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contents Issue Twelve.

January/February 2011

06 06 | Spotlight
The Big Society:
INEM Oppression, Uprising
and the Cinema of The

14 | Art & Film

Luís Melo:
Painting The Movies

24 | Widescreen
Directory of World Cinema: Russia Directory of World Cinema: Little Weddings:
Edited by Birgit Beumers American Independent Tying the Knot
ISBN 9781841503721 | £16, $25 Edited by John Berra Hollywood Style
ISBN 9781841503684 | £16, $25
30 | 1000 Words
Dawn of the Undead:
The Everlasting Influence

directory of
of Night of the Living Dead

04 | Reel World
Eskimo Roles

18 | One Sheet
Sudden Impact

28 | Four Frames
‘The evil that men
Invasion of the Bodysnatchers
should turn their
brothers into beasts of 34 | On Location
burden, to be stripped Beijing
of spirit, and hope, and 38 | Screengem
Directory of World Cinema: Directory of World Cinema: Japan
strength - only because The Red Ryder BB Gun
Australia & New Zealand Edited by John Berra
they are of another
Edited by Ben Goldsmith race, another creed. If 42 | Parting Shot
ISBN 9781841503356 | £16, $25
and Geoff Lealand Death From Above
there is a god, he did
ISBN 9781841503738 | £16, $25
not mean this to be so.' 46 | Listings

The Directory of World Cinema aims to play a part in moving intelligent,

cover image the ten commandments ( 1956)
38 A roundup of this issue's
featured films

scholarly criticism beyond the academy by building a forum for the

study of film that relies on a disciplined theoretical base. Each volume
The Big Picture ISSN 1759-0922 © 2011 intellect Ltd. Published by Intellect Ltd. The Mill, Parnall Road. Bristol BS16 3JG /
of the Directory will take the form of a collection of reviews, longer Editorial office Tel. 0117 9589910 / E: Publisher Masoud Yazdani Editor-in-chief & Layout Gabriel Solomons Editor Scott Jordan Harris
Contributors Jez Conolly, Nicholas Page, Nathan Francis, Neil Mitchell, Scott Jordan Harris, Luís Melo, Thomas Clayton, Gabriel Solomons
essays and research resources, accompanied by film stills highlighting Special thanks to John Letham, Sara Carlsson and all at Park Circus, Michael Eckhardt, Michael Pierce at Curzon Cinemas and Gabriel Swartland at City Screen
Please send all email enquiries to: / l The Big Picture magazine is published six times a year
significant films and players. Free downloads available from the website.
Published by intellect

www . worldcinemadirectory. org January/February 2011 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


film – seminal,
controversial and
ambitious – drew
the blueprint for

the documentary
as we know it

Film and real life have seldom collided as

memorably, or as controversially, as in Nanook of
the North. neil mi tc h e l l heads out into the cold.

i n t h e age of youtube ,
rolling news channels and
reality TV, ethical concerns
over the representation of Nanook of the North, like
real life and the ‘truth’ being many films of its kind, has
presented in documentary been criticised for a perceived
films are constantly debated. distortion of reality, and
But these issues have for overtly manipulating its
surrounded the genre since subject matter. Staged scenes
its birth. Robert J. Flaherty, and reconstructions of seal
a prospector and explorer hunts, trading expeditions
turned film-maker, is credited and Igloo building, shot
with directing the first full- over the year Flaherty spent
length documentary, Nanook living with the tribe, paint
of the North (1922) – a still an evocative, poetic, but
remarkable film showing partly constructed portrait
the day-to-day struggle for of life for Nanook and
survival faced by the Inuit of his community. Further
the Canadian Arctic region. blurring the line between
Later classified as being fact and fiction, ‘Nanook’
the foremost example of was in actuality called
‘salvage ethnography’ (the Allakariallak and his ‘wife’
documentation of isolated, was one of Flaherty's own
endangered or ‘exotic’ two common-law partners.
communities), Flaherty's The reconstruction (and
film also encapsulated the staging) of events for films
complexities of filming the was, however, a common
real world. technique of the era due to
the cumbersome, restrictive
and technologically primitive
nature of early static cameras.
Flaherty’s film – seminal,
controversial and ambitious
– drew the blueprint for the
documentary as we know it
today, and is required viewing
for anyone with a serious
interest in the genre. [tbp]

left a somewhat sensationalized poster used to 'sell' the film / above a documentary of majestic beauty

gofurther [web ] Read ‘First Person: Heather Milland and Iceland: Future of Hope’ exclusively on

4 January/February 2011 5

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

Ever since cinema has shown big societies, it has shown
them oppressing smaller societies, leading to inevitable
uprisings headed by defiant heroes. n at h a n f r a n c i s
assesses six standout examples.

The Ten
Commandments (1956)
Dir. Cecil B. DeMille

Never one for understatement, Cecil B.

