Programmer Picks: Brighton Festival film events to enjoy this May

10 April 2018

Film programmer and co-director of CINECITY, Tim Brown, picks his favourite film screenings this May. 

As the double bill was once a staple of cinema-going, it felt appropriate for our season of British cinema classics from the turbulent year of 1968, for these titles to be paired with another film. By screening them alongside a film from another era, we could also scratch the surface of how films influence or inspire and are in turn influenced by other titles.

BLOOD OF A POET and PERFORMANCE
I’m really looking forward to this double bill; they might have played together somewhere many moons ago but I’ve never seen them back to back like this. Cocteau’s Blood of a Poet was a big influence on Donald Cammell who co-directed Performance with Nic Roeg. Shot in 1968 just as the decade of peace and love was turning into something far darker, it was shelved and then re-edited before it was eventually released in 1970. So it really does mark the end of that particular era. With the theme of identity to the fore, it’s also a radical one-off, simultaneously of its time and yet completely out of step with the rest of British Cinema. It’s also so rare to get the opportunity to see either film on the big screen – and at my favourite cinema, the Duke of York’s – and both on 35mm too!
Duke of York’s Sun 6 May 1pm

IF…. and ZERO DE CONDUITE
Probably the best known British film from ‘68, Lindsay Anderson’s If …. is another Sunday afternoon big screen treat. It was Malcolm McDowell’s first major role and he is quite brilliant as the schoolboy getting his revenge on the British establishment. I also really like the film’s switching between colour and black and white which apparently was more a budgetary necessity than anything else. It’s an anarchist double bill as its paired with Jean Vigo’s poetic Zero de Conduite which heavily influenced Anderson’s film. Vigo is best known for L’Atalante, the only feature length work he completed before he died in 1934 aged just 29.
Duke of York’s Sun 13 May 1pm

WITCHFINDER GENERAL and A FIELD IN ENGLAND
An English Civil War double bill, Brighton’s own Ben Wheatley’s eerily beautiful A Field in England paired with Michael Reeves’ disturbing Witchfinder General. Like Jean Vigo, director Michael Reeves died tragically young, aged 24, just a few months after this film was released. He would undoubtedly have gone on to be one of the key directors in British Cinema.
Sun 20 May 1pm Duke’s at Komedia

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