See a Rare Video of Terence Davies Introducing Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’

English writer, director, and actor Terence Davies has given us a wealth of emotionally devastating films—from Distant Voices, Still Lives to The House of Mirth and last year’s The Deep Blue Sea. When we spoke with Rachel Weisz (who starred in his latest film) she talked about how Davies grew up on on films like Brief Encounter and actresses like Bette Davis or Barbara Stanwyck—stories about women getting to be strong and powerful and complex, which has seeped its way into his work. But those aren’t the only stories he’s interested in. And thanks to Cinephilia and Beyond and The Seventh Art, a rare clip of Davies introducing Stanley Kubrick’s first masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey for TV has been brought to our attention. Spencer Everhart writes:

A bit of an oddity today: the introduction to a television broadcast of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) on BBC2′s The Film Club from director Terence Davies…Davies is strikingly accompanied by images from the film, a blank black background, and an imposing set light. 2001 was the last in a programme of Kubrick films on the screening series and Davies cites it as his personal favourite. One incredible aspect of the series was its commitment to show the film in its widescreen aspect ratio, which Davies makes a point of celebrating.

So yes, I would recommend taking four minutes and nineteen seconds out of your day to watch this delightful gem.

The Best of BlackBook’s 2012 Film Coverage

2012 was an interesting year for cinema—whether it be Hollywood franchise blockbusters, independent stage-play-turned-comedies , or haunting and heartbreaking foreign dramas. In the first half of the year, we saw young filmmakers such as a Brit Marling, Benh Zeitlin, and Leslye Headland debut their innovative and fresh take on modern stories, with films that established them as unique new voices of independent American cinema. Hollywood staples David O. Russell, Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson, and Whit Stillman once again pleased audiences and won critical praise for their idiosyncratic features. And then there were the beautifully guttural foreign films from Michael Haneke, Miguel Gomes, and Leos Carax that constantly reinvent, not only what film can be, but the experiential nature of cinema as well. 

So as the year draws to a close and we begin to anticipate next year’s film slate, here’s the best in BlackBook’s film coverage of the past twelve months—highlighting our favorite films of 2012 that will linger on in history and the one’s to breakout next year’s biggest stars.


Holy Motors
Amour
Silver Linings Playbook



Damsels in Distress

Django Unchained

Moonrise Kingdom
The Deep Blue Sea
The Queen of Versailles
Beasts of the Southern Wild


Cosmopolis
Sound of My Voice
Wuthering Heights

Bachelorette
The Loneliest Planet
Sleepwalk with Me


Beware of Mr. Baker
Anna Karenina
The Imposter

The Snowtown Murders
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Tabu

Movie Madness: Reviews of March’s Cinematic Picks

Jeff, Who Lives at Home
This unexpected little comedy begins with the title character, played by a predictably schleppy Jason Segel, monologuing about his religious devotion to M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs, a movie that preaches that fate lies in coincidences. It’s a mantra that dictate’s Jeff ‘s daily routine: zone out in mom’s basement and wait for something cosmic to happen. That something turns out to be a phone call—a wrong number, no less— that sets Jeff on a quest for higher purpose. But before any catharsis can be had, Jeff runs into his blowhard brother (Ed Helms) at the local Hooters, and gets tangled up in his marital woes. (This, of course, is all meant to be.) Together, they embark on an odyssey of mutual self-discovery, while in a parallel story, their mother (Susan Sarandon) chases epiphanies of her own in what feels like a separate movie. Directors Mark and Jay Duplass (Cyrus), who once worked within the boundaries of nanobudget filmmaking, are now being bankrolled by Paramount, and they’ve got the dramatic and uplifting climax to justify it. Tears will be shed in the audience and on the screen, but in less than 90 minutes, they’re admirably earned.Ben Barna