DeMille ensured his final film The Ten
Commandments (a partial remake of his
1923 silent version) had the sheer scope
and visual grandeur to out-spectacle
sermons across the globe. The Technicolor
epic chronicles the life of Moses (Charlton
Heston), from his rescue as a baby and his
adoption within Egypt’s imperial family,
to his discovery of his birthright and his
fulfilment of the prophecy as the Hebrew
Deliverer. Moses brings plagues and a
pillar of fire, and parts the Red Sea to
prove His mighty hand to Pharaoh Ramses
II (Yul Brynner) and convince him to let
his people go.
After climbing Mount Sinai to receive the
Ten Commandments, Moses descends and
moses (charlton heston) in majestic pose smashes them in rage at the orgy of iniquity
above and demagoguery conducted in his absence
the soon to be destroyed tablets by the faithless, who are then divinely
despatched. DeMille uses Moses’s miracles ➜
to showcase the ingenuity of special effects
technician John Fulton, who won an Oscar.

6 January/February 2011 7

Kobal (2)
spotlight making moves

One Flew Over The

Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
The battleship Dir. Milos Forman
potemkin (1925)
Dir. Sergei Eisenstein
Milos Forman’s celebrated
adaptation of Ken Kesey’s classic
Sergei Eisenstein’s technically 1960s counter-culture novel, One
astonishing montage masterpiece
The Battleship Potemkin was
The Odessa Steps Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest pits
charismatic anti-establishment
commissioned by the Soviet Massacre is one livewire Randle P. McMur-
phy (Jack Nicholson) against
Government to mark the twentieth
anniversary of the suppressed 1905 of cinema’s truly authoritarian ice queen Nurse
Ratched (Louise Fletcher) within
Russian Revolution, and remains
a potent agitprop classic. In five imperishable sequences, the restrictive confines of a state
mental hospital. McMurphy
episodes of heavily symbolic imagery,
Eisenstein depicts the rousing effect influencing everyone strives to stir his fellow inmates
the mutiny of the oppressed sailors
of the Potemkin has on the similarly from Francis Bacon to to break free from the fetters of
the institution and their own self
oppressed Russian people. When
mutiny leader Vakulinchuk is shot Brian De Palma. repression. Nurse Ratched sits
sentinel over her subjects while
and his body laid in state at the keeping an iron grip on her strict
harbour, the citizens of Odessa crowd regime of quiet obedience and
above calm routine.
to mourn their murdered comrade.
Armed Tsarist troops descend, and
the ensuing Odessa Steps Massacre
a true bond of friendship
top left When the Chief discovers McMurphy’s rebel message gets
through to Chief Bromden (Will
McMurphy has been
the faces of a revolution
is one of cinema’s truly imperishable Sampson), a Native American
sequences, influencing everyone from
Francis Bacon to Brian De Palma. martyred by the system, he who plays deaf and dumb before
breaking silence over shared
As the mutineers take the Potemkin
back to sea, they face oncoming gives him final release before Juicy Fruit; and Nurse Ratched
retaliates against McMurphy’s
warships with cannons aimed at the
ready. Flying the flag of friendship,
carrying out one of cinema’s licentiousness and final, violent
insurrection by rendering him
which Eisenstein hand-painted red
on original prints, the Potemkin
most stirring acts of self- permanently docile. When the
Chief discovers McMurphy has
is allowed to pass by the warships
as the crews celebrate the bond of
emancipation. been martyred by the system, he
gives him final release before car-
brotherhood on their decks. rying out one of cinema’s most
stirring acts of self-emancipation.

