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Love is in the air: Méliès, Wiseau, Fincher, Bogart and The Right One.

This week’s picks are by Alberto Serna, Spanish boy living in cosy Rotherhithe, London.


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A Trip To The Moon (1902)

11/02/2015 – 7:30 pm
HACKNEY PICTUREHOUSE – Hackney Picturehouse, 270 Mare Street, E8 1HE

Not a romantic movie per se, but a labour of love, A Trip To The Moon (1902) was George Méliè’s prove to the Lumière brothers that cinema could achieve more than merely portraying daily life scenes. The French director’s past as a magician and theatre actor clearly influenced the making of the film, opening new possibilities for cinema as a form of entertainment as well as a medium for artists to express their visual creativity. A Trip To The Moon revolves around a group of scientists travelling to the Earth’s natural satellite and the extraordinary events that follow. Méliè’s creativity was reflected in the movie’s groundbreaking special effects such as superimpositions, substitution splicing and dissolves, impacting audiences in a way only comparable to that later achieved by 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Star Wars (1977) or The Matrix (1999). The film is considered the first science fiction and fantasy movie in history inspiring generations of filmmakers and music videos such as The Smashing Pumpkin’s “Tonight Tonight” or Queen’s “Heaven for Everyone”, including the iconic shot of the missile-like ship landing in the eye of the moon.

Hackney Picturehouse is creating an immersive experience combining the screening of Méliè’s masterpiece with a brand new, improvised score performed live by experimental electronic musician Antwerp accompanied by Project Mycelium and Gary Bridgewood.

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The Room (2004)

13/02/2015 – 8:00 pm
REDGRAVE THEATRE – Redgrave Theatre, 2 Percival Rd, Bristol, City of Bristol BS8 3LE

Also known as ‘The Citizen Kane of bad movies’ or ‘The best worst movie ever made’– check out Troll 2 too –, Tommy Wiseau’s magnum opus has bewitched audiences all over the world for over a decade. The Room scores low on all cinematic categories – from acting and editing to scriptwriting. Surprisingly, it’s this impossible accumulation of nonsense per square minute that creates a surreal charm hard to resist – “You’re tearing me apart, Lisa!”

The Room, whose story focuses on a dangerous love triangle, has deservedly become a cult movie on its own right elevating director, actor, producer and writer Tommy Wiseau to indie celebrity status – last year’s screening at Cameo Cinema Edinburgh, with Wiseau and sidekick Greg Sestero in attendance, sold out in the blink of an eye leaving fans wanting more. That’s why this year Tommy is returning to Edinburgh to celebrate Valentine’s Day in style. The Bristol Bad Film Club has also wisely picked Wiseau’s tour de force for those who can’t travel all the way to Scotland. Extra points if you can guess Tommy’s place of birth.

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Let The Right One In (2008)

13/02/2015 – 11:55 pm
PFS THEATER AT THE ROXY – PFS Theater at the Roxy, 2023 Sansom Street Philadelphia PA, 19103

Swedish romantic horror film Let the Right One In is one of the most hauntingly beautiful stories of recent years. Oskar, a lonely 12- year- old bullied boy, meets Eli, her new and mysterious neighbour. Since her arrival, a series of grisly murders take place in town. Based on the excellent novel of the same title by John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let the Right One In achieves what seemed to be impossible in today’s horror film genre: an innovative and original horror film that reveals itself slowly without resorting to gimmickry. Eerie, dreamy, bloody and delicate, this visually stunning love tale is a horror gem not to be missed.

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Gone Girl (2014)

13/02/2015 – 7:15 pm
LLANCARFAN COMMUNITY CINEMA – Llancarfan Community Cinema, Llancarfan Village Hall, Llancarfan, CF62 3AD

“Who are you?” “What have we done to each other?”Adapted by Gillian Flynn from his own homonymous domestic noir novel, Gone Girl is director David Fincher’s closest work to date to master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock. Packed full of mordant humour and darkness, Gone Girl follows the mysterious disappearance of Nick Dunne’s (Ben Affleck) wife Amy (Rosamund Pike), a successful children’s book series writer. The film examines the struggles of modern long-term relationships, while subtlety criticizing traditional and social media’s contribution to contemporary society.

Deserving a special mention is the atmosphere created by Jeff Cronenweth’s elegant cinematography and the exquisitely eerie score by Trent Reznor and Atticuss Ross – their third collaboration with Fincher following The Girl With the Dragoon Tattoo and The Social Network. Rosamund Pike’s performance has been unanimously praised earning nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress as well as BAFTA and Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Equally mean and beautiful, Gone Girl is a must-have Valentine treat for couples in need of a relationship assessment.

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Image: FILE PHOTO: 70 Years Since The Casablanca World Premiere Casablanca

Casablanca (1942)

14/02/2015 – 7:30 pm
STOCKPORT PLAZA – Mersey Square, Stockport, Cheshire. SK1 1SP

Casablanca is, without a doubt, one of the most romantic films in cinema history. Its storyline, score, kisses and memorable lines slipped into the annals of cinema history making Humphrey Bogart an American icon whilst offering Ingrid Bergman her most enduring and famous role. Supporting performances are also memorable; especially Claude Rains as ethnically ambiguous police chief Renault. Set in the Second World War, the film tells the story of Rick Blaine (Bogart), a jaded exiled American who runs the most popular speakeasy in the city of Casablanca, a sanctuary from where European refugees sought safe passage and freedom to America. After Blaine is entrusted with two valuable letters of transit, his ex-love Ilsa (Bergman) arrives in town with her Czech Resistance leader husband Victor in search of exit visas. Rick is then faced with the most important decision of his life. Expect tears.

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My name is Alberto and I have been fascinated with films since I saw River Phoenix running across the top of a moving circus train. Originally from Murcia, Spain, I live by river Thames in cosy Rotherhithe, South London where I keep watching and learning from movies.


Enjoy writing about film? Would you like to choose your top 5 for the week ahead? Get in touch.

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