No screening next week

Due to the public sector industrial action next week we’re afraid the university is shutting all the buildings so we’ll be skipping a week. The next screening will be Anton Corbijn’s critically acclaimed Control (2007).

See you then. Keep smiling!

Withnail and I (23rd November)

Following on from our most recent post about the revised schedule, this week CineClub brings you the infamous British comedy Withnail and I (1986, Bruce Robinson). We will be diving into the minds of two unemployed actors at the tail end of the 1960s, following their trials and tribulations. Check out the spiel from the posters around the building (lovingly cut-and-pasted for you below):

“A coward you are Withnail, an expert on bulls you are not”.

You may have heard of the drinking game, now see the movie. This week Cineclub presents one of the finest films known to humanity – and certainly one of the most quotable. Set during the dying days of the 1960s, Bruce Robinson’s cult classic finds its eponymous heroes out of work, out of time and out of booze. November 23rd marks the 48th anniversary of Doctor Who so why not join two future Doctors (Paul McGann and Richard E. Grant) as they head to the country for cake, fine wine, randy bulls and an even randier Uncle.

PS. The music is pretty damn fine too.

Check out the trailer below:

As ever, screenings are FREE and everyone is welcome

When and where: MC207 Cinema, 5pm, 23rd November 2011

Revised schedule

This is a quick heads up and follow on from the last post in which I suggested that there may be a few changes to the running order for the remainder of this season. Well, it’s happened. Given that we pulled The Devil’s Backbone forward and a few films have been dropped, we’ve taken last ditch measures to ensure your cinematic needs are still met.

EDIT: Updated 19/11/11 by Rob

The current arrangements for the rest of the screenings look like this:

  • 23rd November: Withnail & I (Bruce Robinson, 1987)
  • 30th November: Sansho the Bailiff (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954) The building is closed due to strike action
  • 7th December: Control(Anton Corbijn, 2007)
  • 14th December: Comic Christmas (Festive-fun-for-all! Bring-along-a-clip of a self-contained comedy scene [5 mins max] from a favourite film)

Withnail and I
We want the finest wines available to humanity. And we want them here, and we want them now! (Withnail)

Next week sees CineClub screen the former favourite of students throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, Withnail and I – just when the director Bruce Robinson has decided to emerge out of his self-imposed retirement with The Rum Diary, in which Johnny Depp takes on the guide of Hunter S. Thompson for the second time. Both films are linked by a preponderance for alcohol, so Withnail and I should prepare you well for any trips you may take the picture houses this week. Frequently quoted, the film even has its own drinking game although I can’t be held responsible for any accidents that may occur after participation…

Sansho the Bailiff
“I have seen ‘Sansho’ only once, a decade ago, emerging from the cinema a broken man but calm in my conviction that I had never seen anything better; I have not dared watch it again, reluctant to ruin the spell, but also because the human heart was not designed to weather such an ordeal.” (Anthony Lane, The New Yorker)

There may not be many staff at this screening given that there’s likely to be a strike on, but those that do make it will witness a piece of cinematic excellence in Sanshu the Bailiff. This was the third film in as many years that won Mizoguchi a major prize, namely the Silver Lion, at the Venice film festival – a feat that is quite simply unheard-of. Regarded as one of the greats of Japanese cinema (with Ozu and Kurosawa), Mizoguchi’s film is renowned for its compositional majesty – framing and movement are elegiac here, in a tale that is partly-autobigraphical despite focussing on a 500 year old folk tale.


Due to the phenomenal success of last year’s music themed ‘bring-alog-your-clips’ compilation episode we decided to give it another go.  This time time we are encourage attendees to bring along their favourite cinematic comedy moments. If you can make them Christmas-related, then that will be regarded as ‘comedic ingenuity’ but it can be anything you like, providing it’s under 5 minutes in length

The Devil’s Backbone (16th November)

In a change to the planned schedule (more of which are to follow – keep your eyes peeled!) we have bumped Guillermo Del Toro’s 2001 movie, The Devil’s Backbone up to this week. Del Toro had achieved some notable success prior to this release with his other horror releases, Cronos and Mimic, and this film continues in a similar direction. Indeed, the later film was just reissued in September 2011 in a Director’s Cut version – Del Toro was never satisfied with Mirimax’s meddling with the original. After this film Del Toro went on to garner commercial, critical and fan-based success with films like Blade II, Pan’s Labyrinth and the two Hellboy movies.