8 January/February 2011 9

KOBAL (2) spotlight making moves

the picture was

the first to openly
defy the Hollywood
spartacus (1960)
blacklist by hiring
Dir. stanley kubrick
Dalton Trumbo
to write the
The battles that took place ➜
behind the scenes of Spartacus
were almost as tumultuous as
the epic on-screen Technicolor
skirmishes between the upris-
ing slaves and Roman legions.
Director Stanley Kubrick
wrestled with producer and
lead actor Kirk Douglas; the
egos of Laurence Olivier and
Charles Laughton constantly
The film encapsulated the seven samurai (1954) collided; and the picture was
the first to openly defy the
Dir. Akira Kurosawa
social and moral codes of Hollywood blacklist by hiring
Dalton Trumbo to write the
sixteenth century Japan, Akira Kurosawa’s magnificent
Seven Samurai is the original
screenplay. The fighting spirit
infuses the film.
and gifted awestruck and best ensemble action epic. Leading a slave revolt that
Mixing breathtaking battles, wild
western directors a new humour and genuine pathos, the
gathers pace from a gladiatorial
school breakout to threaten the
film encapsulated the social and
narrative blueprint and moral codes of sixteenth century
Roman Republic itself, Sparta-
cus (Kirk Douglas) seeks to free
cinematic grammar. Japan, and gifted awestruck
western directors a new narrative
his people from the yoke of op-
pression and wrest his beloved
blueprint and cinematic grammar. Varinia (Jean Simmons) from
Fearing a bandit attack, the the clutches of tyrannical Gen-
members of a poor rural village eral Crassus (Laurence Olivier).
hire six samurai to protect them, The famous scene in which the
with only food to offer for their defeated slave soldiers stand up
services. Led by wily veteran and claim ‘I’m Spartacus!’ to
Kambei (Takashi Shimura), protect the true identity of their
they are joined by the clowning leader retains great power. At
Kikuchiyo (Toshiro Mifune), the film’s heartrending close,
who wishes to climb castes Varinia shows the crucified
from commoner to warrior. Spartacus his freed newborn
Separated by rigid social son in his final moments.
barriers, the samurai are treated
with suspicion by the villagers,
but nevertheless feel bound to above left
protect them by duty and for toshiro mifune as kikuchiyo
honour alone. The immense opposite
kirk douglas stands tall
climactic battle sees Kikuchiyo
heroically earn the samurai
honour by slaying the bandit
leader before succumbing to
his wounds. The film ends with
Kambei and the two other
surviving samurai poignantly
contemplating the victory won
for the villagers at the cost of
their fallen friends.

10 January/February 2011 11

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


antz (1998) z's frustration

Dir. Eric Darnell/Tim Johnson, 1998 with his conformist
totalitarian colony
Rallying a revolt against
transform him
Disney’s stranglehold on into a reluctant
animated feature success, revolutionary hero
Dreamworks’ cerebral CGI who redefines the
parable Antz tells the tale of
a neurotically individualistic
social order.
worker ant named Z (Woody
Allen), whose frustration
within his conformist
totalitarian colony transforms
him into a reluctant
revolutionary hero who
redefines the social order.
Falling feelers over heels
for the similarly rebellious
Princess Bala (Sharon Stone),
Z dares to trade places with a
soldier ant to impress her, an
individual act of transgression
which causes a seismic social
chain reaction. Z is hailed
as both a liberating hero
and radical villain; discovers
the mythic Insectopia; and
thwarts Patton-like General
Mandible’s (Gene Hackman)
fascist plot to seize power,
before marrying his princess
and rallying his fellow ants
to rebuild the colony as a
democratic commune in which
all insects are equal. [tbp]

antz in their pants

Go further Read ‘Spartacus: Film and History’, edited by Martin M. Winkler [web ] Look out for part 2 of this feature 'Making Moves: Movies of The Masses' exclusively on

12 January/February 2011 13

art & film
visual art inspired by film
Lisbon based artist Luís Melo is no
stranger to the world of fantasy.
His concept art and illustration
work for a variety of clients evoke

worlds we can only dream - but
it's his paintings inspired by film
that really stir the imagination.
all images © LUíS MELO

14 January/February 2011 15

art & film
visual art inspired by film
clockwise from opposite
dolemite / buffalo 66 / Singapore Sling

go further... [web] See more work by Luis Melo at /

16 January/February 2011 17

one sheet
deconstructing film posters

Events that shape our social landscape may be
joyous occasions full of laughter and celebration,
or cold, hellish nightmares that lay an entire
generation to waste. nichol as page takes a look
at posters marking three such enormous events.
Images courtesy of The Reel Poster Gallery, London.

social events that occur The March of Time: Our

on a grand scale are always America at War! (1943)
going to be an attractive target Original US One Sheet
for film-makers, whether Artist unknown
those events come in the form
The March of Time, which began
of music concerts or world
as a radio programme in 1931
wars. One often finds that
but was adapted to be shown
with commercial cinema,
in theatres a few years later,
and especially in this age of
was a revolutionary newsreel
celebrity and cross-promotion,
series in which world events
that bigger is considered better
were dramatised for the nation.
– the more epic a premise,
The series, produced by Time
the more chance there is
Magazine, was a staple for
that it will sell, and the more
the American cinema-going
money is thrown at it. But
public for over 15 years, despite
the most effective attempts
actually losing money (it
to capture big social events
remained in production for six
come not with a big budget
years beyond the cancellation of
but with a big passion for the
the original radio series). This
subject itself, as the following
original US poster, created for
examples prove.
the episode Our America at War!
in 1941, helps to show exactly
how the series was presented
to the public. One is given the
impression that there is a story
behind the images, despite the
film’s non-fictional nature.

one sheet sudden impact

The War Game (1965)

Original British Quad

The example prior and the

one on the following page,
while representing almost
opposite ends of the ‘Big
Social Event’ spectrum, are
films that remain – at least to
a certain extent – faithful to
real life events. Peter Watkins’
The War Game, however,
is entirely fictional, and
depicts life before, during
and after a nuclear attack
upon Britain. Despite being
praised for its mixture of
drama and documentary, and
scooping an Academy Award
in 1966, the film – which
was produced by the BBC
– was initially criticised by
many, and ended up being
withdrawn from transmission
on the grounds it was ‘too
horrifying for the medium
of broadcasting.’ It has since
become something of a cult
film in Britain and beyond.

