jazz

Swinging the Lambeth Walk (Len Lye, 1940)

UK, 4 min.

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Momma Don’t Allow (Reisz/Richardson, 1956)

UK, 22 min

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dance, teddy boy, dance…
don’t worry; that duck’s ass
at the back of your head
looks mighty fine

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well, obviously i’ve been on  a free cinema kick for the last few days. i recommend all these films as great context to anyone interested in brit cinema, especially fans of the british new wave and/or the “angry young man” and kitchen sink realism dramas from that period.

this entry is by karel reisz (director of saturday night & sunday morning, producer of anderson’s this sporting life) and tony richardson (look back in anger, a taste of honey, the loneliness of the long distance runner).

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the film depicts an evening at a jazz club, but the directors designed it to give a sense of narrative. like the others i’ve seen thus far, it has great music. this time it’s from a live jazz band.  (see full synopsis from screenonline at the end of this entry.)

while it lacks the sense of spontaneity of the last two i watched (several parts are obviously highly staged), it does have the advantage of exploring its subjects – youngish members of the working class and the emerging youth culture – in more depth, and with far more affection than o dreamland or nice time.

it’s of particular interest for its fantastic footage of kids dancin’ up a storm (wish i knew what little trot they’re doing), youth fashion, and for featuring an awkward mixing of proles and middle class brits.

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(where and when did these kids used to learn their dance steps? did they need to be taught, or did they learn by example? whose example? argh. also, if anyone knows of a doc that depicts these lads actually putting the brilliantine [or whatever] in their hair… hook me up)

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le Joli mai (Chris Marker & Pierre Lhomme, 1963)

Fr, 165 min

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Released in 1963, Chris Marker’s Le joli Mai was one of the first and finest examples of cinema vérité to come out of France. Poetic, witty, complex, the film uses as its initial focus the spring of 1962, the first spring of peace for France since 1939. With rooftop shots of Paris on the screen, the narrator in the opening commentary tells us: “For two centuries happiness has been a new idea in Europe, and people are not used to it.” In the very political film which follows, Marker examines that idea of happiness on the small, private scale and on a larger, societal scale.

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Dogs in Space (Richard Lowenstein, 1987)




http://www.dogsinspacemovie.com/

http://www.innersense.com.au/mif/lowenstein.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogs_in_space
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092904/
NFSA profile