Survey by Qualaroo

Life on Earth

Friday 09 October 2009 to Saturday 21 November 2009, 22:00 to 23:00

Sat 10 Oct - Sun 22 Nov
A season of films on life, work, travel, food and meaning, presented in association with Festival of Ideas and as part of 100 Days.

Platform presents: Shoah (PG)
Sat 10 Oct 2.00pm
An extraordinary film recording the most barbaric act of the 20th century. Lanzmann spent eleven years spanning the globe for surviving eyewitnesses of the Final Solution. Without dramatic enactment or archival footage, but with harrowing testimonies extracted with patience, sometimes with tenacity, Shoah renders the machinery of extermination step-by-step. It is an immensely disturbing, even shattering experience, yet in its solemnity and beauty there are few works of art which leave one with such a deep appreciation for the preciousness and meaning of life.
Claude Lanzmann, France, 1985, 10h 30m, includes three intervals, Subtitles

Double Bill
The Day The Earth Caught Fire (PG) & Last Night (15)
Sun 11 Oct 2.30pm
When the Americans and Russians simultaneously test their nuclear weapons at the poles, the planet is sent hurtling towards the sun, with catastrophic consequences. Filmed primarily on location, with key scenes set in the London offices of the Daily Express, this gritty film is scientifically flawed but utterly compelling, and boasts terrific performances.
Dir. Val Guest, UK, 1961, 1hr 39m
Unconcerned about the simple hows and whys of Armageddon, Last Night depicts the final hours of a small group of characters as they struggle to come to grips with mortality and meaning, inviting viewers to participate: What would I do in this situation? In a film that is both poignant and poetic, McKellar answers these questions for each of his characters.
Dir. Don McKellar, Canada / France, 1998, 1h 35m

Double Bill
Our Daily Bread (U) & Our Daily Bread (12A)
Sun 25 Oct 2.30pm
A unique, politically subversive Great Depression film offering a tantalizing vision of collective life, as a destitute city couple take over a farm and soon create a thriving commune. The stirring final sequence - in which the members work together to dig an irrigation ditch for their drought-ridden crops - stands as evidence of Vidor's cinematic genius as it pays heavy homage to Soviet cinematic greats.
Dir. King Vidor, USA, 1934, 1h 20m
By stark contrast, this compilation of coolly framed, static shots of hi-tech farming in various colossal bio-factories throughout Europe shows vast production lines of animals, plants and flowers being harvested in huge rows, seen from dizzying, vertiginous perspectives. Coming across like the set of a sci-fi nightmare inspired by Fritz Lang or Kubrick this film invites terror and awe.
Dir. Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Germany / Austria, 2005, 1h 32m

Double Bill
Bicycle Thieves (U) & The 39 Steps (U)
Sun 1 Nov 2.30pm
Applying poetry as well as politics to the lives of ordinary working people, Bicycle Thieves manages to transform an extremely simple premise - a father and son's attempt to locate a stolen bicycle - into the masterpiece of early neorealism. One of the greats. Dir. Vittorio De Sica, Italy, 1948, 1h 33m, Subtitled
Adventurer Richard Hannay finds himself in the middle of an international espionage plot masterminded by a sinister coven - an imbroglio that ends with him being chased across a Scottish moor, handcuffed to a beautiful woman. A classic adventure, underpinned by witty, daring and exuberant direction from Hitchcock. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, UK, 1935, 1h 26m

Double Bill
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (PG) & The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (PG)
Sun 15 Nov 2.30pm
Alan Sillitoe wrote the screenplay for this sharp adaptation of his classic novel about a Nottingham factory worker who refuses to conform (Albert Finney, in his first major screen performance). Catching the full atmosphere of a 1950s Midland industrial town, the film is produced, directed and acted with integrity and insight.
Dir. Karel Reisz, UK, 1960, 1h 29m
Among the most important films of the British new wave, Tom Courtenay's Angry Young Man of the title is a rebellious youth sentenced to a boy's reformatory for robbing a bakery. After he shows a predilection for running and rises to become borstal governor Michael Redgrave's favourite, he must choose whether winning races is more important to him than his own sense of pride and independence.
Dir. Tony Richardson, UK, 1962, 1h 42m

Double Bill
Magnificent Obsession (U) & Ikiru (PG)
Sun 22 Nov 2.30pm
A playboy attempts to redeem himself after causing the death of a doctor and the incurable blindness of his widow in this Technicolor spectacular that launched the A-list careers of Rock Hudson and Sirk. Magnificent Obsession is passionate melodrama, exaggerated social satire and Freudian allegory, a rich and immersive viewing experience, among Sirk's most beautiful.
Dir. Douglas Sirk, USA, 1954, 1h 48m
A crabbed, middle-aged civil servant, suddenly faced with imminent death by cancer, goes through the usual stages of denial and despair, taking to drink, regretting his miserable life, before embarking on a minor scheme to turn a waste lot into a neighbourhood park for underprivileged children. The narrative is carefully paced, the central performance magnificent, and the final effect overwhelming.
Dir. Akira Kurosawa, Japan, 1954, 2h 23m, Subtitled

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