the film ended up

being withdrawn
from transmission
on the grounds it
was ‘too horrifying
for the medium of

20 January/February 2011 21

one sheet sudden impact

celebrates 45 years of cinema coverage

Monterey Pop (1968)
Original US One Sheet
Art by Tomi Ungerer
The Monterey Pop Festival
was a three-day concert
Published bi-monthly by the internationally
that took place in California
during June 1967. The show, renowned film society of lincoln center,
which featured such artists as
Jefferson Airplane, The Who
and Jimi Hendrix, has since
film comment provides global coverage
come to embody the counter-
culture associated with the in cinema including exclusive interviews,
infamous ‘Summer of Love’,
and inspired a number of
similar events, including the
in-depth reviews, discussions on new releases
Woodstock Festival of 1969.
D.A. Pennebaker’s Monterey and classic films, authoritative profiles on
Pop, which documented the
festival and its performances,
was the work of a number of
different directors, including
the renowned documentarians
’’ !
luminaries in the industry, and developments
in the art of filmmaking.
Richard Leacock and Albert
Maysles. Tomi Ungerer, who

is listed as the artist behind
this rather surreal American
One Sheet, also created the I love every aspect of motion pictures, and I’m committed to it for life.
titles for the film. [tbp]
film comment has that same commitment when it comes to

writing about motion pictures.

— Clint Eastwood 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.

— stEvE n sodErb Ergh

film comment regularly publishes some of the best film writers in the
world, and they probe and parse cinema in a way that deepen our experience of it.
— utn E ind Ep End Ent pr Ess award b E st arts CovE ragE
Tomi Ungerer, who is listed as
the artist behind this rather
surreal American One Sheet, also Fi l m Co m m E n t.Co m s u b sC r i b E :
created the titles for the film. 1.888.313.6085 US 1 yr (6 issues) save 10% of our standard rate
1.973.627.5162 International us $27 /canada&mexico $36 /international
Film Comment PO Box 3000, $63 use code 2 bKFr9 when ordering.
Denville NJ 07834 USA
go further [web ] Look out for ‘Poster Boy: One Sheets of Distinction' on

seeing film in a wider context

Tying the Knot - Hollywood Style.
interview by gabriel solomons

independent cinemas
have always had to think
more imaginatively and
come up with inventive new
ways of luring your average come together in holy movie
cinemagoer away from the matrimony and to celebrate in
multiplex and into the cosy the warm projector glow and
environs of their own theatres. tiered plushness of a mini-plex.
Quiz nights, guest speakers, Bath's Little Theatre cinema,
themed screenings and mini- which has been at the centre of
retrospectives all help to fill Bath entertainment for over 70
up the monthly schedule and years and boasts atmospheric
offer an ecclectic range of 1930s architecture, has
events for punters to sink their recently made available its 2
avid teeth into. screens for wedding parties
Contrary to the widely and appointed a wedding
held belief that the multiplex director to manage the whole
would kill off the local 'picture operation - appropriately titled
house', small independent run 'Little Weddings'. The Big
cinemas seem to be thriving - Picture recently spoke to its
with new venues springing up leading man, Thomas Clayton,
weekly all across the country. to find out more.
It seems that people
are still keen on the more How did the idea for Little
personally driven, often Weddings come about?
quirky and definitely more The idea for weddings at the
varied experience that can Little came about a couple of
be had when opting to spend years ago when two patrons
their hard earned cash on a of the little (friends of Martin
night out at the movies. Some Jennings, manager of the Little
people enjoying it so much in Theatre) loved the concept of
fact that they can think of no a wedding at the Little. So in
better place or venue more exchange for having a wedding
suitable for the ultimate union they paid the license fee to
of souls - a wedding. make our venue approved for ➜
A handful of cinemas in solemnisation. After this Little
the UK have now added Weddings was born. I became
this facility to enable film the wedding director in early
buffs and their loved ones to 2010, created a big marketing
drive and we have had
above weddings galore ever since.
Photograph courtesy

24 January/February 2011 25

below and bottom

Photograph courtesy seeing film in a wider context

What is your background and

how did this sufficiently equip

Your New
you (or not!) to take on the
My background is in
management and projection so

Mobile Cinema
this helps enormously with the
organisation of the staff and the
wedding party on the day.

