SENSUAL EXPERIENCES OF FILM AND MUSIC: SENSORIA & AND 2017

Two remarkable festivals – one in Sheffield and environs, the other in Castleton – between them present not just an intriguing range of films, but an alluring programme of other audiovisual and multi-sensory delights.

Sensoria 2017 is almost upon us. The festival will be screening Fritz Lang’s deservedly classic Metropolis (see listings), and is also showing Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, with an introduction by Richard Hawley on 1 October at the University’s Drama Studio. This documentary by Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana (Canada, 2017), which went down a storm at Cannes, focuses on the too-often overlooked contributions to popular music by Native American musicians (such as Link Wray, whose epic 1957 guitar instrumental the film’s title references). Telling more than just individual stories, The New York Times describes Rumble as providing ‘a masterclass in the mixing of cultures’. Check out the festival website or further info.

AND (Abandon Normal Devices) has an extraordinary film programme alongside what sounds like an utterly enthralling range of events, experiences and exhibition pieces – such as those entitled ‘listening to the dark’ and ‘experiencing gravity’. Check out the festival website for details and to book tickets or an exceptionally good value festival pass.

With two sets of shorts exploring geology, minerals, the impact of drones and other technologies and a programme promising ‘poetic reflection on the verticality of the earth and how this is rendered’, AND also offers some more mainstream filmic fare. The 23 September 7pm double bill of The Descent (Neil Marshall, UK 2005) and Tremors (Ron Underwood, USA 1990) is truly inspired for a festival exploring relationships between humans, technology, and the ‘natural’ world, as well as between what is above and what is below the ground. It will also be a lot of fun – not least when Kevin Bacon says, "This valley is just one long smorgasbord."

With free film events such as ‘Elevator Pitch’, reflecting on the greatest elevator scenes in film, a meditation on planes and capitalism (In Free Fall, Hito Steyerl, 2010), and lots, lots more, AND is well worth an expansively sensory trip to Castleton.

Samantha Holland

Shin Godzilla

Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi, Japan, 2016

63 years on, the monster has re-emerged to wreak its havoc. But why now? What can the beast have to say in these times?

Co-directors Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi were tasked with making the 31st film in the franchise a return to its roots, combining pulp drama with the complicated psychology of a nation weathering the memory of nuclear catastrophe (WW2 and Fukushima). The directors have learnt lessons from the Hollywood reboots and attempted to get away from the more absurd elements of the Mothra/SpaceGodzilla era (which may disappoint some).

The film is lethally efficient with its material and the two-hour running time whips by, even as much of the ‘action’ involves seemingly endless government meetings, played to deadpan satirical effect. Ambitious government adviser, Rando Yaguchi (Hiroki Hasegawa), tasked with working out how to stop the creature destroying Tokyo, assembles a team of ‘maverick’ scientists and ‘nerds’ (cue entertaining cod-scientific dialogue), while the politicians and military struggle with the difficulties of evacuating the city and the constitutional implications of military action. Indeed, throughout the film the thread of Japan’s place in the world, its problematic ties to the US and hopeful sources of collaboration (France and Germany) are ever-present.

Shin Godzilla makes the bold decision to introduce the creature almost from the start, which risks upending the film with its googly-eyed ridiculousness. However, as the film evolves so too does Godzilla, becoming ever more threatening and uncanny. The choice to incorporate music from the early Godzilla films both acknowledges its dramatic effectiveness, but also brings an element of cool detachment to the film, as its original mono mix precludes the bowel-trembling rumble of Hollywood surround sound one might have anticipated of a monster film.

In an age when nuclear threat is worryingly real again, Godzilla’s resurgence offers a well-timed and entertaining view from a nation that has suffered its all-too-real effects.

Stephen Chase

FILM LISTINGS

HOSTED BY SAMANTHA HOLLAND

SHOWROOM SHORTS
TUE 19 SEPT | 9PM | SHOWROOM CINEMA MAIN BAR
FREE

September sees the return of Showroom Shorts after a brief summer hiatus. With gems from local filmmakers and further afield, a raffle and free admission, this is an excellent way to experience a range of shorts – and possibly be inspired to make and submit your own.
syfn.org/events/showroom-shorts

BECOMING CHAZ
FENTON BAILEY & RANDY BARBATO, USA, 2011
SUN 24 SEPT | 3:30PM | SHOWROOM CINEMA

40 when this film was made, Chastity Bono goes by Chaz and is six months into hormone treatment to transition. Having spent much of his childhood on display on TV, but latterly coming out as lesbian and becoming a LGBT activist, Sonny and Cher’s only child has a fascinating life story.
showroomworkstation.org.uk/becomingchaz


THE WHITE DIAMOND
WERNER HERZOG, GERMANY, 2004
SAT 23 SEPT | CASTLETON VILLAGE HALL
£4/£3

One of Herzog’s lesser-known documentaries, this film journeys into a rarely explored part of the world – the unspoilt canopies in the heart of Guyana – with airship engineer Dr Graham Dorrington. Herzog follows Dorrington’s emotionally loaded trip to the giant Kaieteur Falls, where he plans to fly his helium-filled invention.
andfestival.org.uk/events/white-diamond-dir-werner-herzog


FACTORY: METROPOLIS LIVE SCORE
SUN 1 OCT | 4:30PM | MAGNA FACE OF STEEL AT MAGNA SCIENCE ADVENTURE, ROTHERHAM
£11.50/£9.50

Sensoria presents post-industrial electronic duo Factory Floor (Nik Void and Gabriel Gurnsey) for the northern premiere of their new live score for Metropolis (Fritz Lang, Germany, 1927). Combining sci-fi with social critique, Metropolis’ dystopian future shows exploited workers with revolution in mind. At a monumental site, this screening is of the 150-minute reconstructed and restored 2010 version.

metropolismagna.eventbrite.co.uk