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contents Issue Eight.

May/June 2010
celebrates 45 years of cinema coverage
0 4 | Spotlight
Magic Roundabout:
Magic, Circumstance
and Psychology
Published bi-monthly by the internationally 1 4 | Art & Film
Still Life:
renowned film society of lincoln center, Iceland's 700IS
Reindeerland Festival
film comment provides global coverage 24 | Widescreen
in cinema including exclusive interviews, Secret Cinema:
Maharashtra's Tent
in-depth reviews, discussions on new releases Cinemas

and classic films, authoritative profiles on 3 0 | 1000 Words

’’ !
luminaries in the industry, and developments
in the art of filmmaking.
Slash and Burn:
How Halloween lit the
Fuse for the Slasher

’’ Regulars

0 4 | Reel World
I love every aspect of motion pictures, and I’m committed to it for life. Crossing Over
film comment has that same commitment when it comes to 1 8 | One Sheet

writing about motion pictures. Horror Show

— C l i n t E a st wood film comment connects me to a time when films and filmmakers
actually mattered and were treated as being worthy of serious discussion.
There’s no other cinema magazine remotely like it.
‘Perhaps you haven't
found what you want
yet, perhaps you're
unfulfilled. Perhaps
3 4 | On Location
Madrid, Spain

you don't even know 3 8 | Screengem
— st Ev En sod E rbE rgh
what you want, perhaps Wilson the Volleyball

cover image pandora and the flying dutchman (courtesy park circus ltd.)
you're discontented. 4 2 | Parting Shot
film comment regularly publishes some of the best film writers in the Discontentment often Hands Off
world, and they probe and parse cinema in a way that deepen our experience of it. finds vent through
malice and destruction.' 4 4 | Competition
— u tn E ind E p End E nt pr E ss award b E st arts CovE rag E
Hendrik van der Zee Picture This

4 6 | Listings

Fi l mCo m mE nt.Com
1.888.313.6085 US
subsC r i bE:
1 yr (6 issues) save 10% of our standard rate
30 A roundup of this issue's
featured films

The Big Picture ISSN 1759-0922 © 2010 intellect Ltd. Published by Intellect Ltd. The Mill, Parnall Road. Bristol BS16 3JG /
1.973.627.5162 International us $27 /canada&mexico $36 /international Editorial office Tel. 0117 9589910 / E: Publisher Masoud Yazdani Senior Editor & Design Gabriel Solomons Editor Scott Jordan Harris
Film Comment PO Box 3000, $63 use code 2 bKFr9 when ordering.
Contributors Jez Conolly, Nicholas Page, Emma Simmonds, Daniel Steadman, Scott Jordan Harris, Tony Nourmand, Alison Elangasinghe, Gabriel Solomons
Special thanks to John Letham, Sara Carlsson and all at Park Circus, Jelena Stanovnik, Michael Pierce at Curzon Cinemas and Gabriel Swartland at City Screen
Denville NJ 07834 USA Please send all email enquiries to: / l The Big Picture magazine is published six times a year

Published by intellect | Produced in partnership with

may/june 2010 3
reel world
f i l m b e yo n d t h e b o r d e r s o f t h e s c r e e n

the bluesman's crossroads is

where music, movies, popular
culture and American folklore
merge. Updating the medieval
legend of Faust, the Delta
The Coen brothers gave
bluesmen of the 1920s /1930s
further credence to the
Tommy Johnson and Robert
enduring legacy of the
Johnson (no relation) were
crossroads myth during O
said to have sold their souls to
Brother,Where Art Thou?
the devil at this metaphorical
(2000). The deft mix of
(and literal – the crossroads
Homer’s Odyssey and
in question is supposedly
slapstick comedy includes the
in Rosedale, Mississippi)
character of Tommy Johnson
junction in exchange for
(Chris Thomas King) who,
prodigious guitar talents,
based on both Tommy and
with Robert’s ‘Cross Road
Robert, is fresh from making
Blues’ (1936) immortalizing
his own Faustian pact. The
the myth in song. Fifty
Coens’ seamlessly blend the
years later, the tale was the
ancient and contemporary
inspiration for Walter Hill’s
tales to create their own
Crossroads (1986), in which a
peculiar vision of American
gifted young guitarist Eugene
bluegrass music and culture.
Martone (Ralph Macchio)
battles for the soul of With blues music festivals,
bluesman Willie Brown (Joe bands, clubs, societies and cafes
Seneca) in a guitar duel with all across America bearing the
Jack Butler, the devil’s star crossroads name (and the TV
pupil, played by rock guitarist series Supernatural featuring
Steve Vai. Hill’s movie its own version of the tale with
gave the MTV generation an episode entitled ‘Crossroad
a contemporary link to an Blues’), it’s evident that this
already seminal moment in particular legend is alive and
music history. well in contemporary popular
culture. [tbp]

Hill’s movie gave the MTV

generation a contemporary
link to an already seminal
moment in music history.
(left) setting the scene: crossroads (1986)

The legend of Robert Johnson selling his soul at the
crossroads is more associated with music than film
(above) robert johnson (2001)
but, as neil mitchell explains, movies are responsible (right) ralph macchio in crossroads

for much of its prevalence in popular culture.

4 may/june 2010 5


feature spotlight ava gardner

james mason and ava gardner

Y c i n e m a ' s t h e m at i c s t r a n d s

Pandora and the

Flying Dutchman (1951)
Dir. Albert Lewin

Pandora (Ava Gardner)

lives in the Spanish port of
Esperanza. She is unable
to love anyone but herself,
and claims that the measure
of love is how much one is
willing to sacrifice. Dutch
captain Hendrik van der
Zee (James Mason), arriving
in Esperanza, is in fact the
legendary Flying Dutchman,
condemned to sail the seas
for eternity unless he can
find a woman who loves him
enough to die for him. Every
seven years, the Dutchman
is allowed to come ashore for
six months to find and fall
in love with a woman. He
is unwilling to let Pandora
die, and deliberately tries to
provoke her into leaving him,
until she learns the truth, and
swims out to his yacht once
more so that they can be
joined together in death. The

film was shot in Tossa de Mar,
where a statue of Gardner
now overlooks the town’s
main beach.

pandora is unable
Pandora and The Flying
Dutchman is back in UK
to love anyone but
cinemas from 14 May. herself, and claims
Images courtesy of Park Circus Limited
that the measure
Numerous films feature characters cursed - by of love is how much
magic, circumstance or their own psychology - to one is willing to ➜
relive the same inescapable pattern in the same sacrifice.

inescapable place. jez conolly visits six such
movies – and hopes he’ll be able to return.

