Milestone Cinema Masterpieces Back on Screen | First Screening List of 20th SIFF Classics Released
The 20th Shanghai International Film Festival announced its first screening list today. Battleship Potemkin, "father of montage" Sergei Eisenstein’s interpretation of montage essence; Caravaggio, British genius director Derek Jarman's classic; Destiny, German expressionist master Fritz Lang's renowned piece; Tokyo Drifter, Japanese wizard director Seijun Suzuki’s noir-inspired new wave masterpiece have gathered at SIFF Classics.
Each of the first batch of four films in the SIFF Classics screening list can be considered a significant milestone in the history of film. Among them, one is a model for the montage technique, one used the creative shooting skill highly combining oil paintings and images, one is a fantasy masterpiece standing for hundreds of years, and still one has reformed the film noir style. They have all had a huge impact on younger generations in aspects of film aesthetics and film modality.
At the 20th Shanghai International Film Festival to be held during June 17th - 26th, these fine artistic works in the film history will be put back on the big screen with new looks.
Directed by: Sergei Eisenstein
Written by: Sergei Eisenstein
Starring: Aleksandr Antonov/ Vladimir Barksy/ Grigori Aleksandrov
Genres: Drama/ History/ War
Country: Soviet Union
Runtime: 75 min
Based on the historical events, the movie tells the story of a riot at the battleship Potemkin against the bloody repression of the corrupted tsarist government. The best-known sequence of the film is set on the Odessa Steps. In just six minutes, the director connected more than 100 shots together, strengthening the impact and appeal of the film through re-integration and condensing time and space, in order to expose the violent nature of autocracy and show the people's determination to pursue freedom. This year is the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution in Russia, and the human struggle against oppression and dictatorship conveyed by the film can still leave people nowadays lost in reflection.
Highlights:As a pioneer in the creation of Soviet-style montage films, Sergei Eisenstein was known as the "father of montage", and his classic Battleship Potemkin is the perfect definition of how to use montage. Through a series of montage techniques, he tells the story superbly in the image language: even the sleeping, squatting and standing of stone lions can be interpreted as the metaphor for dead sleep, sudden wake-up and protest of people, which has been appreciated and relished by film fans for nearly a hundred years. It can be said that Battleship Potemkin is the very crown on the peak of montage, with many films paying homage to it thereafter.
Directed by: Derek Jarman
Written by: Derek Jarman
Starring: Nigel Terry/ Sean Bean/ Dexter Fletcher/ Spencer Leigh/ Tilda Swinton/ Nigel Davenport/ Robbie Coltrane/ Michael Gough/ Jack Birkett
Genres: Drama/ Biography/ History
Country: United Kingdom
Runtime: 93 min
The film successfully integrates the two important artistic forms: images and paintings, depicting the wild and free life of the Italian legendary painter. The painter's evil temperament in his youth and the thoughtful inner monologue in his adulthood is infused in the desire and love for men, women, servants and models he encounters. The painter’s representative works are presented one after another, whose bright red, bright green, thick black, soil brown colors add a vivid and gorgeous atmosphere to the film. In 1986, it won the Silver Bear at the 36th Berlin International Film Festival, and was also one of the highest-grossing movies in the UK that year. At the coming Shanghai International Film Festival, the latest restored version of it will be screened.
Highlights:Derek Jarman is not only a genius director in the British film industry, but also a poet, painter and botanist. Out of his love and worship for the artist Caravaggio, he shot the film of the same name to illustrate the artist's life episodes and his emotional world. Meanwhile, chiaroscuro as one of Caravaggio’s painting techniques was used a great deal in the light and shade and composition of the film.
Directed by: Fritz Lang
Written by: Fritz Lang/ Thea von Harbou
Starring: Lil Dagover/ Walter Janssen/ Bernhard Goetzke/ Hans Sternberg/ Karl Rückert/ Max Adalbert/ Wilhelm Diegelmann/ Erich Pabst/ Georg John
Genres: Thriller/ Fantasy
Runtime: 105 min
The film tells the story of a girl who makes three attempts at bringing her dead lover back to life following a covenant with Death. In these three attempts, the girl comes to Baghdad in the ninth century, Venice during the Renaissance and ancient China. After all kinds of fantasy encounters, her attempts unfortunately fail, but the girl is finally rendered another chance by Death, who is touched by her hearty entreaty. This time, the test is on her conscience and humanity. Through this film, Fritz Lang portrays the unpredictable changes of human nature most vividly.
Highlights:The German expressionist Fritz Lang, renowned for his masterpiece Metropolis, had already exerted his fanciful and unrestrained ideas in Destiny through a segmented narrative structure and the characters and scenes beyond imagination. In recent years, a number of institutions from Europe and America have worked together to restore this film made in 1921, and the audience in Shanghai will have the chance to appreciate its charm in June.
Directed by: Seijun Suzuki
Written by: Yasunori Kawauchi
Starring: Tetsuya Watari/ Chieko Matsubara / Hideaki Nitani / Ryūji Kita / Hideaki Esumi
Genres: Drama/ Crime/ Action
Runtime: 89 min
The Tokyo Drifter shot by the director in the 1960s, is known as the representative of aesthetic new wave film noir. The intensive use of brilliant colors, the stage-like magnificent scenes have masterly integrated the legacy of traditional Japanese films and the flaunting of Western aesthetics. This year’s hit La La Land has been inspired by this film a lot. The main plot of the film is about gangster killing. The hero is so loyal to his boss that he appears funny, and his adherence to morality seems out of tune with the times. While the characters typical of the times such as the infatuated bar singer and the female secretary watching comics and smirking all day long, also reveal Seijun Suzuki’s metaphor and satire. The void and wandering style of the film has been highly recognized by the film industry.
Highlights:The Japanese director Seijun Suzuki passed away in February this year. As a maverick representative of the independent pioneers in the Japanese film industry, he had shot a large number of resplendent and peculiar B movies of the gangster genre. His Seijun Aesthetics has influenced directors of generations, including John Woo Yu-Sen, Damien Chazelle, etc.