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cambridge film festival daily

Issue 9 // Friday 25 September www.cambridgefilmfestival.org.uk

(From left) Sam Bain, Robert Webb, David Mitchell, Jesse Armstrong & Andrew Newman © TC

hot ticketS Friday 25 September CUCKOO World Premiere of the sophomore film by Richard Bracewell at 8.30pm Second Chance Screenings Don’t miss out - head to the Cambridge Drama Centre off Mill Rd. Starts today with 1234 at 8.00pm

Pick of the PEEPS Rounding up the usual suspects from the BAFTA PEEP SHOW event at the Cambridge Film Festival By John Davis

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he Cambridge Film Festival welcomed the writers and stars of cult television and BAFTA award winning comedy PEEP SHOW. They were here to give an insight into how a sitcom about two socially inept twenty somethings has become one of the most unlikely popular television shows of recent times. Joining acclaimed writers Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain were PEEP SHOW’s main cast David Mitchell and Robert Webb, who after screening an exclusive episode of series six of the hit show answered an appreciative audiences’ questions with an affable, if not oh so slightly uncomfortable, grace. As I am not allowed to write

about the episode that was screened under pain of death and possibly some hefty legal entanglements, you will have to tune into Channel 4 tonight to see what the lucky Festival goers were treated to. We joined our antisocial anti heroes Mark (David Mitchell) and Jez (Robert Webb) as they eventually discover which one of them is the father of Mark’s estranged ex-wife Sophie’s (Olivia Coleman) child. Life for the boys is about to be turned upside down, and with characteristically

“Sitcoms are popular because they are sort of more like life”

cringeworthy consequences. For those not familiar with the premise of PEEP SHOW (now in its sixth series, making it one of the longest running sitcoms in history) it follows the mundane routine-driven lives of two flatmates living uncomfortably with themselves in a London suburb. Not exactly something you would imagine would make for engaging television comedy, nor something you would expect to see at an international film festival, but there are many things that set PEEP SHOW apart from anything else on a screen. Most notably, the Point Of View camera technique lets you see through the eyes of Mark and Jez as they try to deal with the complexities of

Kuchar Bros. Day 2 Underground shorts

their mundanely modern lives. We also hear their inner monologues, which give insight into what they think, rather than what they say or do, which often shows the ugly and irrational, albeit hilarious, side of human consciousness. So what is it that makes a sitcom like PEEP SHOW so popular? David Mitchell eloquently explained: “Sitcoms are popular because they are sort of more like life than films. In films there is a beginning, a middle and an end. Whereas life, in general is the same every day. continued on page 2 same everyday. Similar

Cambridge Film Festival Daily 2009 Supported by TTP Group


Pick of the Peeps contd... Similar situations, similar jeopardy, similar fears, similar opportunities, and things stay more or less stable.” And what is it that makes the unlikely pairing of Mark and Jeremy such likeable if not frustrating leads? “The trick is to find characters that an audience wants to keep watching, and not to turn them into people better adjusted or people who just die in an explosion.” Robert Webb continued “I think [Mark and Jez] are ultimately good for each other really. I wouldn’t call it making each other happy, I think they console each other. Jeremy is looking at Mark thinking ‘at least I’m not Mark’, and Mark’s thinking ‘at least I’m not Jeremy’. They need each other in that way.” So where now for PEEP SHOW? They revealed that a seventh series has recently been commissioned, and it seems like it may go on for a long time to come. Sam Bain explained “The great advantage of sitcoms is that they can carry on. At the moment we feel we can carry on and on. We will be heading towards them being old age bachelors, living in a flat…” Long may the El Dude brothers live. BAFTA Presents PEEP SHOW took place on Thursday 24 September at 8.30pm

IRRATIONALITY OVER RATIONALITY Exploring the realms of recent avant-garde with the Mark Boswell strand By Laura J Smith

