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The amount of passion people have brought to DIMENSIONS is sometimes overwhelming and we are incredibly grateful." Ant and Sloane worked hard to lay out their own rules for time travel, and connoisseurs of scifi will enjoy the in-story theory for manipulating the fourth dimension, but this isn‘t a concept film. Inspired by godfathers of speculative fiction such as H.G.




There‘s no room for regret in a world without time travel. If you can‘t quantum leap, you must make your own luck - and if you can‘t afford to follow your dreams, sooner sell your home than your soul. That‘s the leap of faith that Sloane U‘Ren and her partner Ant Neely took when they decided to bring to life their bold brainchild DIMENSIONS, a steampunk adventure set in Cambridge. "One of the very few luxuries of putting our own money into the project was total control", says Sloane. "In this business, it‘s all too easy to end up making a film by committee, with several people calling the shots - and that level of interference in the director‘s vision can be a soul destroying experience." Some of the most innovative films you‘ll see at the festival thrived on a shoe-string budget - any

determined film maker can tackle the found footage or documentary genres with a hand-held and a few weeks. But working with "less money than the cost of Batman‘s cape", surely a time travel/costume drama mash-up is a ridiculous ambition? We should expect nothing less from two such stalwarts of the silver screen, who

...connoisseurs of sci-fi will enjoy the in-story theory behind manipulation of the fourth dimension, but this isn‘t a concept film. have contributed heavily to the sights and sounds of big pictures including BEING JOHN MALKOVICH and HBO drama SIX FEET UNDER. "We knew it wouldn‘t be easy with the budget we had," says Sloane. "Luckily, we were supported by a huge amount of film industry colleagues, friends and family.


At first glance it’s pretty obvious what SILENT RUNNING and Pixar’s WALL-E have in common: cute robots.

We did indeed have a working time machine. That, and we shot for twelve hours a day... Wells, Aldous Huxley and Ray Bradbury, they aimed to create "a character-driven story in a world with sci-fi elements". And how on earth could such intensive production values be fulfilled in so little time? Did some of their time-hopping props prove to be functional? "Darn - we‘ve been rumbled - we did indeed have a working time machine. That, and we shot for twelve hours a day [...] Of course, what is sci-fi today becomes reality tomorrow, and it is that quest for knowledge and the price you must pay that is at the heart of the film." And if you‘re lucky enough to get hold of a ticket, you‘ll surely agree that DIMENSIONS isn‘t just an original riff on the conceit of time travel; it‘s an examination of mankind‘s vain, eternal fascination with what might have been. Rosy Hunt *SELLING OUT FAST!* Meet cast and crew at their UK première on the 21st September at 8.15.

HOT TIP: On September 20th at 1pm, catch SF favourite BRIAN ALDISS in a celebration of Oxford‘s venerable picture palace: ULTIMATE SURVIVOR.



hippy, and Bruce Dern does an excellent job of looking twitchy and desperate throughout. There’s a pleasantly dirty realism to the look of the ships which serves to add to the sense of claustrophobia, and you know that when we do finally make it into the outer solar system, it

... can we still be ourselves if we are cut off from the natural world?

I could argue that WALL-E is cuter, and that Huey, Dewey and Louie face a rather more unpleasant fate; stuck forever in a dome full of fluffy bunnies with no natural predators - it’ll be a space-age Watership Down before you know it. But aside from your plastic pals that are fun to be with, there is a deeper thread that joins the two films. SILENT RUNNING is a surprisingly dark movie, much darker than you probably remember. Cute robots and fluffy bunnies aside, right from the start of the film Lowell is clearly not the most well-balanced

probably will be all jumpsuits and wires hanging from the ceiling. SILENT RUNNING doesn’t shy away from the potential bleakness of our future, and even seems to take a certain amount of glee in pointing out what a big bunch of jerks we all turn out to be. WALL-E might take a lighter approach to the subject of environmental disaster, but at the heart of it is the same question: can we still be ourselves if we are cut off from the natural world? SILENT RUNNING gives us an answer as cold as space itself, a tiny slither of hope hidden within if you look very carefully (and don’t think too closely about the space-rabbits)

