Cinema and the arts are more paramount than ever in these times when Covid-related rules have meant the arts have suffered during the past year.
Cinestef at The Savoy has now reopened and offers three movie showings a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. You can enjoy the comfy couches and seats, a meal and drink while watching the films on a big HD screen and 5.1 sound system.
Every week, Stefan Rousseau, the curator of these movies nights, will offer you a short review of each film shown.
Here is this weeks line-up…
Tuesday 18th May at 6.30pm – Jackie Brown
Jackie Brown (1997) by Quentin Tarantino with Pam Grier, Robert Forster, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Bridget Fonda. On Tuesday 18th May from 6pm (movie starts at 6.30).
Three years after Pulp Fiction and its Palme D’or at the Cannes Film Festival, Tarantino is back with more than a simple gangster movie. Jackie Brown is his direct homage to the Blaxploitation as well as to the genre’s legendary icon, Pam Grier. Paradoxically it is the adaptation of Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard (already adapted with Get Shorty and Out of Sight amongst many others) which Tarantino and Leonard modified together to fit the ambitions of the filmmaker.
After bringing Harvey Keitel and then John Travolta into the highlights of cinematic stardom, Tarantino does the same feat for the excellent Pam Grier and in a smaller measure, to the also excellent Robert Foster (star of cult B movies like Vigilante). They can both thank him dearly as it is not everyday that almost out of work actors are being paid such a touching tribute with brilliant and emotionally complex roles.
It is a very chatty movie in which Tarantino demonstrates once again his incredible talent as one of the very best dialogist and screenwriter that cinema has ever known. Contrary to a lot of filmmakers who direct their movies ‘in the manner of’, Tarantino definitely has his own characteristic visual, editing and directing style that he uses to elevate his material to a higher ground.
It is not only a clever film but also a very fluid and surprisingly dramatic with a very touching love story between the main (older) characters which gives the crime story suspense and the complex storytelling once again almost straight out of a 60s French New Wave film.
Out of this improbable mix of genres and inspiration, and once again supported by a remarkable jukebox like soundtrack celebrating the genius of soul and funk music created by incredible musicians for the Blaxploitation genre, Tarantino offers a movie that is both ‘different and the same’ with a stellar cast of actors who clearly love working with him.
Thursday 20th May 6.00pm – Casino
Casino (1995) by Martin Scorsese with Robert de Niro, Joe Pesci, Sharon Stone, James Woods. On Thursday 20th May from 6pm (movie starts at 6.30).
Casino is not just another gangster movie from the absolute king of the genre, but more of a companion piece to Goodfellas, a continuation of the exploration of the fascinating and repulsive world of organised crime and its ravages on the American society and its values.
If the styles and cinematic techniques are in the same vein (complex narration, mixed timelines and masterful use of the voice over mixed in with a masterful soundtrack), the subject is not the small time gangsters that Scorsese could observe in his youth but another kettle of fish in itself. This time we are climbing up the ladder and being presented with what represents the worst of what America’s ideology has to offer for the filmmaker.
This doesn’t stop him nor us to be fascinated by the precision and the organisation of the decadence and pathetic bling that Las Vegas symbolises. Then still at the peak of his game, Scorsese uses all the filmmaking and screenwriting grammar he knows, all his cinematic tricks, as well as his most talented collaborators to make a statement and a movie much more complex and all encompassing than one might think.
Casino is both operatic and intimate, observes without being moralising, and offers three portraits of the madness and absurdity that lies somewhere at the heart of the American way of life causing its most unpleasant depraved bubble of bad taste, amorality and addiction (to gambling, violence, power…).
Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci are all absolutely brilliant in their roles making you forget that they are actors by simply being their characters. The parallel between De Niro and Sharon Stone’s couple and the decay of Las Vegas precipitated by Joe Pesci’s incarnation of the brute force and appetite for destruction of the Mafia system is absolutely striking.
Once again, this is a movie that deserves and even more, needs to be seen on a big screen as it was designed for the Cinema and the 4K version will allow you to see the movie at the best it has ever looked.
All image rights acknowledged.