With Orson Welles, there is always the nagging feeling of "what might have been?". Schubert left us just the one Unfinished Symphony. But Schubert only need pen and ink to compose, a filmmaker needs so much more - and Welles left us with myriad incomplete films and projects, including several more stabs at Shakespeare, his long quest to make a movie of Don Quixote, and his film about the "new Hollywood", The Other Side of the Wind. What we are left with are tantalizing fragments, shards of brilliance…
1942 was the year everything went wrong for Orson Welles. He couldn’t fight for The Magnificent Ambersons because he was in Brazil at the behest of Nelson Rockefeller, working on a pan-American propaganda piece, an anthology film mixing documentary and fiction to be called "It’s All True". That film was never finished, and Welles’ Hollywood career never recovered - but Bill Krohn’s reconstruction explains why it was such an important project, and recovers more footage than anyone could have imagined.
Welles and Joseph Cotten penned the screenplay (adapted from an Eric Ambler spy story), and while the Great Man didn’t take a directing credit - bowing to his friend and collaborator Norman Foster - the expressionist noir stylings are very much in line with what you would expect from the man who made The Lady from Shanghai, Mr Arkadin, and Touch of Evil. Almost inevitably, the film was butchered in post production, first by RKO (who cut out 20 minutes) and then by the censors. All the same it’s enormous fun, a B movie thriller with sly wit, invention and panache to spare.
Boyhood director Richard Linklater’s congenial tribute to Welles’ influence recreates the 22-year-old wunderkind’s first Broadway production, a modern dress production of Julius Caesar styled to comment on European fascism (this was 1937). Schoolboy Robert (Zac Efron) falls under the great man’s spell, as do we, thanks to Christian McKay’s rich, flamboyant performance.
"Too good to be true." AO Scott, New York Times
"One of the sweetest and most heartfelt movies ever made about a life in the theater." Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
"Deft, affectionate, and unexpectedly enjoyable." J Hoberman, Village Voice
Welles made his name in the New York theatre scene of the late 1930s, but he made his living on the radio. And it was on the radio that Orson Welles achieved national and international stardom, with his innovative, and as it turned out, legendary production of HG Wells The War of the Worlds. It was the broadcast that shocked America, inducing panic across the nation with its breaking news approach to the story that aliens are invading the earth. Come, sit back, close your eyes, and imagine yourself tuning into your favourite station back in 1938…
Is Kane the greatest movie ever made? For most of the past 70 years that has been the consensus, although more recently it has been supplanted in critical favour by Vertigo. Is Welles’ reputation in eclipse then? Does his first and most accomplished Hollywood movie withstand the test of time? A distinguished panel has agreed to share their responses to this complex, challenging and invigorating movie.
Perhaps the last film destined to come from the legendary Studio Ghibli, this beautifully animated tale would make a worthy swansong. It’s a delicate, heartwarming story of a lonely child and the mysterious new friend she meets from across the bay… "Timeless… bursting with colour and detail… it arrives like a classic heirloom uncovered and restored for contemporary eyes." Variety
**Please note, this run is screened in Japanese with English subtitles, except for Sun. May 31 & Tue. Jun 2 when they are dubbed in English.**
Like 50 Feet From Stardom this is the story of unsung heroes, the session musicians who made the 60s swing. Guaranteed, you will never hear pop from that era the same way again. Touching on everyone from the Beach Boys to Elvis, Sinatra to Sonny & Cher, this is an astonishing glimpse behind the scenes at the hey day of American pop. "Wonderful, touching and hilarious." Elvis Costello
"A treasure trove of witness-at-creation anecdotes and enduringly potent ’60s pop classics, The Wrecking Crew is a well-nigh irresistible treat for aficionados of music from the era when acts like the Beach Boys, the Association and the Monkees were topping the charts. Pic celebrates a loose-knit group of largely unknown (except by industry insiders) session musicians, many of whom supplied the defining licks and backbeats — and in some cases, actually played instruments for band members — on legendary recordings." Joe Leydon, Variety