Friday, January 06, 2012

Pleasures of reading: international cinematheque programme booklets

Cinematheque programme booklets are among my favourite reading, and not only for professional reasons. The writing is by top talent. Sometimes there are articles and essays in extenso, sometimes the presentations have been boiled down to capsule formats, which may be even more challenging. Programmers are self-sufficient with ideas. As with every good editor, the final programme represents around one per mille of the ideas that have been circulating and accumulating before the final scheduling phase. There are many similarities and coincidences in our programmes, though. Many of us are paying attention to Georges Méliès around his 150th anniversary, and many of us highlight the 2010 restoration of Metropolis, because we are proud of such high profile achievements that also attract new spectators to see film classics, maybe for the first time in their lives.

Rehabilitating from my traffic accident I have started to frequent neighbourhood cafés such as the little cosy Café Succès on Korkeavuorenkatu 2, legendary for its oversized korvapuusti cinnamon rolls (the literal Swedish translation is örfil, in German Ohrfeige). Around Christmas the café-keepers have parked in front of their place a motorcar-sized advertising fairy-tale toy engine with the label Korvapuustitunturi (an untranslatable wordplay that refers both to the cinnamon roll and the home mountain of Father Christmas). Café Succès has been an institution since the 1950s. It was there before we moved to Cinema Orion in 1984 from our previous cinema location at Kino Joukola one block to the south of Café Succès. Between the archival screenings at Joukola a visit to the café was a must. I'm still a regular, and I usually carry copies of foreign cinematheque programme booklets to read while enjoying a cup of coffee and a gravlax sandwich. Last night some scoundrels had abducted the toy engine and hauled it to the nearby park.

La Cinémathèque française: Programme décembre 2011, janvier-février 2012. La Cinémathèque française (Paris) is the great-grandfather of visionary film historical programming, and they are still going with full speed ahead. Main themes include a giant Exposition Metropolis, a full Fritz Lang retrospective, a Récits américains triple retrospective dedicated to Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg, and Robert Altman, Centenaire de la Nikkatsu, a series on Images des outre-mer, and a full King Hu tribute. And much more for instance under the ongoing, delightfully eclectic Histoire permanente du cinéma title.

L'Institut Lumière: Rue du Premier-Film, Magazine de L'Institut Lumière. L'Institut Lumière (Lyon) hails from the home city of the fathers of the cinema, themselves, the Lumière brothers. The cover theme is "Play It Again Sam! Rétrospective Samuel Fuller". Other themes include: Maurice Tourneur années 1930: 5 films restaurés par Pathé; Rétrospective Michel Deville; Metropolis; Célébration Méliès; Spécial vacances de Noël: 4 westerns en couleurs: Ciné-concerts Chang and Prix de beauté, and La nuit RoboCop. The glossy and colourful Lumière magazine is a splendid showcase for vintage stills and poster art, a keepsake also for visual reasons.

La Cinémathèque de la Ville de Luxembourg offers double reading. Programme booklets of their own: 12 Décembre 2011, and 01 Janvier 2012. And Luxembourg city magazines with prominent cinémathèque sections: Tom's: City Magazine Luxembourg Dezember 2011, and Gabriele's: City Magazine Luxembourg Januar 2012. December themes include Soirée spéciale Méliès, 30 Years of Aids, Regards sur le cinéma israélien 2, the Finnish Rare Exports (with Finnish glögg afterwards!) and Sidney Lumet 3. January themes include Martin Scorsese, Road Movie Europe, Sidney Lumet 4, Ciné-debat: Le cinéma de la Révolution du Jasmin, and Ciné-concert Lubitsch (La Poupée, Roméo et Juliette dans la neige).

Filmoteca Española (Cine Doré in Madrid): octubre 2011 boasted themes such as Año Dual España-Rusia 2011: Mosfilm (1924-2009) II, Jacques Demy, Recuerdo de Luis G. Berlanga II, Sombras recobradas VIII (Shadows Recovered with restorations with special introductions of Cabiria, Gli ultimi giorni di Pompei, , Premios Goya I, and Cine para todos. 

BFI Southbank: BFI Southbank January 2012, BFI Southbank February 2012. London's legendary cinema formerly known as NFT (National Film Theatre) is a part of the BFI (British Film Institute). Along the complete set of our Helsinki programmes (since 1957) I also keep my annotated NFT / BFI Southbank sets (since 1980) and the collected La Cinémathèque française sets (since a bit later) always at hand in my personal shelves. January themes include Dickens on Screen, Woody Allen, the ongoing The Disney 50, and London Comedy Film Festival. February topics include David Lynch, Dickens on Screen 2, the Chinese New Year, and Raj Kapoor.

Arsenal, Institut für Film und Videokunst e.V.: Arsenal, Januar 2012. Berlin's avantgarde-oriented Arsenal cinema is located at the Filmhaus am Potsdamer Platz. January themes include Werkschau Sandrine Bonnaire, Kamera: Boris Kaufmann, Andrew Bujalski zu Gast, Magical History Tour: Der Kammerspielfilm, Living Archive: Archive Work as a Contemporary Artistic and Curatorial Practice, Ulrike Ottinger, and Zum Holocaust-Gedenktag.

Filmmuseum: Filmmuseum Dezember 2011 - Jänner 2012, Filmmuseum Jänner - Februar 2012. Vienna's Filmmuseum programmes and programme texts are among the most ambitious anywhere. They always offer new insights, redefinitions and discoveries in film history. Their whole programming project is a series of explorations, with special emphases on the essay format and the experimental traditions. Many retrospectives are more complete than anybody else's. December 2011-January 2012 themes include Robert Mitchum and Santiago Alvarez. January-February 2012 topics include Giuseppe De Santis, Elio Petri, Hall of Mirrors: Hollywood über Hollywood, and In the Loop by Armando Iannucci. Permanent features include Was ist Film and Die Utopie Film.

Det Danske Filminstitut: Cinemateket December 2011, Cinemateket Januar 2012. The Danish Film Institute runs the most popular cinematheque programming of the Nordic countries in the heart of the city at the Filmhuset on Gothersgade 55 in Copenhagen. December themes included Elia Kazan: elsket og hadet, Disney Greatest, Dreyers mirakler, Beat: Kerouac, Burroughs, Ginsberg, D.A.F.F. Danish Adventure Film Festival, Speak Up! Censur og ytringsfrihed, and reruns of the highlights of the year. January topics include Orson Welles: det uregerlige geni with Stefan Drössler as a guest, Femmes fatales: farlig lidenskab på fransk, They rode to the East: Westerns beyond the Iron Curtain, Dansk film 2011: mod og mangfoldighed, and Marilyn på film. Permanent features include The documentary of the month, and Bio 12:30: film at noon with coffee and a cake.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I visited Copenhagen in early December and went to Det Danske Filminstitutet to see Kazan's "A Face in the Crowd". What an experience! As much as I like Orion the cinema itself (one out of three) and the restaurant/café Sult (with many film magazines available to flip through) and the little book/dvd shop made quite an impression. I wish I could have moved in there!