Why do you think slightly

more alternative wedding
venues such as cinemas
are becoming increasingly
popular with the public?
Alternative weddings are
becoming more attractive even
to those who are thinking of
having a "traditional wedding".
I think from the Little's point
of view we offer so much
flexibility in what we provide for
the 'clients', we don't have any
set ideas or plans for couples
at the start and we start each
wedding as a blank canvas. We
have the ability to tailor the
ceremony to their needs and
so have managed to do quite a
broad range of events - things
like 1930s Hollywood themed
weddings and Japanese Geisha
weddings. We allow full use of
the cinema screen and sound,
so mixed with clever lighting
and set designs we can create
quite special events. This makes
my job more interesting as each
wedding I've done has been

Were there any particular

legal loopholes you had to go
through to make the Little
suitable for tying the knot?
There weren't any legal loop
holes to go through but I do
think it took a while for the
registrars to get used to the low
lit atmospheric lighting! [tbp]

Little Weddings at The Little Theatre 'We don't have any
The Big Picture App
set ideas or plans for
couples at the start and Now Available on The iPad
we start each wedding
as a blank canvas.'

go further... [web] Find out more about Little Weddings at

four frames
t h e a r t o f a b b r e v i at e d s t o r y t e l l i n g

The Look of Terror In i n va s i o n o f t h e b o d y s n at c h e r s Dir. Don Siegel, 1956

1 2 Four versions of Invasion

of the Body Snatchers
have terrified film-goers.
Jez Conolly hides behind
the sofa to examine four
shots from the original.

the paranoid terror

that unfolds in Don Siegel’s anti-
totalitarian Invasion of the Body Snatchers
(1956) is illustrated most effectively
through the frequent close-ups of actor
Kevin McCarthy’s face. McCarthy plays
Dr. Miles Bennell, pillar of the ordinary
small town community of Santa Mira,
California. We see his shock at witnessing
the mass deployment of seed pods to
the townsfolk; his moment of sickening
realisation that his old flame, Becky
Driscoll (Dana Wynter), has just been
‘transformed’; his wide-eyed disbelief
at the sight of a truckload of seed pods
headed for the major cities; and his total
3 4 panic as he warns the passing motorists on
the highway, ‘They’re here already! You’re
next, you’re next…’
This final close-up was how Siegel
originally wanted to end his picture – to
send film-goers back out into the real
world with the chilling thought that their
neighbours might just have something
unusual growing in their vegetable patch
– but he was forced by the studio to
insert bookend scenes designed to soften
the blow. Maybe Allied Artists Pictures
Corporation executives all had giant seed
pods under the stairs… [tbp]

Read More f o u r f r a m e s online at

Screengrabs © 1956 Walter Wanger Productions

28 January/February 2011 29

1000 words
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

After George A. Romero set hoards

of staggering flesh-eaters against the
inhabitants of a Pennsylvania farmhouse,
cinema changed irreversibly. s c o t t
j o r da n h a r r i s tries not to get bitten.

dead men
The Everlasting
ome films
change cinema
in such a way
that a straight
line can be
drawn from
them through
an entire
films like Jacques Tourneur’s I
Walked with a Zombie (1943),
not the lumbering, flesh-
chewing, un-dead shotgun
fodder to which we are now
accustomed. (The closest
character to an I Walked with-
style zombie in Romero’s film is
sub-genre Barbra, played by Judith O’Dea,
Influence of or style of
movie-making. Some films, like
who reacts so badly to the
first zombie attack she spends
Night Of The director George A. Romero’s
1968 debut Night of the Living
much of the remainder of the
movie sitting unresponsive, in
Living Dead Dead, change cinema in so
many ways that a hundred
a state of shock).
Ask anyone to list ten
straight lines and a thousand characteristics of zombies
meandering off-shoots can and, I’d wager, at least eight
be traced from them through of their suggestions will have
a dozen areas of film. The been established by Night
original zombie apocalypse of the Living Dead. Living
picture changed horror films; corpses – the reasons for their
it changed independent films; reanimation never perhaps
it changed business models; it specified, possessed of that
changed language; it changed relentless slowness that
the tone of American films illogically allows so many
(removing from them much classic movie monsters to catch
of the security audiences their quarry no matter how
expected); and it issued a quickly it can run (or drive
challenge for casting directors or fly) – have, because of this
to throw open their minds to film, taken up space in our
which few have risen in the imaginations in the same way
decades since. as vampires, werewolves or
In the beginning, there dragons. In the innumerable
was the word: ‘zombie’. Just remakes, re-imaginings,
as The Godfather popularised rip-offs, sequels, prequels,
and altered our concept of parodies and works of homage
the term ‘mafia’ without once the film has inspired, Romero’s
using the word, so Night of brand of zombies have become
the Living Dead both changed some of cinema’s most horrific, ➜
and popularised the prevailing comic and, ironically, given the
definition of ‘zombie’, despite ease with which they can be
it never being heard in the outwitted, outmanoeuvred and
film. Zombies had existed immolated, enduring villains.
both in the English language To simply list the films in
and in movies prior to Living which Living Dead-inspired
Dead, but those zombies were zombies have appeared would
the enchanted catatonics of take an article considerably

