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Issue 10 / Saturday 25 September

Cambridge Film Festival Daily F E AT U R E

Small Films for Small People The desire to squirm in your seat, cry out, and tug at the sleeve of your neighbour to beg “when can we leave?” is not confined to audiences of EAT PRAY LOVE. For many children the cinema is a daunting and uncomfortable experience, even if they’re not watching the latest Hollywood tripe. This year the first ever Cambridge Family Film Festival set out to make the cinema a friendlier place for children. Screenings are of a shorter length, the lights are higher and the sound lower in the screen, and a “chill-out” zone is provided for anyone who needs to duck out of the excitement. Becky Innes, the person behind the Family Film Festival, explains how the idea came to her: “I have two kids, and I don’t go to the cinema anymore, while I used to see films three or four times a week through my job. Ironically my kids

Hot Ticket Saturday 25 September Due to popular demand quirky Belgian animation A TOWN CALLED PANIC screens again at 8.00pm. Sunday 26 September Plug and pray you don’t miss this robotic documentary... PLUG & PRAY at 3.30pm. Who shot first? Find out why we should care in THE PEOPLE VS GEORGE LUCAS at 6.30pm. The Gruffalo © Orange Eyes Limited

aren’t very good at the cinema so we’ve had many truncated visits because the children want to leave after 15 minutes. I wanted to find a way to make the cinema more fun for kids and for the adults.” Becky originally developed the popular Picturehouse “Big Scream” parents and babies initiative, and sees the Family Film Festival as the next step. “All along I thought it was a good idea but I wasn’t sure if we’d have just 10 people in each screening” she admits, “but I’ve been chuffed by the response.” Indeed, who could resist the promise of cakes, badges, and balloons that has accompanied many of the screenings? Surely all critics would be better disposed towards a film that rewarded them with a cupcake after the credits, though I doubt many would throw themselves into the related fancy dress event. All of this year’s screenings came from Television, and some might query why it’s worth dragging the family out to the cinema for a TV programme. Yet, as Becky points out, “parents use TV as a babysitter, but cinema is a family experience.” An audience member concurred: “Mummy sat down to watch TV with me instead of emailing and washing up and tidying.” Becky is keen to branch out in future years, funding permitting, turning towards film classics like Mr Ben and Thunderbirds, and even a selection of pop videos. Arguably the children’s continued on page 2


Laurence Anderson © TC

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classics are more for the parent’s pleasure - this year’s screening of Trumpton had adults transfixed, while their children fidgeted throughout its gentle pacing. “Children like snappy editing along the lines of Michael Bay”, she explains. Though thank God Michael Bay has never touched Trumpton – I shudder to think what grizzly antics Pugh, Pugh, and Barney McGrew would get up to under his direction. Like its adult counterpart, the Family Film Festival has had its ups and downs. A highpoint for Becky was introducing one of the films with her four year old. “We talked with the children about what makes the cinema special and how you should behave in one”, she explains. Her well-informed audience suggested a range of guidelines, from “Don’t kick the seats” to “Piracy is a crime”. Another highlight was the Grandpa in My Pocket event, in which children could show off accompanying grandparents in exchange for a prize. One kid chirped up to say, “I had a grandpa but now he’s dead.” “I guess that was the low point”, says Becky. Becky has high hopes for the future of the Family Film Festival, and would like to make it a separate event, potentially to be held during the Easter holidays. Films, dressup, and cakes – could there be a better combination? Sadly, no unaccompanied adults are allowed – so procure a child smartish if you don’t want to miss out. Fiona Scoble The Family Film Festival continues with screenings on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 September

F E AT U R E

From Team to Screen Ask recent college leaver Laurence Anderson where he was last Sunday and the answer may surprise you: “Sitting down behind a screen outside the Fitzwilliam museum”. Weeks earlier Anderson had been taking his A-levels and now he was working as a projectionist at an outdoor event of this year’s Festival. “I was in charge of one of them. It was good to have that responsibility”. All this has been made possible by the launch of the Screen Team. Supported by the Legacy Trust, the body allocating funds to recognise the 2012 Olympics, the Festival has now been able to develop a structured volunteering programme aiming to train people about how to run film events. Along with eight other team members Laurence has been among the first young people to take advantage of the scheme. Previous to this, training has occurred with the Festival but much more informally, although many film professionals both in Cambridge and elsewhere started out volunteering in some capacity. Anderson hasn’t just been involved in largescale events though, since he was given general cinema duties to carry out during the Festival too. Specifically in his case helping out in the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse’s projection booth by providing a vital link between the projectionists and the front of house staff. “Starting the films, generally just helping out. Mainly just doing the sound or switching over the analogue/digital audio for the shorts, changing the format making sure the sound is changed also”. Screen Team Project Manager Becky Innes for one has been impressed, enthusing over his work at the Fitzwilliam. “Originally he was there protecting the sculptures, then he was doing ushering/customer service and by the end of the night he was behind the

