A true cinematic innovator, Welles explored the form with extraordinary creative force: deep focus shots, extensive takes and non-linear narratives characteristic of his genius. As an actor he showed just as much nous, his rich performances just as poised in the heightened comedy of Chimes of Midnight as the sweeping rise and fall of Charles Foster Kane in Citizen Kane. For anyone at all interested in cinema, the Curzon’s Welles Weekend is an absolute must for the May Bank Holiday.
Orson Welles: Chimes at Midnight
Welles considered Chimes at Midnight his greatest work and his performance as Sir John Falstaff, a swollen mess of boundless energy and verbal dexterity, is mesmerising. Based around Shakespeare’s Henriad (Henry IV parts i and ii), with John Gielgud the concerned King Henry IV and Keith Baxter his cavorting, irresponsible son, Falstaff’s drunken antics with Prince Hal are set against the approaching Civil War. A remarkable cinematic treat that has more than stood up to the test of time, it is well worth a revisit on Saturday 2 May, at 3pm.
Consistently perched at the top of Greatest Film polls, Citizen Kane is as masterful as it is influential. Welles’s masterpiece is an extraordinary epic, swerving through time and place in a play of chiaroscuro it charts the rise and fall of Charles Foster Kane, a name etched in cinema folklore. This is a film that cannot be summarised, that needs no introduction: Profound, palatial, magnificent, nuanced, Welles’s Kane is part Kubla Khan part Colonel Kurtz. A rare opportunity to see it on the big screen, the screening on 3 May is not one to be missed.
Too Much Johnson and The Stranger
Welles weekend concludes on Monday 4 May with a double bill of Too Much Johnson – one of many Welles film thought to be lost recently restored – and The Stranger, which follows an American detective (Edward G. Robinson) on a hunt for a Nazi commander (Welles) who has erased himself from history. Welles had complete creative control over the film, and it is stamped with his unique touch. Though his turn as Franz Kindler is often criticized, it is a fascinating examination of the mind of a Nazi commander so soon after the war, an attempt to find some humanity in the darkest recesses of history.
|What||Orson Welles Weekend|
|Where||Bertha Dochouse, The Brunswick, London, WC1N 1AW | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Russell Square (underground)|
02 May 15 – 04 May 15, Saturday 2nd; Sunday 3rd; Monday 4th (3.00pm screenings)
|Price||£16.00 (for non-members, usual concessions apply for members)|
|Website||Click here to book via the Curzon website.|