30 January/February 2011 31

1000 words dead men walking
longer than 1000 words.
Romero’s film sits with John
Carpenter’s Halloween (1978)
and James Whales’s Frankenstein
Romero’s film sits with John
(1931) in having established the
template for a type of horror
Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) and
movie monster that has been
copied so frequently, and so
James Whales’s Frankenstein (1931)
totally, it seems now to be an in having established the template
archetype that has been always
around us. for a type of horror movie monster
The horror the zombies
inflict in the film also proved that has been copied so frequently.
influential. Both the explicitness
of the film’s carnage (zombies
are seen chewing the severed
limbs and eating the organs of
their victims – victims who were,
moments earlier, characters we
cared about) and the kind of
people who turn evil and carry
it out (attractive young women;
otherwise benign-looking old
men; and, most famously, an
angelic young girl who rises
from death to murder her
mother and feast on her father)
changed violence on film. Those
who like to watch, or to make,
The ending was perfect for an chosen as a leading man simply
because he was the best actor
films dripping with gore owe
much to George Romero.
America struggling through the to audition for the film, and
because the ethnicity of the
The film’s ending is almost
as influential as the look, and
Vietnam War and the unrest inspired main character actually didn’t
matter (as it so often doesn’t).
actions, of its monsters. Easy
Rider (1969) and Chinatown
by the Civil Rights movement. After Night of the Living Dead,
casting could never be quite so
(1974) are often credited with unconsciously racist again.
introducing to popular US The film’s astonishing
movies endings so downbeat above such a surprising and un- success – it was made for a
and unpredictable that, from ben (duane jones) fights a losing battle compromising work. Here is little over $100,000 by a group
the early Seventies onwards, opposite a horror film that behaves as, of unknowns, who set up a
james whales's iconic monster
audiences no longer knew, even perhaps, a horror film should: production company specifically
in a film’s closing seconds, if the it scares it audience and, when for the project, and has grossed
hero they had watched struggle it has the opportunity to soothe tens of millions – was a turning
through mysteries and ordeals, them, it scares them again. It’s point too. It provided a model
overcoming danger and side- also an ending that was perfect that independent film-makers,
stepping death, would actually for an America struggling particularly those making
win out. Night of the Living Dead through the Vietnam War and horror movies, essentially still
predates both. the unrest inspired by the Civil follow. Most obviously, its style,
Throughout, we watch Ben Rights movement. its methods and, of course, its
(Duane Jones) battle for his Extending the ties with the content are responsible for much
survival as those he tries to themes of the Civil Rights in the ‘splatter’ and ‘slasher’
help are killed by marauding movement, the choice as leading sub-genres that followed. Less
monsters. Through bravery, man of Duane Jones, a dark- obviously, its themes, tone and
ingenuity, ruthlessness and luck skinned black man who plays the profit margins are responsible
he is there in the morning as the film’s only non-white character, for much that followed in too
ghouls are leaving and the good was perhaps the first (and is many sub-genres to list.
guys arriving. As Ben moves to a still very likely one of the only) Most films that change cinema
window, probably to call for help instances of truly colour blind do so in ways you can only see if
from the approaching posse, one casting in American movies. Black you know exactly where to look.
of its members mistakes him characters had been written, and Night of the Living Dead changed
for a monster and shoots him black actors had played them, for cinema in ways it is almost
dead. The end credits play over decades – but those characters impossible to miss. Nothing,
images of his body as it is about were scripted to be black, and except of course a zombie
to be burned. cast to bring attention to that apocalypse, could possibly erase
It’s an ending perfect for blackness. Here was a performer its influence. [tbp]

go further... [read] ‘Brilliant Failures: The Prowler’ exclusively on

on location below
pu yi faces his future
bottom right
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
two wheeled friends

As the big society at the heart of the

biggest society on Earth, Beijing is an
irresistible setting for film-makers.
j e z c o n o l ly travels to China’s capital.

the last emperor Beijing Bicycle

(1987) (2001)
Dir. Bernardo Bertolucci Dir. Wang Xiaoshuai
Italy/UK, 163 minutes China, 113 minutes
Starring John Lone, Joan Starring Lin Cui, Xun Zhou
Chen and Peter O'Toole and Bin Li
Bernardo Bertolucci’s epic saga Wang Xiaoshuai’s film is
of the life of Pu Yi, China's last often compared to Vittorio De
emperor, was the first western Sica’s neorealist masterpiece
production allowed to film Bicycle Thieves (1948). Both
in Beijing’s Forbidden City, films tell the story of a young,
the traditional capital of the working class man who, in
Chinese emperors. The city is searching through the city for
a huge medieval construction his stolen bicycle, confronts
encompassing 250 acres and the reality of the society
9,999 rooms – only Heaven, he inhabits. According to
its makers believed, possessed Wang, ‘the bicycle may be
10,000 rooms. Permission only a material symbol, but
was granted to film inside it is also a symbol of China.’
the complex on the basis This is seen in the shots of
that Bertolucci had been a contemporary Beijing streets,
registered member of the Italian where the bicycle is still the
Communist Party until 1978, most commonplace mode of
and the Chinese authorities transport. Bicycle ownership
further assisted the production in Beijing is a rite of passage.
by providing thousands of It continues to be a means,
soldiers to act as extras. Their and a metaphor, for getting
efforts resulted in a film that through everyday life.
was nominated for nine Oscars
– and won them all.

