The Week In Screenings Part LVIII
From the ridiculous to the sublime this week for our regular screening correspondent Alex Kidd – as he saw The Raygun’s Tim Murray’s somewhat feeble Trek-based knowledge cruelly exposed before going on to see a brace of cracking films; one just opened at cinemas and one on the way. Here’s his latest postcard from in and around Soho and beyond…
A bit of a different start to the week this time around as things kicked off with a quiz, but not just any quiz, we were set to celebrate the Blu-ray launch of Star Trek The Next Generation with a fiendishly tough quiz based around the Star Trek universe. The location was the well-chosen Enterprise pub near Camden which was full of fans, industry types and journalists for what prove to be a very tricky night of questions. I was on a team with The Raygun himself; Tim Murray, and although both of us have a working knowledge of Star Trek, neither of us were experts by any stretch of the imagination, but we still had a great time, even though our teamed ended up with the lowest score. A big thanks to everyone involved in the quiz, it was a great night and the perfect way to launch the stunning new restoration of The Next Generation on Blu-ray.
The next night I was in the Curzon Soho for a preview screening of the documentary Salute, which was also going to be followed by a Skype Q&A session with director Matt Norman, currently in Australia, so it was going to be a very early morning conversation for him. Salute looks at the events surrounding the 1968 Mexico Olympics 200-metres final awards ceremony, where the gold and bronze medal winners controversially raised a clenched fist to prove their support of the black power movement and to speak out against the oppression of black people in America.
This simple gesture caused a worldwide outcry and would alter the lives of all three men on the podium that day. Beyond having a direct effect on Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the salute also affected silver medallist Australian Peter Norman. Although he didn’t raise his fist, he had gone out onto the podium knowing the salute was to be delivered. This insightful documentary looks at the lives of the three men, how they came to be at the Olympics, the race itself and the aftermath of their defiant salute. Director Matt Norman is the nephew of Silver medallist Peter and it had been an ambition of his for many years to tell his uncle’s story and let the world know what sort of man he was. Salute does focus mostly on Peter and it’s an interesting take on a well-known event. He turns out to have quite a remarkable life story and comes across in the interviews as quite an inspirational person, one who took everything in his stride and became one of the greatest athletes Australia has ever produced.
The Q&A with director Matt Norman worked really well, the wonders of the Internet and Skype are making these digital appearances more and more easy and common, which is a great thing. Matt talked about how close he was with Peter and how his original idea was to make a feature film out of the story, before realising a documentary might serve the participants better. He also had a big problem to overcome with having to license the original Olympic footage of the race as the Olympic organisation charge a fortune and then can still have control over if you can use the footage depending on it they don’t like your documentary. Salute really is a fantastic documentary and does a great job of getting to the truth of this well-known protest.
Friday early evening and the only new film out at the cinema this week that I hadn’t seen was Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World, which I’d been looking forward to seeing as it had a great premise. The world is going to end, there’s no mistake about it, that’s the very first thing you learn, a huge meteorite is heading straight for our planet and there’s going to be no last ditch escape for the population. Mild-mannered Dodge tries to carry on with his life as best he can, but when his wife leaves him and the rest of civilisation starts to fall apart around him he decides to give up and try and track down the one true love of his life before the world ends. He’s joined on his journey by his kooky neighbour, Penny (Keira Knightley) who’s at a loose end after splitting up with her boyfriend. Together the pair of them travel across country as the world falls apart around them, hoping to be reunited with the ones they love and find some fun on the way.
This is a surprisingly touching and funny film, it also throws up some fairly interesting theories about how the population would react if they knew the end was coming and there were no consequences to your actions. Everyone starts living out their fantasies and realising they have to make the most of it in very interesting ways.
Carrel is great as Dodge, his inner sadness comes across so well as he bravely struggles on and decides to face the end the best way he can, while Knightley has a ball as the kooky and unpredictable penny, who spurs him on to track down the one that got away. It’s a far more moving and funny film that I expected and it really grows on you as you follow this unlikely pair across the country, all the while knowing that impending doom is on the way for them and the rest of the world.Tags: screenings
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