screen projecting. What a fantastic progression.” He now plans to start up his own video business filming weddings and corporate events. As the project lead, Innes has been mentoring the nine members of the team from eager film fans to people with viable skills and experiences that can be used to gain future employment. She relates that half the fun is observing the team members start to act proactively with event management. “They’re making the pieces fit together like a jigsaw, putting it all together to get the right picture instead of just chaos, and I can see that they are learning these skills which is brilliant.” Another good example of the initiative’s wide scope comes from slightly older team member Ian Francis. Well versed from working in the music business as a roadie, Francis, 30, seized the opportunity to hone his event management skills. Unlike Anderson who is just starting out, Francis had a strong idea of what he wanted to do and how the Screen Team could help him. “It’s exactly the kind of thing I’d like to be doing in the future. I’ve been involved with a few festivals and general music events and this is a kind of different angle on that.” It’s early days yet for a project designed to create a legacy for an event that hasn’t happened yet (!) but the Screen Team has achieved a flying start. Innes again, “…the joy in the Screen Team that they had made this happen was a really positive experience… at the end of the event the Fitzwilliam staff said that they’d never worked with such a professional skilled team of anyone, let alone volunteers”. For more information about the Screen Team or to find out how to be involved next year contact Becky Innes at rebeccacinnes@yahoo.co.uk. The Screen Team is a Cambridge Film Trust Initiative which has been funded by Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity set up to help build a lasting cultural and sporting legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.


CAmbridge in 3d - the life of a station

review

review

Promise AND unrest

THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNETS’ NEST Dir / DANIEL ALFREDSON 148 MINS / SWEDEN, DENMARK, GERMANY 2009

Dir / ALAN GROSSMAN, AINE O’BRIEN 95 MINS / IRELAND, PHILIPPINES 2010

Told mostly through a series of letters between a Philippine woman living and working in Dublin, and her sister and daughter in the Philippines, PROMISE AND UNREST tells the tale of a family split between continents. Only returning once a year, she must support her family from afar, eventually asking her daughter to live with her. While making it possible to understand their struggle, the film sets no firm goal or direction from the outset, which often leaves it floundering at a slow pace, with the more political elements introduced only towards the end. The parallel lives between the countries are constructed very well, but there is something lacking in the way sympathy is built for the subjects. Often, the film even seems to step away from emotion, taking an objective view. That is not to say that the people are disinteresting, and the film is certainly engaging in an observatory way; watching them live and interact despite being oceans apart. Beautifully shot, the comparisons between the two countries, and how each is represented is very apparent. Both locations play a vital role, and the laid-back, warm and bright Philippines is a sharp contrast to the dark, mostly nighttime and indoors Ireland. The two countries are not judged equally, and the clashing atmospheres help to underline the worlds between which these people are caught. A story worth being told, but perhaps with more energy and purpose; to better create a sense of narrative to enhance the drama of the overall piece. Mike Boyd

Move aside Miss Marple, there’s a new female crime-solver in town and she’s back for her third, gritty adventure. Lisbeth Salander is a tough cookie, a tattooed, antisocial computer hacker with a propensity for tipping the velvet and a talent for exacting violent retribution upon the men who wrong her. Your guardian subjects you to a vicious series of sexual attacks? Tattoo ‘I am a rapist and a sadistic pig’ on his stomach. Based on Stieg Larsson’s trinity of novels, THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNETS’ NEST is the final chapter in the trilogy. It continues on from Salander’s near-fatal encounter with her father in the second film, delving into the political ramifications of her father’s past and exploring the vulnerability that stems from her childhood experiences. It also returns to the other lead protagonist, the journalist Mikael Blomkvist – somewhat neglected in the second instalment – following his attempts to clear Lisbeth of murder. The strength of this Swedish offering lies in its understated style and a colour pallet built on shades of grey. In many ways, the story is better suited to the screen than to the books, which are often clunky and full of inconsequential detail. The film strips much of that away, focussing rather on gripping characterisations and a fast-paced storyline. The plot is still overly complicated and there are often too many characters and narrative threads to keep track of fully, but ultimately it is the chief protagonists that make this film watchable, particularly the dour, morally incorruptible Blomkvist.