6 may/june 2010 7

Kobal (2) spotlight magic roundabout

The Exterminating Dead of Night (1945)

Angel (1962) Dir. Alberto Cavalcanti,
Dir. Luis Buñuel Charles Crichton, Basil
Buñuel believed Dearden, Robert Hammer
that a member of A group of people in formal
the bourgeoisie dress arrives at an elegantly An architect (Mervyn Johns)
would rather appointed home for a dinner arrives at Pilgrims Farm for
starve to death party. However, once dinner
is over and the guests retire
a routine appointment and
experiences intense déjà
than commit the to the drawing room, they vu. He can predict what the
tiniest social discover that the servants have houseguests are about to say
faux pas. gone away – and for some and do and foresees a terrible
event – the culmination of a
➜ reason they cannot leave.
There is no explanation why recurring nightmare within
– there are no locked doors or which he is trapped. The other
barred windows preventing guests relate their own strange
them from going home – but tales, most famously that of a
the guests are convinced that psychiatrist (Frederick Valk)
they’re stranded. about a ventriloquist (Michael
The inability of the guests to Redgrave) whose dummy
leave is a metaphor for the seems to have a mind. The
bourgeois tendency to blindly Möbius strip nature of the
emulate one’s neighbour and film – the final scene exactly
self imposed damnation
reluctance to be seen to break mirrors the opening shots –
top right
sir michael redgrave (and friend) any rule of etiquette, however inspired cosmologists Fred
ludicrous. Buñuel believed that Hoyle, Thomas Gold and
Hermann Bondi to develop
spotlight a member of the bourgeoisie
would rather starve to death
or degenerate into savagery
their ‘steady-state theory’ of
the universe, an alternative
c i n e m a ' s t h e m at i c s t r a n d s
than commit the tiniest social to the Big Bang. Gold said ‘I
faux pas, such as being the think we saw that movie sev-
first to walk through an open eral months before, and after
door. The guests in the film are I proposed the steady state, I
prisoners of their own making. said to them, “Isn’t that a bit
like Dead of Night?”’

8 may/june 2010 9

c i n e m a ' s t h e m at i c s t r a n d s
Kobal (2)

When even suicide

fails to break the Groundhog Day (1993)
spell, Connors Dir. Harold Ramis
decides to spend
his own private ‘Okay campers, rise and
shine, and don’t forget your
eternity on self- booties because it’s COOOLD
improvement. out there today. It’s cold out
➜ there every day…’ intones
the irritating DJ for the nth
time as the radio alarm clock
belonging to TV weatherman
Phil Connors’ (Bill Murray)
flips over to 6am. Due to
some unexplained temporal
anomaly, Connors seems
destined to relive the same
24 hours reporting on
the supposedly predictive
behaviour of the groundhog
known as Punxsutawney Phil.
When even suicide fails to
break the spell, the initially
mean-spirited Connors
decides to spend his own
private eternity on self-
improvement, saving lives,
1408 (2007)
performing random acts of Dir. Mikael Håfström
kindness and getting to know
his producer Rita (Andie
MacDowell), which results in A sceptical writer (John Cusack) checks in to Room 1408 at
a relationship that eventually the Dolphin, determined to stay the night and disprove its
stops the time loop. Groundhog reputation as a haunted hotel. The hotel’s manager (Samuel
L. Jackson) warns him that it is ‘an evil fucking room’ and that
Based on a short story
Day bore many similarities
to the Richard Lupoff short nobody has lasted more than an hour in it before. Undaunted
by this, the writer enters the room. When the clock radio
by Stephen King, 1408
story 12:01 PM (1973), which
was made into an Oscar- begins playing ‘We’ve Only Just begin’ by the Carpenters and
commences a 60-minute countdown it is the prelude to the
possesses distinct
nominated short film in 1990
and a feature film in 1993. new occupant’s seemingly endless incarceration in the infernal similarities to The
room. Director Mikael Håfström reshot the film’s ending after
US test audiences responded negatively to its downbeat nature. Shining – except that,
bill murray is heading for a fall
The original denouement survives on the UK DVD release.
Based on a short story by Stephen King, 1408 possesses distinct this time, the hotel
similarities to The Shining – except that, this time, the hotel
proves even more difficult to escape. proves even more
difficult to escape.
John Cusack checks in

10 may/june 2010 11

c i n e m a ' s t h e m at i c s t r a n d s

no exit (1962)

Dir. Tad Danielewski

Three sinners, finding

themselves together in what
appears to be a hotel room,
come to believe they are
actually in hell. They initially
expect to receive some kind
of torture or punishment
for their sins, but when no
such treatment materializes,
it slowly dawns on them that
they have been put together
to torture each other for an
eternity, hence the play’s
famous line ‘Hell is other
people’. Jean-Paul Sartre’s
existentialist masterpiece
Huis clos (1944) (most often
translated as No Exit) has been
Three sinners, filmed several times: first in
finding themselves 1954 by Jacqueline Audry and
again eight years later by Tad
together in what Danielewski. Feature-length
appears to be a versions have struggled to
hotel room, come successfully expand the plot
without prolonging the agony
to believe they are for the audience – the play
actually in hell. lasts a mere 50 minutes – but
➜ Danielewski inserted silent
flashback enactments of the
sins committed in an attempt
to give the viewer some relief
from the oppressiveness of the
inescapable room. [tbp]

rota GAM & viveca LINDFORS

also see... 12:01 PM (1973)