whereas WALL-E tells us that we’ll get back on track eventually, even if it has to be our plastic pals who get us there. If WALL-E and SILENT RUNNING are light and dark sides of the same coin, perhaps the best way to watch them would be one after the other. That way you can pretend that even if the human race turned into giant wobbling lazy-bums after blowing up the last of our plants and animals, cute robots will come to the rescue one day. Jennifer Williams SILENT RUNNING is screened on Sat 24th September at 10.30.

"My most reliable weepy is SILENT RUNNING [...] it provokes lifethreatening water loss every time." Meet MARK KERMODE at the APH on Tue 20th.


© 2011

Cambridge Film Festival Review Editor Rosy Hunt Deputy Editor Fiona Scoble Comms Manager Mike Boyd Design Rosy Hunt Photography Tom Catchesides Print Victoire Limited






Tatum uses and unnecessarily prolongs Leo’s plight to get his ticket back to the big time and the front pages. He engineers a media circus (spookily similar to the 2010 Chilean Miners’ rescue) around the formerly sleepy and remote outpost of Escadero, with him at the centre. The film takes a brutally cynical swipe at how the media reports events, and at the motives of both them and the vultures and opportunists who can latch on.




There’s a telling moment in Mandy Chang’s documentary where the French camera engineer Jean Pierre Beauviala refuses to be interviewed sitting down. Since he was partly responsible for the first commercial Eclair handheld model, it’s a bare-faced blackmail attempt! Beauviala’s handiwork led to both “The Only Way is Essex” and “Hoop Dreams”, so perhaps we can forgive him. Perhaps. His swagger juts out in a prison of static shots and archive footage in a work about dynamic filmmaking. But the story more than compensates. Chang’s film tells how the soon-to-be-rival Direct Cinema (American) and cinéma vérité (French) movements created their own handheld cameras to capture life on the move back in the early 1960s. Running through the key players in interview, the roughly simultaneous innovations are described with a slight emphasis on the American pioneers led


by Time journalist Bob Drewe, with his team comprising leading documentary names Richard Leacock, Don Pennebaker and Albert Maysles. On the French side, the story sticks more with Jean Rouch, the anthropological filmmaker who won acclaim for his handheld techniques. However, Chang’s film barely touches on the ideological battles between the two movements, which may leave documentary snobs cold. Regardless, hearing all these guys talk about what they did is inspiring, but watching the clips of John F. Kennedy’s Wisconsin 1960 primary is astounding. One much commented sequence has Kennedy charming his way through a crowd shot from above, something it’s hard to imagine amidst modern charges of sex and corruption today. Watch in awe. David Perilli THE CAMERA THAT CHANGED THE WORLD is screened with DON‘T LOOK BACK on Thursday 15th September at 5.15 pm.

What links actors NOAH TAYLOR, GARY OLDMAN, TOM HARDY and GUY PIERCE? They all feature in excellent films in the Festival programme; they also co-star in THE WETTEST COUNTY (that‘s Southern Virginia, not Cambridgeshire) which wrapped this year. Way back in the prohibition era, restaurant owner Forrest (Hardy) has his throat cut by a pair of thieves. The story of his survival becomes an urban legend, and when a curious journalist visits the county hospital six years later he runs into a pair of mystery men with far ghastlier injuries. Directed by John Hillcoat (THE ROAD, THE PROPOSITION) and adapted for the screen by Nick Cave, who also composed the score. Release date TBC - more news next issue! (RH)