34 January/February 2011 35

on location left
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 richard gere pleads innocent
making a song and dance of it

red corner (1997)

Dir. John Avnet
USA, 122 minutes
Starring Richard Gere, Ling
Bai and Bradley Whitford

American lawyer Jack

Moore (Richard Gere) is
accused of murder during a
visit to Beijing to negotiate
a TV satellite deal in a
drama that plays out in the
space between China’s old
communist ways and its
new economic openness.
Director Jon Avnet learned to
speak enough Mandarin to
communicate with his actors.
Researching the Chinese
judicial system for over a
year, he met with lawyers,
judges and journalists during
his trips to China. In order
to heighten the film’s reality,
Avnet, actress Ling Bai, and
co-producer Martin Huberty
travelled to Beijing for a week
of ‘guerrilla’ filming without Peking Opera Blues is a peking opera blues
the knowledge or permission
of the Chinese government. breathless screwball comedy Dir. Tsui Hark
Hong Kong, 104 minutes
with a painted face, a firecracker Starring Brigitte Lin, Cherie
Chung and Sally Yeh
exploding on the stage of Tsui Hark’s Peking Opera Blues,
traditional Chinese theatre. a landmark film in Hong Kong
cinema, is set in 1913 amid
the chaos between the fall of
the imperial dynasty and the
establishment of the republic.
The film boasts three ambitious
heroines: the daughter of a
Peking warlord; an aspiring
performer desperate to break
into the all-male world of the
Peking Opera; and a greedy,
opportunistic servant. As we
follow their exploits in and
around the opera house,
the city, at times, resembles
a giant maze. Peking Opera
Blues is a breathless screwball
comedy with a painted face, a
firecracker exploding on the
stage of traditional Chinese
go further... [web ] Read ‘A Long Way From Home: An Interview With Author / Director Xiaolu Guo’ exclusively on theatre. [tbp]

36 January/February 2011 37

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

BB Gun

A Christmas Story (1983)

Some of the most evocative objects in film are toys,
and none means more than Ralphie’s Red Ryder rifle.
s c o t t j o r da n h a r r i s tries not to shoot his eye out.

w r i t i n g a b o u t Winchester ’73 for The Big Picture’s website, I said, movie about ‘people trying to do great things […] fly to another
‘few objects in film are as fetishised, celebrated and sought after as planet [or] save the world.’
James Stewart’s “gun that won the West”.’ While this is true, any The chief reason for this is the symbolism of the BB gun, which
suggestion that the eponymous Winchester ’73 is the most sought represents everything that is best (and, in its overt commercial-
after rifle in cinema would be an outright lie. That rifle, of course, ism, a little of what is worst) about being a child. Ralphie desires
belongs to little Ralphie Parker. Or, at least, Ralphie wishes it does. it with an innocent lust that charms us immediately. Owning it
Although A Christmas Story adapts several stories from Jean Shep- is essential to his imagination – and, through him, we remember
herd’s semi-autobiographical writings, its main plot focuses sim- when our imaginations were the most important landscapes in our
ply on a little boy’s desire to receive a BB gun for Christmas. And, lives. When, at last, he holds the toy, he knows that, in a sense, his
as Gene Siskel noted, the film has ‘just as much tension’ as any life has peaked. Never could he feel such satisfaction again. [tbp]

go further Read ‘Screengem: The Winchester ‘73’ exclusively on and visit

38 January/February 2011 39

Books & Journals
publishers of original thinking |


Misreading Postmodern Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans’ Streets of Crocodiles Unmapping the City
Antigone The Art of Documentary Photography, Media, and Perspectives
Marco Bellocchio’s Devil in the Flesh Photography Postsocialist Landscapes in Poland of Flatness
(Diavolo in Corpo)

