Archive for August 31st, 2012

by Roderick Heath

Note: This review of “8 1/2” originally appeared at ‘Ferdy-on-Films’ on September 13, 2009.

Federico Fellini’s signature opus is a film that, nearly a half-century ago, was the height of demanding modernism in the cinema. shook the landscape by challenging filmmakers to match its new, innately personal cinema spun purely out of its creator’s perspective and psyche and thereby establishing a new argot for exploring creative endeavour in movies. More loudly, too, if not necessarily more artfully, than any other director of the ground-breaking generation to create and work within Italian Neorealism, Fellini abandoned mere reportage and circumstantial study, and pushed deeply into metaphor, associative epiphany, psychology, and personal mystery, rather than analysis, explication, and the traditional demarcations of the social conscience film. He did not abandon such a conscience or method, but radically altered the way that he organised his responses to it, hunting for a way to dovetail the inner crisis with a common sense of anxiety and malaise.

An irony of this was that established its own personality cult, allowing student and commercial filmmakers, and other artists, to pinch its effects, images, and methods of realising intellectual autobiography. 8½’s inherent individuality was alchemised into public code, its pictorial quirks converted into pop art, for Fellini had a way of generating imagery that lodged in the minds of his contemporaries, as rockers like Bob Dylan and The Doors referenced his films in their songs and record covers, and Woody Allen quoted it endlessly in films like Annie Hall (1977). It’s hard to imagine other, key works by such diverse brethren as Scorsese and Coppola, Nanni Morretti, Charlie Kaufman, Bob Fosse, or Emir Kusturica without its example. was also a dividing point in Fellini’s career, after which he took up a kind of free-form fresco filmmaking, which bugged the hell out of many. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(UK 1979 82m) not on DVD

You’re going to come out!

p  Kevin Sim, Peter Morley  d  Peter Morley

As I write this piece, I turn to the IMDb and am left ashamed.  It’s there, of course, but no-one has voted on it, seen it or commented on it.  Turn to Nuit et Brouillard, to Shoah or to Laurence Rees’ Auschwitz, and you’ll find votes and comments aplenty, but nothing for Peter Morley’s piece.  When one considers the plethora of Holocaust films out there, that this priceless document should be forgotten seems almost unforgiveable.

One can understand that it took me 20 years from discovering of its existence to tracking down a print, via dear old Youtube of all places.  Naturally the style of shooting has dated a little bit, but as testimony, this is one of the most priceless pieces of television you will ever see.  Producer Peter Morley approached Yorkshire TV with the idea of having Kitty Hart return to the place of infamy where she’d been for over two years. Her doctor son Peter would be there to offer emotional support.  Kitty had been working as a radiologist in Birmingham for many years, and had written a small memoir in 1961, but her visit would act as a sort of exorcism of demons she had submerged and suppressed within her for nearly 35 years.  The piece opens with the story of how her family, the Felixs, left the small town to Bielsko near the Polish border just before the invasion of Poland, and were eventually caught and shipped off to Auschwitz (ironically only a few miles from Bielsko) in 1943.  (more…)

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