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Wednesday 03 August 2011. Part of Cinema Sunset.

In the month of August Cinema Sunset screened four must-see black and white film classics.

Programme
Wednesday August 3 | The Servant
Wednesday August 10 | Le Quatre Cents Coups
Wednesday August 17 | The Spiral Staircase
Wednesday August 24 | The Seventh Seal

The Servant
Release: 1963
Runtime: 112 mins
Director: Joseph Losey
Cast: Dirk Bogarde, Sarah Miles and Wendey Craig

The dainty Oxbridge twit aristocrat Tony moves to London and hires a servant Hugo Barret. Tony’s prudish girlfriend Susan senses something sinister about Barrett and her contentious relationship with him begins to affect her romance with Tony. As their relationship falters, Barret starts to expand his powers over his “master”. Via an intricate turning of the tables Tony slowly loses his authority and becomes enslaved to his own employee.

Les Quatre Cents Coups
Release: 1959
Runtime: 99 mins
Director: Francois Truffaut
Cast: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Albert Rémy and Claire Maurier

The young Parisian boy Antoine Doinel who is misunderstood by his parents and schoolteachers, dashes into a life of crime. Like most kids, he gets into more trouble for trying to do good rather than for his actual trespasses. He skips school, sneaks into movies, ans runs away from home. For his feature-film debut, critic-turned-director François Truffaut drew inspiration from his own troubled childhood. Originally intended as a 20-minute short, Les Quatre Cents Coups was expanded into a feature when Truffaut decided to elaborate on his self-analysis. The film has been named the cradle of the French New Wave Cinema and displays many of the characteristic traits of the movement.

The Spiral Staircase
Release: 1945
Runtime: 83 mins
Director: Robert Siodmak
Cast: Dorothy McGuire, George Brent and Ethel Barrymore

The young beautiful Helen, mute because of a childhood trauma, works in the household of Mrs. Warren. Warren’s two sons Steven and Albert also live in the house and Helen develops a crush on the latter. Mrs. Warren becomes concerned for Helen’s safety when a rash of murders involving 'women with afflictions’ hits the neighborhood. When the murderer enters the house Helen’s life is in serious danger. Director Robert Siodmak well known for his atmospheric suspense films used all kinds of innovative plot devices to increase a sense of foreboding. Throughout the story Helen is observed through the eyes of her stalker, who the audience sees only as a pair of menacing eyes.

The Seventh Seal
Release: 1957
Runtime: 96 mins
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Cast: Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand and Bengt Ekerot

Set in the 14th century, a medieval knight and his squire return home after ten years in the Crusades to find their land ravaged by the Plague. The Black Death arrives to take the knight’s life but the latter succeeds in challenging Death to a chess game. During their game the knight becomes determined to find answers to his questions about life, death and the existence of God. The Seventh Seal has been declared Bergman’s masterpiece and became an often-cited classic in world cinema.

Untitled
Screening of Les 400 Coups
Screening of Les 400 Coups
Guests informally discussing the film after the screening
Guests informally discussing the film after the screening