Tuesday, May 18, 2010

[screenings] The Volta Sessions

“Meanwhile, I was still thinkin'
If it's a slow song, we'll omit it
If it's a rocker, that'll get it
If it's good, she'll admit it
Come on queenie, lets get with it”

- Chuck Berry, Little Queenie

"Now, ladies and gentlemen, it is Star Time. Are you ready for Star Time? Thank you and thank you kindly. It is indeed a great pleasure to present to you at this particular time the artist nationally and internationally known as the hardest-working man in show business. Yes, he'll make your bladder splatter, he'll make your knees freeze and your liver quiver.

- Danny Ray, Introduction to James Brown and The Famous Flames

“Never shake it once you dig it.”

- John Cassavetes in & as Johnny Staccato

White heat in the morning. Cold showers at night. Nasty traffic on a Sunday. Monday gets by alright. The city’s getting unpredictable, neurotic, wild. There’s disorder in the air and outrage at the cul-de-sac. Stiff collars get to work and all the starch gets soaked in by closing time. It’s getting to be a problem of disorientation telling the old from the new, the new from the renovated and the renovated from the freshly inaugurated. And that’s without counting the ‘under constructions’, ‘men at work’ and ‘take diversions’. And don’t even get started on the electric interruptions. But then, everybody’s gotta get by. Everybody’s gotta have a beat to walk to. Everybody’s gotta have the rhythm.

This coming weekend, Bangalore Film Society is going to teach the electric company some lessons in the art of supply. Oh yeah, we’re mainlining it three days in a row and playing movies soundtracked end-to-end with eclectic sonic delirium- pop, jazz, rock n’roll, reggae, motown, bebop, the blues, the balaika, the folk, the skiffle, the classics and the classical- we got it all and on rotation. Proudly presenting on 21st, 22nd and 23rd of May, 2010- ‘The Volta Sessions’.

Friday 21st May, 2010 Time: 6.30pm

The Harder They Come (1973/103min) Dir: Perry Hanzel

Make no mistake. It was indeed maverick Director Perry Hanzel’s goovy sunshine Kingston-set gangster flick set the stage and tuned the world for the 70s reggae invasion. Starring reggae superstar Jimmy Cliff, ‘The Harder They Come’ was the radical original. A tale told with equal parts grit and funk, of a naïve young musician who arrives to seek his fortune in the big city only to be confronted by a corrupt police and shady music cartels before he becomes the most dreaded outlaw of all- it is rousing stuff, rivetingly portrayed. The soundtrack featuring 'Toots and the Maytals' and Cliff himself is the stuff of cult. If you think you’ve heard the songs before it is only because they've been covered by the likes of Grateful Dead and The Clash. ‘The Harder They Come’ was the first feature film to be made in Jamaica and as the eponymous Ali G. would approve, we’re calling all the patriots to assemble.

Saturday 22nd May, 2010 Time: 6.30pm

Mean Streets (1973/112min) Dir: Martin Scorsese

If it’s soundtracks, we’re looking at Scorsese- the man who took the art from Rosi, Hitchcock, Casavettes, Anger and the likes and perfected the lining of image with sound to get to that feeling that just won’t go away. ‘Mean Streets’ is the stuff of legend, the tour-de-force coming of age tale of a group of friends in the boiling pot that is New York City, and the accompanying double disc soundtrack makes just about the greatest jukebox in the world. So you have Harvey Keitel, Robert DeNiro, the Carradine Brothers and Amy Robinson on screen and the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, The Ronettes, Ray Baretto among others on the thumping soundtrack. Rarely does the cinematic experience get more locked and loaded than ‘Mean Streets’. It is the master operating at his best and the sweep of it all is hard to resist.

Sunday 23rd May, 2010 Time: 6.30pm

Leningrad Cowboys Go America (1989/77min) Dir: Aki Kaurismaki

What happens when a Finnish folk-punk-whatchumacallit band is deemed too niche for the local audience? They pack up and head for that land of opportunity, America. And what happens when America doesn’t turn out to be the way the imagined it to be? They head for Mexico. And they have a dead friend in tow. That’s the story of ‘Leningrad Cowboys Go America’ for you but in the company of that master of wistful comedies and funny tragedies Aki Kaurismaki, the road movie-concert movie-silent comedy hybrid is a beast of its own, punch-drunk on whimsy and always whistling the catchy tune. The films got it all- the magnificent Matti Pellonpaa as the svegali manager, a cameo by Jim Jarmusch, beautiful cinematography by Kaurismaki regular Timo Salimen, and to cut a long short, it's as Tom Waits once put it- the piano has been drinking, not me, not me, not me, not me......

Venue: Ashirvad, 30, St. Mark's Road cross, Op. State Bank of India


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