Tag Archives: Arts

Movie Masterclass Revisited – Stray Dog

On June 13 2013, we posted an introduction to Kurosawa’s STRAY DOG at the National Film & Television School.
At the time the question of the use of clips was not clear and we chose not to risk infringing copyright.

We now include clips under the conditions of ‘Fair Dealing’ in the UK, or ‘Fair Use’ in the US.

So we are here with the first, ‘Revisit’ to Movie Masterclass introductions.

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Considering ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ – live at the BFI Southbank

‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ (Dir. Lewis Milestone 1930 – based on the novel of the same name by Erich Maria Remarque) was shown during a season curated by Christopher Nolan to celebrate the release of his new film ‘Dunkirk’, as a film that is a major influence on his work.

Chaired by David Somerset, Kevin Brownlow and Mamoun Hassan discussed the film before a live audience following its screening at the National Film Theatre, BFI Southbank, 6 July 2017.

Kevin Brownlow is the acknowledged authority on the films and history of silent cinema. His first book, ‘The Parade’s Gone by…’ (1963), was transformative in our understanding and appreciation of that era. Satyajit Ray called it ‘one of the most important film books of our time’. Brownlow is the author of many outstanding books and documentaries, and, with Andrew Mollo, he wrote and directed two of Britain’s most controversial political films: ‘It Happened Here’ and ‘Winstanley’. In 2010 Brownlow was awarded an honorary Oscar – ‘For the wisdom and devoted chronicling of the cinema parade’.

Mamoun Hassan is a producer, director, screenwriter, film executive, teacher and deviser of C4’s innovative ‘Movie Masterclass’ series. Most recently he was co-writer on Andres Wood’s ‘Machuca’, Chile’s most successful film, and screenwriter on Andres Wood’s ‘La Buena Vida’, a winner of the coveted Goya Award.

This event took place through the determination, commitment and passion of David Somerset at the BFI.

The recording of the event was marred by the failure of the close up camera.

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Movie Masterclass – Ozu’s ‘Tokyo Story’ at the European Film College

We are pleased to share Mamoun’s masterclass on Ozu’s masterpiece, Tokyo Story. Mamoun has revisited this film several times, but this most recent visit at the European Film College in Ebeltoft allowed him to discuss the film with the students in detail.

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L’Avventura at the BFI Southbank

Mamoun introduced L’Avventura at the BFI Southbank on 14th December to a packed NFT3. It was the last ‘Passport to Cinema’ curated by Dominic Power as Head of Screen Arts at the NFTS.

Mamoun did not have enough time to talk about many aspects of Antonioni’s work, so there will be a follow up soon: Antonioni and what the Eye can See.

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Babylon at Theatre Utopia – afterword

babylonThere was a vigorous discussion following the screening of BABYLON at Theatre Utopia in Croydon.  Apart from the social references, a recurring question was whether BABYLON would have been financed and made today – whether the political and financial barriers are too great.  Strong views were expressed. BABYLON is still relevant; BABYLON is still alive.

Mamoun wrote an article in 2008 to accompany the DVD release by ICON FILMS. Things had changed between 1980 and 2008, and more dramatically since then. It is not the same country anymore. The generation in BABYLON are now parents, even grandparents.  We are now suffering the birth pangs of a multicultural Britain. It is more tumultuous in every way. I hope to see the new BABYLON soon.

Thank you Lee Fairweather.

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Babylon Film Screening with Q&A with Mamoun Hassan – December 3rd, Theatre Utopia, Croydon

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Mamoun will be a special guest at a screening of Babylon (1980), to take part in a Q&A with Lee Fairweather at Theatre Utopia in Croydon on Thursday 3rd December.  This was a film that Mamoun backed during his period as Head of the National Film Finance Corporation that has gone on to be a highly influential movie. Tickets are limited availability.

Sherief Hassan will be filming the Q&A to produce a limited extract of highlights which we hope to share shortly after the event.

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Mamoun’s introduction to Werner Herzog’s ‘The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser’

Mamoun introduced The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser on Monday 2nd November at the BFI Southbank in NFT2. It was a very different experience from other introductions and to that end, we have produced a different kind of re-presentation to enhance the experience.

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The Apu Trilogy on Blu-Ray from Criterion – 17 Nov 2015

The Apu TrilogyWe are pleased to be able to announce that the major new Criterion restoration of Satyajit Ray’s Apu Trilogy is to be released on 17 November 2015.

There is so much to see in this set, including a rare interview with Ray, and it promises to be a remarkable restoration with the level of expertise, time and resources that have been lavished upon it. As the films were scanned and restored in 4K, they are also going to have an extended life in the movie theatres around the world.

Mamoun is happy to have been invited to take part in this release with his own supplement to the films: The Apu Trilogy – A Closer Look. The other supplements include a video essay by definitive Ray biographer Andrew Robinson, with a contribution from Martin Scorsese.

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Terence Davis ‘Children’ at the BFI South Bank – A discussion with Terence Davies

Here is a chance to listen to the discussion that Mamoun had with Terry at the showing of his first film ‘Children’ on 16th March this year.

Terry was, as always, charming, funny, witty and illuminating. Mamoun and the audience had a wonderful hour with Terry, taking him away from post-production of his latest film.

Special thanks must go to David Somerset of the the BFI for curating the event – It couldn’t have happened without his involvement.

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Passport to Cinema: Ozu’s ‘Late Spring’ afterword

The great Alexander Mackendrick said that drama is about life ‘with the boring bits left out’. Yasujiro Ozu saw it differently. He embraced the ‘boring bits’, the everyday. Ozu weans us, for a while anyway, from the need for action and spectacle. He enhances the ordinary to the level of both entertainment and poetry.

At a superficial level Ozu’s films are not about very much. Many scenes comprise housework (the sequence in TOKYO STORY is simply thrilling), leaving and entering the house, making tea, drinking tea, preparing the bath, sitting quietly, drinking sake (a great deal of that) – and a lot of walking. There are shots of empty rooms and corridors, and abstract exteriors that are often just part of something. For instance, Tokyo in TOKYO STORY is first symbolised by a shot of three industrial chimneys – Tokyo is outside the frame. Ozu invites one to contemplate, think, consider and interpret. It sounds like Art House cinema at its nadir. It is the opposite.

Ozu made more than fifty films and they were regularly in the top five at Japan’s box office. His popularity is puzzling considering that the stories are remarkably similar – but then so are Jane Austen’s, Dostoevsky’s, Chekhov’s. It is almost an aspect of greatness. But one has also to look at the style; Ozu’s is like no other. The narrative is precise and plot is minimal, often perversely so; the mise-en-scène guides us to what is directly important; the editing is spare, creating a sense of real time; characterisation leaves out much, leading us to put in much; performance is almost free of ‘acting’. Ozu pares away everything and what is left is essence and engagement with the audience.

After seeing a couple of Ozu’s films, the rest of cinema and television seems overworked and loud, serving entertainment to a supposedly febrile audience. One goes back to Ozu and the everyday domestic world, where happiness and pain begin for most of us. Despite, or because of, his stylisation, he creates the real world, the inner spiritual world.

Hollywood, Aristotle’s town, admired Ozu but could not follow. For the rest of us Ozu is a miracle.

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