In 2008, 18 climbers from a party of 24 reached the summit of the world’s second highest mountain, the treacherous K2. 48 hours later, 11 were dead, or had simply vanished. What happened? Nick Ryan weaves together found footage, eerie reenactments and interviews with survivors to try and solve this tragic mystery.
"Riveting. Gripping. Thrilling." Indiewire
"A gripping cliffhanger. A heart-throbbing experience." Hollywood Reporter
In 1961, three young, visionary architects were commissioned by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara to create Cuba’s National Art Schools on the grounds of a former golf course in Havana, Cuba. Construction of their radical designs began immediately and the school’s first classes soon followed. Dancers, musicians and artists from all over the country reveled in the beauty of the schools, but as the dream of the Revolution quickly became a reality, construction was abruptly halted and the architects and their designs were deemed irrelevant in the prevailing political climate. Forty years later the schools are in use, but remain unfinished and decaying. Castro has invited the exiled architects back to finish their unrealized dream.
"A fascinating tale of visionary aesthetics and…. sublime structures." Steve Dollar, Wall Street Journal
During the Great Depression, a New Jersey housewife returns again to again to watch RKO’s latest madcap Manhattan romance. So great is her devotion to the movie that one of the characters, Tom Baxter, can’t refrain from commenting on it - stepping down from the screen and into real life. Complications ensue.
Released just a few months after Octopussy, this Thunderball remake was produced by a rival team who managed to entice Sean Connery back into his most famous role (hence the ironic title). Notable for superior super villains Max von Sydow, Klaus Maria Brandauer and Barbara Carrera.
"The classiest of all the Bonds." Jay Scott, Globe & Mail
In this rarely screened masterpiece from cult director Jim Jarmusch, Johnny Depp plays a 19th century greenhorn - an accountant named William Blake - who heads west to the town of Machine. His prospects take a dark turn when a love triangle ends in double murder and Blake finds himself a wanted man, on the run, until a mysterious stranger by the name of Nobody (Gary Farmer) takes him under his wing. His journey takes him from civilization as he knows it to a nebulous realm of Native American spirit, and reality seems to slip away.
"Jarmusch’s most stunning achievement." Slant
"With the passing of time, this movie will settle in and find a place as a cinema classic." Jeffery M Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
When 14-year-old Laura Dekker announced her intention to become the youngest woman ever to sail around the world single-handedly there was an uproar. The child welfare authorities in her native Holland even applied to block her trip on legal grounds. But their case was rejected, and Laura set off soon afterwards on her beloved boat Guppy, with no safety boat or backup, but a video camera to record her odyssey. This film is the result of that impulse - a first-person mariner’s eye-view of a vast blue world
Allen waxes notalgic in this, one of his most autobiographical films, an affectionate tribute to the radio stars of the 1940s, and to the working class listeners - like Woody’s own family - who marveled at their exploits, both real and imaginary.
"Radio Days is so ambitious and so audacious that it almost defies description." Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Curated by photographer Greg Girard, who will introduce the films: House of Bamboo & Long Arm of the Law The Walled City of Kowloon was an amazing and forbidding part of Hong Kong, and who better to introduce these films in which it features so centrally than photographer Greg Girard, whose book City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City is itself now legendary.
HOUSE OF BAMBOO The first Hollywood movie to be shot in Japan after WWII, and also the first film to be shot in CinemaScope in that country, House of Bamboo is vividly alert to places and spaces. One of the iconic film noir hard men, Robert Ryan is an ex GI operating an American crime gang on strict military lines. Robert Stack infiltrates the group, but getting in is easier than getting out in one piece.
"A masterpiece that pinpoints the sublime in Fuller’s sensationalism and earns every inch of its widescreen real estate! Turning the on-location Tokyo streets into the perfect backdrop for a cartoonishly colorful version of hardboiled drama—call it Pulp Art— House of Bamboo keeps its story line about an undercover Army cop (Stack) battling a gangster (Ryan) on the lean and mean side. But the impeccable compositions Fuller uses to detail the lyrical and the lurid give even the most lowbrow elements a high-art feel; it’s like a bridge from the gutter to the museum." - David Fear, Time Out New York
"Some of the most stunning examples of widescreen photography in the history of cinema. Travelling to Japan on 20th Century Fox’s dime, Fuller captured a country divided, trapped between past traditions and progressive attitudes while lingering in the devastating aftereffects of an all-too-recent World War. His visual schema represents the societal fractures through a series of deep-focus, Noh-theatrical tableaus, a succession of silhouettes, screens, and stylized color photography that melds the heady insanity of a Douglas Sirk melodrama with the philosophical inquiry of the best noirs." Keith Uhlich, Slant Magazine
When Matt Berninger, the lead singer of The National, invited his under-achieving younger brother Tom along as a roadie on the band’s European tour, he thought he was doing him a favour. What he hadn’t banked on was Tom filming the whole thing - even as he screws up the most rudimentary tasks asked of him, like catching the tour bus, for example… A tour film like no other, this is oddly touching, very honest, and very funny.
"Poignant and hilarious." NME
"Brutal, hilarious, unexpectedly honest." The Hollywood Reporter
"The best documentary we have seen all year." The New York Observer
A curtain-raiser for tomorrow’s Coen Bros marathon: the brothers’ first movie, a delectably twisted film noir set in modern day (well, mid 80s) Texas, where Marty (Hedaya) doesn’t much care for the fact that his wife Abby (McDormand) is playing around behind his back. This is one of the great debut films, bursting with malicious wit and style, with an unforgettable performance from character actor M Emmett Walsh as a private dick with a very personal notion of ethics.