12 may/june 2010 13

art&film clockwise from opposite page
Interior Day / Elina Medley
View from window of Eidar Art Centre in East Iceland
visual art inspired by film Gun / Dominic Nguyen

Could you summarize the

700IS Reindeerland festival
for us and describe just what
makes it unique?
700IS Reindeerland is an
international experimental
visual arts festival with video
art as its main focus. It is
based in a remote area of
east Iceland that has only
around 12,000 inhabitants.
The festival is different in
that the submission process
is designed to be particularly
artist-friendly; this year
the initial selection process
happened entirely via the
Internet. The organizers of
and in the UK (Liverpool).
700IS are artists themselves,
The festival is bigger this year
so from the beginning it was
than in previous years and
very important to us that there
for the first time we offered
be very few rules. Artists can
a residency programme, for
submit as many films as they
three selected artists.
like, with no restriction on
when the film was made, its An interesting feature of the
length, the age of the artist or festival is the travelling art
any need for qualifications. exhibit, which displays video
The only stipulation is that stills taken from submitted
the film / video has not been films. Can you explain why
shown in east Iceland before. this is an important part of
Every year the festival travels the festival?

Still Life
to different parts of the world, I have a personal interest in
mainly within Europe: we will video stills, as I come from
screen in Germany, Sweden, a visual arts background; I
Russia, the Faroe Islands as
well as the USA. 700IS also
trained as a painter first and
then went into experimental
'The organizers of 700IS are
Now in its fifth year, the 700IS Reindeerland festival is
forms part of a EU-funded
project called ‘Alternative
art, with a particular interest
in finding new ways of
artists themselves, so from the
an innovative celebration of film and video art. With its Routes’ in Hungary, Portugal ‘painting’ a picture. My new
tool in this was the video
beginning it was important to
accompanying video-stills exhibition, it provocatively takes camera – from a Super 8
us that there be very few rules.'
camera in 1996 to a digital
the motion out of motion pictures. emma simmonds met its camera today.
director and curator krist ín scheving . I think some of my personal
work has been more
successful when viewed
as video stills and this is
why I wanted to have this
extra show, to introduce
the Icelandic audience to
the concept of video stills.

14 may/june 2010 15

art&film 700IS reindeerland festival

(People do get confused You mentioned that some

and think they are looking viewers of the stills get
at a photograph!) The films confused and think them
remain the most important photographs. Do you think
focus for the artists themselves attendees will view it as
but I sometimes feel more though it were, in effect, an
connected to the stills. We exhibition of photography?
also thought this would be an No, I don’t think it makes a
innovative way of promoting great deal of difference to our
the festival, as we are showing audience whether these are
the stills in a few of the main film stills or photographs. It
arts institutions in Reykjavik, is, of course, very different
as well as exhibiting the stills for the artists / filmmakers
show around the country – in themselves, as they are in so
artists’ residencies and other much control of where to
venues. freeze their film to make their
video still. Choosing the right
Do you think a still image can
still from a film can be very
capture the essence of a film?
difficult because you have so
I think that stills can be viewed
much choice – and what you
almost as a new work – they
want to say might get lost. I
let the audience make up their
have found this with my own
own story, as they are only
work – it is hard to select only
getting a glimpse of the whole
one image to represent a film.
piece. The majority of the time
when you watch a film you It seems to me that many
are seeing the story that the films are constructed, almost
artist / filmmaker wants you consciously, in order to be
to see. Looking at a still gives consumed as both films and
you an opportunity to view as still images; that the mise-
another version, and perhaps en-scène is so carefully staged
it even gives the audience that they lend themselves 'Choosing the right still
more freedom to understand to it. Are there any films
that film / video. Also, our from the festival that you from a film can be very
audience might have seen a thought did this particularly
still in the catalogue, on our effectively? difficult because you
web page or in the still shows
and come to the film having
Yes, I think the stills made
by Elina Medley and David have so much choice –
already made up their own
story around it, and then be
Whitaker and Dominic
Nguyen are the most and what you want to Finally, which are your
favourite films from this
The winning films are, of
course, also favourites of
surprised by what they see. successful in this way. Elina
Medley is a photographer first say might get lost.' year’s festival?
I really enjoyed Sara
mine – Patrick Bergeron has a
brilliant way of taking you on
and then a video artist, and Gunnarsdóttir’s Sugarcube, a trip and his film LoopLoop
that shows. She has selected as it is very nostalgic and was ultimately chosen as
the moments so carefully, clockwise from above has personal resonance. UK our ‘Film of the Festival’.
and they are so peaceful and festival director Kristín Scheving
artist Elina Medley’s film Sara Björnsdóttir won the
beautiful, that they work looploop / Patrick Bergeron
Interior Day has a similar ‘Alternative Routes’ prize for
Streymi / Mar°a Dalberg
perfectly as stills with or Lóla / Áslaug Einarsdóttir appeal. Although she has Salem Light; in it she works
without the film. The same can Salem Light / Sara Björnsdóttir filmed moments in which, with a material as ‘ugly’ as
be said of Dominic Nguyen at first, little appears to be cigarette smoke, yet turns it
and David Whitaker’s Gun. happening, it is the small into something beautiful that
things she is ultimately brings to mind the Aurora
interested in: a shadow on the Borealis. I also like Áslaug
wall or someone living in a Einarsdóttir’s incendiary
quiet space, looking out of a film Lóla very much: it was
window and observing people named ‘Icelandic Film of the
seemore... Festival website: living in the distance. Festival’. [tbp]3

16 may/june 2010 17

one sheet
deconstructing film posters

Brilliant horror films often inspire brilliant, and
horrifying, film posters. tony nourmand , of the Reel
Poster Gallery, studies four international examples.

many, if not all , of us Eastern European poster

enjoy the titillating prospect artists are renowned for
of being scared senseless by a exploring the darker elements
horror movie, and it is the job within their designs, and this
of film-poster artists to deliver is even more pronounced
the first fright. Of course, the when they address the horror
horror genre is packed with genre. This Polish poster for
creations just begging artists Kaidan (which literally means
to explore: from blood-sucking ‘ghost story’ in Japanese) is
vampires and Gothic monsters by famed artist Wiktor Gorka
to giant apes and human (b. 1922). Gorka graduated
mutants. The styles employed from the Krakow Academy
to depict such creations, of Fine Arts in 1952. He has
however, vary greatly between toured exhibitions of his work
artists and countries. around the world and has won
numerous awards. Three of his
most famous designs are the
Polish posters for Spartacus
(1960), 2001: A Space Odyssey
(1968) and Cabaret (1972).