Some journalists will do anything for a story. Whilst the plot of ACE IN THE HOLE is lent an unexpected topicality by press events in the UK, that is not the only reason it makes for such an excellent and prescient movie experience 60 years after its original release. The themes and motives of Billy Wilder’s characters, particularly Kirk Douglas’s excellently snarling and conniving Chuck Tatum, give this noir its timelessness. Charles ‘Chuck’ Tatum is an unemployable former big-shot journalist, reduced to working at the Albuquerque Sun-Bulletin. One year into his stint and no closer to his yearned-for scoop, Tatum and his young photographer happen upon the plight of Leo Minosa – a man stuck in a cave after looking for ancient Native American artefacts. Conspiring with Leo’s unhappy want-away wife, the local sheriff (seeking re-election) and engineer,

An undeserved box office disappointment in 1951, ACE IN THE HOLE deserves another look in an age where people take a more cynical view of the press and may share the acerbic views of Wilder’s eerily resonant film. Jim Ross ACE IN THE HOLE is screened on Thursday 15th September at 4.45 pm.



If critic Top Ten lists are to be believed, CITIZEN KANE is the greatest achievement of the film medium so far, the very pinnacle of cinematic perfection. Is it really true that no film has

PAGE!++ ever surpassed or even matched its quality? Does it really get no better than this film about a rich arsehole screwing up his life?

He was giving us what we needed, to understand, to see. Of course not. There are better films than CITIZEN KANE - but not many. Watching it in 2011, which marks its 70th birthday, it is still an utterly breathtaking work of indisputable genius. It‘s also an absolute riot to watch. Exquisitely paced, it switches register with exhilarating energy, charging across genres with little respect for convention. Moments of high melodrama give way to farcical comedy. When a long section concerned with the minutiae of newspaper publishing threatens to lag, Welles throws in a charming song and dance number. At one moment, out of nowhere, a parrot screams and you jump. For a second, CITIZEN KANE is a horror film. But it‘s when Welles cuts out all the dazzle and spectacle and leaves us with Kane, alone in Xanadu, that the film really shines. The sudden rush of emotion surprises us, but Welles knew what he was doing all along. He was giving us what we needed, to understand, to see. A complete, though impressionistic picture of a life wasted. CITIZEN KANE is vital cinema. Jamie Brittain CITIZEN KANE is screened on Tuesday 20th at 5.45pm.

THE CASE OF THE MANACLED MORMON! Did Joyce McKinney really abduct a missionary and keep him as a sex slave? TABLOID screens at 8.30pm on Sat 17th.





and the power of sexual attraction. His ode to Rembrandt (REMBRANDT FECIT 1669, screened on Friday 16th) conveys the artist‘s life through his paintings, exploring the communicative power of art. 2008‘s DUSKA (screened on Monday 19th), whilst still managing to examine how people overcome linguistic differences, draws more strongly from Stelling‘s fascination with attraction. It is testament to Stelling‘s prowess that the film was selected as the Netherlands‘ submission for the Best Foreign Film Oscar in 2008, even if none of his films have enjoyed UK distribution. If you‘d like the opportunity to pose questions to the man himself, be sure to catch him In Conversation on Saturday 17th. Naomi Barnwell JOS STELLING will be joining us for a Q&A after a screening of his short films at the Picturehouse at 8.15pm on 17th September.



He may not be a household name here in the UK but Dutch director Jos Stelling has endearingly developed his directorial style since childhood in such a way that his films exude their own personality. Having begun his career with the attention-grabbing MARIKEN VAN NIEUMEGEN, a film that notably appeared at the Cannes Film Festival in 1975, Stelling went on to found what would later become the Dutch Film Festival in 1981. Although his directorial resumé isn't as long as perhaps some of his peers, this autodidact's work conveys a vitality that many others can only hope to achieve. Two of Stelling's shorts, THE GAS STATION and THE WAITING ROOM, whilst riffing on the annoyances of everyday life with great comedic effect, help to affirm this principle. Neither are the most attractive of titles, but the titles themselves hide a certain brilliance. Stelling's aptitude for picking up on subtle nuances provides the films with a realism without them being verbose, in turn allowing them to transcend language barriers. Stelling is a man clearly fascinated by communication


