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Archive for November 14th, 2010

The Sunday Matinee, focusing in turn on three films from the 60s cinemas of Italy, Britain, Czechoslovakia, and France, will continue on this site through the end of the year. Despite today’s early posting, the pieces will usually appear Sunday at 2pm EST.

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, UK, 1960, dir. Karel Reisz

Starring Albert Finney, Rachel Roberts, Shirely Anne Field

Story: Arthur Seaton spends the week working in a factory, and the weekend winning drinking contests, sleeping with a co-worker’s wife, and generally pissing off everyone in sight.

When the British New Wave hit cinemas in the early 60s, with its unprettified portraits of working-class life, it was seen as part of an overall cultural trend, already predominant in literary and theatrical works (from which many of these films, this one included, were adapted): the rise of the “Angry Young Man.” In Look Back in Anger, he’s a snarling young Richard Burton, lashing out at his lover yet displaying a wounded pride when she lashes back. Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner spots him at a borstal, where Tom Courteney runs from authorities until the authorities actually want him to run, at which point he stops. This Sporting Life tackles Richard Harris on the rugby field, A Kind of Loving traps an upwardly mobile Alan Bates in an unwanted marriage, and A Room at the Top locates Laurence Harvey’s insecurity and exploits it through a frustrating relationship with an older, wealthier woman. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning may be the purest take at this iconic figure, unfettered as it is by the apparatus of an athletic narrative or the demands of an equal female protagonist (Roberts and Field, both excellent, are definitely supporting characters here). Yet Albert Finney, as Arthur Seaton, does not initially seem as bitter, desperate, or frustrated as any of those other furious youths – as his opening narration informs us, “I’m out for a good time – the rest is propaganda!” And indeed, in the picture above we see him grinning after falling down a flight of stairs, drunk as a skunk but flush with victory after out-drinking a sailor. Sprawled out on the floor, he couldn’t seem happier but make no mistake: he’s angry as fuck. (more…)

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(United Kingdom 1988 13 x 5 min)

Writers Terry Brain, Charles Mills; Animators Terry Brain, Charles Mills, Steve Box; Narration Terry Wogan

By Stephen Russell-Gebbett

“ Hidden away, not far from here is “The Land of Do as you’re told!

“The Land of Do as You’re Told!” is one all children can recognise, indeed never too far away. It is a place they wish they wouldn’t have to visit quite so often.

Each bizarre character that lives in its verdant shade is named after a typical piece of parental advice or admonishment: the slothful blanket-shaped ‘Go to Bed’, the mass of hyperactivity ‘Hurryup’, the bouncy ‘Eat your greens’ and so on. Some of these creatures embody the nag after which they are named (such as the neat ‘Tidyup’ and ‘Clean your teeth’ with his blinding grin) while others are yet to learn their lesson (the puddle-splashing, mud-caked ‘Wash your face’).

To children these orders (“Go and play!”) are present enough to be as alive as their parents or even come to define how they see their parents. You would expect those mini-barriers that inspire naughty children to jump into mischief to mutate through a childlike imagination into freakish proportions. Yet this is a pleasant land. It’s colourful, it’s safe, it’s fun. Yes, it’s surprising and strange that Mum and Dad’s everyday annoyances have grown into flesh and blood not as monsters but altogether likeable companions.

(more…)

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