Kwaidan (1964) Original Polish / Art by Wiktor Gorka ➜

gofurther... [artist ] Wiktor Gorka [artist ] Anselmo Ballester

onesheet horror

produced through BCM – a

company he created with
Luigi Martinati and Alfredo
Capitani and which specialized
Romuald Socha's
in film poster design. Through
BCM, Ballester also worked
design for Polanski’s
romuald socha (b. 1943) is
another successful Polish poster
extensively for Columbia. Le locataire/ The
artist and graphic designer. His
design for Polanski’s Le locataire/
Eraserhead (1976) was David
Lynch’s opus, which he worked Tenant successfully
The Tenant successfully captures
the paranoia of being watched and
on obsessively for five years.
Hypnotic and violent, the film captures the paranoia
the film’s creeping sense of dread.
In contrast to the more
tells the story of a child born
a reptilian mutant. The surreal of being watched and
‘graphic’ designs of Eastern
Europe, Italian poster artists
worlds that Lynch creates in his
films have a nightmare quality
the film’s creeping
favoured a more ‘painterly’
in which reality is supplanted
by the bizarre landscapes of
sense of dread.
approach, as demonstrated
his imagination. The Japanese
by Anselmo Ballester’s poster
poster on the next page
for The Face Behind the Mask.
for Eraserhead successfully (above)The Tenant / le Locataire (1976)
Ballester (1897–1974) is Original polish /Art by Romuald Socha
embodies this disturbing
famous for his beautiful film (left) The Face behind the Mask / L'Uomo dalla Maschera (1941)
characteristic. It also illustrates a
poster art and designed more Original italian / Art by Anselmo Ballester
typical trait of Japanese posters,
than 500 posters over a 45-
which often favour the use of
year period. He is known for
photography over more classic
his work with independent
illustration. [tbp]
distribution company, Minerva
Film, where he was employed
as the main artist. He is also
renowned for the work he

20 may/june 2010 21

AfricAn / nigeriAn
AmericAn – Hollywood
onesheet horror Eraserhead (1977) Original japanese

AmericAn – independent
ArAb directory of
cHinese cinema
eAst europeAn
germAndirectory of world cinema:
american independent
indiAn From the raw realism of John Cassavetes to the postmodern nightmares of
David Lynch, the films that have emerged from the American independent

itAliAn sector represent a national cinema that has generated worldwide devotion

and discussion. The Directory of World Cinema: American Independent
provides an insight into American independent cinema through reviews of

significant titles and case studies of leading directors. The cinematic lineage
of dysfunctional families, homicidal maniacs and Generation-X slackers take

swedisH their place alongside the explicit expressionism of the American underground,
making this a truly comprehensive volume.

spAnisH / portuguese
Visit the website and explore the volume for free

soutHwww AmericAn
. worldcinemadirectory. / org
The Directory project is published by intellect, is an independent academic publisher with a focus
on creative practice and popular culture, we are committed to providing a vital space for widening
critical debate in new and emerging areas. To find out more visit

22 koreA
widescreen A distinct feature of the architecture of these itinerant cinemas-
the fashionably modified walls and roofs of the tent, which are
film in a wider context often constructed from discarded film posters and banners.

Secret The ingenious entertainment tradition

of screening films in makeshift tents
across rural areas of India is finally
getting the publicity it deserves thanks
to researcher shirley abraham and
photographer amit madeshiya .
Introduction by Shirley Abraham
Interview by Gabriel Solomons

24 may/june 2010 25

widescreen tent cinemas

As the lunar calendar heralds the full moon after

the crop-gathering season, pilgrims in remote hamlets
in Maharashtra (western India) begin preparing to
participate in the annual religious fairs that are hosted by
nodal villages. Simultaneously, another set of devotees
start getting ready for their annual pilgrimage: the
owners of the touring ‘tent cinemas’ begin piling on their
reels, projectors, posters and tickets to accompany the
fairs – a well-worn tradition in these parts. The season
of the ‘tent talkies’ is the only time in the year when
patrons in hundreds of villages stand enraptured by the
silver screen, which fuels dormant dreams and spins a
world of fantasy. Thousands travel from neighbouring
villages to the fairs, where the tent talkies (a rare annual
experience) must compete with acrobats, trick shows,
traditional folk theatres, and daredevil stuntmen.

