We asked some festival regulars if they’d like to take time out from the madness of Edinburgh in August to curate some screenings in The Cameo’s iconic main auditorium. We were delighted by the enthusiastic response and eclectic film lists we got in reply. So welcome to Curated By…, a season of films hand-picked by our guest curators!
Each screening will feature an in-person introduction by the curator, revealing their passion for the film and their reasons for choosing it. Scroll down for details on the full programme and book tickets via the Picturehouse website.
Do you remember the first film you ever saw in a cinema?
I vividly remember seeing The Jungle Book the week it came out in Leicester Square when I was five. I’m sure I must have been before, but can’t recall – maybe 101 Dalmatians. I remember absolutely howling at Ring Of Bright Water when the Otter was killed – I was so traumatised that I had to be removed from the cinema.
What sort of influence did cinema have on you growing up and moving into the worlds of performance and music?
Films were glamour, action, drama and the impossible. They were everything – dreams brought to life. I loved watching films, even crap ones. There was just something about the ritual of going to a cinema. It was my favourite thing to do on a Sunday when I left home – go to the ABC on Oxford Street and watch three movies.
Your film choices (The 39 Steps, A Matter Of Life And Death and Brazil) cover three different decades of British cinema. I wonder if you could talk about your personal discovery of these titles?
I saw A Matter Of Life And Death on BBC Two in the early 1980s, introduced by Michael Palin as one of his favourite films. I was a Python/Ripping Yarns nut, so was just watching it on his say so, but I utterly loved every second. I love films about life after death even though it’s bollocks. Albert Brooks’s Defending Your Life is fantastic. Again, with The 39 Steps, I saw it on BBC Two and there was just something so fast about it. It doesn’t hang about and is full of absolutely iconic cinematic images and ideas. Brazil I first saw on the night of its release at the Odeon Leicester Square, and again, I came to Gilliam post-Python with Holy Grail and Time Bandits. I like a real, fully rounded look to a film. He has an animator’s sensibility for what to put into the frame. The visual grammar of his films is so seductive. These films have been permanent fixtures in my top ten ever since I saw them.
Is there an equivalent contemporary British film from recent years that you think touches any of these classics?
I need to see more really. I’m quite aware that we are in an age of filmmaking where ideas and themes are being reworked and refined by new filmmakers. I’m not a fan. The last film I saw at the cinema – and loved – that felt like a really groundbreaking new way of making a film was 20,000 Days On Earth.
The 39 Steps is a terrific Hitchcock film (and, fittingly, happens to feature an excellent sequence on the Forth Rail Bridge). But I was wondering, with over 50 features to his name, why choose this one?
I actually don’t know much of his work. I just love this because it’s so much fun, and so very British, in an almost cartoony way. In fact, I loved it so much I did this…
Tuesday 4 August, 9.00
Gummo (18) – Curated by Withered Hand
Director: Harmony Korine. Starring: Nick Sutton, Jacob Sewell, Lara Tosh. USA 1997. 89 mins.
Screening from VHS Harmony Korine’s audacious debut – set in a partly imagined Midwest suburb levelled by a tornado – is audacious, troubling and highly original.
Wednesday 5 August, 9.00
The 39 Steps (U) – Curated by Phill Jupitus
Director: Alfred Hitchcock. Starring: Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Lucie Mannheim . UK 1935. 86 mins.
Hitchcock’s witty, fast-paced innocent-man-on-the-run thriller displays all the motifs that would become his trademark. It also features terrific suspense sequences at the Forth Rail Bridge and in the Scottish Highlands.
Friday 7 August, 9.00
The Fisher King (15) – Curated by Gavin Mitchell
Director: Terry Gilliam. Starring: Jeff Bridges, Robin Williams. UK 1991. 137 mins.
Showing in tribute to the late, great Robin Williams, The Fisher King mixes comedy, fantasy and drama in an enchanting modern fairy tale set in Terry Gilliam’s Manhattan. The screening will also be raising awareness for the Scottish Mental Health Association.
Wednesday 12 August, 9.00
A Matter Of Life And Death (U) – Curated by Phill Jupitus
Director: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger. Starring: David Niven, Kim Hunter, Robert Coote. Uk 1946. 104 mins.
Powell and Pressburger’s dazzlingly inventive fantasy drama is both awesome and intimate. David Niven’s British wartime pilot argues for his life in a celestial court, having fallen for American radio operator Kim Hunter.
Monday 17 August, 9.00
The Wizard Of Oz (U) – Curated by Camille O’Sullivan
Director: Victor Fleming. Starring: Judy Garland, Frank Morgon, Ray Bolger. USA 1939. 102 mins.
There’s no place like home in MGM’s Technicolor titan, which continues to be one of cinema’s most culturally pervasive influences. Just follow the yellow brick road…
Tuesday 18 August, 9.00
Rear Window (PG) – Curated by Ian Rankin
Director: Alfred Hitchcock. Starring: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Cory. USA 1954. 112 mins.
Cinema at its most voyeuristic? Hitchcock’s simple but brilliant conceit keeps us housebound and firmly aligned with James Stewart’s point of view as he bears witness to everyone’s dirty laundry across the courtyard.
Wednesday 19 August, 9.00
Brazil (15) – Curated by Phill Jupitus
Director: Terry Gilliam. Starring: Jonathan Pryce, Kim Greist, Robert De Niro. UK 1985. 132 mins.
Terry Gilliam’s dystopian masterpiece soars with the director’s trademark visual flair and absurd humour. Jonathan Pryce plays the small man who’s up against a gargantuan, faceless bureaucracy.
Saturday 22 August, 9.00
Braveheart (15) – Curated by National Museums Scotland
Director: Mel Gibson. Starring: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan. USA 1995. 178 mins.
We have an esteemed expert on hand to daringly challenge the notion that this is one of the most historically accurate depictions of events surrounding a Scottish hero ever committed to celluloid.
Monday 24 August, 9.00
Jaws (12A) – Curated by Alan Bissett
Director: Steven Spielberg. Starring: Roy Schieder, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss. USA 1975. 124 mins.
The original blockbusting beast put Spielberg on the map, and gave millions an insurmountable phobia of swimming in the sea. Contains moderate threat and occasional gory moments.