The Devil’s Backbone sees Del Toro returning to Spanish-language film-making, with a more subtle tale of terror in this psychological suspense piece. Casares (Federico Luppi) and Carmen (Marisa Paredes) operate a small home for orphans in a remote part of Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Helping the couple mind the orphanage are Jacinto (Eduardo Noriega), the groundskeeper, and Conchita (Irene Visedo), a teacher who is also involved with Jacinto. Casares and Carmen are aligned with the Republican loyalists, and are hiding a large cache of gold that’s used to back the Republican treasury; perhaps not coincidentally, the orphanage has also been subject to attacks from Franco’s troops, and an unexploded bomb waits to be defused in the home’s courtyard.

One day, a boy named Carlos (Fernando Tielve) arrives at the home, looking for a place to stay after being left behind by his parents. Casares and Carmen take him in, and the boy soon strikes up an unlikely friendship with Jaime (Inigo Garces), a boy with a reputation for tormenting other kids. But Carlos soon begins having visions of a mysterious apparition he can’t identify, and hears strange stories about a child named Santi who went missing the day the bomb appeared near the orphanage.

There are similarities to the The Devil’s Backbone in a number of contemporary films like the current British film The Awakening, the Nicole Kidman hit, The Others, as well as the recent Spanish horror, The Orphanage. The notion of children haunting houses or buildings seems fairly solid territory for recent horror cinema.

Check out the trailer below:

As ever, screenings are FREE and everyone is welcome

When and where: MC207, 5pm, 16th November 2011

Death in Venice (9th November)

This week’s free film is a doozy, if the blurb is anything to go by.  It’s so well-known and well-regarded that it is even studied in edge-uu-kay-chun and all that. Very worthy. Death in Venice even has it’s own SparkNotes guide – click here to read up ahead of the screening and impress the audience with your knowledge (oh wait, it’s the book it’s based upon!). Failing that you could just visit the Wikipedia entry for the film.

Beautifully shot, with a wonderful Gustav Mahler soundtrack, Death in Venice (1971) is a film adaptation of Thomas Mann’s novella Der Tod in Venedig (1912). Marxist director (not often do those terms sit side by side!) Luchino Visconti’s film presents a slow and dream-like exploration of a life of emotional and artistic restraint dissolving with tragic effects. The film is structured by a contrast (first made by Friedrich Nietzsche in The Birth of Tragedy) between Apollo, the god of restraint and control, and Dionysus, the god of passion and excess. There are also allusions to Freud’s concern about the ego being overwhelmed by the forces of the id. Just what you wanted, eh?

Oh, and Dirk Bogarde is in it. Be warned though, at 130 mins, it’s a bum-number.

Check out the trailer:

As ever, screenings are FREE and everyone is welcome

When and where: MC207, 5pm, 9th November 2011

Q&A and Film Screening with producer Nadine Marsh-Edwards

Our good friends over in Culture Lab at Newcastle University are hosting an afternoon with the filmmaker Nadine Marsh-Edwards. She is a leading film and TV producer and has collaborated with some of British cinema’s best-known directors on a number of films. Her work ranges across feature film, documentary and television drama. She was BAFTA-nominated for her work with Gurinder Chadra, Bhaji on the Beach (1993). In addition to her production work, Nadine actively promotes the UK film industry thorough her involvement with organisations including the Arts Council and the British Screen Advisory Panel.

Lecturer in Film, Melanie Bell, will be hosting a Q&A discussion. Nadine will discuss her work as a founding member of Sankofa, one of a number of UK film and video collectives in the 1980s which produced innovative, independent work engaging with the politics of representation, questions of identity and black British histories. Reflecting on the current intersection of culture and politics, Nadine will also talk about what ‘representation’ and diversity means today.

This event is free but ticketed: please apply through the Centre’s website (

Friday 18th November 2011

Time: Doors open 4.15pm for 4.30pm start

Location: Culture Lab, Newcastle University main campus (Space 4/5)

The discussion will finish at 6pm, after which Nadine will introduce a screening of Looking for Langston (1989, d. Isaac Julien)

‘neither documentary nor narrative … this striking bold mood piece is a meditation on the gay black American poet Langston Hughes and the repressed lives of similar artists, as lived beyond the public gaze’ (screenonline).

Run time 46minutes.

Organised by the Research Centre for Film and Digital Media, Newcastle University, this talk is one of a number of events on the theme of ‘Identities’ to mark the Centre’s launch.