Tell us a little about the Tent This became the impetus to With around five to seven cinemas pitching
for attention, the setting demands large and
Cinemas project: who was undertake an extensive project
striking film banners. These are ingeniously
involved, what backing did of research and documentation
designed by refurbishing the publicity
you receive and what was the to find out why their story hasn’t material generated from the distribution
purpose of the project? been told. We began excavating center in the city. Often such collages employ
Amit and I started working historical developments in this poses of actors from various films, and not
on the project in January timeline, and started to develop just from the film currently showing in the
2008 with support from the an exhaustive project exploring tent cinema. Seen in this image, a poster-
India Foundation for the Arts numerous strands in this collage of Murder (2004, Hindi).
under their arts research and captivating yet untold story.
documentation programme. We Why is it that the tent cinemas
conducted the first field trip to lack any real documentation?
Pusegaon village about 200 miles
away from Mumbai and were
There is an economic function
that has been associated with these
In a sense, the same
fascinated to witness such an
antiquated yet organized form of
cinemas, and hence they have patronage and devotion
been perceived and represented
exhibition. We were also intrigued
by the sheer ingenuity of the
as a window of exhibition. This
Old films still remain popular and run to
that was once the sole
community, who have sustained
these cinemas for all this time
means they have only found a
place in the distribution figures
packed tents in the fairs. Seen here is the film
poster of Yevu Kaa Gharaat (1992, Marathi), a
province of the religious
and preserved the experience
of collective cinema viewing for
of regional Marathi cinema, while
the other performing arts like
riotous comedy directed by Dada Kondke.
fairs has now come to
more than six decades.
the tamasha (regional theatre) –
which have always accompanied define the audiences’
We then began looking for
references to the tent cinemas
the jatras – have been widely
integrated into both popular and relationship with the
in popular accounts of cinema’s
evolution in India – but they
academic writing.
continued on page 28 ➜
tent cinemas.
were hardly mentioned at all.

26 may/june 2010 27

widescreen tent cinemas
What can you tell us about the
importance of these travelling
cinemas to the cultural and
social life of the communities
they engage with?
From being a neocolonial DVD, television and other
experience when they were media must pose a threat to the
introduced to villages in existence of the tent cinemas.
Maharashtra in the 1940s, Do you feel there is a chance
the travelling cinemas have they will simply die out - or do
evolved to become inseparable they offer something unique
from the cultural lives of their that will ensure their survival?
patrons – even physically so, as The threat of new, slick, widely
they are located on the fields available means of cinema
surrounding the villages. For distribution is a very palpable
these communities (located one. While it may be speculative
far from fixed-site theatres) to predict the longevity of
tent cinemas provide the only the cinemas, it is notable how
big-screen experience available. the owners are continuously
They have also become part of reinventing the cinemas in
the pilgrimage; families travel to order to sustain them. To lure
participate in a religious ritual, the audiences into the tents,
but they also watch a film in the they have introduced novel
tent cinema. In a sense, the same marketing techniques such
patronage and devotion that was as putting the lead actress of
once the sole province of the the film in a two-person-wide
religious fairs has now come to rusted ticket dispenser, from
define the audiences’ relationship where she distributes tickets
with the tent cinemas. and gives away complimentary
photographs of herself. There
It's fascinating to note that the are also contests that are held
Apart from films in the local dialect
Marathi, some tent owners also screen tent cinemas found a venue in after film screenings. With every
mainstream Hindi films, often employed religious fairs (jatras) early on – progressive season we have
as teasers to attract audiences. Seen on and that now their gods seem to also seen a greater penetration
this screen is one of the year’s biggest have to share equal billing with of brands advertising their
Hindi blockbusters starring Shahrukh screen icons and movie idols. products on tents, providing
Khan. Bollywood films are often screened Is there not a bit of a conflict some much needed sponsorship.
to kickstart the proceedings of the day. of interests? A bit of idolatry So, it seems the tent cinemas
creeping in where it shouldn't? are unwilling to fold up without
Lately, action films from the regional Interestingly, this is more of putting up a fight.
film industry in south India have become a symbiotic relationship, of
extremely popular among the audiences. harmonious coexistence. The What’s next for the project?
Seen here is a poster of a Telugu film cinemas were introduced in We have been selected for the
dubbed in Hindi. the jatras in order to source anniversary grant programme of
potential audiences, and now the Goethe Institute (an organi-
– as the cinemas become the zation that promotes the study
prime attraction of the fairs of the German language abroad
– they have also strengthened and encourages international
this old community festival. cultural exchange and relations).
There are also instances of
The cinemas were reduced attendance in the jatras
The story of these tent cinemas,
which were initiated with sec-

introduced in the jatras in where there has been a certain

censoring of entertainment
ond-hand Bauer projectors (of
German make) from Bombay, is

order to source potential through the cinemas. extremely pertinent to the insti-
tute, so we propose to make an

Bauer projectors of German make were the

audiences, but now they interactive installation, tracing
Indo-German association in the
first projection machinery brought to these
dusty villages in the mid 1940’s. Till date,
are strengthening this old field of film exhibition. We are
also in the process of developing
the same projectors- though much modified
and Indianized, have been handed down
community festival. a book and a documentary film
on tent cinemas. [tbp]
like heirlooms- across generations spanning
more than six decades.

more photography See more of Amit Madeshiya's work at:

28 may/june 2010 29

1000 words opposite
jamie lee curtis
m o m e n t s t h at c h a n g e d c i n e m a f o r e v e r Moira Shearer
Anthony Perkins
When Michael Myers first stalked
cinemagoers in 1978, he sparked an
entire sub-genre. After Halloween,