"It’s the boys’ most immediately gratifying movie: The goods are delivered in a hearse." Wesley Morris, San Francisco Examiner
"A tight, beautifully ugly neo-noir classic." Kim Morgan, Portland Oregonian
"As black, sinful and nasty as a weekful of Hitchcocks, this is as fresh and intoxicating now as it was back then. In a word: deadly." Ian Nathan, Empire
Everything you always wanted to know about Woody… well, very nearly. This documentary traces the long and prolific life of a comedy genius, with relaxed commentary from Allen himself, his sister, and collaborators from every phase of his 50-years showbiz career.
"Not a film to be missed." Philip French, The Observer
Both a tribute to one of the twentieth century’s most extravagant and influential personalities, and simultaneously a chronicle of the impact of fashion in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, this portrait of the irrepressible editor of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar is an eye-opener, just like its subject.
"Makes a compelling case for the late Diana Vreeland as the 20th century’s pre-eminent tastemaker, not to mention one of its most extravagant personalities." Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
"4 out of 5… Captivating… Insightful." Carolyne Zinko, San Francisco Chronicle
Italian-born Massimo and Lella Vignelli are among the world’s most influential designers. Throughout their long career, their motto has been, ’If you can’t find it, design it.’ From graphics to interiors to products and corporate identities, the film brings us into the work and everyday moments of the Vignellis’ world, capturing their intelligence and creativity, as well as their humanity, warmth, and humor.
The first in a double bill featuring two of the most highly acclaimed US features of the year, Before Midnight is Richard Linklater’s bittersweet study of a love affair languishing in middle-age - his follow up to generational touchstones Before Sunrise and Before Sunset.
“Before Midnight is a wonderful paradox: a movie passionately committed to the ideal of imperfection that is itself very close to perfect." AO Scott, New York Times
This curious hommage to German Expressionism is both a uniquely perverse enterprise and a real hoot. It’s a Kafkaesque comedy based on Allen’s earlier one-act play, unpromisingly titled "Death". Allen himself plays Kleinman, a clerk in an unnamed central European country who is reluctantly pulled into a vigilante hunt for a serial killer.
When superstar Canadian director Robert Lepage is invited to stage Wagner’s the Ring Cycle at New York’s Metropolitan Opera it was never going to be a routine production. Susan Froemke follows the backstage progress of a controversial but visually astounding show that tested everyone involved to their limits.
"Simply the best documentary about the Met ever made." Film Journal
"Destined to be one of the classic documentaries about opera." Philadelphia Inquirer
"A rousing portrait of creative renewal and, specifically, the way in which – by attempting something daring and new in the face of an opera culture deeply invested in tradition – Lepage proves that classic art can survive and flourish in a marriage with modern technology and imagination." – The Village Voice
Greta Gerwig is delightful - a kind of modern day Annie Hall - in this lovely, deft, funny/sad movie from Noah Baumbach. Frances Halladay is 27, living in New York, and not really pulling things together yet. She’s in the wrong job, and her most intimate friend is her flatmate, who’s moving out. Simultaneously optimistic and melancholy, romantic and unsentimental, it’s the finest comedy of the year.
"An irresistibly lovely, melancholic acknowledgment that love is impossible, and that the more candid a young woman is, the less eligible she becomes in the standard romantic sweepstakes… Frances Ha also marks the rare instance in which an actress has the perfect role at the perfect time. Ms. Gerwig’s work here is fragile, delicate, subject to bruising; something that could wither under too much attention. Perhaps Ms. Gerwig is the greatest actress alive. And maybe Frances Ha is just the ghost orchid of independent cinema." John Anderson, Wall Street Journal
"There’s an optimism and an empathy in “Frances Ha” that feels genuine and earned.The plot doesn’t build to a gigantic, sweeping climax, but the understated final moments made me happier than any other filmgoing experience I’ve had all year." Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
Edward Norton and Drew Barrymore stroll hand in hand around a fountain, then burst into a deliciously sloppy rendition of ’Just You, Just Me’, and immediately we’re right into it, and you can’t imagine why it’s taken Woody Allen so long to get round to reviving the musical. Romantic, nostalgic and decadent as Fred Astaire, this is also the closest Allen has come to a Jacques Demy movie.
"A delightful and witty compendium of the film maker’s favorite things." Janet Maslin, New York Times
"It would take a heart of stone to resist this movie." Roger Ebert
Ingeniously devised to dovetail with events at the remote Norwegian Antarctic base, this underrated prequel to Carpenter’s modern classic is a tense chiller that pays respect to the past while showcasing cutting edge CGI fx by Vancouver’s Image Engine.
"It’s full of chills and thrills and isolated Antarctic atmosphere and terrific Hieronymus Bosch creature effects, and if it winks genially at the plot twists of Carpenter’s film, it never feels even a little like some kind of inside joke." Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com
If you think Amour was too sentimental, then this extraordinary documentary from Brian Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky (Frances) is just what you crave: the filmmakers spent years visiting a nursing home, charting the progress of senility, dementia, and of course death among the residents. All this narrated with bleak, wrily philosophical humor by one of their number. The film is not journalistic, but poetic, a "dirge", in the words of the filmmakers - and one you will not forget in a hurry.
"The Patron Saints was the single best film I saw during the festival run of Putty Hill." - Matt Porterfield
"Mainly, this observational realism serves the filmmakers exceedingly well, creating a humane, almost elegiac atmosphere, with occasional flashes of black humour, all of it heightened by a soundtrack of choral music that culminates in Arvo Part’s ethereal version of My Heart’s in the Highlands." Kate Taylor, Globe & Mail
"Bleak, moving, expressionistic." NOW magazine