... and love to be seen in the cinema
A message from Mark Cosgrove, our Cinema Curator:
It has been - and continues to be - the strangest of times. Normal has been flipped on its axis. Cinemas, like everywhere else, have been closed for the longest time in their history generating for some (well me) something of an existential crisis which you can read about here. Thinking about what our reopening programme would be, I wanted to present films which have at their very core the essence of the cinematic - that unique intense experience shared in the darkened auditorium. I thought about the profound impact of Barry Jenkins' Moonlight, the haunting dreamlike images of Mati Diop’s Atlantics, the exquisite composition of Diao Yinan’s The Wild Goose Lake, the passions and pleasures of Céline Sciamma’s glorious Portrait of a Lady on Fire. I thought also of Mark Jenkin’s Bait which playfully speaks to the history of film, the revelatory and exquisite richness of Pedro Costa’s Vitalina Varela, the mysterious simplicity of Oliver Laxe’s Fire Will Come and the heightened melodrama of Pablo Larrain’s absorbing Ema.
All these filmmakers - and for me they are amongst the most exciting directors making films today - believe in the power and value of the cinema. Yes their work can be viewed in other ways but it is in the cinema that they are at their most intense, revelatory and beautiful. This is an opportunity to remind ourselves of that experience.
I have also included two archive films from 50s Hollywood which, in the spirit of the sadly cancelled Cinema Rediscovered Festival, we can rediscover; one was made by a British emigre, the other by an Austrian emigre. One discovered the power of montage from Russian filmmaking, the other learned his craft amongst the creative ferment of Weimar Germany. Both went on to make exceptional American films during the golden age of Hollywood. North by Northwest sees the master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock at his most playful and colourful (and of course stars suave Bristol boy Cary Grant), Sunset Boulevard is Billy Wilder’s scabrous look into the dark heart of tinsel town.
It’s always important to put things in perspective. So our first screenings since Lockdown also include Suhaib Gasmelbari’s documentary Talking About Trees, a wonderful portrait of cinephiliac passion which follows four elderly Sudanese filmmakers whose careers were stopped by a military coup in Sudan thirty years ago as they valiantly and with great generosity and camaraderie, try to re-open a cinema.
Quite a few of the films above we have screened before and presented with some of the many partners we collaborate with. Partnership is key to what we do at Watershed and I'd like to thank all of our partners and distributors and look forward to working with you all again to showcase some exciting film, events and filmmaking talent.
Finally, new releases will kick off with Ladj Ly’s tense, socially aware Paris set drama Les Miserables which screened at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and the delicate romance of British directorial debut Real from actor turned writer/director Aki Omoshaybi which premiered at last year's London Film Festival.
So, a host of great cinema finally and thankfully awaits and I look forward to seeing you at Watershed over the opening weeks.