the slasher movie exploded. scot t

jordan harris looks at a true
turning point for film.
F e w f i l m s h av e c h a n g e d
the landscape of horror as
momentously and indisputably
as John Carpenter’s Halloween
(1978). Carpenter’s debut
established a sub-genre that
immediately became one of
the most popular, populous
and profitable in North
American movies. (Note that
I write ‘North American’ and
not ‘Hollywood’: because of
the tax breaks available to
filmmakers in Canada, and
the low budgets needed for
slashers, the country quickly
became a prolific producer
of the films.) Its villain, the
to the slasher movie include
monolithic masked madman
the so-called ‘splatter’ movie
Michael Myers, gave the
(gore-heavy horror films
movies one of their most
in the style of Blood Feast
iconic characters – and his
(1963)); the vibrant and
influence led to the films that
twisted Italian sub-genre of
gave Halloween fans two more:
horror giallo (exemplified
A Nightmare on Elm Street’s
in the deliciously disturbing
Freddy Krueger and Friday
work of Dario Argento, Mario
the 13th’s Jason Voorhees.
Bava and their imitators); and
The slasher film did not
the American exploitation
spring fully formed from
pictures of the 1970s.
Zeus’s (or John Carpenter’s)
But there are more direct
head. The seeds of the
prototypes. As discussed in
sub-genre can be found in
Adam Rockoff ’s Going to
Alfred Hitchcock’s Jack the
Pieces: The Rise and Fall of
Ripper-inspired silent The
the Slasher Film (which is
Lodger: A Story of the London
probably the definitive book
Fog (1927) and – five years
on the subject) and its 2006
later, in sound and on the
film adaptation of the same
other side of the Atlantic –
in George Archainbaud’s
name (which is definitely Two dark masterpieces from
Thirteen Women (1932) with
Myrna Loy. Other long-
the definitive documentary
on the subject), two dark 1960 – Michael Powell’s
acknowledged precursors
masterpieces from 1960 –
Michael Powell’s career-killing career-killing Peeping Tom and
Peeping Tom and Hitchcock’s
seminal Psycho – clearly Hitchcock’s seminal Psycho –
inspired the slasher. Twelve
years after them, Wes Craven clearly inspired the slasher.
and Sean Cunningham
(who, a decade later, would
work separately to create two
franchises synonymous with
the slasher movie, A Nightmare
on Elm Street and Friday the
13th) worked together on the

30 may/june 2010 31

1000 words slash and burn

freddie kruger (robert englund)

Line Cinema executive, above pursuer. Halloween, however,

Jeff Katz, calls Halloween ‘a Krug Stillo (as David A. Hess) in is undeniably Carpenter’s
The Last House on the left
perfect film’. And so it is. It creation.
is not perfect in a nebulous Carpenter produced and
and unattainable sense (it directed the film. He wrote
is not the ‘ultimate’ movie) both its script and its score.
but it is perfect in a more (The score deserves special
infamous The Last House on realistic sense: everything it horror, though perpetually praise. Its jangling ostinato is
the Left (1972). does, it does as well as could implied, only intermittently frightening and unforgettable.
With its story of nubile possibly be done. No aspect erupts onto screen. In between Subsequently, it is – alongside
teenage girls gruesomely of Halloween feels as if it murders there are false frights Bernard Herrmann’s nerve-
With Halloween, it was gutted by a sadistic lunatic,
Last House was a definite
could be improved upon and,
however much the movie has
and semi-scares that keep the
characters, and the audience,
corroding screeches of strings
in Psycho and John Williams’
clear Carpenter had step toward the slasher as
we know it today. Two years
been imitated (and it has been
imitated endlessly), no film of
jumpy. Throughout, there are
shots from the killer’s point of
unbearably foreboding lurches
of cello in Jaws – a piece of
invented an artistic model after, Bob-A-Christmas-Story-
Clark’s festive fright flick
its kind has ever surpassed it.
Indeed, Halloween’s
view. For the teens, having sex
means inevitable evisceration.
music now synonymous with
cinematic terror.) Carpenter
so precise almost anyone Black Christmas (in which the
members of a sorority house
every element proved so
un-improvable that a basic
Only the upstanding, virginal,
‘final girl’ can survive.
also orchestrated Curtis’
coronation as Hollywood’s
could follow it – but, are systematically murdered)
was a veritable leap toward the
description of its plot and most
distinctive features stands as
That these elements seem
so clichéd now – that, in fact,
‘Scream Queen’, and boosted
the career of Donald Pleasence
once the film’s enormous slasher proper: it had virtually
every element that would
basic description of the plot
and most distinctive features
they sound like rejected lines
from a script for Scream – is
(who would return to the
Halloween series well after
box-office takings were define the slasher film, just of just about every slasher
movie made since. On a day of
evidence of how original Carpenter and Curtis had
abandoned it). He created a
without much slashing. they were, and how well they
calculated, it was even It is only in retrospect, celebration, a mysterious and worked, when Carpenter first classic. And he did it all on a
Film Season:
however, that we can see apparently invincible maniac combined them. But there is budget of $300,000.
clearer he had invented
Rithy Pahn
these pictures as leading to stalks an array of pert and much to praise in Halloween That last detail is crucial.
perky American teens. He slays With Halloween, it was clear
a business model sure to something. Pre-Halloween they
were simply a collection of them in succession, usually
that isn’t John Carpenter’s
handiwork. There is the Carpenter had invented an

make millions. vaguely similar films, whose

connections may, or, more
with a bladed weapon, and
each murder is more ingenious
overall influence of co-writer
and co-producer Debra Hill.
artistic model so precise
almost anyone could follow
likely, may not have been than the last. Adults are absent, There is the elegant and it – but, once the film’s
noted. Post-Halloween they are or unbelieving. The teens are eerie cinematography of enormous box-office takings 13 to 29 June 2010
evidence of the extraordinarily alone with the horror. That Dean Cundey, and the subtly were calculated, it was even
slow gestation of a type of film unnerving production design clearer he had invented a
whose growth, once it emerged of Tommy Lee Wallace (who is business model sure to make
into the world, would be responsible for that ingenious millions. It was this that caused
extraordinarily rapid. mask and, therefore, for so the explosion of the slasher
Supported by Alliance Fransaise de Glasgow and
In the aforementioned much of Michael Myers’ movie. [tbp]
film Going to Pieces, horror potency). And then there is Culturesfrance.
aficionado and former New Jamie Lee Curtis’ fittingly A re-imagining of A Nightmare
understated performance as on Elm Street will be released
Myers’ main prey and Donald GLASGOW FILM THEATRE
in cinemas 7 May 2010.
Pleasence’s fittingly overstated BOX OFFICE 0141 332 6535
read more on the bp website: [screengem] Michael Myers’ Mask [brilliant failures] Student Bodies performance as his tireless BUY TICKETS ONLINE WWW.GFT.ORG.UK

Located in the centre of
on location Spain, and in the centre of
t h e p l a c e s t h at m a k e t h e m o v i e s
the country’s cinematic

imagination, Madrid has
always been an integral
part of Spanish cinema.
nichol as page looks at opposite
some of this historic city’s alberto closas

finest film appearances.