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and Kamil Turowski
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world simply needs to know about? Hollywood Cinema and Emigre Directors in Studies
We are here to support your ideas the Era of Roosevelt and Hitler, 1933-1948
and get them published. To send us Editor: Richard Raskin
By Nick Smedley
your new book or journal proposals,
please download a questionnaire ISBN 9781841504025 ISSN: 20427824 | Online ISSN: 20427832
Paperback | 19.95 First published in 2011 | 2 issues per volume NEW
from: 2011
A Divided World examines some of the JoURNAl
Short Film Studies is a new peer-reviewed
important programs of the New Deal and the journal designed to stimulate ongoing
subsequent response of the Hollywood film research on individual short films as a basis
To view our catalogue or order our
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books and journals visit: welfare, women’s rights and international whole. In each issue, two or three short films affairs. The book then charts what happened will be selected for comprehensive study, with
in Hollywood when the mood turned sour articles illuminating each film from a variety
Intellect, The Mill, Parnall Road, as the Cold War set in. A Divided World also of perspectives. Occasionally an outstanding Transnational Cinemas Journal of African Cinemas Studies in European Cinema Journal of Scandinavian Cinema
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parting shot
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
there is something

powerful, and
indelible, in the
image of lone
characters facing
the full force of a
clockwise from left
throne of blood
hail of arrows.

t h e r e a r e f e w m o r e visually
arresting deaths in film than
those brought about by a hail of
arrows. This ancient weapon’s
deadly power is aesthetically
and symbolically richer than
contemporary weapons of war.
When a character is subjected
to an assault from the heavens
it is often heavily weighted with
themes of fate, sacrifice and
vengeance, and wrath of God
Akira Kurosawa's transposition
of Macbeth to feudal Japan in
Throne of Blood (1957), gave us
one of cinema's most dramatic
and iconic death scenes. Toshiro
Mifune's ruthlessly ambitious lord
is turned upon by his archers,
who bombarding him until an
arrow to the neck kills him. The
sequence was filmed with real
arrows, shot by choreographed
archers, and has inspired several
similar scenes. With the aid of
CGI, Zhang Yimou's 2002 martial
arts epic Hero brought the hail
of arrows into the 21st Century
in spectacular fashion. Jet Li's
nameless character is executed
at the behest of the King of Qin
when thousands of deadly missiles
rain down from an army of
archers. It’s a grandiose death in
keeping with the film's ambitious
scale. Zack Snyder's 300 (2007)
features a hail of arrows so
immense they fill the sky, blocking
out the sun, as King Leonidas
waits open-armed for the
inevitable, unbowed and defiant
Since an unforgettable scene in Throne of Blood, death by to the end.
a rain of arrows has become a frequent sight onscreen. With cinema overrun with bullet
n e i l mitchell looks nervously toward the sky. time shootouts, preposterous ex-
plosions, Saw-inspired contrap-
tions and escalating body counts
there is something powerful, and
indelible, in the image of lone
characters facing the full force of
a hail of arrows. [tbp]

go further... [read ] ‘Spotlight: Emotionless Assassins’ exclusively on the BP blog

42 January/February 2011 43



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So you’ve read about the films, now go watch them! Plublishers of this here magazine...

Nanook of the North (1922) Frankenstein (1931) Each issue of The Big Picture is produced
Dir. Robert J. Flaherty
g see page 4/5
Dir. James Whale
g see page 33
by Bristol based publisher, intellect.
The Ten Commandments (1956) The Last Emperor (1987)
Dir. Cecil B. Demille Dir. Bernardo Bertolucci
g see page 6/7 g see page 34

Battleship Potemkin (1925) Beijing Bicycle (2001) publish original thinking

Dir. Sergei M. Eisenstein Dir. Xiaoshuai Wang
g see page 8 g see page 35

One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest Red Corner (1997)

(1975) Dir. John Avnet
Dir. Milos Forman Intellect is an independent academic publisher
g see page 36

g see page 9
Peking Opera Blues (1986)
in the fields of creative practice and popular
Seven Samurai (1956) Dir. Hark Tsui culture, publishing scholarly books and journals
Dir. Akira Kurosawa

g see page 10
g see page 37
that exemplify their mission as publishers of
A Christmas Story (1983)
original thinking. Theyaim to provide a vital

late than
Spartacus (1960) Dir. Bob Clark
Dir. Stanley Kubrick g see page 38/39 space for widening critical debate in new and
g see page 11
emerging subjects, and in this way they differ

Throne of Blood (1957)
Antz (1998) Dir. Akira Kurosawa
Dirs. Eric Darnell / Tim Johnson g see page 42
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g see page 12/13
Hero (2002)
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Invasion of the Body Snatchers Dir. Yimou Zhang to fill a gap in the market.
(1956) g see page 43
Dir. Don Siegel
g see page 28/29 300 (2006) Intellect publish in four distinct subject areas:
Dir. Zack Snyder
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
visual arts, film studies, cultural and media
g see page 43 The Role of Policy in the Turkish Cinematic Revival
Dir. George A. Romero studies, and performing arts. These categories
g see page 30/31
host Intellect’s ever-expanding topics of enquiry,
which include photography, drawing, curation,

The Big Picture Issue 13

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Intellect titles are often multidisciplinary,
Film international.
Available 15 March 2011 presenting scholarly work at the cross section of
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