This year sees the third uprising of the film-making collective Project Trident. Audience favourites from last year‘s TRIDENTFEST included the world‘s first jigsploitation film, the paranoid gonzo shocker GASP and the exposé that Office Angels tried to ban, TEMPORARY WORK. The cream of the crop this year is set to be a new feature, THE PURPLE FIEND. A love letter to jeopardy and fisticuffs, this thrilling escapade is bound to please curious newcomers to TRIDENTFEST as well as loyal followers of the film‘s intrepid heroes, Professor Laminut and his companion, the irascible Googy (both pictured on the front cover). (RH)

TRIDENTFEST 3 is screened on Friday 16th September at 10.45 pm.



We find ourselves arranged in a wide arc about a screen, courtesy of CFF's partner, Films in the Forest; a fresh breeze sighing against our expectant nostrils. Not quite Nottingham, but Rendlesham Forest in Suffolk plays apt host to Allan Dwan‘s sumptuous production of the familiar legend. Refreshingly fun compared with more recent portrayals, Douglas Fairbanks' ROBIN HOOD flits and gambols about the screen with great enthusiasm, setting wrongs right and making oh-so-merry with his uncompromisingly playful men, all to the rousing charms of Neil Brand's live musical accompaniment.

a festival for the eyeballs, and we‘ve not even got onto the robbing part yet. The eye-watering (at the time) one million dollar budget is money well spent. Painstaking research meant the costumes were to-the-ring accurate, if romanticised. ROBIN HOOD had one of the largest sets yet created, with Nottingham Castle and an entire village constructed in a Hollywood studio. The sets were so startlingly huge that Fairbanks was afraid he would be lost within them. Far from it. Fairbanks - he who is lit from below - inhabits the screen with his larger-than-life personality and his amazing aptitude for stunt work. In one scene, stuck as he is between two hordes of the Sheriff's men, he leaps onto and swoops down an enormous curtain to (temporary) safety - a trick he found so much fun, he repeated it in his own time.

We all know the story by now. In the year of our Lord 12… er… something (I failed my History A-level), scowly Prince John (Sam de Grasse) puts the squeeze on poor Olde England in his capacity as Regent, while his brother, Richard the Lionheart (the prolific Wallace Beery), is out biffing foreigns in Jesus Town - and it’s down to R. Hood to take the power back. Noble knights and flappy-sleeved maidens parade before us, forming a festival for the eyeballs, and we've not even got onto the robbing part yet. The usual suspects assemble in the lush woodland setting, from the bloody violent Friar Tuck to the ever-faithful Little John, when a strange knight appears, and is unwilling to remove his helmet - but

offers his steel against the nefarious Sheriff (William Lowery) and the out-jousted Sir Guy of Gisbourne (Paul Dickey). Boo. Hiss. Much robbing of the rich and giving to the poor ensues. Swords everywhere. Then, faced with an untimely death by bowmen, the captured Robin is saved just in the nick of time by the return and redoubtable shield of good King Richard (for it is he) and the coup is dismissed. Victorious Robin, his former fear of girls melting in the moment of triumph, takes his prize in the form of the wooedoff-her-trolley Lady Marian (a glowing Enid Bennett). Hurrah! Let's do it all again next week. Hugh Paterson And so we may: ROBIN HOOD screens again on Monday 19th September at 8.30pm, at Trinity College after a special dinner.

FROM MEN IN TIGHTS TO GIRLS IN TROUSERS... Meet Céline Sciamma, the director of TOMBOY, at the Picturehouse screening on September 15th at 7.30.


Take One 08-09-11  

The first issue of the Cambridge Film Festival 8-page review TAKE ONE arrives fresh from the printers. The magazine continues the tradition...

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