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ark Boswell’s filmic colour palette might be black and white, but the content of his films certainly isn’t. A scholar of film and film theory, Boswell studied in various institutions across Europe and America for over 12 years up until 1992, penning the Nova-Kino Manifesto in 1994. His hopes for the Nova-Kino movement; to found a pertinent cinematic theory for filmmakers and media artists alike who, as Boswell describes, “utilise found footage as source material to be re-edited or re-animated, giving radical rebirth or second life in their reconstructed state.” Boswell, writing on the concept behind Nova-Kino, explains his desire to make avant-garde cinema both conceptually and technically relevant in the midst of “the emerging digital revolution.” Using a blend of archive footage and photo stills montages, Boswell’s work appears like comedic versions of propaganda

films from the Soviet era of Sergei Eisenstein and Lev Kuleshov. The programme screening at this year’s Festival is made up of two separate collections of Boswell’s work, NOVA-KINO VOLUME 4 and UNKNOWN(S) BOSWELL. USSA: SECRET MANUAL OF THE SOVIET POLITBURGER, a seven minute short from 2001, plays out as a faux-news bulletin, detailing the ways in which the hamburger, or the ‘politburger’, functions not for nutritional purposes but as a tool of Soviet conspiracy. The opening voiceover narrative sets the scene, coating the film in a tone of (comic) urgency: “There is a spectre haunting Europe and America… that spectre is the hamburger.”

“There is a spectre haunting Europe and America… that spectre is the hamburger”

A witty but not-too-high-brow satire on the globalisation of the fast food industry, the combination of mixed media footage overlaid with onscreen subtitles works to create a convincing news bulletin that claims hamburgers to be as dangerous a weapon as any in the fight of good and evil. A vital element of Nova-Kino is “the usage of critical, political, and other highly charged points of view embedded within the structure of the work that challenge hegemonic power structures at large or in more specific realms.” By no accident, these aesthetics are undeniably similar to those of Agit-Prop cinema, which Boswell labels “the eternal bi-product of the Russian Revolution.” While it may look outdated, Nova-Kino is written about in terms of being “a technologically advanced medium”, despite its seemingly superfluous style of filmmaking. Toying with ideas from previous avant-garde movements, the


Tangerine Dreams

UNKNOWN UNKNOWN(S)

cinematic style of Nova-Kino is difficult to pigeonhole, clearly the desired effect for filmmakers involved in its existence. Boswell’s first Nova-Kino film, entitled KULTKINO, while not part of the programme at the Festival, marked a key stage in re-establishing the footholds of all things avantgarde, premiering in 1996 at the Anti-Film Festival to a bemused and stimulated audience, as Boswell’s bold Manifesto threatened audiences to “witness the continual shrinkage of the public cinematic screen and the widening of the private one.” Another highlight of the programme screening at the Festival, entitled THE END OF COPENHAGEN, involuntarily stars Frank Sinatra in the lead role, lifted from a classic 1960s American conspiracy film and placed into the modern world of 2004 where doomsday looms. With accomplished and simple manipulating of ‘found

footage’, coupled with subtitles telling a completely different narrative to what the characters are actually speaking, the short is reminiscent in its approach to Woody Allen’s film debut WHAT’S UP, TIGER LILY? from 1966, in which Allen took Japanese action film INTERNATIONAL SECRET POLICE: KEY OF KEYS and redubbed it, changing the plot and tone of the film entirely. While Nova-Kino and all it represents might not hold a place in everyone’s hearts as their preferred cinematic outing, as its Manifesto describes, “Nova-Kino’s firebrand criticism of Capitalism, Americanism, and Technotopia will make its acceptance into the traditional venues of exhibition, distribution, and production DIFFICULT, but not impossible.” The Mark Boswell Programme is screened on Saturday 26 September at 6.30pm

In Tangiers, north Morocco, the girls of the local brothel rescue Amira from a street brawl with her uncle. Amira has escaped marriage by insulting the potential groom, and wants to be a dancer. In a club she encounters young couple Pia and Tom, German musicians in search of “the roots of rock and roll” with the Jajouka musicians of the city. Both Tom and Pia are drawn to watching Amira dance, while Amira falls for Tom’s looks and sees him as her route out of Morocco. Set in the geographical gateway between Europe and Africa, TANGERINE captures beautifully the gap between cultures and the attempts made to communicate across it. In one scene Tom spouts pseudospiritual nonsense about a rock concert and looks to Amira for comment; utterly uninterested by what he’s said, she asks if he’d like her to show him the beach.

