Filmic, a joint venture with our friends up the road at St George's Bristol, returns in March with another great line-up of film, music, talks and special live events. Dedicated to pursuing the notion of 'the filmic' - whether connected to an actual film or inside a musician's head - it's a different kind of film and music season.
In March we welcome the unique talents of sibling pairing Gerard and Matt Johnson. Gerard is the director brother - his most recent film Hyena opens on Fri 6 March and is a wildly acclaimed British crime drama. Lauded as the most powerful homegrown crime film since Sexy Beast, it's much more than just another genre flick - Johnson is a talent to watch.
Matt, meanwhile, is the musical brother - a founding member of post-punk British group The The, he has turned his attention recently to soundtrack work, including, of course, Hyena. He and Gerard will join us for a special in conversation event on Sun 8 March where they will discuss working on Hyena, their respective careers and strongest influences.
They've also had the enviable task of picking our Sunday Brunch films for the month and the season is a diverse corker, featuring old school sci fi (Forbidden Planet), Hitchcock (Vertigo), Wenders (Paris Texas), Herzog (Aguirre Wrath of God) and Midnight Cowboy. They took the job very seriously and as Matt says "I hope we've managed to choose a nice balance for your enjoyment through a month of drizzly English Sundays in March".
We find another Filmic pairing in the shape of Gazelle Twin and Carla Mackinnon, who join us on Thu 19 March for Out of Body, an exclusive combination of live music and experimental shorts by female directors that recently sold out London's ICA. Featuring organic animation experiments exploring themes of puberty, the body, hallucination, anxiety and phobia, it's a striking experience not for the faint of heart.
Folk noir, Filmic’s second theme, is a coupling so good that if it didn’t exist we’d surely have to invent it. Cross the doomy chiaroscuro and skewed perspectives of classic film noir with the cussed fatalism and strange apparitions of folk music and you have a seductively dark result that reflects a whole mess of contemporary sound and screen culture: ranging from Nick Cave’s murder ballads to Breaking Bad and True Detective.
Folk Noir has history, too, of course, from the Brit-flick noir-horrors like Night of the Demon and Night of the Eagle inspired by M.R James, the English master of the supernatural story, to everyone’s favourite 70s occult shocker The Wicker Man, and the death-obsessed songs of traditional folkies to the Appalachian ghosts of dark Americana and the badlands of South Dakota.
St George’s host music from some fantastic folk noir inspired artists, including The Handsome Family (Fri 13 March), whose song Far From Any Road was used as the theme for True Detective, brilliant singer-songwriter Howe Gelb (Wed 8 April) and UK folk act The Furrow Collective (Sat 4 April) who specialise in a dark narrative of murder and bewitchment.
And over at Watershed we’ll be channelling all things folk noir for our April Sunday Brunches - including Badlands, The Proposition, Mud and of course The Wicker Man. Why not combine a film and a music performance to get a properly dark slice of Americana? Hip flasks of whisky and bourbon not required but, perhaps, appropriate…