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Inverness Film Fans return with 'Hitchcock and others' season of movies starting tonight!


By Margaret Chrystall

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The Inverness Film Fans (InFiFa) bring a series of classic Hitchcock films, partnered with hand-picked partner films for a series of double bills in their latest season of choices, Hitchcock And The Others, shown at Eden Court Cinema.

Shadow Of A Doubt, first of the new film season.
Shadow Of A Doubt, first of the new film season.

First, there is Shadow Of A Doubt tonight (Monday, September 13) which will be shown at 6pm, and at 8.15pm, there's the chance to see Roger Donaldson’s No Way Out, starring Kevin Costner and Gene Hackman.

Then, one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most influential films, Rear Window, starring James Stewart (6pm) is shown with Andrea Arnold’s Red Road (8.30pm). There is also a non-InFiFa showing of Rear Window the day before, Sunday, September 26.

It’s Psycho – after a non-InFiFa screening on Sunday, October 10 – partnered on Monday October, 11 with Brian de Palma’s Dressed to Kill (8.30pm).

There’s a non-InFiFa screening on Sunday, October 24. Then the next day, Tippi Hedren stars in The Birds – when it is followed at 8.30pm by Gordon Douglas’s Them!

No Way Out - Kevin costner and Gene Hackman.
No Way Out - Kevin costner and Gene Hackman.

And the final double bill sees Sean Connery star with one of his finest performances in Marnie with Tippi Hedren on Monday, November 14 at 6pm, followed at 8.30pm by Douglas Sirk’s Magnificent Obsession. The non-InFiFa screening of Marnie is on Sunday, November 13.

Below, the Inverness Film Fans’ Tony Janssens has written a thoughtful preview to the upcoming selection of films:

The last eighteen months have been marked by the worst plague for a century, a deepening of economic inequality, apocalyptic natural disasters, savage racial prejudice, severe restrictions on individual liberties and a democratic system under serious threat.

Amidst the mayhem the future of cinema might seem like trivial pursuit.

But with many cinemas, particularly smaller independent ones, in danger of never opening their shutters again, and fewer distributors taking a risk on those less bankable films, the appeal of the big screen, the people around you, the public space, the energy, joy and enlightenment should never be downplayed.

Nobody is going to pay homage to the fact that they saw Star Wars, Jaws, The Seven Samurai or Psycho on their sofa when asked what their favourite movie experience was.

Many of the old movie companies find it no longer imperative to renew the licence for cinematic exhibition, once they have invested in a Blu-ray or DVD version of a picture.

While investigating the availability of works by a handful of great directors, I discovered that there are still several old prints safeguarded in archives of many tremendous films, even in the UK, yet distributors no longer prioritise the screening rights.

At present, for example, none of the surviving films of Japanese master Kenji Mizoguchi, a director who’s Ugetsu, Sansho the Bailiff and The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum I have wanted to screen for years, are obtainable to be screened in public.

This is similar to no longer hearing a Mozart symphony being performed live by a great orchestra, or seeing a Vermeer painting exhibited in a brilliantly-designed museum.

He is far from being the only master who is being neglected.

During the next few months I would like to invite you on a journey to discover or rediscover films made by not just one of the greatest directors, but one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.

The Inverness Film Fans' screenings will feature introductions before, talks and discussions after each screening.

Cinema is the art form of that century, and Alfred Hitchcock is still its most recognisable name. French writers and budding directors, like François Truffaut, ClaudeChabrol and Jacques Rivette, of Cahiers du Cinéma dubbed him Le Papa du Cinéma.

Film director Alfred Hictchcock.
Film director Alfred Hictchcock.

He is, admittedly, far from being neglected. But he remains underestimated.

This major retrospective, screened over the next few months at Eden Court should be ample prove of his prominence.

The season is called Hitchcock And The Others.

They are all double bills, where the Hitchcock is followed by a film either clearly inspired by the master or a kind of inspiration itself.

Seen together it hopefully intensifies the pleasure of contrasting them and finding the parallels.

Most of the cinemas where I first saw them have been turned into shopping centres or have been razed to the ground, but I do remember them as places I felt embraced, the sort of magical domains where a light coming from behind created entire new worlds in front of everyone.

Although I hope and believe that cinema-going, like all other theatrical and live art forms, will survive the present crisis, it is going to need a huge change in attitude of governments worldwide. Most politicians have totally ignored the arts.

Culture is essential to the human experience, to our sense of sharing and to our mental well-being. The movies have an egalitarian quality that connects us, even when sitting in the dark.

And at home one watches a film, in the cinema, even with social distancing established, one becomes part of it.

Although Hitch fooled around in television land, mainly to attract a new audience to see his movies, a great Hitchcock film, particularly when seen in the cinema where they were made for, is unsurpassed in the power to hypnotize you, and bring to life ideas and emotions that simply cannot be captured by so many other films.

The sustained brilliance of his films, from the Lodger (1927) to Family Plot (1976), is a unique phenomenon.

There are a few minor works among them, but no director maintained such a long streak of masterpieces full of technical ingenuity, experimentation, complexity, psychological insight and spiritual resonances, this combined with an enormous mass-audience appeal.

What these films also will highlight is the use of music, integral to the visualization of his major themes, and when the music is totally absent like in The Birds, the use of sound.

His influence on filmmakers worldwide remains profound.

The Father of Cinema indeed.

More information on Inverness Film Fans here: www.invernessfilmfans.org

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