The Deep Blue Sea
After a decade stuck in financial gridlock, Terence Davies, the embattled hero of British art cinema, returns with this adaptation of the 1952 Terence Rattigan play, a story of repressed passions in a postwar England where even kisses must be rationed. Rachel Weisz gives a luminous performance as Hester, a tortured housewife who leaves her paternalistic husband (played by the portly Simon Russell Beale) for a hot-headed RAF pilot (Tom Hiddleston) still struggling to re-enter a society that no longer needs him. But Hester needs him, and Davies artfully studies the complexities she faces, trading in a life of comfort for transcendent sex (and a tiny room in a boarding house). Nods to melodramas from the ’40s and ’50s adorn the film, as do Davies’ own signature touches: pub sing-alongs, lyrical tracking shots, and of course, that shockingly floral wallpaper. For the director who won admiration through authentic portrayals of postwar Liverpool, it’s a triumphant return to form. But while his earlier films were as personal—and structurally free—as a family album, the tale of doomed passion at the bottom of The Deep Blue Sea risks becoming a touch too hoary, even as self-conscious homage, to be fully satisfying.Josh Sperling

Casa de Mi Padre
They say you aren’t fluent in a foreign language until you can tell a joke in it, so you’ve got to admire Will Ferrell for having the guts to try. The concept behind Casa de mi Padre—and no, not just the title is in Spanish—has the potential for brilliance: export the actor’s trademark deadpan to a Mexico of rancheros, drug traffickers, and telenovela romance. Ferrell plays the dim-witted Armando Alvarez. When his brother Raul (Diego Luna) returns home with a curvy new fiancée (Genesis Rodriguez) and shady schemes to save the family hacienda, the brothers find themselves at war with a vicious kingpin (Gael García Bernal), and with each other, over a woman’s heart. Ferrell has made a career parachuting straight-faced into quotidian scenes and mopping up the laughs. But Casa mines its humor from a new and risky place: the world of the subtitle. There is a reason foreign films are so serious—jokes don’t translate to that sullen font on the bottom of the screen. It’s no surprise then that the best gags in the film rely purely on physical slapstick. What is surprising is how hilarious Bernal and Luna can be hamming it up as narcotraficantes in alligator boots. But when Ferrell tells a DEA agent, “not all Mexicans are drugtraffickers,” you realize that the only one who isn’t a drug trafficker is, well, a gringo.JS

Delicacy
Despite its charms, French filmmakers David and Stéphane Foenkinos’ debut effort is undermined by a rote script, which relies too much on Audrey Tautou’s star power to prop it up. Adapted from David’s novel of the same name, Delicacy has bursts of whimsy in an otherwise familiar tale. Nathalie (Tatou) and François (Pio Marmaï) meet and fall irreversibly in love, until he is suddenly (but somehow not) rubbed out in a freak accident. The rest of the film traces Nathalie’s recovery efforts as it hops three years into the future, and we rediscover her as a grim careerist. Soon, she clumsily falls for a relatively unattractive Swede (François Damiens), who, let’s be honest, is a few leagues beneath her. (She’s damaged yes, but she’s also Audrey Tatou.) There’s a strange lack of passion for a movie about it, and its two leads never seem to fully connect. We hate to get down on a film with a core that is hopeful, sweet, and easy to swallow, but after digesting it, we’re still left feeling hungry.Hillary Weston

Being Flynn
Nick Flynn’s book Another Bullshit Night in Suck City was, as its title (sort of) implies, a gritty, honest look at homelessness and addiction in America, as seen through the eyes of the author and his father—eventually. They reconnect when the elder Flynn checks into the Boston shelter where his son is employed. Paul Weitz’s film adaptation has a sanitized title and is ultimately a sterile biopic, filled with a predicable story arc and done-to-death voiceover from both Nick and Jonathan Flynn (played by Paul Dano and Robert De Niro, respectively). Neither Nick nor Jonathan are portrayed as being completely moral or despicable, and their equal footing keeps the film from veering into sanctimonious territory. Being Flynn boasts an impressive supporting cast that includes Julianne Moore as Nick’s mother and Olivia Thirlby as his co-worker and girlfriend. Both shine as underused characters who serve primarily as feminine inspirations for Nick’s ultimate maturation. While the film doesn’t add much to the canon of movies chronicling troubled father-son relationships, it does feature a surprisingly lighthearted soundtrack by Badly Drawn Boy, who famously wrote music for Weitz’s About a Boy.Tyler Coates