PROMISE AND UNREST is screened on Saturday 25 September at 4.00pm

Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough

THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNETS’ NEST is screened on Saturday 25 September at 9.00pm & 11.00pm

review

Timelapse travellers Cambridge in 3d - the Life of a station

As a piece of technological artwork, the timelapse film depicting Cambridge’s railway station manages to display the impressiveness of 3D with a carefully framed series of shots. In particular the film manages to highlight one possible use of such technology: to exhibit city scopes with incredible realism. The film, shown at altering speeds, manages to encompass the busy ambience experienced by any frequent traveller. The timelapse piece, clearly designed to be experienced briefly by passersby, is not really a film in the conventional sense, but instead, an exhibition of a piece of artwork, shot by Gavin Peacock and Brian McClave. Its purpose is to demonstrate the new ease with which 3D films can be experienced and in this respect it certainly achieves that. Unfortunately, due to the short and intermittent nature of the viewing, the film cannot be more ambitious with any attempt to relate the shots to any overriding narrative structure. In this regard the nature of the viewing is suitably matched to the film. However, once successfully identified as an exhibition of art and technology, as opposed to a conventional piece of narrative filmmaking, the 3D event is suitably enjoyable as it explores ways in which to convey the authenticity of the scenes depicted. Particularly enjoyable for any local resident, the film allows the latest technological advances to be applied to the everyday experiences of Cambridge. Daniel Harling

CAMBRIDGE IN 3D – THE LIFE OF A STATION is showing at the Grand Arcade on Saturday 25 September


Enjoyed this year’s Festival? How about doing your bit to try to ensure this event can remain one of the UK’s leading festivals. Just days before this year’s event, the shocking news hit that the Festival’s main funder, Regional Screen Agency, Screen East, had gone into administration. Since then the ÂŁ19,000 of funding promised by Screen East has not been forthcoming – posing major difficulties and raising questions about the Festival’s long term future. That is why the ‘30@30’ campaign, started earlier this year to increase funds for the Festival, is now asking friends of the event to give as much as they can afford to help ensure another thirty years of top bold and imaginative cinema. Details on how to contribute can be found on: justgiving.com/cambridgefilmtrust/Donate Thanks for your support

STUDENT CRITICS

STUDENT CRITICS

CELL 211

THE TRIP

After reading the synopsis of CELL 211 I was unsure what to expect, however this highly intense, intriguing and thrilling film is full of suspense, while keeping me on the edge of my seat and gasping out loud. Daniel MonzĂłn directed this Spanish masterpiece in 2009 and since then it has won 8 awards, which it strongly deserved, in its home country. The awards included best actor, best supporting actress and best director, proving that it is a must see thriller backed up by amazing talent. CELL 211 portrays life in prison during a dangerous and violent riot, while showing how great loss and imprisonment can bring a trainee prison guard to realise, through witnessing conspiracies between guards and inmates, how criminals are not treated with their human rights. The main character, Juan Olivier (Alberto Ammann), delivers a great performance

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of extreme pathos and empathy while the supporting actor, Luis Tosar, performs well as the anger driven top dog, whom Juan must convince of his loyalty and commitment as a fellow inmate to keep himself alive. Monzón is obviously trying to communicate the ways in which a simple nobody can create a friendship of trust with a serious and dangerous criminal through being locked up and realising the reasons for unthinkable actions. Imprinted in the shocking and brutal scenes, we see political statements, heartbreaking decisions and barriers between the law. With brilliant action scenes and emotional performances, CELL 211 is a jaw breaking, heart pounding and intelligent thriller that deserves all the credit I’m positive it will receive. Rebecca Chivers

Effectively a six-part television series meshed into one 90 minute feature, THE TRIP features Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon playing fictionalised versions of themselves, with Coogan embodying a food critic scouring the Lake District for fine cuisine and even finer sexual conquests. Replacing Coogan’s absent girlfriend, Brydon tags along on this tour of several top UK restaurants, demonstrating the duo’s unique friendship as they make their way through meticulously made, diverse delicacies. The largely improvised events that ensue are proof of the two stars unquestionable chemistry and their ability to adapt their comedic talents to any setting or scenario. The film features beautiful shots of the British countryside coupled with some hilarious verbal sparring between the two, who swap copious amounts of the uncanny impressions of which they have become known for. These range 60mm flyer:Layout 1 29/07/2010 09:35 P from Michael Caine to Sean Connery, with Dustin Hoffman and Woody Allen being particularly funny highlights. This newsletter is produced Though the pace does slacken slightly on re-cycled material & during the third act, it was reassuring printed with vegetable based to know that there was a fresh joke inks under the sponsorship mere minutes away. of As much a hilarious road trip as an engaging character study, Winterbottom’s latest is a tremendously enjoyable British film made even better by its exclusivity to the Arts Picturehouse. Edward Frost

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TOP TEN: THE PEOPLE’S FAVOURITE FILM AWARD 1. ROCK AND ROLL FUCK ‘N’ LOVELY 2. THE ART OF THE MID-LENGTH 3. BEGGARS OF LIFE with the Dodge Brothers 4. FAREWELL 5. THE TRIP 6. TRIDENTFEST 7. CELL 211 8. A TOWN CALLED PANIC 9. GRAVYTRAIN 10. MONSTERS

CFF10 Daily #10  

Cambridge Film Festival daily newspaper