Christopher Nolan salutes his inspirations at BFI

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European Update

Throughout the month of July, BFI Southbank in London presents a season of films that have inspired Christopher Nolan in the making of Dunkirk. And all of them will be shown on 35mm or 70mm, including a special preview of Dunkirk with an introduction from the film-friendly director himself. For the programming notes he wrote, “I hope you will enjoy the rare opportunity of seeing these incredible movies in their original analogue glory, as nature intended.”

Nolan also noted that one might suspect a selection of war movies. “But I chose to approach Dunkirk more as survival story than war film… All Quiet on the Western Front (Lewis Milestone, 1930) said it first and best: War dehumanizes. Revisiting that masterpiece, it is hard to disagree that the intensity and horror have never been bettered.”

The rest of the series, he added, falls into two “different but overlapping categories.” Namely, “established classics of tension” like The Wages of Fear (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1953) and Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979) through to “the more recent ticking-clock nail-biters” Speed (Jan de Bont, 1994) and “Tony Scott’s final film, the relentless Unstoppable (2010).” The season “explores the mechanics and uses of suspense to modulate an audience’s response to narrative.” Other titles—such as Stroheim’s Greed (1924), Murnau’s Sunrise (1927), The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966), Ryan’s Daughter (David Lean, 1970) and Hugh Hudson’s Chariots of Fire (1981)—explore “the possibilities of purely visual storytelling.” Most certainly, Nolan concluded, “no examination of cinematic suspense and visual storytelling would be complete without Hitchcock, and his technical virtuosity in Foreign Correspondent’s (1940) portrayal of the downing of a plane at sea provided inspiration for much of what we attempted in Dunkirk.”

KINO Again Convenes in Baden-Baden

After a two-year sojourn in Karlsruhe that was not necessarily met with universal acclaim, the annual get-together of German Kinobetreiber will return to its decade-long home in Baden-Baden. From May 15 to 17, 2018, KINO2018 will offer the tried-and-true mix of seminars, tradeshow and product presentations in the lovely Black Forest spa town. Although this year’s event in the larger city of Karlsruhe was very well received by film companies, theatre owners and manufacturers alike, Dr. Thomas Negele also confirmed that his HDF trade association members and convention visitors alike expressed a very strong interest in returning to Baden-Baden.

Top Films Sell 75% of Teuton Tickets

The German Federal Film Board FFA released a new study showing that three-quarters of tickets sold in Germany throughout 2016 were for one of the top titles. Seventy-five films garnered 93.1 million admissions by comparison to 107.1 million in record-breaking 2015. While that is not necessarily surprising, additional research revealed insight into when and how moviegoers purchased these tickets.

Eighty-one percent are purchased on the same day as guests attend the show. While five percent are bought online, a whopping 76 percent are purchased at the cinema directly. For advance purchases, 11 percent are secured on the web and five percent at the theatre. Top pre-sellers were Assassin’s Creed and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, at 27 and 25 percent, respectively. Among the top 75 films were 20 German productions that accounted for 19.7 million admissions, quite a few less than the 16 that sold 29.5 million tickets throughout 2015.

The most successful German film, Willkommen bei den Hartmanns, was a hit with those older than 50, with 45 percent in that bracket attending, by comparison to an average of 27 percent on all films. The lowest average ticket price went to German family comedy Hilfe, Ich habe meine Lehrerin geschrumpft (roughly: “Help, I Shrunk My Teacher”) at EUR 6.23 and Star Wars: The Force Awakens the highest with EUR 11.56.

A panel of 25,000 people that are representative of the German population in general, age 10 and up, provided the basis for the survey by Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung (GfK), exclusive data provider to the FFA.

Theatres Pay Tribute to Sir Roger Moore

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, distributor Park Circus and EON Productions partnered with AMC Theatres across the U.S. and its U.K-affiliate, Odeon Cinemas, as well as PathéCinemas across the Netherlands and Hoyts in Australia and New Zealand, to honor the life and contributions of Sir Roger Moore.

The newly restored 4K versions of The Spy Who Loved Me and For Your Eyes Only will be screened with half of all proceeds benefitting UNICEF, where Moore served as a goodwill ambassador since 1991. He left an “indelible imprint on audiences worldwide,” said Gary Barber, MGM chairman and chief executive officer. “There is no better way to remember Roger’s legacy than bringing back his iconic performances as James Bond to cinemas across the world while aiding UNICEF, the charity he steadfastly supported.”

Mitchell Moves Image Society

Based at Pinewood Studios, England, the International Moving Image Society (IMIS, formerly known as the British Kinematograph Sound and Television Society) confirmed Richard Mitchell as the new chairman tasked with overseeing “the development of its widely respected” Cinema Technology Committee (CTC). In his day job, Mitchell is responsible for global marketing and commercial development atHarkness Screens. “I am extremely honored,” he said about leading “such a vibrant, diverse and progressive group of professionals that are seeking to share knowledge and skills for the betterment of the cinema industry.”

Acknowledging that many of the challenges of digital cinema technology have been solved, Mitchell knows “there is still much work to do to help the industry improve the moviegoing experience whilst keeping a close eye on developing technologies.” With members from distribution, postproduction, exhibition, integration and manufacturing all well represented in IMIS, this “breadth of expertise” leaves the group “ideally positioned to support the industry,” Mitchell opines. “Not just in interpreting industry standards and how to apply these or in identifying the best-of-breed technology for the future, but how to improve, optimize and maintain presentation quality with existing cinema equipment and the best practices.”

The committee also confirmed Graham Lodge (managing director of Sound Associates) as vice chairman, Peter Knight (Mad Cornish Projectionist) as head of communications and Dave Norris (Universal Pictures International) as its cinema technology ambassador.

As well as providing guidance and support, the CTC engages in activities aimed at educating and improving the cinema experience. These include training courses, technical handbooks, educational visits, knowledge sharing, networking events, projectionist certification (in conjunction with the UKCA) and publishing the journal Cinema Technology.

“Over the past eighteen months, the society has started the process of revitalizing its infrastructure to serve the 21st-century global media industry,” explains Roland Brown, president of IMIS. “It is no secret that up until very recently the society had been in decline through an aging membership and the change over the past two decades in the way creative talent is employed. During this difficult period, the Cinema Technology Committee under [outgoing chairman] Richard Huhndorf’s leadership…stood as shining examples of what the society could achieve.” Since then, the CTC has broadened its horizons and ambitions, Brown assures. “The new chairman and his team will doubtless provide an invaluable resource to the industry.”