1-30 September 2015
ROAR BY NEIL HEPBURN ‘No animals were harmed in the making of this film. 70 cast and crew members were.’ The tagline to Roar - a deeply weird $17 million-dollar flop – is irresistible. Watching this cult curio, it is hard to believe director, star and lion-whisperer Noel Marshall was anything other than completely insane when he subjected his own family (not to mention an entire film crew) to a production that became renowned for its catalogue of horrendous wild animal attacks. Starring his then-wife Tippi Hedren and their kids (including a young Melanie Griffith), the story takes place at Marshall’s African homestead, as his family come out to visit. Apparently having learned absolutely nothing from The Birds, Tippi Hedren finds herself floored by elephants, mauled by lions and in bed with multiple tigers. Yes, literally IN BED with TIGERS. Marshall himself is like a prototype Steve Irwin, blood-soaked from real injuries while spouting eco-psychobabble in the midst of almost-constant feline assaults. Having lurked in obscurity since commercial failure on its 1981 release, Drafthouse Films decided it was high time for re-evaluation, so they’ve helped Roar back out of the cage. Be warned: it bites. Neil Hepburn is a writer and indie filmmaker who works at Edinburgh’s Cameo Cinema. He loves movies featuring dangerous animals where it’s clearly apparent that people’s lives are at stake. @NeilHepburn1 ROAR will be screened on 10th September at the Prince Charles Cinema, London, at the Bristol Bad Film Club at Windmill Hill City Farm and at the Cambridge Film Festival (date tbc).
ON KING HU & DRAGON INN BY JIM ALAN There’s a famous cinematic urban legend that reads; “Those who pan and scan an Orson Welles, John Ford or Stanley Kubrick will spend the afterlife bound to a lake of fire, for all eternity” True story.
It is absolutely unthinkable that films like Citizen Kane, The Searchers or 2001: A Space Odyssey, cinematic touchstones for generations of subsequent filmmakers, would be treated as anything less than the majestic works of art they are, and be condemned to circulation on poorly telecine’d DVD or YouTube rips. The fact the seminal wuxia epics of King Hu were consigned to such a fate, had been a bugbear for cinephiles the world over, for many years. This was until 2014, when the Chinese Taipei Film Archive unveiled a stunning 4K restoration of Hu’s first major work Dragon Inn in the Classics strand of the Cannes Film Festival - a similar restoration of his masterpiece A Touch of Zen premiered at the festival in 2015. Naturally, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive with the general consensus being that these great works of cinema were finally being experienced as they were intended. It was a treatment befitting of a filmmaker who – perhaps mirroring his work – transcended modest studio roots to blaze his own trail and, in turn, leave an indelible mark on cinema history. It was only after leaving Hong Kong for the creative freedom afforded by Taiwan’s much smaller industry, that King Hu’s lifelong fascination with the balletic choreography of Peking Opera, coupled with a love for the wuxia (‘chivalrous swordplay’) stories of his youth and sheer physicality of kung fu, would bear fruit in Dragon Inn’s innovative approach to action cinema. Hu’s lightning-quick editing style, epic widescreen compositions and gravity-defying fight choreography would come to define the grammar of the martial arts film for generations to come.
Many internationally renowned, award-winning filmmakers have either cited his influence, in the case of Yuen Woo Ping – who choreographed the groundbreaking action in The Matrix – and Wong Kar Wai (Ashes of Time, In the Mood for Love) or, paid direct tribute, as was the case with Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Tsai MingLiang’s Goodbye, Dragon Inn and Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin.
cultivatefilmart.blogspot.com Visavisfilm (aka Jim Alan) is a blogger & promoter based in Manchester. @visavisfilm
The films of King Hu, just like the epic visions of The Seven Samurai or The Searchers, remind us of the awe, spectacle and pioneering spirit that the medium of cinema was founded on. See them on the biggest screen if possible.
The screening will be part of the Whitworth’s Thursday Lates, with all galleries open until 9pm including the exhibition M+Sigg Collection: Chinese art from the 1970s to now. whitworth.manchester.ac.uk/whats-on/ exhibitions/currentexhibitions/ msiggcollection
Cultivate Film Art - established in 2012 by Ezra Zubairu - is Manchester’s only weekly cult/ world/independent film club. @cultivatefilm
Cultivate Film Art & Cinema Subterranea will proudly present the newly remastered Dragon Inn at the recently crowned Art Fund Museum Of The Year, the Whitworth on Thursday 24th September at 6pm.
Published on Jul 24, 2015
Scalarama - making September the Unofficial Month of CInema. The 2015 edition features a leading provocation by Peter Strickland (Berberian...