Detachment
Tragic in tone and scattered in execution, Tony Kaye’s latest film feels more like you’re being emotionally gutted than mentally stimulated. With an ensemble cast of Hollywood vets, from Blythe Danner to James Caan, it’s the actors’ commitment to the work and their brief but dynamic performances that supersede the lackluster script. Detachment tells the story of Henry Barthes (brilliantly played by a weary-eyed Adrien Brody), a downtrodden substitute teacher who takes a temporary position at a failing high school. Barthes, a somber man plagued by flashbacks of his mother’s suicide, is an empathetic and gifted teacher, desperately trying to connect to his students while dealing with his dying grandfather and the teenage prostitute he’s taken in. Shot by Kaye himself, the film cuts between the narrative, interviews with Barthes, and morose animated blackboard drawings used to illustrate darker urges. Ultimately, the film doesn’t know whether to be a scathing critique of the public school system or the story of one man’s struggle to find meaning. Kaye has a lot to say but never fully realizes his point, creating a passionately bleak drama that throws it all in your face, one painful blow at a time.HW

The Raid
Not only does The Raid push the body count of Asian action cinema to new heights, but it also moves the genre south, leaving the skyscrapers of the usual tiger economies behind in favor of a rundown, crime-infested tenement deep in the Jakarta slums. With its main course of unadulterated violence, this is Die Hard for the gaming generation, with just enough of a premise—a SWAT mission gone awry, a fresh-faced rookie, brothers on opposite sides of the law—to take us from one scene of carnage to the next. And like any first-person shooter, the hero literally levels up from floor to floor, boss to boss, moving from guns to serrated knives to machetes, and finally, to some proper hand-to-hand combat. Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda provides an amped-up soundtrack, while the Welsh-born, Indonesia-based director Gareth Evans strikes a thrilling balance between masterful martial-arts choreography and the more helter-skelter rawness at the adrenalized heart of the film. And despite our hero’s assured survival, Evans builds a claustrophobic dread so powerful that when the tension suddenly snaps, it’s about as visceral as movies get.JS

The Lady
Aung San Suu Kyi has given up her family and freedom to advocate on behalf of the people of Burma, who have languished under the rule of a military dictatorship for half a century. While under house arrest, Suu Kyi ignited a fervent democratic movement that may finally be producing meaningful reforms in the country, making this a perfect time for French filmmaker Luc Besson to unveil his powerful and moving biopic of the Nobel laureate. The Lady follows her from her childhood in Rangoon, which is rent by the murder of her highly respected father, to her life as a wife and mother of two boys in England, to her return to Burma in 1988, where she immediately becomes the brightest hope for a people who have known nothing but poverty, fear, and isolation under the junta. Filled with gorgeously shot scenes of the Rangoon skyline and the lilting palms and shimmering waters of her dilapidated lake house, the film is a deft take through Suu Kyi᾽s inspiring life. Michelle Yeoh’s remarkable embodiment of the opposition leader is uncanny, and the depiction of her relationship with her English husband Michael Aris (David Thewlis) is heartbreaking, as he suffers and dies of cancer while being denied a visa to visit his wife one last time. The Lady gives viewers a deep appreciation of a long, relentless, and agonizingly slow struggle that may well be on the brink of success. Its message is simple: If your cause is just, never, ever give up.Victor Ozols

Rachel Weisz Talks About Her New Film ‘The Deep Blue Sea’

Rachel Weisz is known for taking on roles that entice and challenge—she’s even won an Oscar for it. But it’s her latest role as Hester in Terence Davies’s The Deep Blue Sea that resonates in a most powerful way. The film tells the story of a woman who throws herself into a self-destructive love affair with an emotionally distant Royal Air Force pilot and the madness in which it causes her to descend. As the wife of a tame yet loving judge, she makes the decision to leave him in pursuit of her extreme desire, only to end up shattered by the passion she possesses but does not receive. Known for his unique cinematic works, Davies has crafted a brilliant adaptation of Terence Ratigan’s play that feels almost like a nightmarish, lovesick dream that can feel at once relatable or completely out of one’s emotional sphere. We caught up with Rachel to discuss what attracted her to Hester, how love makes one mad, and working with such an iconic director.

What drew you to the film at this particular time?
It was a beautifully written script. I had never read the play, but Terence had written a very beautiful adaptation and he has this beautiful point of view, and I liked that kind of storytelling. Terrance in England is a really bit of a cult director; it was just a great character, great story, great director—kind of a no-brainer.

