God’s Own Country (2017 – Francis Lee)
A beautiful film which sought to convey most of the gay experience within its running time. There was repression, blow-jobs and coming outs, and squalid fumbles in pub toilets, and all together it was quite moving. It’s about a seventy minute film though, and the remaining run time was taken up by the standard signifier of British Independent Cinema… random shots of bits of nature. Need to pad your film out? Throw in a 30 second shot of a twig or something.
Where I was a scab and broke my boycott and went to the Greenwich Picturehouse because it was the cheapest place to see it. Still cost £13 or so though. Seen on a small but decent screen.
Cruising (1980 – William Friedkin)
I’ve written about Cruising in depth on here before (here) but this was the first time I had seen the untampered version that was originally in cinemas. It’s a more oblique affair, and the misdirections that Friedkin highlighted in his remastered version. Two things struck me:
1) There are some very silly things about the film, particularly the big cowboy-hatted dude who appears in the interrogation scenes.
2) Friedkin is a master at involving the audience in such simple scenes as Pacino following his mark.
But it’s clear that now we all agree that Sorcerer (1977) is a masterpiece, Cruising is next in line to be rediscovered as a gem on cinema.
Seen on 35mm on the upstairs screen at the Prince Charles Cinema. Audience was typically obnoxious and the film was introduced by a professor from some university who had never seen it, but was able to place it within some cultural context. Ticket cost £8.
Boogie Nights (1997 – Paul Thomas Anderson)
It’s a long way from being my favourite of Anderson’s, but the energy and silliness of this film are quite endearing. And I adore the way it catches a second wind once it reaches the Alfred Molina scene with half an hour to go. But it’s a lovely film and a reminder of a time when Julianne Moore and William H. Macy and John C. Reilly were all revelations. And Philip Seymour Hoffman. God, Phillip Seymour Hoffman. There’s this moment in this film which I’d never seen before, and could only have seen on the big screen where he tries to just touch Mark Wahlberg after his first sex scene and it breaks my heart to see it. I miss him so much.
(And the scene between Marky Mark and his mother just speaks to me on so many levels)
Projected from a 35mm print on the downstairs screen at the Prince Charles. Was preceded by Anderson’s Haim music video ‘Valentine’ (also on 35mm) which was thrilling enough to make me go and by their album. All in all, it was a blindingly good three hours in the cinema, and the perfect way to spend my birthday. Ticket cost £8.
Crash (1996 – David Cronenberg)
I’m going to be writing about this an awful lot in the future and in many ways this was research… but suffice to say that I think Crash speaks an awful lot to the human condition. And now I need to write a few thousand words explaining why that is the case.
A 35mm print (the only one around) shown at the Regent St. Cinema. It followed a conversation between a curator and Will Self about a new edition of Ballard’s novel. Which was great and all, but they were rather dismissive of the sterile pleasures of the film and it was followed by a Q&A in which questions were often confused with statements. Ticket cost £20.