Privilege, The Squeeze and Private Road among highlights of EIFF After the Wave retrospective
10 June 2010
This article is from 2010.
OK film studies students, it’s time for a refresher on British New Wave cinema. Marked by an obsession with social realism and class, the New Wave lasted from 1959-1963, and had its roots in theatre and literature, most noticeably the plays and novels of John Osborne, Shelagh Delaney, Alan Sillitoe, John Braine, Stan Barstow and David Storey. Effectively running from a phenomenal adaptation of Braine’s Room at the Top in 1958 to Storey’s own adaptation of his novel This Sporting Life in 1963, the New Wave was a movement that nurtured and established the talents of great directors and actors — Tony Richardson, Karel Reisz, John Schlesinger, Albert Finney, Rita Tushingham, Tom Courtenay, Alan Bates, Rachel Roberts and Richard Harris among them. And then things went a bit mental.
This year’s EIFF retrospective is a reflection of just how gloriously mental things got. After the Wave goes in search of lost and forgotten British Films from 1967-79, a period that (similarly to recent times) stretched from a moment of apparent national wealth and security to complete economic meltdown in just twelve years.
It has taken programmer Niall Greig Fulton a year of hardcore detective work to line up this frankly bonkers selection of films, and his enthusiasm for the project has clearly not diminished.
‘Look at a film like Peter Watkins' Privilege - it foresees all the celebrity hysteria and media manipulation brought about by Simon Cowell and his ilk,’ he gushes. Barely stopping for breath, Fulton continues his advocacy: ‘Or The Squeeze, I refer to that film as the greatest British thriller ever made, it’s right up there with Get Carter and The Long Good Friday.’
Fulton finds modern relevance in all the films, for example Peter Cook’s 1970 political satire, The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer: ‘When that film came out prime ministers were not young men and it was seen as a complete flight of fancy, but how telling is it now in the aftermath of the recent election?’ Fulton also effuses about Barney Platt Mills’ long unavailable Private Road. ‘It’s like an Eric Rohmer film with typewriters, partly set in the Scottish Highlands.’ And Long Shot, a quirky and comic inside-the-movies fable set against the background of the 1977 EIFF (when it was based at Randolph Crescent).
With three films from the long dormant Children’s Film Foundation also showing as part of the retrospective, nostalgia and a certain kind of innocence will certainly be tempering the madness. ‘These films are so stylish, saucy, off beat and undervalued, I just want people to see them.’ Fulton laughs, slightly maniacally, it’s been a long journey of rediscovery for him.
Art is sex. Everything else is propaganda.
In his vibrant biopic of French sculptor Henri Gaudier, Ken Russell finds his perfect mouthpiece. As Gaudier romances the author Sophie Brzeska, the enfant terrible of British cinema echoes the artist's rallying cry against the musty treatment of Art. Cue a sensual Helen…
Of all the gin joints, she had to walk into his.
Private eye Eddie Ginley (Albert Finney) thinks he's Bogart – if Bogie was a compere at a Merseyside bingo – but his latest case may have bamboozled even Raymond Chandler himself. Accompanied by a mesmerising Andrew Lloyd Webber score, Frears' post-modern dismantling of…
Cast: Patrick McGoohan, Lee Van Cleef, Edna O?Brien
If Jean-Pierre Melville had filmed in Ireland, this could have been the result.
A rural hitman (Patrick McGoohan) wants to give up his line of business, only his American 'financer' (Lee Van Cleef) has other ideas. British cinema's most minimalist thriller features not only a career best by McGoohan, but the mossgreen…
Cast: Michael Crawford, Oliver Reed, Harry Andrews
What's the best way to celebrate the Swinging 60s? By stealing the Crown Jewels!
Brothers Michael and David (Michael Crawford and Oliver Reed) are typically 60s lochinvars; it's all wine, women, song … and breaking into the Tower of London. Using comic dexterity to hint at the era's underlying distemper, Michael Winner…
When housewife intimacy meets rock star extroversion, beliefs come a-tumblin' down.
Do not miss this chance to catch John (Just Another Saturday) MacKenzie's rarely seen masterpiece. Valerie feels caught in a domestic rut, until she meets existentialist rock singer Mike. Her life then becomes passionate, but at an…
Eric Rohmer wasn't the only one crafting honest and intimate dramas. The second feature by Barney Platt-Mills blooms with beauty and charm alike, while carrying the troubled seeds of Withnail & I.
Receptionist Anne's new relationship with nascent writer Peter is opening her eyes to a new lifestyle, one far removed…
Cast: Michael Caine, Mickey Rooney, Lionel Stander, Lizabeth Scott
Think Get Carter filmed as a dark comedy. In fascist Italy. With really cool sunglasses.
Writer Mickey King's (Michael Caine) pulp fiction has nothing on the memoirs he is ghostwriting for the abusive Hollywood gangster actor Preston Gilbert (a caffeine-and-Sterodent-powered Mickey Rooney). A page later, on-screen and…
All aboard the ghost train! The Children's Film Foundation goes psychic…
After receiving a bump on the head, a young supersleuth develops peekaboo powers of foresight. This comes in very handy, as a ne'er-do-well property developer is planning The Great Plane Robbery! Imagine the creators of The Beano shooting a film…
Written by: Peter Cook, John Cleese, Graham Chapman & Kevin Billington
Cast: Peter Cook, Vanessa Howard, John Cleese, Harold Pinter, Arthur Lowe
What gets you further: the personality of your politics, or the politics of your personality?
Peter Cook's mischievous performance fuels this uproarious satire, scripted by members of Monty Python, no less. Armed with little more than a clipboard and a whole lot of chutzpah, the mysterious Michael Rimmer sets on his…