Did you see a lot of yourself in the character of Hester?
Not really, no. What really interested me about her was that she really completely humiliates herself. She has no pride; she doesn’t hold it together. Nowadays people say things like, “He’s just not that into you.” You don’t behave like that—your friend will take you out for a drink and say, “Come on, there’s plenty more fish in the sea,” but Hester doesn’t have that response. What I found interesting about her is that she just fell so completely, devastatingly, utterly in love with someone who really couldn’t love her back, but she couldn’t control it. I thought that was really interesting to see someone lose it and just throw herself at his feet. She kind of makes a complete fool out of herself in many ways, it’s really undignified.

And it was time when people were supposed to be more repressed and she didn’t even care at all.
She lost it. But even now if one of our girlfriends was behaving like that we’d say, “Pull yourself together!” I feel like it’s more interesting to tell it in the ’50s because it was a time of greater repression, so it makes it more taboo . But it’s still a relevant story now. I think if a woman left a comfortable marriage for a younger man and humiliated herself in a way, people would still be talking.

Would you say the character goes through a sexual awakening?
I think she’s never felt love or passion or, as Terrance calls it, “erotic love.” It’s a completely new feeling and she’s a bourgeois, married wife of a judge, and she’s never had these feelings. It’s an awakening, and her life is torn to pieces by it.

In most of your films, you’re usually the object of desire or object of love and it’s told from a male point of view. Is this the first of your first films where it’s you who’s doing the desiring?
I loved it. It’s a great story to tell. What Terrence has been saying is that he grew up on films like Brief Encounter and like actresses like Bette Davis or Barbara Stanwyck—stories about women getting to be strong and powerful and complex. Those were the movies he grew up on. The question is not just the movies I have done. but the movies that are made.

What kind of mindset did you have to put yourself in for this character?
I suppose just someone who is not really thinking too much. She’s not thinking anything sensible, practical, self-reservation-like. She’s screwing up in a major way and thinking too much. She’s all ridiculous-crazy love.

Would you say that Hester was mad or just utterly and helplessly in love?
Some people say she’s just mad. I personally don’t think so, but in a way you can see that. I just think she’s in love, but then you can say that love is a kind of psychotic state. I don’t think she’s mad at all. I think it’s a bid for freedom, and I think it’s a really bold, brave thing that she does. I personally respect her, but there are people who see the movie and think she’s just nuts. That’s a fair enough interpretation.

How was filming the sex scene? 
It was new for Terence. He had never shot a sex scene before, so I spent most of my time making him feel alright about it.

How was it working with him in general?
He’s very different, very unusual. He’s probably as passionate as Hester—led by his heart and his emotions. He’s much more like her than I am. He gets very carried away both in happiness, sadness, and angerm so he’s a very passionate person. He likes things to be incredibly controlled in terms of where the camera is. It’s the opposite of a contemporary reportage style—films that we’re used to seeing now. He’s got real rigor as a filmmaker, but he’s also really passionate.

Tell me about working with your two leading men.
I’d always imagined the husband role being very unpleasant, but that’s not how Simon played it. He played him with incredible sweetness and empathy and made it really hard to leave him. I thought he would be kind of a pig—nasty and controlling. But he was a sweetheart and lovely to work with, so his performance always surprised me. Tom is just wonderful. He’s very alive and sexy and passionate and really bright, very smart. We met once before we started filming, but it was very intense. We had a really easy rapport.

Do your parents tell you any stories about post-war England?
Well my mom, who is going to be eighty this year, grew up in England during the war. My mom would talk about music actually, and she still sings songs from the ’50s. Music is very important to Terrence. Like the singing in the pub scene; he has a whole story as to why there came about. Apparently that’s what people did before there were TVs and jukeboxes in bars, so that’s what they did on a Saturday night. My mom talks about songs a lot, and rations. She lives very frugally as a result of it. I think it’s still very hard for those who lived through the war to shake it off.

Do you look for something specific in a role?
I just look to be touched in some way, or to be intrigued or be pulled in. It’s like reading a book. Some books grab you and some don’t; it’s the same for a character. It would be hard to say what makes you connect to a certain book. You can connect to something silly or something really dark and tragic, you know what I mean? It’s just different.

Had you wanted to work with Terrence before? The story is that he never heard of you and saw you and said he wanted to work with you but did not recognize you.
He’s not really heard of anyone after color films. I’m serious! He wouldn’t know who anyone is in color movies.