A season of Powell and Pressburger films will be showing at Southsea Cinema and Arts Centre between 1st November and 27th December. This is part of a major nation-wide celebration of one of the greatest and most enduring filmmaking partnerships. Bold, subversive and iconoclastic, challenging and changing the visual language of ‘British’ film, their passionate collaboration, artistic vision, spanning 24 films together between 1939 and 1972, is a vital part of the fabric of British cinema history. Startlingly innovative, Powell and Pressburger’s work continues to inspire creatives and increasingly connect with international audiences.
The season opens on 1st November with Michael Powell’s Edge of the World (1937), inspired by the evacuation from the Scottish island of St Kilda, embedded in a story he had fought for seven years to bring to the screen, and filmed on location. It is accompanied by Powell’s short postscript Return to the Edge of the World (1978). ‘Introduction from one of Portsmouth Film Society’s directors: Chris Martin, local historian.
Black Narcissus (1947), showing on 8th (7pm) and 19th (6pm) November, based on the novel by Rumer Godden, is Powell and Pressburger’s gothic masterpiece, which finds a group of nuns driven to jealousy and madness at a remote Himalayan nunnery. ‘One of the most beautiful colour films ever made, it is also among the most sensual. The film one Oscars for best colour photography and best art direction. Introduction talk from Emeritus Professor in Film History, Sue Harper, retired from the University of Portsmouth (8th Nov)
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), showing on Saturday 18th November 6pm, featuring the ageing, buffoonish General Candy, who is revealed to be a more complex figure as we look back on a life shaped by three different women (all played by Deborah Kerr), a lasting friendship with a German soldier, and the passing of Europe’s golden age. Introduction talk from Emeritus Professor in Film History, Sue Harper, retired from the University of Portsmouth. ‘The audience will be encouraged to wear fake Movember moustaches
I Know Where I’m Going! (1945), showing on 3rd December 3pm, Powell and Pressburger’s heady romantic masterpiece, has headstrong Joan Webster (a wondrous Wendy Hiller) setting off, wedding dress in tow, to marry a rich older man on a remote Hebridean island. Stranded on Mull thanks to the weather, Joan find herself struggling to cope with the unplanned turn of events. Powell and Pressburger weave their course of true love through flashes of surrealism, a life-threatening whirlpool and an ancient curse, disarming and enchanting in equal measure. Introduction talk from Emeritus Professor in Film History, Sue Harper, retired from the University of Portsmouth.
The Red Shoes (1948), showing on 27th December 3pm, is a glittering Powell and Pressburger masterpiece, with a captivating centrepiece ballet sequence and backstage intrigue, unfolding against award-winning production design and score, as we follow characters for whom art is more important than life itself. The family screening will have intermission and Kate Bush songs.
The national programme supported from BFI awarding funds from The National Lottery.