Broken Doll

Sheffield-based Portuguese independent filmmaker João Paulo Simões has been invited to create a filmic birthday present for David Lynch, who turns 70 in January. The main narrative will be filmed in Leipzig, where the remarkable idea of a film gift for Lynch originated. In true Lynchian style, though, Simões’ film alternates between two realities. Its second, more abstract ‘reality’ is being filmed in Sheffield in early December 2015.

Both the film’s realities concern the story of a boy held captive and dressed as a doll in his youth, and will involve a varied and intriguing cast, including Anabela Gonçalves and Rebecca Van Cleave, with a special appearance by Nancy Kerr (BBC Folk Singer of The Year 2015). A teaser of the film is available online and the trailer will be available in the new year, with the film’s release planned for shortly after it’s been received by David Lynch on his birthday.

Simões has collaborated with a number of people involved in this project, currently and previously. He’s recently made a music video for Kerr’s ‘Gingerbread’, for instance, and has collaborated previously with Sieben, who’ll be creating magical musical loops for this short film.

Broken Doll promises to be weird and wonderful, with Lynchian elements that might well be observed in other of Simões’ films, hence the approach to him to create both the concept and the film itself. Echoing Isabella Rossellini’s description of her infamous Blue Velvet character Dorothy Vallens as a broken doll, this short’s teaser trailer promises that, "If the film is a box, inside that box there's an alternate reality. Within that alternate reality, there's a scene. And in that scene, there's another film. This film."

This unusual birthday present for David Lynch will be made possible in part by crowd funding. Contribute if you can - and be credited accordingly - via the link below.

Samantha Holland

indiegogo.com/projects/broken-doll

The Force Awakens

There has been an awakening. Have you felt it?

Of course you have. The only way you could be unaware that Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes out this month is if you live on the dark side of Mars, fingers jammed in your ears. Barely an hour goes by without a new plot rumour, or a new trailer, or a teaser for a trailer, or an Instagram photo showing a teaser of the newest poster going up on the side of a bus shelter.

New movies get scrutinised to the nth degree, so The Force Awakens has an uphill battle ahead of it. This isn’t any old franchise. This is one of the greatest franchises ever, and one that’s already induced crushing disappointment in its fans.

In retrospect, it’s obvious that The Phantom Menace is not the disaster that, say, Attack of the Clones turned out to be. It’s a halfway decent action movie with some above-average CGI for the period. But upon its release in 1999, it received the worst backlash of any major release.

The reason the Phantom Menace bombed so badly is clear. The fans didn’t want a newmovie - they wanted an old one. Like Marcel Proust dipping his cakes in coffee, they wanted to be transported back in time, to feel like the wide-eyed kids who saw the original trilogy long ago.

And it’s that, above all else, which JJ Abrams has nailed with the marketing for The Force Awakens. Everything about that infamous first teaser trailer, peaking with the Millennium Falcon swooping across the sky to John Williams’ iconic score, sent nostalgic shivers down the spines of Star Wars fans everywhere. It damn well worked.

Only time will tell whether the film will fulfil expectations - after all, many stinkers over the years have been marketed brilliantly - but as 18 December rolls closer, the Force is looking strong with this one.

Phil Bayles

Film listings

GHOST IN THE SHELL
Mamoru Oshii, 1995
Mon 14 December  |  6pm  |  Showroom  |  £8.30
This remarkable anime is a cyberpunk classic that owes something to Blade Runner and to which The Matrix owes a great deal. Showing as part of the Showroom's Robosapiens season.
showroomworkstation.org.uk/ghost-in-the-shell

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
Wes Anderson, 2014
Sun 6 December  |  7:30pm  |  215 Sharrow Vale Road  |  £3 on door w/ cake and coffee
Carrying on the tradition of at least one Wes Anderson film per year(!), Sharrow Reels has chosen this remarkable and visually lush film. In true Anderson fashion, The Grand Budapest Hotel thoughtfully explores emotional themes with opulent and ornate visual backdrops.
facebook.com/SharrowReels

SUNSET SONG
Terence Davies, 2015
4–17 December  |  Showroom Cinema  |  £7.30
An adaptation of Lewis Grassic Gibbon's 1932 novel, Sunset Song focuses on protagonist Chris, a farmer’s daughter, and her life and environment in post-war Scotland, brought to the screen with Vermeer-like imagery and leisurely dramatic pace.
showroomworkstation.org.uk/sunset-song

FILM NIGHT AT #9
Thurs 10 December  |  7pm  |  Café #9  |  Free
Having moved our film nights to Thursdays, this month we’ll show abstract and narrative films reflecting (on) the British obsession with weather. Come along for an evening of shorts and a longer narrative tale, as the nights draw in and a cosy film with a cup of cocoa seems ever more enticing.
facebook.com/filmsatnumber9