Close Up

5 - 26 November 2007: Essential Cinema I


Opening Night
John Cassavetes
1977 | 144 min | Colour | Digital  

Broadway actress Myrtle Gordon (Gena Rowlands) rehearses for her latest play, about a woman unable to admit that she is aging. When she witnesses the accidental death of an adoring young fan, she begins to confront the personal and professional turmoil she faces in her own life. Featuring a moving performance by Rowlands (and with some scenes shot on stages with live audiences reacting freely to the writing and performing), Opening Night exposes the drama of an actress who at great personal cost makes a part her own.  

Film Ist
Gustav Deutsch
2004 | 77 min | Colour & B/W | Digital  

"A girl from long ago took a handful of embers and threw them up in the air; and the sparks became stars." (Bushman myth). Film archives are not simply repositories of the world's masterpieces of Cinematic Art, but also Aladdin caves of treasures unnamed and unnumbered. These films (especially the instructional and scientific films Deutsch pillages in the chapters 1 through 6) are not great work of art, but rather mines containing moments of unbelievable beauty and grace, unnameable terror and uncanny revelations.  

Andrei Tarkovsky
1974 | 102 min | Colour & B/W | Digital  

Mirror is Tarkovsky's most autobiographical work in which he reflects upon his own childhood and the destiny of the Russian people. The film's many layers intertwine real life and family relationships with memories of childhood, dreams and nightmares. From the opening sequence of a boy being cured of a stammer by hypnotism, to a scene in a printing works which encapsulates the Stalinist era, Mirror has an extraordinary resonance and repays countless viewings.  

The Unbelievable Truth
Hal Hartley
1989 | 90 min | Colour | Digital  

Hal Hartley's first feature – shot in less than 12 days in his backyard for a mere $200,000 – is a dry and dark comedy about the dangerous undercurrents that exist below the surface of normal middle class existence. An ex-con (Robert Burke) who could be a thief, a mechanic, a priest or a mass murderer (depending on who you listen to) arrives back in his hometown. His arrival has an impact on dysfunctional, bright teenager Audrey (Adrienne Shelly) who finds herself inexplicably drawn to this interesting and possibly dangerous man.  

Lost & Found
Luke Seomore & Joseph Bull
2005 | 15 min | Colour | Digital
Introduced by the filmmakers  

Jim Lee was born in a field in Kent on November 1st 1936. Abandoned from birth, his childhood memories were a blur. The visual background of Lost & Found is formed by a collage of discarded footage collected from charity shops, boot sales and private collectors around the country, creating a visual representation of his life.

Grey Gardens
David & Albert Maysles
1976 | 94 min | Colour | Digital  

Meet Big and Little Edie Beale-high-society dropouts, mother and daughter, reclusive cousins of Jackie O. thriving together amid the decay and disorder of their ramshackle East Hampton mansion. Five years after Gimme Shelter, the Maysles unveiled this impossibly intimate portrait of the unexpected which as established Little Eddie as fashion icon and philosopher queen.