Screening Highlights 11/8: Songs, Secrets and Studio Ghibli
Looking over the screeningfilm.com listings in order to try and pick five screenings worth highlighting over the next week, the most striking thing was the breadth of what was on offer. Netflix and television might be on the rise, but the cinema is finding ways to survive in increasingly diverse and fascinating forms. From new festival indies to classical musicals shown on 35mm to silent German films projected in a pub. It was difficult to choose just five screenings, but I’ve tried to reflect this breadth, whilst also picking screenings that I myself would be excited to attend:
“Wasn’t I lucky to be born in my favourite city?” asks Margaret O’Brien’s Tootie early on in Vincente Minnelli’s Technicolor classic Meet Me in St. Louis. Starring Judy Garland – who takes seduction through dimming the lights to the most exquisitely elaborate levels – this is one of those musicals where even if you haven’t seen it before, you’ll still know all of the songs. Filmed in 1944 and set just before the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair; the film is an alternatively joyous and pensive examination of a small world that’s about to get much bigger. Star and Shadow are showing it on 35mm too – what more do you want?
Secret screenings always intrigue me. Who knows what’s going to appear on the screen once those curtains have been pulled back? Moston’s Small Cinema probably won’t be showing Orson Welles’ reassembled cut of The Magnificent Amberson’s – but you never know – and finding out is half the fun.
Over the past few years, Phillip Lord and Christopher Miller have established themselves as the most manic and inventive directing team this side of Neveldine-Taylor. Packing obsessive detail and a knowing humour into films such as 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie, they have become the go-to-guys for turning bad ideas into critical and commercial success stories. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs introduced us to the pair and to the apparently endless possibilities of food as weather.
The German mountain film is one of the many film genres forgotten over the decades according to Bristol Silents Club. I certainly haven’t seen any examples, but this night at the Lansdowne Pub looks like the perfect opportunity to get acquainted with the “incredible cinematography and sharp story lines (usually based around the theme of man vs. nature)” that are typical of the genre.
Howl’s Moving Castle is the one I’ll be at this week. To my shame I’m entirely unacquainted with director Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, but that’s where seasons like Cornerhouse’s Studio Ghibli Forever come in. Promising “a real alternative to the animated blockbusters produced by Hollywood” they will be showing five of the Japanese company’s films during August. It’s the perfect chance to revisit some favourites or, in my case, to gain a bit of an education.
Tom Grieve is a film critic and reporter over at North West arts and culture magazine TUSK Journal and a Digital Reporter for Manchester’s Cornerhouse. Find him on twitter @thomasgrieve