Archive for Apocalypse Now


Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2015 by dcairns


Too many movies — my memories of Edinburgh International Film Festival have becomes a swirling series of overlays, like the visionary multi-exposure fugues of Paul Clipson, whose MADE OF AIR screened in the Black Box strand. Saturday was the day the movies came out to get me.

On Saturday I saw an old drama, a new documentary, an experimental/performance piece and an In Person event with Jane Seymour. (On Frankenstein: The True Story — “That was the first time I had to look at a line-up of naked women and pick one as my stand-in, saying, ‘That one looks the most like me naked.'”). I had a ticket for a fifth film but I gave it back — my brain was full.

In Person With Jane Seymour featured the actress and powerhouse recounting her near-death experience, and explaining why John Gielgud never stopped working: “I’ve never missed a day on set so if I see my name in a call sheet I know I’ll be alive tomorrow.”

At the climax of IMAGINE WAKING UP TOMORROW AND ALL MUSIC HAS DISAPPEARED, musician and artist Bill Drummond gathers the cinema audience itself into one of his situational sound experiments, making us participants in the film and hence legally entitled to add our names to the credits at the doc’s website.

During TYBURNIA, the Dead Rat Orchestra left the stage during the film and tiptoed up the steeply-raked bleachers of Traverse 1 to freak us out with strange music from behind.


The inadequate air-conditioning turned THE BRAVE DON’T CRY, a 1952 Grierson-produced drama about a mining cave-in, into a fully interactive experience, as we gasped in asthmatic sympathy with the entombed workers onscreen.

This was all getting too real, so THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT, from the producer of INSIDIOUS, began to seem like a BAD RISK.

Will continue to report on some of my more memorable cinematic encounters over the next week, but will also resume abnormal service with a random smattering of other observations and experiences. Meanwhile, here’s my top ten American films, chosen with a few spare neurons for Scout Tafoya. They are basically movies I can rewatch endlessly — my students will recognize several.

One Of the Wicked

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , on February 25, 2014 by dcairns

Picture 50

Dave Scout Tafoya, the son I never had, has kindly included me in his ongoing online ecyclopaedia of film criticism — here. I provided him with some basic facts or “facts”, he did the rest. It was entertaining to read some quotes from pieces I’d completely forgotten having written.

Hogg Wild

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2013 by dcairns


A Polish adaptation of Scottish author James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (often abbreviated to Confessions of a Justified Sinner, which makes it sound uncomfortably like a Robin Askwith comedy) allows me to look into the unlucky cinematic history of this peculiar work, over at The Notebook in this fortnight’s edition of The Forgotten.

And at Apocalypse Now, Scout Tafoya continues the ’68 Comeback Special, our report on the abortive Cannes Film Festival of that year, with an impassioned and personal encounter with Jan Nemec’s Kafkaesque A REPORT ON THE PARTY AND THE GUESTS. Go!


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