What's on at Crouch End Picturehouse - Film Course
Over 18s only!
How do the BBFC age rate horror? Do BBFC Compliance Officers scream while they watch slashers? How do they judge what makes audiences of different ages scared but still understand that fans of horror movies often like to be frightened? Have the public changed their views about what is scary over the last century and how has that changed classification?
Horror has been a popular film genre since the invention of cinema but attitudes to age appropriateness have changed greatly since the establishment of the British Board of Film Classification in 1912.
In this illustrated presentation with clips, debate and discussion, an Education Officer from the BBFC will discuss concerns about horror in different eras including: key horror decisions; the H for Horrific certificate (which formed the basis of X and then later 18), and more recent updates to classifying scary films for audiences of all ages.
The session also covers the treatment of horror films for kids, the changing attitudes to supernatural threat, tone and intensity, and how the BBFC responds to horror scenes and tropes that turn up in films of other genres.
Film Noir: The Enduring Appeal of Cynical Style
Wednesdays, 7 to 9.00 for 6 weeks: 2 May - 6 June 2018
The course will take place in the Community Room at Crouch End Picturehouse.
Course leader: George Crosthwait
Film Noir’s sultry characters, cynical pulp themes, and instantly recognisable stylistic traits mean that for many the genre is emblematic of Hollywood cinema in the 1940s and 50s.
But are its boundaries so easy to define? Critics, audiences, and scholars still argue whether Film Noir refers to a particular cycle of American films, or a certain visual style, or a broad “attitude” of existentialism,
hard men and dangerous women, and of the erosion of cultural morality.
This course will explore classic Hollywood noir's stylistic roots in 1920’s German expressionism, French poetic realism and American gangster films from the 1930s. We will examine the emergence of a particular narrative
and visual style that meshed with a pessimistic moral world view during the height of Hollywood noir in the 40s and 50s, and look at the representations of femininity and masculinity in American noir.
No prior knowledge is needed for this course, just an interest in film! Clips of the films discussed will be viewed during each class and the recommended readings will be supplied in advance.
Week 1: The Origins of Noir:
This week will establish the cinematic antecedents to noir, and examine the earliest attempts to define the genre and the inherent problems with this.
Films discussed: Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (1920), The Blue Angel (1930), M (1931), La Jour se Lève (1939), The Invisible Man (1933), Scarface (1932),
Citizen Kane (1941), The Maltese Falcon (1941), Double Indemnity (1944), The Lost Weekend (1945).
Week 2: Style and Morality in Hollywood Noir
We will examine the particular cinematographic traits of “classic” American film noir such as chiaroscuro lighting, canted/oblique framing, costuming, music, and set design. The second part of this class will explore how these stylistic traits are used to explore film noir’s vision of morality in the US in the 1940s/50s.
Films discussed: Casablanca (1942), Double Indemnity, The Big Sleep (1946), Out of the Past (1947), The Third Man (1949), Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950), Kiss Me Deadly (1957), A Touch of Evil (1958).
Week 3: The Femme Fatale
We will explore the stock noir character of the femme fatale, and the depiction of women in general in noir. This discussion will expand into a broader contextualisation of attitudes
towards, and the changing role of, women in postwar US. We will debate whether these films present a positive or regressive depiction of women and gender.
Films discussed: The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, Mildred Pierce (1945), Gilda (1946), The Big Sleep, Out of the Past, The Lady from Shanghai (1947), Whirlpool (1949), The Reckless Moment (1949), Sunset Boulevard (1950).
Week 4: Gumshoes and Gangsters
Following on from last week’s discussion on gender and women in noir, this week looks at the conception of noir’s men. We will examine how this collection of loners, heroes, villains and impotent lovers,
represented a crisis in masculinity caused by WWII and a changing domestic society. We will show how, due to the restrictions of the production code, many of these films code their male characters as queer.
Films discussed: The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, Laura (1944) The Big Sleep, The Stranger (1946), Gilda, Out of the Past, Where the Sidewalk Ends, In a Lonely Place (1950), The Hitch-Hiker (1952), The Big Heat (1953), Kiss Me Deadly.
Week 5: Film Noir as International Movement
Having shown the debt that noir had to earlier European styles in week 1, we examine noir-ish movements occurring concurrently in Europe, and international cinema
that were influenced by classic American noir (setting us up for neo-noir in the final week). I will pose the question: is film noir American, or has it always been international?
Films discussed: Obssessione (1943), The Third Man, Stray Dog (1949), Night and the City (1950), Night of the Hunter (1955), Les Diaboliques (1955), Rififi (1955), Elevator to the Gallows (1958), Vertigo (1958), Breathless (1960), High and Low (1963), Le Samouraï (1967), Branded to Kill (1967).
Week 6: Neo-Noir
The final class examines the continued popularity of noir themes and styles in “neo-noir”. We explore what this means as a definition, and what these films aim to produce through homage and pastiche. We will investigate what these, often generic hybrids, mean for the original definitions of film noir we established in the early weeks of the course.
Films Discussed: Kiss Me Deadly, Murder by Contract (1958), The Conformist (1970), The Long Goodbye (1973), Chinatown (1974), Taxi Driver (1976), American Gigolo (1980), Thief (1981), Body Heat (1981), Blade Runner (1982), As Tears Go By (1988), Basic Instinct (1992), LA Confidential (1997), Lost Highway (1997), The Big Lebowski (1998), Mulholland Drive (2001), The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001), Sin City (2005), Brick (2005), Ida (2013), Inherent Vice (2014).