TANGERINE // Irene von Alberti

The Europeans have the luxury of over-thinking: Amira relies on impetuous instinct. Differences are beautifully illustrated by the casting of the two main actresses, their fractured understanding of each other echoed by their contrasting images. Though the ending leaves a few unanswered questions, this film has a taste for what it’s like to experience the city both as a tourist and as a local. Though it enjoys the sensuality of the city and of Amira, it hesitates at romanticising either, and its plot holds up well almost to the very end. Fiona Scoble

TANGERINE is screened on Friday 25 September at 6.30pm

Wrestling in Uruguay Like another culture’s answer to indie films such as EAGLE VS SHARK and NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, A BAD DAY TO GO FISHING features a pleasing acoustic soundtrack, subtle humour, and a theme more about relationships than fighting. Full of touching moments as this dysfunctional pair, one corrupt, the other a little simple, and both alcoholics, continue their crusade in South America. Prince meets his match in the local newspaper, who realise that he is blagging the prize money as much as his ability to pay the hotel, and in a young local woman who can escape the stigma of being unmarried and pregnant if her fiancé wins the fight and can pay for the wedding. It is exciting to

A BAD DAY TO GO FISHING // Alvaro Brechner

see if the fight will take place - for Prince is forever warding off competitors and being warded off - and how it will turn out. But that’s the moment the film changes and the touching moments or hope for redemption are all crushed in rather a confusing and dissatisfying close. Elspeth Rushbrook A BAD DAY TO GO FISHING was screened on Thursday 24 September


our Team (of SPies)

A BAD DAY TO FISHING

Young Critics BORN IN 68 BORN IN 68 is a French film about politics, revolutionaries and most of all, the effects of life’s decisions. In 1968, Catherine and her ‘boyfriend’ Yves participate in the political riots in Paris, craving a revolution. When the opportunity arises to move to an empty farm with a group of friends, they cannot resist the idea of creating their perfect commune. However, friendships break down, politics change and feelings change, leaving relationships and political views to slowly decay. The film itself is a hefty 171 minutes but when watching, it doesn’t seem long at all. The characters have been so delicately created, that watching them make mistakes and dealing with life’s ups and downs is incredibly engrossing and

Top Ten: the people’s Favourite Film Award 1. NOMAD’S LAND/THE STORM BIRD 2. BAFTA PRESENTS MICHAEL PALIN 3. PORGY & ME 4. A BAD DAY TO GO FISHING 5. TRIDENTFEST 6. THE CALLING 7. MARY & MAX 8. TONY 9. SERAPHINE 10. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO you feel ever so close to them. BORN IN 68 progresses from angry politics to a tragedy of beliefs, love and most of all regretting either what you did or did not do when you were young. The one thing that keeps this film together is politics and that theme stays the same throughout. Everything changes, but the importance of politics in their family never does. Harriet Dean

Cambridge Film Festival Daily © 2009 Editor David Perilli Sub-editors Christopher Peck, Laura J Smith Editorial assistant Sara Cathie Festival photographer Tom Catchesides Design Robin Castle Printed by Victoire Press

Codename: Stanley & Hicks Alias: Matt Roberts & Martin Read, Cinema Duty Managers Cover Story: In charge of events, cinema staffing, ensuring the day-to-day running of the cinema M.I. Spy - Movie Inspiration Spy: Philip Marlowe from THE BIG SLEEP For Your Ears Only: The Living Daylights, A-Ha Specialist skill: Coercion

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CFF Daily #9