Saturday, 26 July 2014

dog-walking, thames valley, nft, lff, wonderful times, polanski at the rac, repulsion, spider







‎Dog-walking this morning rather than cycling.

Saw the scabious above as I set off down the gentle slope into the valley from the village. Just before I saw it, I had walked up the rise from the old ford by Primrose Cottages and suddenly the land had opened up, the Thames Valley stretching ahead at least two miles to the escarpment below the Berkshire Downs.

In the valley the corn is ripening. Such a joyous time of year.

Spent some of today continuing the preparations for the Creative Writing Summer School at Exeter College. Bringing the course materials up-to-date and adding a bit about Digital Humanities and creative writing. Would you expect anything else, after DHOxSS last week (although I'm still too close to that to make full sense of everything!)?

Last night, watched Roman Polanski's Repulsion, starring Catherine Deneuve. The last time I saw that film must have been the late 1970s. And before that I'd read the screenplay. I can't remember where I saw the film last but it could well have been the National Film Theatre.

I was at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester then and drove the M4 regularly to screenings at the NFT and, in autumn, at the London Film Festival...

...I remember attending the premier of the restored print of Abel Gance's Napoléon at Leicester Square and the premier of Cream in My Coffee - sitting next to its director, Gavin Millar, in the bar at the NFT afterwards; so exciting. But then there were gems like Hitchcock's Number Seventeen and Grierson's Man of Aran in the retrospective seasons. I loved choosing the films I was going to see at the festival from the programme, sending off my application and planning my campaign - a Hungarian film at the NFT, then a frantic tube ride to Leicester Square for the latest Truffaut. Wonderful times. The autumn sunshine on the motorway on the way up. The darkness on the way back...

...It was all in name of narrative - of understanding the different ways people tell stories. ‎The story of my life, the study of this...

‎...I remember seeing Polanski's The Tenant at the NFT and then getting it for the Agricultural College film club - I was the projectionist and could occasionally choose the films. Well, what a film that was - Polanski starring himself, putting on make up and women's clothing and throwing himself of a balcony. The audience was surprisingly quiet but not irreverent that night. I was heartened and surprised...

Seeing Repulsion last night was fun, actually. A disturbing film - more so now, I think - but wonderful in terms of its boldness; its direction and its performances. So fascinating too in terms of its images of London in the early 1960s!

Meanwhile, the heatwave continues. (Btw, look for the spider in the second-from-top photo above.)

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