Tickets are £70 for the full six week course (£65 concession / £60 Picturehouse Members).
Insurance man Walter Neff schemes the perfect murder with the beautiful wife of one of his clients: kill her husband and make off with the insurance money. But Walter's colleague - a shrewd insurance investigator - has a feeling that not all is as it seems with the widow's claim. A classic Film Noir thriller and a template for the genre.
After two previous film versions of Dashiell Hammett's detective classic, Warner Bros finally got it right in 1941 - or, rather, John Huston, a long-established screenwriter making his directorial debut, got it right, simply by adhering as closely as possible to the original.
Humphrey Bogart achieved true stardom as Sam Spade, a hard-boiled San Francisco private eye who could be as unscrupulous as the next guy but also adhered to his own personal code of honour.
Six Weeks on Wednesdays 8:00 to 10:00 pm from 13 June – 18 July 2018
The course will take place in the Community Room at Crouch End Picturehouse
Lecturer: Carol Nahra
In this six week course we will survey the rich landscape of British Documentaries, from the work of pioneer John Grierson to the films of leading modern directors like Nick Brookfield and Kim Longinotto, and Oscar winning documentaries. The course will examine how developments in technology have aided the development of documentary film making, changing the ways in which stories can be told, as well as considering creative documentary hybrids and distinctive subgenres such as autobiographical filmmaking.
Taught by Carol Nahra, a documentary journalist, producer and lecturer, this promises to be an enjoyable foray into a genre that continues to shock and inspire. Students will have a chance to watch a wide array of clips in class to foster discussion as well as attend screenings of key films in one of the cinemas screens.
Week one: Grounding documentary as “The Creative Treatment of Reality”:
Beginning with John Grierson, who coined the word ‘documentary’ moving on to classics such as to Michael Apted’s ground-breaking Up series, the introductory class will look at films which aptly reflect Grierson’s definition of documentary as “the creative treatment of actuality”.
Week two: The Auteurs:
This week we will look at the work of four major British documentary makers: Nick Broomfield, Lucy Walker, Sean McAllister, and Kim Longinotto.
This week will feature a screening of Divorce Iranian Style. Mon 18 Jun, 8:30 Week Three, Experimental/Hybrid/Performance Documentaries:
From its earliest days, filmmakers have shown great creativity within the documentary genre. This week students will look at a range of creative techniques, and documentary hybrids, and the incorporation of drama and performance into the documentary form.
Week four: Autobiographical Films:
We will focus this week on one of the trickiest and most controversial subgenres in documentaries, where filmmakers tell stories about their own lives.
This week will feature a screening of Halfway. Mon 2 Jul, 8:30 Week Five: Technology, Driver of Change:
Rapid developments in technology have allowed documentary makers to explore their worlds in new ways. This class will look at films which have used digital technology in interesting ways, including crowd sourcing material, and hidden cameras.
Week Six: The Cinematic Documentary:
More than ever British documentaries are competing with Hollywood for success on the big screen and at awards ceremonies. This final class will look at recent award winning British films including Searching for Sugarman, The Imposter, and Amy, examining how the evolution of nonfiction storytelling has mirrored that of fiction in intriguing ways.
This week will feature a screening of Searching For Sugar Man. Mon 16 Jul, 8:30 Tickets are £70 for the full six week course (£65 concession / £60 Picturehouse Members).
Three Iranian couples are followed as they embark on the difficult process of getting a divorce in the Islamic Republic. At the center of it all is Judge Deldar, who is involved in nearly every aspect of the divorce proceedings. The couples' lives are chronicled both inside and outside the court, revealing Iran's strict divorce laws in the process. The unparalleled access given by Judge Deldar means that what unfolds is an honest and forthright portrait of divorce in Iran.
Half Way is an immersive documentary chronicling the experience of a homeless family living half way between homes. Told through the eyes of Daisy, as daughter and filmmaker, it offers a self-reflexive lens into both the lived realities and mental deterioration of a family living as hidden homeless during Britain’s exploding housing crisis. This film documents a rare opportunity where the line between filmmaker and subject is blurred: all at once we witness the joyful and hilarious moments of everyday family life, up against its inevitable struggles. What began as a therapeutic process during a disempowering situation became a mission to complete a film. Half Way has transformed into a critique of Britain's welfare system, its housing crisis and the facelessness of ineffective power from the viewpoint of a family living through it.
SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN tells the incredible true story of Rodriguez, the greatest '70s rock icon who never was. Discovered in a
Detroit bar in the late '60s by two celebrated producers struck by his soulful melodies and prophetic lyrics, they recorded an album which they believed would secure his reputation as the greatest recording artist of his generation. In fact, the album bombed and the singer disappeared into obscurity amid rumors of a gruesome on-stage suicide. But a bootleg recording found its way into apartheid South Africa and, over the next two decades, he became a phenomenon. The film follows the story of two South African fans who set out to find out what really happened to their hero. Their investigation leads them to a story more extraordinary than any of the existing myths about the artist known as Rodriguez.