Whooosh. Cinecity 2017 is the 15th year of the festival, taking in a Brighton Rock theme (marking the film’s 70th anniversary), two new live scores, numerous exhibitions and two new venues: the Depot in Lewes and Eastbourne’s Towner Art Gallery. Here are 10 to start with…
Seventy years after the stone-faced racketeering of Pinkie Brown in the cinema version of Brighton Rock, this year’s festival is paying tribute to several of the film’s most memorable elements. This route, which takes over shop windows along the stretch run by journalist Fred Hale in the film, shows 1940s Brightonians going about their day while Hale desperately legs it. The sequences were originally shot on a series of hidden cameras behind double glass windows, carried in cardboard boxes or smuggled in the back of vans. Part of the festival’s free events.
The Ballad of Shirley Collins
Lewes Depot, November 11th
Linda Thompson, Graham Coxon and Stewart Lee are among those articulating the inspirational legacy of folk hero Shirley Collins in Rob Curry and Tim Plester’s documentary, which premiered earlier this year. The film also focuses on Collins’s mysterious loss of voice in 1980, as well as her path back into music, recording at her home in Lewes, and the road trip she took around America’s Deep South with her lover, ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax, in 1959. Curry and Plester will take questions after the screening.
Lost in Vagueness
Duke’s at Komedia, November 11th
Glastonbury owes a lot to Roy Gurvitz, the man who, as the inventor of the Lost Vagueness area at the festival, created a mini-paradise of unabashed hedonism and colour (above), where you might just as easily see main stage DJs or circus acts submerged by showers of glitter and light at 3am. This film traces the story of the space alongside the history of subculture in Britain, and looks at the friendship between Michael Eavis and Gurvitz, an anarchic punk traveller who began the Vagueness as an “ironic faux casino”. Kate Tempest and Fatboy Slim are among the contributors to the documentary.
Looking for Love – Christian Marclay
University of Brighton Gallery, November 11th
Vinyl obsessives (or anyone who’s ever treated a record so badly that they’ve ended up listening to the same half-second skip, again and again, like an exercise in karma for clumsiness) should enjoy Christian Marclay’s performance. The Swiss-American artist, who took a hip hop approach to dabbling in cut-up sections of broken and reconstructed vinyl during the 1980s, has most recently been dropping the needle on the word “love” in various songs, filming his search with a tiny camera. The accompanying exhibition is at the University of Brighton North Gallery until December the 9th.
This community cinema used to be a post office depot and, later, a base for Harvey’s Brewery. For Cinecity, it’s the place to see a psychoanalytical deconstruction of a Spike Jones plot, striking works on 16mm film by Nick Collins, a piece of exquisite storytelling from Congo that won a Cannes award, and a journey through the eyes of the people running India’s travelling “tent cinemas”. The Nile Hilton Incident – a political thriller set in Cairo and based on a real-life murder story – also visits, having won an award at Sundance.
Fabrica / Duke’s at Komedia, November 12th, 21st, 23rd
There are three chances to see selected works made about the area or by local filmmakers. The dramas (Duke’s at Komedia, November 12) range from shorts made in Brighton salons to the story of a teenager caught up in her grandad’s snooker club scams. Documentaries (Fabrica, November 21) include a work on the life of Marilyn Stafford, a pioneer of photojournalism, and a brief look at everyone’s favourite punk vault, Punker Bunker. Fabrica also hosts Weather The Storm (November 23), with an introduction by Henry Normal and a live soundtrack by duo Skylark And The Scorpion.
Duke’s at Komedia, November 17th
Roaming around Paris with only a cat for companionship might only have been a mere dream in the minds of certain SOURCE writers until Léonor Serraille’s debut film. It’s not just some kitsch fantasy, though – the French director’s story of Paula (above), a lass who lugs her partner’s pet through the city following a break-up, won the Camera d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival (the critics have unanimously declared Laetitia Dosch the cat’s whiskers in the lead role.) A post-punk accompanying score also makes this a certain joy.
Brighton Rock / You Want Me To Say I Love You
Duke of York’s, November 19th
This performance sort of begins the previous day at the University of Brighton Gallery, when sound recordist Aleks Kolkowski is inviting people to record their own voice onto a disc, cut by an automatic 1950s record-cutting machine. Kolkowski has been inspired by the gramophone record at the centre of the Brighton Rock story, and he’ll be joining Sarah Angliss, Bela Emerson and Stephen Hiscock for the premiere of a new live cinema commission on saw, turntables, Stroh violin, cello, theremin, automata and percussion. It’s followed by a screening of the film on 35mm, and accompanied by a selection of rare publicity shots.
Lean On Pete
Duke of York’s, November 24th
There’s an absorbing and comforting tranquillity to BAFTA nominee Andrew Haigh’s story from the American West, in which a nomadic boy develops an intense loyalty to the routine of the stables run by Steve Buscemi’s Del. In an escape adapted from Willy Vlautin’s 2010 portrait of America, the lad sets off around America on an ageing horse, Lean on Pete, making for some tremendous vistas of the American desert and a grand exploration of the time-honoured animals-are-our-best-friends theme. Charlie Plummer’s performance in the lead role won Best Young Actor at the Venice International Film Festival earlier this year.
Duke of York’s, November 26th
Most people agree that Alfred Hitchcock really hit his macabre groove for the first time on The Lodger, and the 90th anniversary of its release presents a fine excuse to revisit this fog-covered masterpiece, taking its cues from tales of Jack the Ripper and decorated with a star role for Ivor Novello. Many of the mechanisms Hitchcock classically used to chill viewers are visible, but it retains a noticeably rawer quality than his later masterpieces. The 12-piece Covent Garden Sinfonia will provide live accompaniment, performing a score written by silent film accompanist and composer Neil Brand.
Visit cine-city.co.uk for full listings and details.
Brighton Rock image: Courtesy of STUDIO CANAL Films Ltd