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Watching someone else’s revolution on the big screen is a strange experience. Frequently without preparation or context; separated by history, culture and subtitles, we find ourselves dispassionate, incidental observers.
A few days ago Britflicks found themselves sat in the reassuringly steep gallery at Regent Street Cinema, for a digitally restored print of “Z”, Costa-Gavras’ cinema verite classic. “Z” is unusual for todays’ audiences for many reasons. Describing historical events in 60’s Greece within the frame of political thriller, filmed in French featuring (decidedly non-Greek) players like Yves Montand and Jean-Louis Trintignant, “Z” sits somewhere between Pakula and Lument’s conspiracies, and Fellini’s socio-realist satire. This blend of cinematic influences and social commentary with a loosely focused story based on historical figures whose names have been changed to protect the filmmakers (the introduction proudly states that ‘any resemblance to real people is purely deliberate’) makes for an arresting and unusual experience.
At the time, Roger Ebert wrote: “...a film of our time. It is about how even moral victories are corrupted...Z is at the same time a political cry of rage and a brilliant suspense thriller. It even ends in a chase: Not through the streets but through a maze of facts, alibis and official corruption.” It’s there to remind us that now more then ever, cinema is necessary for its ability to shine a light on corruption and hypocrisy in our own time.
Kino Klassika, set up by UK actress Justine Waddell as an institution for the purposes of sharing and preservation of Russian cinema heritage, is also there to remind us that art and cinema continue to build bridges in spite of existing political exigencies (and remain all the more relevant because of them).
Ken Loach's LAND AND FREEDOM is screening 12th April, 2017
Klassika is currently half way through its ‘A World to Win’ season of revolutionary cinema from around the world. Cinefiles have a chance to sample key slices of history, culture and cinematic technique from different continents. Eg. “Danton”, (by the late, great Polish auteur Andrzej Wajda) fictionalises the life of a leading figure in the French Revolution (played by a young Gérard Depardieu).
Upcoming screenings include “Novecento”, for which Kino Klassika joins forces with Kino-Vino to bring you excellent cuisine to go with your 5 hour Bertolucci classic; as well as Eisenstein’s “Battleship Potemkin” (a must-see for any film student) screened with a live orchestra.
For more info on Kino Klassika visit their website
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