EIFF Retrospectives: Richard Fleischer and Jean Grémillon

Submitted by edg on Wed, 17 Apr '13 10.28pm

Long before NASA scientist James Hansen brought the spectre of climate change to the mainstream with his famous testimony to the US Congress in 1988, Charlton Heston was sweating on a bike on the big screen to keep the lights on and cursing the Greenhouse Effect in sci-fi Soylent Green.

The 1973 drama envisioned a dystopic future New York, replete with abandoned gas guzzlers and starving hordes of street people. Heston plays a tough cop who starts to uncover the mysteries of a miracle food Solyent Green that people have come to survive on.

The wonderfully dated (who knows, even visionary?) film is showing as part of a retrospective of Hollywood director Richard Fleischer in partnership with the Filmhouse, running 13th June to 7th July.

Richard Fleischer (1916-2006) made mainstream movies ranging from film noir to science fiction.

"Some of Fleischer's films, such as The Vikings and Fantastic Voyage, are fantasies that can be appreciated on one level by children and on other levels by adults. Others, such as The Girl In The Red Velvet Swing, The Boston Strangler and 10 Rillington Place, are sophisticated thrillers that work in unpredictable ways to engage and challenge the viewer. He is a great director to study to see how the most mainstream forms of film entertainment can be filled with artistic purpose and imagination,” said EIFF artistic director Chris Fujiwara.

The retrospective includes Richard Attenborough and John Hurt in 10 Rillington Place (1971), Tony Curtis and Henry Fonda in The Boston Strangler (1968), Stephen Boyd and Rachel Welch in Fantastic Voyage (1966), Joan Collins as The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1955) and edgy film noir with The Narrow Margin (1952).

Jean Grémillon retrospective

The other restrospective that has been announced by the EIFF showcases the work of French director Jean Grémillon, who was known for "some of the most highly regarded" French films of the German Occupation.

"Retrospectives can change people's understanding of film history by shining the spotlight on artists who, for whatever reason, have been neglected and undervalued. Jean Grémillon is such a director," said EIFF artistic director Chris Fujiwara.

"The contemporary of Jean Renoir and Marcel Carné, he is also their artistic peer, a brilliant and original filmmaker whose works hold up today as stunningly modern. He can even be called a director who is still waiting to be discovered. I'm excited to be working with the BFI to bring these incredible films to British audiences," added Fujiwara.

From his cinematic debut in the 1920s, one of the most fertile periods of French filmmaking, his work reflects the values of French impressionist cinema.

Grémillon made the transition from silent to sound cinema, and his early sound films are notable for their innovative and imaginative use of music and sound effects.

His late documentary shorts reflect his continuing experimentation with the medium of film and his strong links to the avant-garde and the other arts.

The 2013 EIFF retrospective, in partnership with the BFI, intends to highlight these links and Grémillon's use of sound and music, while also positioning these elements in relation to his better-known work.

The Retrospective will include Grémillon's most famous films, including the Occupation-era classics Remorques (Stormy Waters; 1940), Lumière D'Été (Summer Light; 1942), and Le Ciel Est À Vous (The Sky Is Yours; 1944), together with key examples of his imaginative silent work such as Maldone (1928) and Gardiens De Phare (The Lighthouse Keepers; 1929).