-up of archival footage of the cultural theorist from television excerpts to home movies, soundtracked to the soul-stirring jazz strains of Hall’s favourite musician, Miles Davis. After emigrating from Jamaica in 1951, Hall came to be regarded as one of the most inspiring voices of the Left with his ideas that cultural identity is fluid. The development of his thinking is here set against the charged racial politics of the times.
Out in the UK on Friday 6 September.
MUBI FILM: BLUEBEARD
Lola Creton got her big break in this disturbing 2009 fairytale from director Catherine Breillat, based on the grisly 17th-century yarn about a young girl’s marriage to a grotesque-looking wife-slayer, and one of our Dazed picks. The 19-year-old gives a fiery performance as the murderous aristocrat's disobedient and proud spouse – the first of many roles for the French actress that have been demandingly intense. Not that she’s complaining. “I like to be pushed around, moved, troubled, feel emotions,” she told us in Paris recently. “I have no preconceived ideas about cinema.” Available to watch on MUBI.