Stories about islands punctuate the careers of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, from Powell’s breakthrough with Edge of the World (1936) to the Hebridean journey of I Know Where I’m Going! (1945), and the final act of their Tales of Hoffmann (1951).
What can we learn about the imagination of these very different figures by tracing this motif ? This lecture draws on archival sources to show that these films are as rich and complex as art in any medium.
Followed by 7.30pm by a screening of:
I Know Where I'm Going!
UK, 1945, 91 mins, Cert U, in English
Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Starring Roger Livesey, Wendy Hiller, Pamela Brown and Finlay Currie
The war is a distant backdrop in this unconventional romance largely set in the Scottish Hebrides. It was perhaps Powell and Pressburger's most personal film to date: a metaphysical love story which confirmed their continuing departure from Britain's realist tradition. IKWIG (as the Archers themselves referred to it) is a trenchant critique of materialism - in the philosophical as well as the economic sense - continuing themes begun in their A Canterbury Tale, to which it is, in many ways, a companion piece. In both films, a city girl is transplanted into a rural environment and comes to question her preconceptions.
Separate tickets for the screening are required at a cost of £12 (concessions £10, under 25s £5) available directly from Cine Lumiere at 17 Queensbury Place, London, SW7 2DT.
Bookings for the lecture can be made here: https://www.institut-francais.org.uk/events-calendar/whats-on/talks/powells-and-pressburgers-island-stories/
Bookings for the screening can be made here: https://www.institut-francais.org.uk/cine-lumiere/whats-on/special-screenings/i-know-where-im-going/
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Professor Christie is Visiting Professor in the History of Film and Media at Gresham College. He is a renowned British film scholar and currently Professor of Film and Media History at Birkbeck, University of London and a Fellow of the British Academy.
He has researched and published on many aspects of film history, including Eisenstein and Russian cinema, Powell and Pressburger, Gilliam and Scorsese, and is a regular broadcaster on cinema. He has also worked on many exhibitions, including Spellbound (Hayward, 1996), Modernism (V&A, 2006) and Revolution: Russian Art 1917-32 (Royal Academy, 2017). His current exhibition, Animatograph!, will be at London Metropolitan Archives during September-October 2019, and his monograph Robert Paul and the Origins of British Cinema (Chicago University Press) will appear later this year.
Professor Christie's lecture series are as follows:
2018/19 Screening London
All lectures by the Visiting Professor in the History of Film and Media can be accessed here.