Lucia Bosé

Muerte de un Along with his long-term friend and collaborator,

ciclista/ Death of Luis García Berlanga, Juan Antonio Bardem (uncle of
a Cyclist (1955) noted screen-actor Javier) led the revival of Spanish
cinema during the 1950s. Perhaps his most successful
Dir. Juan Antonio Bardem film during that particular period, Death of a Cyclist is
Spain, 88 minutes concerned with the moral corruption of the Spanish
Starring Alberto Closas, Lucia bourgeoisie under Franco. The film follows a university
Bosé, Carlos Casaravilla professor named Juan (Alberto Closas) who strikes
and kills a cyclist with his car before fleeing the scene.
Eventually both his guilt and fate catch up with him.

34 may/june 2010 35

on location
clockwise from below
boys will be boys
penÉlope cruz
t h e p l a c e s t h at m a k e t h e m o v i e s paz vega

Abre los ojos/ Open

Your Eyes (1997)
Dir. Alejandro Amenábar
Spain, 117 minutes
Starring Eduardo Noriega,
Penélope Cruz, Fele Martínez

Used as inspiration for the

Tom Cruise vehicle Vanilla
Sky (also starring Penélope
Cruz) in 2001, Alejandro
Amenábar’s Open Your Eyes is
the tragic story of rich young
man and terrible womanizer,
César (Eduardo Noriega),
whose face is severely
disfigured in a car accident
involving an ex-lover. The
accident, and events that
caused it, are recounted by
César – wearing a curious
mask to hide his face – to his
psychiatrist in the form of
flashbacks, through which
we learn the horrifying truth
behind the mask.

Lucía y el sexo/ Sex

and Lucia (2001)
Dir. Julio Medem
Spain, 128 minutes
Starring Paz Vega, Najwa
Nimri, Tristán Ulloa

The young titular character

of Julio Medem’s Sex and
Lucia (played by Paz Vega)
is working as a waitress in
Madrid when she hears about
the death of her boyfriend,
Lorenzo (Tristán Ulloa).
Devastated by this loss, and
hoping to flee the troubles of
her own life, she decides to
visit the mysterious Balearic
Islands, a place her late lover
spoke of often. There, she
makes friends with Carlos
La mala educación/ Undoubtedly the most successful and influential filmmaker
(Daniel Freire) and Elena
Bad Education (2004) of his generation, Pedro Almodóvar is a name that has, over
(Najwa Nimri), later learning
the past few decades, become synonymous with not only
Dir. Pedro Almodóvar she may have more in common
the cinema of Spain but also that of Madrid. Almodóvar’s
Spain, 106 minutes Bad Education (2004), starring Gael García Bernal and Fele
with them than first expected.
Starring Gael García Bernal, Martínez, stretches even further back than the director’s career,
Fele Martínez, Daniel portraying the relationship between two young men. It begins
Giménez Cacho in Madrid in the 1980s before moving back to detail the men’s
experiences with love, school and cinema in the 1960s.

also see... The Lovers of the Arctic Circle (1998) / What Have I Done to Deserve This? (1984)

36 may/june 2010 37

e vo c at i v e o b j e c t s o n s c r e e n


Counsellor, philosopher and negotiator,

this innocuous leather ball transforms from Wilson’s place
lowly leisure gear into one man’s personal in Chuck’s life
salvation. daniel steadman takes a look. gives Hanks
the chance to
At certa in times in life disastrous attempt at fire- device. Opinions differ
all you need is someone to building). Starting with wildly on the schmaltz-laden a loveable
listen. Alone, scared and simple exchanges (Chuck opening and closing acts of madman.
descending into madness offering round roasted eel Robert Zemeckis’ shipwreck
on a desolate island, Chuck chips, Wilson politely and tale, but the strength of the
Noland (Tom Hanks) silently declining), their film’s island narrative cannot
turns instead to something. relationship soon blossoms be denied. Wilson’s place
Featureless and unobtrusive, into a comfortable buddy- in Chuck’s life gives Hanks
a humble Wilson brand buddy bond. Wilson defuses the chance to portray a
volleyball becomes Chuck’s tensions between Chuck’s loveable madman: someone
only friend and confidante increasingly schizophrenic conscious of his lunacy,
as the years of monotonous alter egos (wordlessly, as barely keeping it at bay, and
solitude drift by. ever) and Chuck seeks solace craving attention to keep him
in the volleyball’s resolute, from doing the unthinkable.
‘Wilson’ quickly outgrows
unflinching outlook on life. ‘Wilson’ unquestionably
his raison d’être as a simple
provides a source of comedy,
piece of sporting equipment, Though this ‘character’
but he is also a saviour – an
and even inherits facial obviously generated a great
inanimate, inflatable lifeline
features by means of deal of cult value (Wilson
for a man at the end of the
Chuck’s bloody hand (an even manufactured a
world. [tbp]
injury sustained during a handprint covered replica),
Chuck’s spherical companion
is a hugely effective dramatic

opposite tom hanks forges an unusual friendship in Cast Away

more screengems? Email us your ideas for a screengem to:

38 may/june 2010 39

Books & Journals
publishers of original thinking |


The Film Paintings Cinema and Landscape New Irish Storytellers Alternative Worlds in
of David Lynch Film, Nation and Cultural Narrative Strategies in Film Hollywood Cinema
Challenging Film Theory Geography
By Díóg O’Connell By James Walters
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ISBN 9781841503127 ISBN 9781841502021
and Jonathan Rayner
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Do you have an original idea the Don’t Look Now Studies in Eastern
Paperback | £14.95
world simply needs to know about? British Cinema in the 1970s European Cinema
We are here to support your ideas Principal Editor: John Cunningham
Edited by Paul Newland
and get them published. To send us Associate Editor: Ewa Mazierska
your new book or journal proposals, ISBN 9781841503202
please download a questionnaire Paperback | £19.95 ISSN 2040350X
from: 2 issues per volume
While post-war British cinema and the British
new wave have received much scholarly In the years since the collapse of the Berlin
attention, the misunderstood period of the Wall and the political changes of 1989–90, there
To view our catalogue or order our 1970s has been ignored. Don’t Look Now has been a growing interest in the cinemas
uncovers forgotten but richly rewarding of the former countries of the Eastern bloc.
books and journals visit:
films, and offers insight into the careers Studies in Eastern European Cinema provides
of important film-makers. Newland sheds a dynamic and innovative discursive focus
Intellect, The Mill, Parnall Road, light on the genres of experimental film, for this growing community of scholars, and
Fishponds, Bristol, BS16 3JG. horror, and rock and punk films, as well as covers all aspects of film culture including
representations of the black community, production, distribution, consumption and Transnational Cinemas Journal of Screenwriting Studies in French Cinema Studies in South Asian Film & Media
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parting shot clockwise from opposite
the beast with five fingers The severed hand
i m i tat i o n i s t h e s i n c e r e s t f o r m o f f l at t e r y
and now the screaming starts!
represents that
t h e s c u t t l i n g a n d s o m e h ow
sentient severed hand disturbs
part of the human
us for numerous reasons.
Most obviously, it resembles
body that inflicts
an arachnid: fear of spiders
is perhaps the world’s most
most pain, with
common phobia. More
significantly, though, the
a consciousness
severed hand represents that
part of the human body that
entirely (and
inflicts most pain, with a terrifyingly)
consciousness entirely (and
terrifyingly) separate from the separate from the
head and the heart.
Probably inspired by the
head and the heart.
character ‘Thing’ in Charles
Addams’ acclaimed cartoon
‘The Addams Family’, such a
hand starred in Warner Bros
Pictures’ shocker The Beast
with Five Fingers (1946).
That film’s plot was reworked
in the infamously execrable
The Crawling Hand (1963)
(notable nowadays primarily
for its inclusion in Brandon
Christopher’s 2004 DVD
documentary The 50 Worst

Movies Ever Made). The
previous year an inexplicably
living hand had appeared in a
crucial scene in a film that is,
in contrast, one of cinema’s
most celebrated: Luis Buñuel’s

El ángel exterminador/ The
Exterminating Angel. (Buñuel
claimed, incidentally, to have
written the original story idea
for The Beast With Five Fingers
whilst working at Warner Bros
20 years earlier.)
In the 1970s the so-called
‘Amicus hand’ became a

pivotal prop in a number of
that studio’s sensationalist
horror films – including Asylum

(1972) and And Now The
Screaming Starts! (1973). In the
1980s, Oliver Stone's remake
of The Beast with Five Fingers,
which was given the simple and
direct title The Hand, ensured
Whether crawling around the Addams Family’s five fingers of living death
mansion or clutching at the throats of victims in remained prominent on the big
hammy horror movies, the severed but living hand is screen. By far the most famous
version of an animate detached
a recurrent image onscreen. scot t jordan harris hand, however, came, fittingly,
tries not to get strangled. in Barry-Men-In-Black-
Sonnenfeld’s adaptation of The
Addams Family (1991). [tbp]
go further The Hand (1981) / The Addams Family (1991)

42 may/june 2010 43

competition Backpages

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44 visit: may/june 2010 45


Film Index Back in Cinemas

So you’ve read about the films, now go watch ‘em! Putting the movies back where they belong...

Crossroads (1986)
Dir. Walter Hill
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Dirs. Wes Craven
This edition of The Big Picture has been
g see page 4/5 g see page 32 produced in partnership with Park Circus,
Pandora and the Flying Dutchman The Last House on the Left (1972) who are committed to bringing classic
(1951) Dir. Wes Craven
Dir. Albert Lewin g see page 33
films back to the big screen.
g see page 6/7
Death of A Cyclist (1955)
The Exterminating Angel (1967) Dir. Juan Antonio Bardem
Dir. Luis Buñuel g see page 34/35 coming coming coming
g see page 8
Bad Education (2004) soon soon soon
Dead of Night (1945) Dir. Pedro Almodóvar
Dirs. A. Cavalcanti, C. Crichton, g see page 36
B. Dearden, R.Hammer
g see page 9 Open Your Eyes (1997) A lushly romantic love story with a
Dir. Alejandro Amenábar
Groundhog Day (1993) g see page 37
supernatural twist, Pandora and the
Dir. Harold Ramis
g see page 10 Sex and Lucia (2001) Flying Dutchman will be back in cinemas
1408 (2007)
Dir. Julio Medem
this spring.
g see page 37
Dir. Mikael Håfström
g see page 11 Cast Away (2000)
Dir. Robert Zemeckis
Starring Ava Gardner – one of Hollywood's
No Exit (1962) g see page 39 most glamourous actresses – and
Dir. Tad Danielewski
g see page 12/13 The Beast with Five Fingers (1946) charismatic screen legend James Mason,
Dir. Robert Florey
Halloween (1978) g see page 42
this rare cinematic gem has undergone
Dir. John Carpenter
g see page 30 And Now The Screaming Starts! a painstaking restoration, resulting in a
Peeping Tom (1960)
Dir. Roy Ward Baker sparkling new version of the film.
Dir. Michael Powell g see page 43
g see page 31
Asylum (1972)
Unavailable theatrically for many years,
Psycho (1960)
Dir. Alfred Hitchcock
Dir. Roy Ward Baker Pandora and the Flying Dutchman
g see page 43
g see page 31 will be re-released from 14 May at BFI
Southbank, Filmhouse Edinburgh, Irish
Film Institute and selected cinemas.

the More details of cinema screenings of these

big picture and other classic movies from the Park Circus
issue 9 catalogue can be accessed via:
10 July
thebigpicture disclaimer
The views and opinions of all texts, including
editorial and regular columns, are those of the
authors and do not necessarily represent or
The Big Picture explores the Road Movie... reflect those of the editors or publishers.


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