He has a way with words

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Werner Herzog’s special message to one and all.

Have a very Herzog New Year – perhaps even celebrate with a tattoo of the man himself:

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..or maybe it’s best to get better acquainted with his work first. Now is the time then to remind yourself of the masterpieces – which is handy as a new WERNER HERZOG COLLECTION has just been issued by the BFI on DVD – especially as perhaps you’d rather design your own Herzog-inspired tat. A massive Kinski-Fitzcarraldo face on your back, perhaps?

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 Or perhaps a penguin, tragically walking in the wrong direction…

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Or not. As you prefer. The films are still worth watching..

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The 18 film box set includes the kind of excellent special features you’d expect from the BFI and a booklet full of articles etc.

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 No there isn’t.

posted by Dixie Turner

Jean Gabin

Jean Gabin

The BFI are hosting a Jean Gabin season this month – don’t miss it. If, however, you do miss it, or you can’t afford the £10 entry fee, then swing by our Classic French Cinema section and stroke your eyes over some of the following beauties. If your knowledge of classic cinema has been shaped by Hollywood, then you’re in for a real surprise and a treat; whilst Hollywood from the mid-thirties onwards was operating under the stringent Hays Code, which meant anything the Catholic Church demeed to be immoral could not be shown (including husband and wife sleeping in the same bed!), Europe had no such code, and French cinema from the same period appears remarkably fresh, liberal and deliciously immoral in comparison. Enjoy.

Le Quai des Brumes (1938) Directed by Marcel Carne – in a port, thick with heavy fog, love springs up between Jean, the deserter and Nelly, the 17-year old runaway.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lfk5XqrovZ0

La Grande Illusion (1937) Directed by Jean Renoir – allied prisoners of war attempt to escape from a seemingly impenetrable German fortress. Some notes on the film from the New York State Writers’ Institute: http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/filmnotes/fns07n2.html

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hctrYzVYmfM

La Bete Humaine (1938) Directed by Jean Renoir – a tale of murder, lust and adultery amongst employees of a railway. An article by Hope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second: http://hopelies.com/2011/04/19/encapsulating-the-human-condition-la-bete-humaine/

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBLe_J0P7vI

Le Jeur se Leve (1939) Directed by Marcel Carne – a man who has committed the murder of his rival in the affections of two women, locks himself in his hotel room, whilst the police try to smoke him out. Whilst locked in, he recollects the events that led him to kill.

Cool Britannia Part One: Lynne Ramsay

As you may know, the BFI are currently waving the flag in celebration of home-grown talent with their Made in Britain season. Amongst the films being shown are Lynne Ramsay’s 3 features as well as some of her shorts (films, not garments).

Glaswegian Ramsay has some pretty damning things to say about the British film industry including that it is inherently sexist and classist (see the link below –  an interview from October 2011 that Ramsay did for the Guardian), not that, sadly, that’s a surprise in any way. This makes it particularly pleasing to see the BFI showing the work of several female directors as part of this season, and it’s especially encouraging when you consider that their work has been amongst the very finest that Britain has seen in recent years. Despite Ramsay’s progress being slower than she’d like (3 feature films in 12 years – see interview for details on the Lonely Bones fiasco), the quality of her output has been exceptionally high:

We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011)

If you’ve only seen ‘Kevin’ then you’re missing out…

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLRgAe2jLaw

Morvern Callar (2002)

Morvern Callar is the story of a supermarket worker who after the suicide of her writer boyfriend passes the manuscript of his novel off as her own. On the money she gets given from the publishers, she and her best pal run off to Spain  to party and find a new life. Directed with incredible style, a fantastic cast (Samantha Morton is unnerving as the imperturbable Morvern) and a brilliant soundtrack, this was one of the stand-out films of the late-nighties.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iGONDWCnsM

Ratcatcher (1999)

Ratcatcher is set in ’70s Glasgow and centers around a young boy growing up on a dingy estate, shielding his mother from social services and dreaming of a proper home. A devastating accident whilst playing with a friend occurs early on and haunts the rest of the film. A poignant and hard-hitting debut.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_P_dMVLa48

The Guardian’s interview with Lynne Ramsay, October 2011:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/oct/02/lynne-ramsay-interview-about-kevin