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We launch into our next programme with a vengeance, looking at the theme that is the driving force behind many character motivations, narrative arches and a staple of genre films. Whether they’re getting even, settling scores, or facing their own comeuppance, these avengers act out moral fables and cautionary tales: warning about crossing the line between right and wrong; and taking justice into one’s own hands.
Friday 19th July
111 minutes – certificate 12 – in Italian with English subtitles
Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
Starring Maria Callas, Massimo Girotti, Laurent Terzieff, Giuseppe Gentile, Margareth Clementi, Paul Jabara
On the quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece, Jason and the Argonauts travel to a primitive area inhabited by pagan barbarians. The powerful sorceress Medea leaves her homeland to follow him to Greece, only to be betrayed and banished from his kingdom. As her obsessive love turns into furious wrath, she is driven to desperate, then terrible acts.
The story is sourced from ancient Greek mythology and Euripides’ classical tragedy, and the production design has a rich blend of muses. Its soundtrack and costumes are drawn from diverse eras and civilisations, and it is grandly staged in spectacular locations, featuring geographic marvels and historic structures in Syria, Turkey and Italy. This cultural clash reflects the collision of themes and ideas from the controversial and provocative director.
Opera diva Maria Callas starred in her only film role – with no singing – and has received much praise as: “offering an extraordinary performance”; “a commanding presence”; “her extraordinary mask of a face bespeaking extremes of emotion.”
This art-house achievement has been called “visually astonishing and ravishing.” “Together Pasolini and Callas created a hypnotic cinematic experience.”
Friday 26th July
Theatre of Blood (1973)
Directed by Douglas Hickox
Starring Vincent Price, Diana Rigg, Ian Hendry, Jack Hawkins, Arthur Lowe, Dennis Price, Eric Sykes, Diana Dors, Joan Hickson, Madeline Smith.
After a career spent hamming it up on stage and chewing the scenery, but having his talents overlooked and panned by reviewers, it’s the final straw for actor Edward Lionheart when he loses out at the Critics’ Circle award ceremony. Together with his daughter, he wreaks poetic justice upon nine members who gave him scathing notices, eliminating them with murderous methods inspired by Shakespeare’s plays. He relishes the costume changes required for the sequence of ridiculous disguises, and spouting soliloquies as he reenacts the Bard’s gory scenes.
With his victims played by an ensemble cast of esteemed British character actors, and filmed at sites across London, this is frightfully imaginative and entertaining, with a campy, tongue-in-cheek, pitch-black sense of humour. “One of the greatest horror comedies of all time. Vincent Price gives a career best performance. A dementedly funny and deliciously macabre cult classic.”
Nominee for best horror film from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA.
Guess what? It’s summer! Know what that means?
We are away in August on holiday and back in September with more great films.
September / October 2019
A tentative almost confirmed schedule just needing licencing